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Blackjack Insurance Guide | LeoVegas Blog

Blackjack Insurance Guide

Summary: Blackjack Insurance is a side bet offered to players when the dealer's face-up card is an ace, as an insurance against dealer's Natural Blackjack.

Table of Content:

Everything you need to know to get the best Blackjack Insurance can be summarized in 3 essential questions:

  • What is Blackjack Insurance?
  • How does it work?
  • What is the probability of winning?

Unless you are a professional card player, this simple bet can strain your profits, at least in the long run. In this article, we would like to cover these points and help you understand when it is useful to use this game option at an Online Blackjack table!

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Blackjack Insurance- 3 Essential Questions

1. What is Insurance in Blackjack?

Insurance is a side bet offered to players when the dealer's face-up card is an ace.

A short review of the basic rules of Blackjack: if the dealer's second card (the one still covered) turns out to be a 10, a Jack, a Queen or a King, the dealer automatically wins because he gets the best possible score (21), or rather, a Natural Blackjack.

Therefore, Insurance betting is an optional move offered to players if the event just mentioned occurs. But how is it used? Let's see all the details together.

2. How does Blackjack Insurance work?

To execute the Insurance, the player only has to pay an additional fee. This additional wager can be made by adding exactly half of the original bet to the stake.

If the dealer gets a Blackjack after revealing the second card at the table, the Insurance bet is won and immediately pays out 2:1 to all players who used it. If not, the dealer still retains the amount paid for the Insurance. Let's take a practical example:

  • The player bets $10 on a hand.
  • The bank gets an ace as the first card.
  • The Insurance is offered to the players at the table (in this case, the sum to be paid would be $5).
  • The player decides whether to accept the Insurance, after which he can opt to 'stand' or 'hit', as in a normal game round.
  • In the event of the dealer's Blackjack, the player gets $10 back.

Practically, the Insurance bet is an attempt to buy back the starting bet and end up in a 'tie' situation. Therefore, the basic idea is that Insurance gives a chance to recover the entirety of the first bet. This is if the dealer has the fateful cards in hand!

If the dealer does not have Blackjack, the amount paid for Insurance is lost and cashed out by the dealer.

The round of play then ends regularly, so it is not necessarily the case that if the Insurance bet is lost, so is the hand of cards at the table. The two bets - the Insurance and the main game - are independent of each other.

3. What is the probability of winning?

Fortunately, basic mathematics comes to our aid in understanding the odds of making a profit using Insurance in Blackjack! Let us consider the following.

We know that for each suit, there are only four cards - 10, J, Q and K - which count against the remaining nine to make Blackjack for the dealer.

Therefore, we can consider that the dealer's odds of having Blackjack in his hand are about 4 to 9. On average, the majority of Blackjack Insurance bets made will be lost. Since betting on Insurance requires paying a fee and, if winning, only pays 2 to 1, this gambling option could easily prove unprofitable, especially if used indiscriminately!

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So does Insurance pay off or not? The answer is in the next section!

💡 Did you know? Among the various games that influenced its current rules, Arnold Snyder mentions "Thirty and Forty" in his exemplary work 'The Big Book of Blackjack'.

It seems, in fact, that Insurance, in 'primordial' Blackjack, did not exist at all (or at least not in the early days of the game's popularity).

This optional bet only seems to have appeared in the United States in the late 1950s, probably due to this French card game.

This version was more akin to the game of Baccarat than Blackjack; players could bet on any of the hands dealt at the table and the house edge was guaranteed by the fact that the casino could cash in half of all bets when both hands at the table scored 31.

However, because of this possibility, players were allowed to take out Insurance for the first time.

Blackjack Insurance- Yes or No?

To explore this topic further, we cite 3 of the most popular Blackjack experts who have analysed the link between Insurance and Card Counting.

They are Arnold Snyder, Mason Malmuth and Donald Schlesinger, professional theorists who have tried to unravel the most 'correct' mathematical approach. In their writings, the three agree that most players think erroneously; that Insurance can protect their bet if the dealer holds a Blackjack.

Overall, using a Blackjack Insurance bet effectively can add a few tenths of a point to the game's payout. However, expert opinion on whether Blackjack Insurance is beneficial is rarely favourable.

This move is mostly recommended to players who use a particular counting system and can judge whether or not it makes sense to invest more or less money on a particular hand.

However, for the vast majority of (non-professional) players, this move can be replaced with a real blackjack side bet.

Normally, for players who do not like to take risks, Insurance is not recommended because it requires another investment of money and is equivalent to making a second bet (i.e. one more on top of the first one) in a situation that in itself is 'unfavourable' for Blackjack risk.

In short, Insurance is useful if used judiciously, as it gives an extra edge that can increase the game's payout.

It is not a choice to be completely discriminated against, although one should not assume it is 100% convenient.

On the contrary, if the player decides to use it without considering the dealer's actual odds of making Blackjack, then he can only hope for the famous 'C-factor'!

An Insurance on Fun

If you're ready to take your game to the next level, practise your knowledge and skills on our thrilling Live Casino tables! Last but not least, don't forget to have a look at all the tips and tricks you'll find in our insightful LeoBlog. Have fun!

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