Insurance is a side bet offered in the game of blackjack when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. This bet is essentially a wager on whether the dealer has a blackjack (a 10-value card as the hole card). Insurance is offered as a way for players to protect their main bets against the possibility of the dealer having a natural 21.

  1. How It Works: When the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, players are given the option to take insurance before the dealer checks their hole card. The insurance bet is typically half the player’s original bet. If the dealer has a blackjack, the insurance bet pays 2 to 1, effectively covering the loss of the original bet.
  2. Strategic Considerations: From a strategic standpoint, taking insurance is generally considered a bad bet for players who are not counting cards. This is because the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are lower than the odds required to make the bet profitable.
  3. Card Counting and Insurance: For skilled card counters who can keep track of the number of ten-value cards remaining in the deck, insurance can sometimes be a profitable bet. If the count is high in ten-value cards, the likelihood of the dealer having a blackjack increases, making the insurance bet more appealing.
  4. Impact on House Edge: For the average player, taking insurance increases the house edge. Many experienced blackjack players and strategists advise against taking insurance, as it is seen as a secondary bet with poor odds.
  5. Even Money: When a player has a blackjack and the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, the player is often offered “even money,” which is essentially an insurance bet. If the player accepts, they are immediately paid 1 to 1 on their blackjack, regardless of whether the dealer has a blackjack.
  6. Availability: Not all blackjack games offer the insurance option. Its availability depends on the specific rules of the game being played.
  7. Player Psychology: Some players opt for insurance as a safety net, especially if they have a strong hand. However, this is often more about peace of mind than about strategic, mathematically sound play.