Blackjack Insurance

blackjack-21Insurance, also known as a Side Bet, is a widespread feature popular among table game fans and Blackjack players in particular. You are allowed to take advantage of it whenever dealer’s face up card is an Ace. In other words, you are betting that the dealer will have a Blackjack.

The dealer will ask all players as to whether they would like to place a Side Bet and you will hear them saying “Insurance Open”. In case you decide to use the Insurance option, you will be prompted to place half of your bet in the Insurance spot before the dealer says “Insurance Closed”. In case the dealer has a Blackjack indeed, you are paid 2-1 on your Side Bet. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, you lose your Insurance bet and continue the game with the regular hand you have been dealt.

If you play Blackjack online, you have to keep an eye for a pop up or a notification prompting you to confirm or deny the Insurance bet.

If the player says that they take even money, that means the player is forfeiting the 3-2 Blackjack bonus with the aim of making sure they will win their original wager back.

Basically, they put up the Insurance and if the dealer hits a Blackjack, they win on the Insurance. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, the player loses the amount of the Side Bet but gets a compensation when they are paid 3-2 for the Blackjack.

However, players should carefully consider the situation before taking an Insurance bet.

Although it seems like the best possible solution if the dealer has an Ace, taking advantage of Insurance might lead to considerable losses in a long term.

Basically, there are only four cards that make Blackjack for the dealer and nine that do not.

Yet, taking advantage of a Side Bet is recommended if you have placed a large bet or you are about to hit a target and you will achieve your goal by taking even money. However, you have to think twice before including Insurance into your Blackjack strategy.

Let’s presume that a 2 Deck Blackjack game has a house edge of 0.45 and the dealer hits on soft 17. doubling down after splitting is allowed although players cannot take advantage of late surrender or re-splitting aces options.

A 0.45% house edge is pretty reasonable but if you take Insurance, the house edge would jump to 6.79%. The house edge varies depending on the number of decks played. A one deck game means you will have to play against a house edge of 5.88%. A 4 deck game gives a house edge of 7.24%. A six deck game makes you play against a 7.39% house edge. An eight deck shoe gives an Insurance bet house edge of 7.47%. In other words, the more decks in the shoe, the weaker your chances of turning a profit become.

Blackjack Insurance is defined as a bet on the odds of probability. There is a one-third probability the second card of the dealer to be a 10. The player loses the Side Bet in case the dealer does not have a Blackjack, but it has yet another chance to turn a profit as the original bet remains valid.

As mentioned above, most Blackjack variations offer Insurance bets, but it is not applicable to Super Fun 21. There is no need to offer Insurance as the rules are liberal enough and players’ Blackjack always beats dealer’s.

However, it is important to know that unlike most Blackjack games Super Fun Blackjack pays even money.

Blackjack dealer asking for insurance.

How Side Bets Work

The Blackjack game begins when all players place their bets. In order to place a bet, you have to put the chips you would like to wager into the specified square or circle. Before you “sit” on a Blackjack table at an online or land-based casino, you have to check out the minimum and maximum bets allowed for that table and adhere to the preset limits.

The dealer deals the cards from the shoe when all players have placed their bets and each player is dealt two cards. Touching your cards is prohibited, otherwise you might be considered a cheater.

One of dealer’s cards is face down unless you play the Double Exposure variation. If the dealer’s card that is face up is an Ace, you are provided with the opportunity to take Insurance bet.

The Side Bet must be placed as soon as you got your two cards. Basically, the Side Bet means you are betting the dealer will have a Blackjack and dealer’s Hole card will be a 10. Insurance is an additional bet, so you do not have to necessarily accept it.

Then, the dealer turns the hole card and in case of a Blackjack, you are paid 2:1.

The Side Bet is not related to your original wager. You can win the Side Bet and win the original or vice versa. You can also lose both, but in most cases, it is not possible to win both. The only chance to win both bets is to play a Blackjack variation where players win Blackjack ties.

