You’ve probably heard blackjack dealers say this before in land casinos. When you’re playing at an online casino, you’ve seen where you have the option to get insurance. But, what the heck does it mean? The hit/stay strategies in this game can be so complicated, and insurance only adds to the confusion for the beginning blackjack player. In this article we will discuss what insurance is, when it’s available, when you should or should not participate, and what the house edge is when taking that bet.
Insurance is a secondary betting option available only when the dealer has an Ace showing. The first two cards have been dealt to every player, and the dealer has an Ace up and a mystery card face-down. You’ll hear that phrase, “Insurance Open” and that’s your chance to place your bets. What you’re betting on is that the dealer has blackjack. You’re putting money (up to half of your original bet) on that fact that the card the dealer flips over is going to be a 10 point card. If you want to bet on that, place your chips on the Insurance line on the playing surface. The dealer will call, “Insurance Closed”, and they will flip over their card.
If the dealer has blackjack, you will get paid 2:1 or $2 for every $1 you wagered. If you won with a bet of $50 on Insurance, you would dominoqq keep that $50 plus take your winnings of $100. If you had blackjack as well, you would push with that original bet because you tied with the dealer. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack but you do, you’d lose your insurance bet, but get paid 3:2 on your blackjack. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack and neither do you, you’d lose that insurance bet, and play would continue with the original bet, meaning you can go on to hit/stay/split/double down as you normally would.
Most blackjack experts say that you should never bet on Insurance. The reason for this is the house edge. The house edge on an insurance bet in an 8-deck game of blackjack is 7.47%. Regular blackjack play has a house edge from .18% to 2%, so the house edge on Insurance betting is quite high comparatively speaking. The high house edge on an Insurance bet means that it’s much less likely that the house will have blackjack than not. This is due to the frequency with which you will experience 10 point cards in the deck versus non-10 point cards.
However, there are some knowledgeable players that will take the insurance bet from time to time. These players would advocate for the insurance bet only when they have blackjack and only when they have a large amount of chips in play. If a loss of that magnitude would significantly affect their bankroll, and they have a chance to prevent that by taking the insurance bet, then that’s the time to do it.
Here’s an example. You have 50% of your bankroll on your current bet. That’s a bit aggressive, but whatever betting strategy you’re using has led you to that point. So out of a $500 bankroll, you have $250 placed next to the 10 and 9 you have showing. The dealer has an Ace. So many of the cards on the table are low cards, you just know the dealer has a 10-point card under that Ace. You cannot afford to lose 50% of your bankroll, so you opt for the insurance bet. You take $125 (half your current bet) and place it on the insurance line. The dealer closes the option for insurance betting and flips their card to reveal a 10. You were right! The dealer has blackjack and you lose. You get to keep the $125 bet you made for insurance, plus the $250 you get from that bet. You lose your wager of $250 on your hand that equaled 19. Therefore, insurance kept you from losing anything.
Use your own judgment on this high house-edge bet. Consider the amount of money you have invested in the hand and what cards you expect to make a showing. Good luck!