insurance in blackjack

insurance in blackjack

Insurance in Blackjack, also known as a Side Bet

Insurance is one of the many options offered to a blackjack player, but it is an option which is most often exercised incorrectly in live play. Insurance is a side bet which is considered independently of the main wager made by the player. All casinos offer insurance as a standard option. This is true in online casinos that offer blackjack also . What players should remember, however, is that just because an option is available doesn’t always make it a good option.

Serious blackjack players should know when to use insurance and when to pass it up. Taking insurance at the right time can reduce the house edge by a small margin.

Insurance is the act of protecting your hand against the possibility that the dealer has blackjack. In a game of 21, a blackjack by the dealer means an immediate loss for the player. Whenever a dealer shows a 10, the first thing he will do after dealing the cards is check his hand for a blackjack. If the dealer has an ace in the hole, he will turn his cards over and collect the bets of every player who does not also have a blackjack.

Whenever the dealer shows an ace the process is a little different. Before peeking at his hole card, the dealer will ask the players at the table if they would like to take insurance. If a player wants to make this side bet they must place an additional bet of exactly one-half of their initial bet on the table in the area marked INSURANCE. Once all players have made their decision, the dealer will check to see if they have a blackjack .

If the dealer has a blackjack, players who took insurance will lose their original wager. They will win their insurance side bet and collect odds of 2-1. The end result here is that the player has come out even on the hand. He does not win any money, but he does not lose any. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, players who took insurance will lose their insurance bet and the hand continues as normal with players being given the opportunity to act on their hand in a normal manner.

As a player you can only take insurance once the dealer has asked if anyone wants to take it. When it is you turn, if you want to take insurance simply place an amount of chips equal to one-half of your original bet on the table. In other words, if you originally bet $10 on the hand you would place a $5 chip on the table near the word INSURANCE. The dealer will recognize that you have chosen to take insurance and move on to the next player.

Taking insurance does not involve speaking or any other hand motion. If you say, “I want to take insurance,” this is fine but you will look like an amateur to the other players at the table.

If you happen to be playing blackjack online, taking insurance is very simple. Whenever the dealer shows an ace a box will light up on your screen with the word INSURANCE? If you want to exercise this option, just click the box and the insurance bet will be placed automatically.

What a deal! The casino is offering you a way to protect yourself when the dealer has a blackjack. How nice of them, right? Wrong. The casino doesn’t do players any favors when it comes to blackjack. It may seem like insurance is a good deal for you, but let’s take a look at a few percentages. The house edge on the insurance side bet is as follows according to the number of decks used in the game:

As you can see, the insurance bet is strongly in favor of the house. In other words, it is a bad bet. What those percentages reflect is how much more likely the casino is to win the bet. To simplify your understanding of the house edge, take the example of a single deck game. For every $100 you bet on insurance, the casino will win back almost $106. That means that for every $100 you bet on insurance you will get back about $94, or a $6 loss. Get the picture?

Now, losing $6 on every $100 you bet over the course of a long blackjack session might not seem like a big deal. Smart blackjack players know that it is a very big deal. Failing to pay attention to the percentages at blackjack will make you a loser.

The Only Time To Take Insurance

There is only one scenario when a blackjack player should even consider taking insurance. If you also hold a blackjack, you might want to insure your own blackjack to guarantee a positive return. Blackjacks are paid at 3-2 and they don’t come around that often. If you are unlucky enough to receive a blackjack at the same time as the dealer, this is what is known as a push. A push means that you tie the hand and receive no money for you blackjack.

When you take insurance in this scenario, you will push on the blackjack but you will collect 2-1 on your insurance bet. If the dealer does not have a blackjack you will lose the insurance bet but collect 3-2 on your blackjack.

Some players always insure their own blackjack. The truth is that it is still a bad bet. You will be better off in the long run if you ride out the hand and hope the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack.

What Is The Insurance in Blackjack, And Why Is It A Scam?

In the article titled 5 Reasons Why You Suck At Blackjack, I tried to tell you about some of the most common mistakes people make at the blackjack table.

Right after that, one of our readers reached out to me on Facebook with a question about one of the points I have mentioned there. Here's what he wrote me:

“(…)In your latest article about blackjack, you talk about the different systems to avoid and you advise people not to play at tables using a Continuous Shuffling Machine (CSM) as this lowers their winning chances.

Can I ask you why you did not talk about what the blackjack insurance is? As far as I know, the insurance in blackjack is something that players should avoid at all costs. Can you confirm that?

And, if this is true, why is the insurance bad in blackjack? (…)”

Our reader - let's call him 'Frank' - is correct. The insurance should have been included in the list of the most common mistakes in the game because that's exactly what the insurance is: a mistake.

Why is the insurance not a good bet?