Let’s presume you make a bet of $10 and dealer’s face up card is an Ace. You are given the chance to take Insurance and if you accept, you will be required to place a $5 Side Bet. The dealer turns the second card face up and it is a King, which therefore gives him Blackjack.

In this case, you are paid $5 on your Insurance bet, but your original $10 bet is lost as the dealer had Blackjack. Up to now, the Insurance does not look like a bad decision, right?

However, there is another side of the coin. Let’s presume that dealer’s Hole card did not give him a Blackjack. In this case, your Side Bet is lost but you can continue playing as you keep your original $10 bet.


How to Take Insurance

You are allowed to take Insurance only if the dealer has asked you as to whether you would like to place a Side Bet. Each of the players on the table will be individually asked whether they would like to take Insurance. If you decide to take advantage of that option, you have to place the respective number of chips at the designated area on the table. For example, if your original bet is $10, your Side Bet must be $5.

If you play Blackjack online and dealer’s face card is an ace, a pop-up window with the word Insurance will be displayed on your screen and you will be prompted to take or decline the Insurance.

Pros and Cons of Taking Insurance

No matter whether you play online or you prefer to visit land-based casinos, you must have noticed that the Insurance is an available option in most Blackjack games. The main reason for that is many players prefer to take Insurance, but according to experienced players taking Insurance is a bad bet in most cases.

As mentioned above, taking Insurance can pose a threat to the condition of your bankroll, so if you are unwilling to examine the scenarios when Insurance would be beneficial, you’d better refrain yourself from taking it.

Nevertheless, it seems the Insurance bet can be useful to card counters as they are believed to have a better idea as to when taking advantage of an Insurance bet would lead to the desired profits.

If you are a card counter who keeps track of the cards that remain in the deck and you are offered an Insurance, you should be aware as to whether there are any 10s left in the deck. If there aren’t any, you would not take Insurance, right? There is no chance for the dealer to have a Blackjack. However, if there are only 10s left in the deck, dealer’s hand invariably beats yours.

If you are not a card counter, then, you should dedicate some time to learn and apply an effective strategy for taking Insurance. If you are not prepared to effectively apply the Insurance bet, the most sensible solution is to avoid using it.

At a first glance Insurance seems a reasonable strategy aimed at protecting your funds. As a matter of fact, it does not insure anything. You just place a bet as to whether the dealer will have a Blackjack or not.

According to various statistics, taking Insurance is rarely beneficial to the player and over time losses cannot be compensated.

Although all Blackjack experts are convinced that taking Insurance is not the best solution, there are some cases when you might want to make sure your own Blackjack would have a positive return. If both you and the dealer have Blackjack, this is known as a push. The hand ends a tie and you are not paid for your Blackjack.

In this case, if you have taken Insurance, you will not get any money for the Blackjack, but you will get paid 2:1 on your Insurance bet. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, you will not get paid on your Insurance, but you will accumulate winnings for your Blackjack.

Let’s presume you place a bet of $20, you get Blackjack and you take Insurance. In this case, there are two possible outcomes.

If the dealer has a Blackjack, you get paid $20 for your Insurance bet. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, you win $20.

If you do not take Insurance and you and the dealer both have Blackjack, the hand ends a tie and nether of you win. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, you are paid $30.

Although the first scenario seems more appealing, the majority of experts recommend avoiding Insurance bets unless the specific situation requires it.

If you play Blackjack with a standard 52-card deck, you have three face up cards (dealer’s face up card and both cards dealt to player). Let’s assume dealer’s face up card is an Ace and you have a total of 49 cards turned face down. As many as 15 of them have a value of 10 (if the player has not been dealt a 10-value card), 34 of them have a value that is not 10. Statistically, there is a 70% probability that the dealer will not have a Blackjack.

If players take “even money” they win one unit ($20 according to the aforementioned example) every time they have Blackjack regardless of dealer’s hand value. This makes a total of 49 units. However, if the player declines the Insurance offer and opt for the eventual 50% extra money they can earn in case the dealer does not have Blackjack, they have the chance to have 34 winning hands of $30 each.

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