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Ben Horlock

Insurance in blackjack is a side bet that guards against the dealer’s potential blackjack. Offered when the dealer’s upcard is an ace, it’s a wager half the size of your original bet.

Deciding when to take insurance hinges on strategy and odds. The chance of the dealer hitting blackjack is less than one-third, making the insurance bet less favorable in the long run, but let’s delve a bit deeper on so you can make a well-informed decision.

What Does Insurance in Blackjack Mean?

Blackjack ranks as the most popular card game. In this game, players aim to beat the dealer’s hand without exceeding 21 points. When the dealer’s first card is an ace, there’s a chance they could have blackjack (an ace plus a ten-value card). This is where “insurance” comes into play.

Blackjack Insurance pays 2 to 1

Insurance in blackjack is essentially a safety net. It’s a separate bet that protects your original wager if the dealer hits blackjack. Here’s how insurance works in blackjack:

  • The dealer shows an ace
  • You’re offered insurance before anyone plays their hand
  • If you accept, you place a bet half the size of your original wager
  • If the dealer has blackjack, your insurance bet pays 2:1

So what does insurance mean in blackjack? Think of it as betting on the dealer’s luck. It doesn’t affect the outcome of your main bet unless the dealer has blackjack.

In that case, you break even. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, you lose your insurance bet and the game proceeds as usual.

How Does An Insurance Bet Work in Blackjack?

In blackjack, an insurance bet acts as a protective measure if there’s a chance the dealer could have blackjack, which occurs 31.2% of the time when their upcard is an ace. Players are given the opportunity to place this insurance bet under these circumstances:

Winning Blackjack Insurance

  1. Place the Initial Bet – You start by placing your initial bet on the blackjack table.
  2. Dealing the Cards – Each player and the dealer receive two cards. Players’ cards are usually dealt face up, and the dealer has one face up (the “upcard”) and one face down.
  3. Ace Revealed by Dealer – If the dealer’s upcard is an ace, the game pauses for the insurance offer.
  4. Opting for Insurance – You decide to take insurance, placing a side bet that’s half your original wager.
  5. Second Card for Dealer – The dealer checks their hidden card to see if it’s a 10-value card, completing blackjack.
  6. Winning the Insurance Bet – If the dealer has blackjack, your insurance bet pays 2:1, covering the loss of your initial bet.

Losing Blackjack Insurance

  1. Player Places a Bet – The game begins with your initial wager on the hand.
  2. Cards Are Dealt – You and the dealer receive your initial two cards, with one of the dealer’s cards face up.
  3. Dealer Receives an Ace – The dealer’s up card is an ace, prompting the option for insurance.
  4. Player Takes Insurance – You opt to protect your bet by taking blackjack insurance, which is half your original bet.
  5. Dealer Receives Second Card – The dealer checks their face-down card for a potential blackjack.
  6. Insurance Bet Loses – If the dealer doesn’t have a 10-value card and therefore no blackjack, you lose your insurance bet, and the game continues as normal.

When To Take Blackjack Insurance

Understanding when to buy blackjack insurance when playing at a gambling site is crucial, as it can significantly impact your game. The term “insurance” might be misleading; it’s not a safety net for all your bets, but blackjack insurance is a side bet with its own set of risks and rewards.

Insurance in blackjack is tempting, especially in the short term. It promises a 2:1 payout if the dealer hits blackjack, turning a potential loss into a break-even scenario. For example, if you’ve placed a $10 insurance bet, you’ll win $20 if the dealer has blackjack, covering your initial wager.

However, the long-term profitability of blackjack insurance bets is questionable due to the blackjack odds. The dealer has approximately a 31.2% chance of hitting blackjack when showing an ace. This means that, more often than not, you’ll lose your insurance bet at an online blackjack instant payout casino.

Over time, these losses add up. If you place a $10 insurance bet 100 times, statistically, you’d win 31 times and lose 69 times, leading to a net loss. So, while it might seem like a good idea to buy insurance in blackjack, especially when faced with a dealer’s ace, the math suggests it’s generally not beneficial in the long run.

What Are The Odds for Insurance Bets?

Blackjack insurance bets seem straightforward, but the odds require a closer look to fully understand their impact on your game. When a dealer shows an ace, the probability of completing a blackjack is roughly 9:4. This means that out of 13 possible outcomes (assuming a standard deck with four of each card value), only 4 (the 10, Jack, Queen, and King) will result in blackjack.

The house edge for blackjack insurance bets varies depending on the number of decks used in the game. With a single deck, the house edge is approximately 5.8%. However, as more decks are added, this edge increases, reaching up to around 7.5% in games using 6 to 8 decks. This higher edge with more decks is due to the decreased likelihood of a dealer blackjack relative to the number of non-10-value cards.

