Insurance and blackjack
Insurance is often regarded as a necessary evil, an expense that most people hate having to pay but will be reliant upon in the event that disaster strikes. However, blackjack insurance is an even more controversial issue in the world of gambling.
The basic strategy of hit, stand and split serves the majority of blackjack players well, but a straightforward and very popular sidebet is known as the insurance bet. An insurance bet offers a player some protection in the event that a strong card is given to the dealer, usually at odds of 2/1 and a maximum bet of 50% of the main bet of the player.
This means that the player might still have the opportunity to break even if they lose their primary bet if the dealer has blackjack. Insurance will be offered prior to the dealer checking their hole card and will be paid out in the event that the hole card has the value of 10 and makes 21 with the second card.
When should insurance be taken out in blackjack?
Insurance may appear to be an appealing option for players when the up-card of the dealer is an ace, as that means there is a one-in-three likelihood their other card will have a value of 10, but in probability terms, insurance is still most likely a long-term losing bet.
Card counters may be able to work out how many 10 value cards remain in the deck and if the percentage is worth taking the offer of insurance.
Advantages and disadvantages
All the player has to do to win in blackjack is have a better hand than the dealer, with any tied hands seeing the return of the player’s initial stake. Insurance may be a viable option in games that have many decks as the greater number of decks, the greater number of cards there will be with a value of 10.
Insurance is not worth it if a player only has a hand of around 14 or 15, as they are unlikely to be able to win the hand anyway. Insurance is widely regarded as a poor bet for players, with the 2/1 price too small to make accepting the wager of any real worth.
There are many other options available for those who want to vary their blackjack playing but are reluctant to take out insurance. Other side bets are available at online casinos and there are many different variations of the game that are likely to include side wagers of one sort or another.
The best NJ online casino, resortscasino.com, for instance, has many different varieties of blackjack for players to choose from including the likes of Blackjack Xchange, Blazing Blackjack, Multihand Blackjack, Infinite Blackjack, and more.
Although there are some players who are very keen on blackjack insurance, it is likely a losing proposition in the long term, and there is a reason that insurance is never included in any type of basic blackjack strategy.