As an experienced blackjack player and advantage gambler with 28 years under my belt, I have come across many different strategies and techniques in my time.
One such bet that often confuses new players is the blackjack insurance bet.
In this Online Casino blog post, I will provide a comprehensive explanation of how insurance bets work in blackjack, including insurance statistics & necessary information so you’re informed at the table.
What is a Blackjack Insurance Bet?
An insurance bet in blackjack is a side bet offered to players when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace.
This insurance bet is essentially a wager on whether the dealer has a blackjack (a ten-value card as their hole card), hence the name “Insurance“.
If the dealer does have a blackjack, the insurance bet pays 2:1, meaning you’ll break even on your original bet. However, if the dealer does not have a blackjack, the insurance bet is lost, and the game continues as usual.
The Odds and House Edge in Insurance Bets
The odds of the dealer having a blackjack when showing an Ace are 9:4, or roughly 30.77%.
This means that, statistically speaking, the dealer will have a blackjack in about 1 out of every 3.25 instances when an Ace is showing.
The payout for an insurance bet is 2:1, so the house edge on this bet is approximately 7.47%.
As an experienced player, I always advise against making insurance bets, as they significantly increase the house edge and decrease your chances of winning in the long run.
Blackjack Insurance Bet Statistics
|Dealer’s Upcard||Probability of Blackjack||House Edge on Insurance Bet|
Uphill Battle of the dealer’s Ace upcard in Blackjack
Nobody like it when the dealer flips over an Ace as the upcard. The dealer’s ace is a warning sign of trouble ahead in that particular hand of blackjack.
That seems obvious when writing it out but the statistics make the point even more clear.
In black jack, when the dealer is showing an Ace card as their upcard, they only bust 11.5% of the time. A dealer ace is dangerous indeed, resulting in an 88.5% chance of the dealer’s hand totaling 17 through 21.
There’s not much you can do about the danger other than decline taking the insurance bet and hit your hand (draw cards from the dealer) until you make a hand or bust out.
As you can understand after reading this data, my advice is to stick to the basic strategy and avoid making insurance bets. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of winning and enjoy a more profitable gaming experience in the process.
Blackjack Insurance FAQs
Q: How much should I bet on insurance in blackjack?
A: The maximum insurance bet allowed is typically half of your original bet. However, considering the high house edge associated with insurance bets, it is generally recommended to avoid them.
Q: Can I make an insurance bet if I have a blackjack?
A: Yes, you can make an insurance bet even if you have a blackjack. However, this is usually not a wise choice, as the odds are not in your favor.
Q: What is the difference between an insurance bet and an even money bet in blackjack?
A: An even money bet is essentially the same as an insurance bet, but it is only offered to players who have a blackjack when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. If the player accepts the even money bet, they will receive a 1:1 payout on their blackjack, regardless of whether the dealer has a blackjack or not.
Q: Is there a strategy for making insurance bets in blackjack?
A: The best strategy for insurance bets is to avoid them altogether, as the odds are not in the player’s favor and they increase the house edge.
Q: Can I use card counting to determine if I should make an insurance bet?
A: Yes, card counting can help you assess the likelihood of the dealer having a blackjack. If the count indicates a high concentration of ten-value cards remaining in the shoe, it might be more profitable to make an insurance bet. However, most players should still avoid insurance bets, as they increase the house edge.
Q: Are insurance bets allowed in all blackjack variations?
A: Insurance bets are a common feature in most blackjack variations. However, there may be some specific variations or casino rules that do not allow for insurance bets.
Q: How does an insurance bet affect the basic strategy for blackjack?
A: The basic strategy for blackjack does not typically include insurance bets, as they increase the house edge and are not recommended for most players. However, if you’re a card counter and the count indicates a high concentration of ten-value cards, you might consider deviating from the basic strategy and placing an insurance bet.
Q: Can I make an insurance bet in online blackjack games?
A: Yes, most online blackjack games offer the option to make an insurance bet when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. However, just like in land-based casinos, it’s generally advised to avoid insurance bets due to the high house edge.
Q: Does the number of decks in play affect the odds of the dealer having a blackjack?
A: The number of decks in play does affect the odds of the dealer having a blackjack, but the difference is minimal. The probability of the dealer having a blackjack when showing an Ace is roughly 30.87% in a single-deck game and 30.74% in a six-deck game. This small difference does not significantly impact the house edge on insurance bets.
Q: Can I insure other players’ hands in blackjack?
A: No, you can only make insurance bets on your own hand in blackjack. Insuring other players’ hands is not allowed.
So, the blackjack insurance bet is a side bet that, while it may seem tempting at first, is generally not recommended due to the high house edge.