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Blackjack Insurance: What Is It, How It Work and Examples

Blackjack is a casino favorite for several reasons — it’s simple to learn and fun to play. Yet, its numerous side bets are one of its best features. They help players stay afloat during the game, allow them to win bigger prizes, and make the overall gameplay more dynamic

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Image of Blackjack Insurance Bet - What is it?

If you’re a blackjack veteran, you’re likely familiar with all popular side bets, from doubling down to surrender. Even so, there’s a side bet many players don’t know much about — insurance.

Blackjack insurance bet has remained one of the most controversial topics surrounding this casino classic. Nobody seems to be sure whether it’s a good or a bad move. So, it’s high time we solved this mystery once and for all.

Read this article and learn all about blackjack insurance rules and their pros and cons.

What Is an Insurance Bet in Blackjack?

As you know, players receive two up-cards, while the dealer has one up and one down-card. Once all the cards have been dealt, the players have to decide how they want to proceed with the game depending on their hand and that of the dealer. Typically, they can hit, stand, or split. However, if the dealer’s up card is an ace, they might have one more option — making a blackjack insurance bet.

Insurance is a side bet that relies on the prediction that the dealer will have a natural blackjack after revealing their down-card. Since natural blackjack beats all other hands, players would immediately bust.

An insurance bet allows you to insure your hand against the dealer in case a blackjack shows up. The blackjack insurance bet is usually worth half of your initial bet. You can make it along with your original bet, and it pays out 2:1. 

How Does Insurance Work in Blackjack: An Example

Here’s an example to help you understand how insurance in blackjack works.

Say you’re in a situation where the dealer has an ace, and your initial bet was $20. These circumstances allow you to make a $10 blackjack insurance bet.

If the dealer reveals they have a blackjack, you’ll lose your initial $20 bet but still win the $20 from the insurance. However, if the dealer reveals they have no blackjack, you’ll forfeit the $10 insurance bet, and the rest of the gameplay continues as usual.

Even Money

There’s one more instance when you may want to consider blackjack insurance aside from those we mentioned earlier. Imagine you have a blackjack, and the dealer has an ace. In these circumstances, there’s a chance that you and the dealer will have a natural blackjack simultaneously and that the round will end in a push.

A push in blackjack is neither a win nor a lossyou’d just get your initial bet back. It is still possible to win some money if you insure your hand against the dealer. This type of insurance bet is called even money.

Example of Even Money

Here’s a simple example of how even money works.

With blackjack and a $10 insurance bet, you’d receive $20 plus your original bet back if the dealer has a natural blackjack too.

If you made a $10 insurance bet with a blackjack in your hand and the dealer didn’t have blackjack, you’d lose your $10 insurance but still win 3:2.

This seems like a win-win situation, but there’s a catch. It might not pay off in the long run, and it only works in casinos whose tables still offer a 3:2 payout for players’ blackjack hands. Many casinos have made their natural blackjack payouts higher and scraped off the even money insurance bet from their offer.

Should I Take the Blackjack Insurance Bet?

Now that we’ve established what blackjack insurance bets are and how they work, let’s focus on their functionality. A common question regarding insurance bets is whether they’re really worth taking. To answer it, we have to consider the odds and probability.

The only way you can win an insurance bet is if the dealer has a 10-value card and an ace. There are 16 of these cards in a single deck, giving you around a 30% chance to hit. When you combine those odds with a 2:1 insurance bet payout, the bet seems a pretty good option. However, you have to remember that some of those 10-value cards may no longer be in the deck. 

Some of the cards could be on the table or in your or other players’ hands. These factors negatively affect the 30% we’ve started with and make this bet an unfavorable move. The only situation where taking a blackjack insurance bet may be advantageous is when you can take even money. Yet, when we do the math, you’ll be better off in the long run if you avoid this bet.

Insurance Bet Pros and Cons

We’ve created a list of pros and cons to help you understand the significance of an insurance bet in blackjack. Take a look at it below:

Pros

    Insurance bet pros:

    • It can be profitable when you can take even money for your blackjack.
    • It can be worthwhile if you’re a skilled card counter that has kept track of 10-value cards in the deck.

Cons

    Insurance bet cons:

    • The odds of hitting are often lower than 30%.
    • It increases the house edge up to around 7% in a standard 6–8-deck blackjack game.
    • You’re 3% better off if you don’t take it, even if you have a blackjack.

Conclusion

Blackjack insurance is a side bet that might seem enticing but is unlikely to be a good idea. It increases the house edge, it’s very hard to hit if you’re not a good card counter, and the odds are always against the players who take it.

Having that in mind, you can always try taking this bet and see how you fare. Most online blackjack games allow it, so feel free to check out our site for recommendations and register for one.

FAQ

When can I make an insurance bet in blackjack? You can make the insurance bet when the dealer’s up-card is an ace, and you think they might have a natural blackjack.
How does blackjack insurance affect the house edge? Blackjack insurance raises the house edge to 5.88% in a single-deck game and to 7.39% and 7.47% in 6- and 8-deck games.
Should I take blackjack insurance? You shouldn’t take blackjack insurance unless you’re a skilled card counter. The odds of winning this bet are less than 30%.

About the Author

Author Hi all! My name is Jayson Peter, and I am the Chief Editor here at Casino USA. I have always been a huge fan of casinos, but I noticed that there are not a lot of websites out there that discuss the gambling industry in enough detail, so that’s how the idea for CasinoUSA.com was born. With my extensive knowledge of the industry and the help of my team, I am ready to give you an insight into the exciting world of casino gambling in the United States.