Understanding Blackjack Insurance: How It Works And When To Use It

Blackjack is a popular casino game that is a mix of strategy, skill, and luck. While the primary objective is to beat the dealer’s hand without exceeding 21, players often encounter side bets and additional options. One of these options is blackjack insurance. Thus, in this article, we will delve into the concept of blackjack insurance. Also, take a look at how it works, and when it is advisable to use it.
Let’s get in.

What is Blackjack Insurance?

Blackjack insurance is basically a side bet that players can make when the face-up card of the dealer is an Ace. It is essentially a wager on whether the dealer has a natural blackjack (a two-card hand totaling 21). When you opt for insurance, you are betting that the dealer’s hole card (the facedown card) will have a value of 10, completing their blackjack hand. If the dealer does indeed have a natural blackjack, you win the insurance bet.

How Does Blackjack Insurance Work?

The working of Blackjack insurance is pretty simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide of about its working:

1. Dealer’s Upcard:

When the upcard of the dealer is an Ace, the players have the option to take insurance before they check their hole card. It’s totally your choice whether to go for it or not. But of course, the end choice is of the player.

2. Insurance Bet:

To enjoy the insurance, you must have to place an extra bet, which usually is half of your original wager. For example, let’s say your initial bet is $20. Then the insurance bet will be $10.

3. Dealer’s Hole Card:

After receiving all of the insurance bets, the dealer will check their hole card. If the dealer is holding a card with a value of 10 as their hole card, they will have a natural blackjack. The cards that hold the value 10 are, 10, Queen, and King.

4. Outcome:

Now, if we come across a natural blackjack, you win the insurance bet. And after winning those you get the winning in the ratio of 2:1. Thus it basically means that if your insurance bet is equal to $30,  you would receive $60 in winnings.

5. Blackjack Hand:

Now, apart from that we still need to focus on the actual game. It does not matter if the dealer has a natural blackjack, we will still play the main blackjack hand. If you win the main hand, you receive the standard payout for a regular blackjack win, which is usually 3:2. So, keep enjoying the blackjack insurance bets but make sure your main focus is on the main game itself.

When to Use Blackjack Insurance:

Now, we hope you understand the workings of blackjack insurance. Thus, we will move to the part where we find out the right time to use it. While blackjack insurance may seem like a tempting option, it’s essential to understand when it is strategically advisable to use it. In fact, you might be surprised but in most cases, using insurance is not recommended. Well, it is because it typically has a negative expected value for players. But of course, there are certain times when one can use it. Such as:

1. Card Counting:

If you are into the blackjack game for quite a while and are well familiar with the technique of card counting and have determined that the deck is rich in 10-value cards, insurance may be a more favorable option. In fact, card counting can give you an edge by increasing the probability that the dealer’s hole card is a 10.

2. High Stakes:

If you are playing with a significant amount of money and want to protect your initial bet, insurance might be a consideration. Well, that is obvious when you have a lot at stake. In fact, it is the same as real life where we get insurance for the things which are most valuable. However, this should be reserved for high-stakes games. Those are the games where losing the initial bet would have a huge impact.

3. Risk Tolerance:

If you have a low-risk tolerance and prefer to minimize potential losses, insurance can provide a sense of security. Keep in mind that this is more about personal preference than optimal blackjack strategy.


Blackjack insurance is a side bet that offers protection against the dealer having a natural blackjack when their upcard is an Ace. While it may seem appealing, it is generally not recommended due to its negative expected value. Players should use it sparingly and strategically, such as in situations where card counting indicates a higher likelihood of success or when playing high-stakes games. In most cases, focusing on basic blackjack strategy and skillful gameplay is the best way to maximize your chances of winning in this classic casino game.

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