How to Make Blackjack Insurance Work for You
Blackjack insurance is an abstract concept for many, although some players swear by it as a guaranteed way to minimise potential losses.
Often when you play blackjack, you are given a chance to make an “insurance” wager. Blackjack insurance is one of the less understood elements of the game, with some players saying that insurance in blackjack is not a great idea. However, it’s essential to know the basic principles.
So, let’s find out more about this alternative wager, which is more complex than a simple side bet.
Blackjack insurance is an additional bet that players can make when the dealer turns an ace as a faceup card. When this happens, blackjack insurance can be taken for 50 percent of the original wagered amount.
The insurance payout is 2-1, and although the player loses the amount initially bet, they would be reimbursed with a small payout because of the insurance. So, although no big money could be won, the punter wouldn’t lose out completely.
How to Use Blackjack Insurance
For example, if a player places a CA$4 bet and receives a hand of 10-7 while the first card in the dealer’s hand is an ace, they could take out blackjack insurance, so they don’t lose their money entirely.
To use insurance, they would need to place a wager of another CA$2 (representing 50 percent of the original stake) against the dealer’s second card on the probability that it has a value of ten, which would give the dealer a total of 21 or blackjack.
Should the dealer have 21, the player would receive three times their insurance bet stake while forfeiting the original wager (assuming they didn’t also hit 21). So, the player would receive a total of CA$6 while also losing CA$6, i.e., they’d break even.
Alternatively, if the dealer does not have 21 and goes bust, the player would win the hand, simultaneously losing CA$2 on the insurance bet, but instead, winning the original wager they placed in the sum of CA$4. This means they’d make a net profit of CA$2 on the hand.
Should You Use Blackjack Insurance?
Although blackjack insurance might seem logical, it’s often not a good idea to use it. However, there’s one circumstance when it could be beneficial to opt for insurance. This is when a player already has a blackjack in their hand. Although this may sound silly since blackjack guarantees an automatic win, it does make financial sense.
If the dealer has blackjack, the player would only receive a payoff that equals their bet rather than a regular payout of 3-2. Conversely, if a player places an insurance bet on the outcome of a hand, they would receive a payoff of 2-1 since, essentially, they would be betting that the dealer has a blackjack in hand.
Factoring the Odds
It’s usually not in the player’s best interest to use blackjack insurance, even if they have 21 in their hand. Let’s say you make an original bet of CA$20. Then, you draw blackjack and decide to use insurance. There are two potential outcomes:
- Dealer draws 21, in which case you win CA$20.
2. Dealer doesn’t have 21, and you still win CA$20.
Alternatively, if you get 21 and don’t take insurance, there are two potential outcomes:
- The dealer also draws 21, so nobody wins.
2. The dealer doesn’t get 21, so you win CA$30.
While the expected result will always be CA$20 more if you take the insurance, in the long run, you would be better off not to take insurance since if the odds are even, your payout would need to match the odds.
Blackjack is played using 52 cards, with three cards visible (your two and the faceup card in the casino dealer’s hand). This means that 49 cards remain unseen, of which only 15 represent a value of ten.
Ultimately, it’s a 70 percent chance that the dealer won’t have blackjack. If a player takes “even money,” they would win a single unit (CA$20 in this example) every time they get 21, irrespective of whether the dealer has a blackjack.
This adds up to 49 units. But, should a player refuse the insurance and choose the 50 percent extra, they could earn CA$30 (or 1.5 units) on each of the 34 times the dealer statistically misses.
This equals 51 units of cash prizes, which is more than 49 units from the insurance. Therefore, it can be argued that insurance represents a poor choice, especially for those players who have more cards with a value of 10.