Apr 20, 2020
Apr 20, 2020

# Blackjack insurance bets explained

## Are Blackjack insurance bets worth it?

Insurance bets are a type of side bet in Blackjack that can prevent potential losses if you are confident that the dealer is about to get Blackjack, but also exacerbate them if this turns out not to be the case. So what are Blackjack insurance bets, how do they work and are they worth it? Read on to find out.

### How do Blackjack insurance bets work?

Blackjack players have the chance to make an insurance bet when the dealer’s face up card is an Ace, meaning they will get Blackjack if their second card is worth 10.

As there are four cards worth 10 in Blackjack (10, Jack, Queen and King) players can place an insurance bet if they feel the dealer will get Blackjack. Insurance bets pay 2:1 and allow the player to stake up to half of their original bet, meaning should the dealer turn out to have Blackjack, the player wins the amount of their original bet and does not lose any money on the round.

If a player placed an original bet of €100, making an insurance bet has one of three outcomes:

 Round Dealer had Blackjack and insurance bet won? Player won round? Total profit / loss Round 1 Yes (€100 win) No (€100 loss) €0 Round 2 No (€50 loss) Yes (€100 win) €50 Round 3 No (€50 loss) No (€100 loss) -€150

Blackjack insurance bet examples

Here are two examples of how Blackjack rounds featuring insurance bets can play out:

Example 1 (Dealer has Blackjack):

• The dealer deals two players who both have staked €100 their cards and their own first card, which is an Ace.
• Player one is dealt a nine and a five, for an initial value of 14. They decide to take the insurance bet for €50. They hit and receive a five, taking the value of their hand up to 19, and stand.
• Player two is dealt a seven and a four, for an initial value of 11. They do not decide to take the insurance bet. They hit and receive a nine, taking the value of their hand up to 20, and stand.
• The dealer then draws a 10, meaning they have Blackjack.
• Player one has therefore lost the round to the dealer, losing €100, but has won their insurance bet, winning €100 to neither gain nor lose money on the round. Player two has also lost the round to the dealer and did not participate in the insurance bet, meaning they have lost €100 on the round overall.

Example 2 (Dealer does not have Blackjack):

• The dealer deals two players who both have staked €100 their cards and their own first card, which is an Ace.
• Player one is dealt a seven and a six, for an initial value of 13. They decide to take the insurance bet for €50. They hit and receive a five, taking the value of their hand up to 18, and stand.
• Player two is dealt two sixes, for an initial value of 12. They decide to take the insurance bet for €50. They hit and receive an eight, taking the value of their hand up to 20, and stand.
• The dealer then draws a four, meaning they do not have Blackjack. They hit again and receive another four, meaning their hand finishes on 19.
• Player one has therefore lost the round to the dealer, losing €100, but also their insurance bet, losing a further €50 to lose €150 on the round overall. Player two has also lost their insurance bet, losing €50, but has won the round against the dealer, winning €100 to make a €50 profit on the round overall.

### Can you make an insurance bet if you have Blackjack?

If a player has Blackjack themselves and the dealer’s face up card is an Ace, then the player is offered a different insurance bet. They are given the opportunity to win the exact amount of their original bet, paid out immediately and irrespective of the dealer’s second card. This is referred to as “taking even money”, meaning if the player’s original bet was €100, they will be withdrawn from the round with €100 profit.

Assuming the table is paying out a 3:2 ratio for a round won via Blackjack, for an original €100 bet this type of insurance bet again has one of three outcomes:

 Round Insurance bet accepted? Dealer had Blackjack? Total profit / loss Round 1 Yes (€100 win) - €100 Round 2 No No €150 Round 3 No Yes €0 (pull)

Blackjack insurance bet examples:

Here are two examples of how Blackjack rounds featuring this type of insurance bet can play out:

Example 1 (Dealer has Blackjack):

• The dealer deals two players who both have staked €100 their cards and their own first card, which is an Ace.
• Player one is dealt a card valued at 10 and an Ace to get Blackjack. They decide to take the insurance bet and are rewarded €200 for the original bet to withdraw from the round with €100 profit.
• Player two is dealt a card valued at 10 and an Ace to get Blackjack. They do not decide to take the insurance bet.
• The dealer then draws a Jack, meaning they have Blackjack. There is therefore a pull between Player two and the dealer, meaning Player two has their original bet returned to them and break even on the round.

Example 2 (Dealer does not have Blackjack):

• The dealer deals two players who both have staked €100 their cards and their own first card, which is an Ace.
• Player 1 is dealt a card valued at 10 and an Ace to get Blackjack. They decide to take the insurance bet and are rewarded €200 for the original bet to withdraw from the round with €100 profit.
• Player 2 is dealt a card valued at 10 and an Ace to get Blackjack. They do not decide to take the insurance bet.
• The dealer then draws a card not valued at 10, meaning they do not have Blackjack and have lost the round. Player 2 therefore wins the round on a 3:2 payout, meaning they make a €150 profit on it overall.

### Are Blackjack insurance bets worth it?

Insurance bets can be an instantly tempting prospect in scenarios when the dealer has an Ace and you possess what you consider to be a weak hand. However, the law of probabilities suggests that the dealer will never be likely to get Blackjack even if their first card is an Ace, and the odds of an insurance bet will always be against you.

Insurance bets will likely lose you money by worsening your losses and limiting your winnings.

Indeed, while there may be four cards capable of achieving Blackjack when the first card is an Ace, this still only translates to an approximate 30.8% chance of one of them being the second card – less than one-third of the time. This indicates that any insurance bets should be carefully considered as to how likely they are to compound your losses by up to a further 50%.

Equally, if you have Blackjack and are worried that any winnings may be negated by the dealer having the same, an insurance bet supplies a simple, guaranteed method of ensuring you make a profit on that round.

In this instance, the dealer’s chances of getting Blackjack are diminished further by virtue of the fact that will you have a card valued at 10 in your own hand. This means by that rejecting the insurance bet, on a 3:2 payout you are giving yourself around a 70% chance of winning - 33.3% more than you would by accepting it. This is worth considering, bearing in mind in the worst case scenario whereby the bet is rejected and the dealer does have Blackjack, you will not lose any money for the round.

All of this suggests that over a long period of time, insurance bets will likely lose you money by worsening your losses and limiting your winnings. This doesn’t change the fact that insurance bets can salvage a bad round and ensure that a dealer’s Blackjack doesn’t deny you winnings for your own, but any insurance bet should be made with complete understanding of the probabilities and risks involved.