Blackjack 101: How to use the blackjack insurance side bet

If you’re looking to level up your blackjack game, the blackjack insurance side bet can be a strategic play to preserve your bankroll and minimise your losses. Learn about the best tips and tricks on insurance betting below and use them when you’re playing blackjack at Stake Casino.

What is blackjack insurance?

Here’s a quick rundown of the blackjack insurance rules: Let’s say you make an initial bet of US$10, and the dealer draws an ace. If you take the offer for an insurance bet, you pay the dealer US$5. 

If the dealer’s cards go over a total value of 21, you get US$10, on top of getting back your US$5 insurance and breakeven. However, if the dealer does not get a blackjack, you lose both your US$10 and US$5, and the game continues as normal.

It’s important to note that in taking the blackjack insurance bet, you’ll be playing with a much higher house edge, depending on the number of decks in the shoe. For example, if you were playing a game with two decks, the normal house edge would typically be at around 0.34%. Taking the insurance bet would bump this up to 6.79%. 

Lastly, keep in mind that the dealer has a good chance of winning this side bet. While it pays well, its high house edge makes it a risky bet to place.

How does insurance work in blackjack? 

One of the trickiest concepts to learn in this game is knowing how to use insurance in blackjack. When all players have been dealt their cards, and the dealer comes up with an ace for their up card, everyone at the table is given the option to make an insurance bet. 

This is essentially an extra wager you can make, betting that the dealer gets a blackjack. It usually costs half of your initial bet, and its odds pay out a ratio of 2:1.

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Blackjack insurance strategy: Successful strategies you can try

Insurance betting can spell the difference between winning and losing a lot of money. The reality of it is that it’s rare for players to make insurance bets and come out with a win. This is why it’s important to have a strategy for this, so you know when it’s best to make this bet and how to utilise it so that it gives you the most favourable outcomes. 

Try out these blackjack insurance tips and remember them for your next games:

  1. Practice card counting

Contrary to popular belief, card counting in casinos is completely legal. This is a tactic that most high-level players use to analyse the movement of the deck to figure out whether the dealer or the player can gain an advantage in the next round. 

This is a neat trick that anyone can learn, but it takes a lot of practice to master. When you do get the hang of it, it’s a helpful strategy to know whether or not you should make an insurance bet depending on the dealer’s next hand.

  1. Play blackjack games with a few numbers of decks

As previously mentioned, the house edge is directly affected by the number of decks you’re playing with. The lower the number of decks you’re playing with, the lower the house edge is, and the better your chances will be. 

Blackjack is usually played with six to eight decks of cards per shoe. When choosing a game, pick games with 6 decks or less to have better chances of winning. While your odds aren’t exactly the best, it’s better than playing 8-deck games with a higher house edge. 

Advantages and disadvantages of blackjack insurance

Because of the low odds of making a successful insurance bet, even veteran players tend to avoid this trick. However, there’s still value in learning how to maximise this side bet. Here are some pros and cons of insurance betting that you should consider before placing one:

Advantages of blackjack insurance

Insurance secures extra profit

For players who have weak hands, placing an insurance bet is an added layer of protection that ensures them a bit of profit. Even if you lose the round, a successful insurance bet still pays out 3:2, which is better than losing all your wagers.

Great for experienced card counters

If you’re skilled in counting cards, the insurance bet is an easy way for you to make some extra money. By keeping track of the 10-point cards left in the deck, you can figure out if an insurance bet is worth it or not if the dealer gets an ace. 

Disadvantages of blackjack insurance

The risk is too high

Many players avoid making insurance bets because of how risky it is. In a normal game of blackjack at Stake, the house edge sits at a low of 0.5–1.5%. This is what makes it such a popular game. When you choose to make an insurance bet, that house edge increases to 6–7%. 

Not a long-term strategy

Making a successful insurance bet and beating the house can be an exhilarating feeling, but it’s a short-lived moment. It may be profitable for one game, but it’s not a sustainable strategy because of how low your odds are of winning it. In the long term, constantly making insurance bets will begin costing you money.

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Ensure profits with insurance bets at Stake Casino!

Insurance betting can be a valuable tool in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing. It’s a side bet worth learning if you want to earn extra money in your games. Just keep in mind that this is not always the most reliable way to make a profit in blackjack. 

Considering the risk versus reward, it’s still much better to use other betting strategies like the D’Alambert or Parolli betting systems that focus more on your overall wins and losses per round. This betting strategy is much more suited to experienced players skilled in card counting to justify making such a risky play.

With all that said, now that you know how to play blackjack insurance betting and you want to test your new-found knowledge and test your skills, the best place to practise online is at Stake. Try our selection of live blackjack games like Blackjack Live and Lightning Blackjack Live. Register and play now!

Frequently asked questions

What is an insurance bet in blackjack?

This is a side bet you can make mid-game when the dealer’s first card is an ace.

Is blackjack insurance worth betting on?

Considering the risk versus reward, it’s only worth betting if you have a weak hand or if you know how to count cards.

When to use blackjack insurance?

Blackjack insurance can be made when the dealer draws an up card of an ace.

How much does the insurance bet cost?

Typically, the insurance bet costs half your main bet.

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