One of the easiest ways for a dealer to spot a complete beginner at the table is to see how this one deals with the insurance:

  • If he takes the insurance: he doesn't know how to play blackjack;
  • If he considers taking the insurance: he doesn't know how to play blackjack;
  • If he doesn't consider the insurance: he may know how the game works;

Although any dealer out there will confirm you this rule - this still does not answer the two main questions about it: what the insurance is, and why it is bad.

The insurance in blackjack: what is it? The first point that there's nothing like a real 'insurance' in blackjack - as what we usually refer to as an 'insurance' is actually a side bet.

When you 'take the insurance', you bet on whether or not the dealer has a 10-value card on the hole when holding an Ace.

If on one hand is true that this side bet allows you to save your main one in case the dealers actually finds a 10-value card, you also know what happens when he doesn't: you lose the insurance and you still have the very same chances to lose also your main bet.

Why is the insurance bad? Now that we have seen that the word 'insurance' is nothing but a clever way to make a side bet sound more appealing, let's use maths to understand why this side bet is always a bad choice.

According to the official MENSA guide to casino gambling, for the insurance to be an even bet, one in every three cards must be a 10. Now, in case you are not good with numbers - that's not what happens in blackjack, where there's one 10 every 3.25 cards.

Need an example? I have got some free time today - so, let me tell you about two different situations you can have at the blackjack table.

Situation 1: you don't have a 10. The game starts, the dealer deals the cards, you don't get any 10s and he gets an Ace.

If you are playing with a 52-card deck, and the three cards that are face up do not show any 10s, it means that there are still sixteen 10s hiding in the 49 unknown cards.

As you can see, this means that you have 16 /49 chances to win if you take the insurance, and 33 /49 chances to lose. Let's put everything down to a formula where we will call 'E' your 'Expectation' to win, and we will assume that you are going to place an 'insurance bet' of $1.

So, in the best-case scenario (where all the 10s are still unknown), the house edge is of 2,04%.

Situation 2: you have two 10s.

A lot of people — for reasons that are well beyond my imagination — seem to think that taking the insurance is good when they are dealt two 10s, and the dealer's first card is an Ace.

This is possibly the wrongest time for taking the insurance, as you already have two of the 10s in the deck, and this decreases the dealer's chances to have one as well.

If you like numbers, here's how this second situation works:

Yes - you guessed right: the house edge just went all the way up to 14,29%! So - well, do you still think the insurance is a good bet?

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When to Take Insurance in Blackjack

Insurance is a blackjack side-bet which is designed to lessen the blow of the dealer getting a blackjack – which will beat all player hands and tie with a player 2-card 21. Different players have different opinions on whether to take this bet. This article looks at the insurance side-bet in detail – to let you make an informed choice of whether and when this should be a part of your blackjack strategy.

First of all, I have explained a little more about the mechanics of this bet and the payouts. Next you will find a note on how US and European blackjack rules affect how the insurance against dealer blackjack. After that some information about card counting, and whether this can influence your decisions on this side-bet .

Blackjack Insurance – How This Bet Works + the House Edge

Players are invited to participate in this bet by the dealer when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. In a live game the dealer will ask the players, in an online game the question will pop onto your screen, along with yes / no buttons. If you decide to accept, then a bet equal to half of your stake is made, which will pay out at 2:1 if the dealer turns over a 10 and makes a blackjack. You will have seen your own cards at this point, and if you do not have 21 then you will lose your initial stake when the dealer turns over blackjack – and win that stake back in the form of the payout for the insurance bet. If you do have blackjack yourself, you can still make this bet. In this case you could win the insurance side-bet and also get your initial stake back – making a profit equal to your initial stake.

The odds of the dealer making blackjack when showing an ace are exactly 9:4 against. There are 13 differently numbered cards, exactly 4 of them are 10’s (10, Jack, Queen and King) and 9 are not. This puts the odds another way of looking at this is that for every 1 time the dealer makes blackjack, he will miss 2.125 times. This means that every time you make this bet, you are giving a 12.5% edge to the house.

That is a big edge.

In fact, it is one of the biggest edges you can possibly give to the house on a blackjack table. The only one which always beats this is a progressive jackpot side-bet made when the jackpot is reasonably small.

Serious players always decline this bet. Whether the dealer turns up with a 10 on any one occasion does not matter – over time you are giving away 12.5c for every dollar you bet, every single time. If you take away one thing from today, make it that insurance is a sucker bet that should always be avoided.

European And American Rules for Blackjack Insurance

In US blackjack games including Atlantic City Blackjack and Vegas Strip Blackjack games – the dealer will ‘peek’ at their holecard to check for blackjack before the players act on their hands with an Ace or 10 showing. In European Rules Blackjack there is no holecard to peek at. In this game the dealer gets the second (and extra) cards only after the players have acted.

