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Insurance in Blackjack

Of course in the game of Blackjack, no one can ‘insure” that you won’t lose your chips; but with this kind of insurance, you at least get to have some peace of mind that you won’t go 100% broke if the dealer hits a Natural. Taking an insurance with the dealer is completely optional, and it is not mandated by any kind of casino or variation of the game. In fact, most casinos won’t have the ‘insurance’ option for games that are not Hole Games*.

Please note that an ‘insurance’ bet is a side-bet; it has nothing to do with your original hand. Basically, you wager whether or not the dealer is going to hit a Natural (21, Blackjack) on his first hand. A dealer can have a Natural, only if his face-up card is 10 or an Ace. The dealer will then ‘peak’ under his face-down card to see if the denomination in question complements his face-up card to make 21. The dealer won’t announce that he has a Natural until all insurance-bets have been placed.

If the dealer has a Natural, then all player that don’t have 21 in their hands, will automatically lose. A player can thus bet that the dealer has 21, and win at least some of his money back. The player is still obligated to play his original hand, and face a potential blackjack; like he would if he didn’t place an insurance bet – 21 pushes, anything else loses! If the dealer doesn’t have a Natural, then the player will lose his insurance bet, but still gets to play his original hand.

*The term Hole Game, refers to a rule, where the dealer must always have one card face-down, and he is allowed to peak under that particular card at the beginning of each game. Some games don’t allow ‘peaking’ under the face-down card and thus there is no Insurance (as well as games, where the dealer has both his cards face-up, like it is with Double Exposure Blackjack).

How Does it Work?

You can only take insurance if the dealer’s face-up card is a 10 or an Ace. Otherwise it is mathematically impossible for him to hit 21. Be patient, and wait for the dealer to ask you about making an insurance bet. You will be asked to deposit half your original wager as a side-bet; and should the dealer strike a Natural, the house pays 2 to 1.

I will illustrate how this works with an example: John (who is somewhat of a high roller) bets $100 that his J, 10 will beat the dealer’s 10 and Hole Card. As an extra precaution, he wages $50 more in case the dealer’s face-down card is an Ace. If the dealer hits a blackjack, John wins the insurance bet ($50 at 2-1 ratio =$100), but seeing as the total in his hand is only 20, John loses $100 – basically achieving nothing. If the dealer didn’t have a Natural, then John loses his insurance bet, but still gets to pay his 20.

Overall this is not a winning strategy!

If you punch in the numbers you will see how the odds are not really favourable for the player. There is a 9:4 chance that the dealer will strike a blackjack if his is showing an Ace. When you stretch that over a longer period of time you will notice losing money. The chances favour that the dealer won’t hit a Blackjack; thus the player loses half his bet right off the bat. And let’s not forget that ff the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, but still has a stronger combination than yours, you lose you insurance bet and your original wager.

More Articles Covering Blackjack

Blackjack Basics
Blackjack Rules
Blackjack Variations
Multi Hand Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
Atlantic City Blackjack
How to Hit a Hand
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Insurance in Blackjack
Surrender in Blackjack
Standing a Hand
Blackjack Double Down
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands
Blackjack Cards and Hands Value

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