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Blackjack Insurance , When Should I Take It?By: bbog
There is likely no bigger argument in twenty one than whether or not a player should buy blackjack insurance. When a dealer turns an Ace as their up card, the dealer will ask players if they would like to take 'insurance' on their hands. If the player decides to insure their hand, they must place half of their bet before any action is taken on their hand. If the insurance wager wins, which means the dealer has Blackjack; the wager pays two to one. Please see the examples below for a more detailed explanation.
When a player is dealt blackjack, and the dealer is showing an Ace, there is a need felt by the player to protect his or her hand. The logic used for blackjack insurance is that the blackjack is a bonus hand, which pays three to two. This varies in some casinos. For example when the table uses a one deck shoe, a blackjack only pays 2 to 1. There are not too many blackjacks dealt by the dealer, so players feel the need to get something out of that hand. If the dealer also has blackjack, the hand is a tie, and they would simply get their bet back.
When taking out blackjack insurance, a player is assuming that they will always end up with a profit. This is logical thinking, but flawed. There are 16 cards with a value of ten in the deck. This leaves 36 cards that are not valued ten in a 52-card deck. When a player is faced with a situation in which they have blackjack, and the dealer is showing an Ace, there are now only 15 cards with a value of ten, and 34 cards that do not have a value of ten. Since insurance only pays two to one, the odds are not working in your favor.
Here are four different situations that could occur, and their results. We'll assume the player's bet is $10, and that the player has been dealt blackjack, with the dealer showing an Ace. The four possible situations are:
1. You take insurance, and the dealer has blackjack
2. You take insurance and the dealer doesn't have blackjack
3. You do not take insurance and the dealer has blackjack
4. You do not take insurance and the dealer doesn't have blackjack
In the first two situations, the player would win ten dollars. In the first case, the original ten-dollar bet is a push or a tie, and the insurance bet ($5) is paid two to one. In the second case, the dealer doesn't have blackjack, so the player wins $15 from the original bet, but loses the insurance bet. Both have a ten-dollar profit.
In the third situation, the player has tied the dealer, and without the blackjack insurance, the player keeps their original bet. In the last case, the player beats the dealer, and wins $15. It's easy to see that in three of those cases, you make money, and in one, you don't win anything, but you don't lose either.
As it was explained before, if the player has blackjack, and the dealer is showing an ace, there is only a little over a 30% chance that the dealer has blackjack, and more than a 69% chance that the dealer does not have blackjack.
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The author is an avid blackjack enthusiast and writer of articles about blackjack strategy