Buying Insurance in Blackjack

Buying insurance in blackjack can sometimes be a winning strategy, and yet many critics insist it is never a good idea. For players to make the decision of whether to buy insurance or not, they must first understand what it is and why it is so controversial. Only then can they know whether it is a smart move for their own blackjack game.

How Insurance Works

Insurance in blackjack allows a player to wager half of his or her bet on whether the dealer will get blackjack. This is basically a side bet that must be played when only one of the dealer's cards is showing. If that card is an ace, the player can bet then that the dealer has blackjack. If the dealer flips the pocket card and shows blackjack, the player gets paid out 2 to 1. This protects the player from automatically going bust when the dealer has blackjack on the deal.

Why the Strategy Works

Several critics insist that buying insurance is a losing strategy. Yet, if the dealer shows an ace, there is already a one in three chance that the card in the pocket has a value of ten, giving the dealer an immediate blackjack. If the player sees that his or her cards are not ten values, then the odds go up even more. Buying insurance is always a risk, but it is actually one of the safer ones in blackjack.

Players should only purchase insurance when they are relatively sure that the dealer has blackjack. In the long run, insurance bets will lose money, so they should not be deployed every time the dealer shows an ace.