This does make a difference to the correct strategy, since in US rules you will know that the dealer does not have 21 by the time you act on your own hand. In European rules you do not know this, and need to act a little more conservatively as a result.

It can be tempting for players of European blackjack to think of insurance as an extra ‘hedge’ against them taking the risks with their own hand, then seeing their work undone by a dealer blackjack at the end. This is not good thinking – the insurance bet has exactly the same house edge and is still a losing proposition in both sets of rules.

Here is where things get interesting, there are certain points in advanced card counting strategy where the deck becomes so ‘positive’ that taking insurance can be the right move. Note that with a lot of 10’s in the deck the dealer is more likely to get blackjack. This means that the card counter has calculated that they will lose a small percentage less on their initial stake by insuring at that point. Not so much an easy win, as a way of making a losing situation slightly less bad!

Realistically, you’d need to be a card counting expert to spot those situations, and be playing live blackjack too. For most players, the insurance is a bad bet all of the time – and it should be avoided.

When To Take Insurance in Blackjack

By dbvirago, 23rd Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL

When playing blackjack in any casino, insurance is always offered if the dealer might have blackjack. But should you take it and when? This article explains this essential strategy.

When To Take Insurance in Blackjack

Insurance in blackjack is offered to players whenever the dealer is showing an Ace. In effect, you are buying insurance against the dealer having blackjack. If the dealer’s face up card is an ace, he or she will ask the players if they want insurance. Any player wishing insurance will put up half their bet in the insurance area. If the dealer has blackjack, you get paid twice your insurance bet, but lose the initial bet. In other words, you push. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, you lose the insurance and play the hand as normal.

I am a writer and photographer living in Atlanta Georgia. My personal expertise includes construction, photography, computers and travel. I can be reached at [email protected] for any writing needs

There is such a thing as insurance player in many card games. For example, you can protect yourself from injury in the hand of blackjack, the Caribbean Poker. The player is invited to insure that when first exposed card the dealer has an ace open. If a player decides to insure, it will put half of their current bets. Whether will be favorable insurance at the blackjack?

Statistics of insurance at blackjack:

If the player has decided to hedge and put half of your bet, then if the dealer has blackjack really fall out, that is his ace will dozen or picture, then the player will lose his bet and insurance will be paid 2 to 1. In other words, the player will not win anything, but he will not lose if the insurance is paid.

For example, a player bets 100 coins for boxing and the dealer shows an ace as the first card. The player decides to hedge against blackjack and puts on a strip of insurance which is 50 coins.

Insurance is played: The total bet is 150 coins. Dealer accepts insurance and opens the King (ten, or any other image). The dealer has blackjack. The player loses a bet on boxing 100 coins, and insurance bet is paid at the bet of 2 to 1, those dealers pay the player 100 coins. As we can see the player has lost and won 100 coins to 100 coins.

Insurance is not played: Now let's look at the situation that the dealer did not come out a dozen (or any image), the second card. The dealer does not have blackjack - insurance lost. And it starts a standard set of cards to the dealer.

Let`s count, what are the chances of reaching the second card tens (or images) on the other cards. We need to count to four: tens, jacks, queens, kings. Only 16 cards are in the game. Now the remaining four cards: twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines and aces. Only 36 cards are in the game. In other words, the chances that there will be at the blackjack that is not 4/9. We see one ace, so blackjack single deck, chances are a little closer to 1/2, namely 16/35, but in normal (6 packs) 4/9 chance we do not have to make a decision about insurance for which must be at least 1/2 and 4/8. These statistics calculations operate on the condition that the player does not counting cards.

Let us consider the case when a player is considered out cards and presents how the deck is hot (how much more there is left a dozen and pictures regarding other cards). Let's imagine that a player comes up and nothing works with the most common system that is called Plus-minus. Will the fact be that the value of insurance in blackjack?

If the bill becomes a real 3.3 above, it will be possible to insure against the blackjack dealer. If a real account below 3, the insurance will be statistically unfounded, as to justify the security we need a chance of reaching tens dealer in the third or more.

The offer of the Equal Money makes the dealer instead of it offers insurance in blackjack, if the player has a blackjack (ace and a ten (or picture) from distribution), and the dealer has an ace or a ten (picture) opened the first card. In practice, in real casinos offer is only to open the ace, but the rules and describe the situation of ten. If the player accepts the offer of even money, he will get the winning before the opening of the dealer his second card, but with a ratio of 1 to 1, instead of 1 to 1.5 (payment for blackjack without "equal money").

Based on the calculations which are described above, we can conclude that for statistically justified the adoption of such proposals deck must be very hot. Live account at plus or minus must be at least 3.3 to accept the offer. If the player is not deemed to have withdrawn the card, it will always necessary refuse the offer "equal money", as well as from insurance at the blackjack.

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