So, when you next play on a blackjack casino app, here’s a table to illustrate the house edge across different deck counts:

Number of Decks House Edge
Single Deck 5.8%
2 Decks 6.8%
4 Decks 7.1%
6-8 Decks 7.5%

The expected value (EV) of an insurance bet is a crucial figure that represents the average amount you can expect to win or lose money per bet over time. Given the probabilities and house edges mentioned, the EV for an insurance bet is generally negative. This negative EV indicates that, while you might win some bets, the overall outcome over many games is a net loss.

To calculate EV more concretely:

  • With a single deck, the chance of a dealer blackjack is 4/13 (about 30.8%), giving an insurance bet EV of approximately -5.8%.
  • With multiple decks, this EV becomes even more negative due to the increased house edge.

In summary, while insurance bets may seem appealing in specific situations, their long-term expected value tends to be negative, making them less favorable for the player.

Reasons To Use Insurance in Blackjack

Deciding if insurance in blackjack is worth it depends on your strategy and understanding of the game, whether you or the dealer have a good hand or not. The question of should you take insurance in blackjack is influenced by several factors:

Card Counting Skills: If you’re adept at counting cards, insurance can be profitable. Knowing the deck’s composition can inform a strategic insurance bet.

Large Bets on the Table: With a significant initial wager, insurance can protect your investment against a dealer’s potential blackjack.

Playing with Fewer Decks: In single-deck games, where the dealer’s blackjack odds are clearer, insurance might occasionally be a sensible choice.

Gut Feeling: Sometimes, a strong intuition about the dealer’s hidden card can sway your decision to take insurance, although this is less about strategy and more about instinct.

Reasons To Avoid Insurance in Blackjack

Understanding what insurance does in blackjack is crucial before deciding to use it. Generally, insurance detracts from the main game’s strategy, leaning more towards a gamble on the dealer’s hand. Statistically, blackjack insurance odds are against the player, making it a less favorable good bet in the long run. Here are some reasons why you should avoid taking insurance in blackjack:

❌ Negative Expected Value: Over time, insurance bets tend to result in a loss due to the house edge.

❌ Distraction from Basic Strategy: It diverts attention from the more effective basic blackjack strategy.

❌ Reduces Overall Winnings: In the long run, frequent insurance bets can chip away at your potential profits.

❌ Not Suitable for Casual Players: Without card counting skills, it’s challenging to make informed insurance bets.

❌ Increases House Edge: Regularly taking insurance increases the game’s house edge against you.

Blackjack Insurance Strategies and Tips

Mastering the use of insurance in blackjack at a crypto casino involves a mix of strategic insight, understanding of the game’s mechanics, and occasionally, a gut feeling. Explore these tips and some basic blackjack strategy tailored to various situations:

1. Even Money on Player’s Blackjack

When you have blackjack and the dealer shows an ace, you’re offered “even money,” which is essentially an insurance bet. Accepting guarantees a 1:1 payout, safeguarding against the dealer also having blackjack. This can be wise if you prefer a guaranteed win over a potential push (tie).

2. Counting Cards

If you’re skilled at keeping track of the cards that have been dealt  when playing at a no ID blackjack casinos, you can use this information to make more informed decisions about insurance. When a disproportionate number of ten-value cards remain in the deck, the likelihood of the dealer having blackjack increases, making insurance more appealing.

3. Ten-Rich Decks

In games where many ten-value cards have been dealt, reducing their proportion in the deck, insurance becomes less attractive. The fewer ten-value cards there are, the lower the chance of the dealer completing a blackjack.

4. Dealer’s Ace in Single-Deck Games

In single-deck blackjack, the dealer’s ace presents a higher chance of blackjack compared to multi-deck >casino games. If you’re adept at tracking which cards have been played, you might find insurance more palatable in this scenario.

5. Learn The Lingo

Before playing blackjack for real money, make sure to familiarize yourself with all the key terms in blackjack, so you don’t get caught out in misunderstanding anything when playing live.

Practice Blackjack Insurance For Free

Practicing how to play blackjack and online poker and blackjack, especially the use of insurance, in a free-play environment is invaluable especially for beginners. Playing for free allows you to familiarize yourself with the game’s nuances without the risk of losing money. This way you can easily experiment with insurance bets.

Blackjack comes in various forms, from classic blackjack to more modern variations like Spanish 21 or Blackjack Switch – therefore, free play offers a hands-on experience to explore these differences.

To dive into this practice, many fast payout online casinos offer variations of the game blackjack that you can play for free. These platforms provide a safe and legal environment to practice playing for free.

Blackjack Insurance FAQs

Can I play an insurance bet in free online Blackjack?

Is insurance available in all versions of blackjack?

How much is insurance in blackjack?

When should I buy insurance in blackjack?

How much can I lose without my insurance bet?


Ben Horlock

Ben is an experienced news and features writer who specializes in providing expert guides on all aspects of online and in-person gambling. Ben has over ten years experience writing for web-based audiences and has strong expertise in casinos, online cryptocurrency gambling platforms as well as slots and table games. Ben has been published across a number of english international news outlets, including InstantCasinos and BitcoinCasino. As well, Ben has worked in social media for four years in the sports gambling industry.