Insurance and Even Money: Bad Bets at the Blackjack Table

Insurance and Even Money: Bad Bets at the Blackjack Table

The truth is that consistently winning blackjack games deals with both luck and chance.  It’s always been a popular casino game – perhaps due to its reputation of being called one of the easiest card games in casino. But it’s not just a plain game of luck. Understanding the rules is a must and it entails that a player must have tight blackjack skills when playing.

One of the trickiest parts is the blackjack language and the various blackjack bets you can make. Beginners have trouble with this since the game in itself is a game of chance and the players are expected to be knowledge in tactics that improve your chances of winning the hand. In playing blackjack, you’re trying to get a good winning hand of cards – this means that you should have cards that total as close as possible to or matching twenty-one but never above it. Having a hand of cards with a total more than twenty-one means you just busted and you lost.

One of the hottest blackjack strategies making a comeback is card counting.  Beyond this though, even with this knowledge, it is still hard for some people to actually know when to bet and when not to. The tactic of blackjack card counting may not help you as much you might think since it can never be perfected.

Consequently, one of the hardest aspects of playing blackjack is the complex ideas laid out in the game – two different terms may mean the same thing or completely different things.

There’s two blackjack definitions that we all need to know: Even Money and Insurance bet. Can you imagine playing a game like basketball and just ignoring the three point line the whole game just because you don’t know what it’s for? That’s just like how it is when you play blackjack without knowing what these two terms stand for. It could affect your bankroll in a big way.

In our examples here, we’ll be playing Classic Blackjack Gold Series at Casino Classic (1 Regular Deck; Blackjack 3:2; Insurance 2:1; Other win 1:1; Dealer stands on Soft 17).

Insurance Bet




Let’s say the dealer reveals his card, and it’s an Ace. You’ll now get the option of making an insurance bet before the hole card gets checked by the dealer. In an insurance bet, you bet an amount up to half your original bet. There’s a separate special area of the table usually carrying the words “Insurance Pays 2:1” – this is where the insurance bet gets placed. By you taking insurance you’re betting that the dealer gets a “natural” which is a two-card 21, a blackjack. If you win this insurance bet, you get 2:1 on your bet. It’s insurance because the point of it is to protect the original bet you made if the dealer has a blackjack. If you decide to bet the full half of what your original bet was, then you win the same amount back in the insurance bet. Let’s say you don’t have blackjack, the dealer does, and you took the insurance bet. In this case, you’ve lost no money. Worst case scenario is that you take the insurance bet, the dealer doesn’t have  blackjack and you lose. Then you just lost BIG.

Even Money


Now let’s say you have a natural 21 (an ace and a ten or face-card). The dealer has revealed his upcard and it’s an Ace. You have the option of taking even money. If you take even money, you’re going to get paid 1:1 right away for your natural 21, whether or not the dealer gets a blackjack. This means that if you accept even money, you’re getting the same payout as if you were getting insurance. Think about it this way, if the dealer doesn’t get a blackjack, you forfeit the insurance bet and win 3:2 on the natural 21 – this is payout equal to your original bet. If the dealer did have a blackjack, you push on the natural 21 and win 2:1 on insurance, getting a payout which is the same as the original bet.

The Value of Insurance Bets and Even Money


Unless you’re card-counting, stay away from both insurance bets and even money. These bets have a house edge of 2% to 15% – depending on how many decks the casino is using and the number of 10-cards visible. If you are card-counting, only bet on these if you know that more than a full third of the deck is 10-value cards.

Playing basic blackjack might be easy and the rules are generally easy to understand. But by understanding new tactics and casino techniques you have the chance to tilt in many ways possible the odds to your favor.