Taking Insurance

Insurance and even money are two very important concepts that new blackjack dealers will want to master prior to graduating from their dealing school. Below is a quick review to get you started, preparing you for a future casino dealing job.

Insurance: When a dealer has an ace up, he offers the players insurance. Insurance is a side bet, where the player wagers that the dealer has blackjack. Players may bet up to half of their original bet. If there’s no dealer blackjack, the player loses the insurance bet. If the dealer does indeed have a blackjack, the insurance bet is paid 2:1.

Example 1: a player has a $10 bet and takes full insurance of $5. If the dealer has a blackjack, the player wins 2:1 on the insurance ($10) but loses the original bet (-$10), so essentially the player “pushes” and does not lose any money in the transaction. Many dealers simply push the insurance bet back to the player as payment, but the proper procedure is to take the losing bet then pay 2:1 on the insurance line. This makes sense when you consider this next example.

Example 2: a player has a $10 bet and takes partial insurance (let’s say $2 insurance bet in this case). If the dealer has a blackjack, the original bet loses (-$10) but the insurance line pays 2:1 ($4). It’s proper procedure to take the original bet then pay the insurance line.

Even Money: Even money is a shortcut for insurance that’s available when the player has blackjack and the dealer is showing an ace. Even money is available in a standard blackjack game where blackjacks pay 3:2, but not in a 6:5 game.

Example: player bets $10, receives a blackjack, the dealer shows an ace, and the player requests “even money.” The math works out exactly the same as an insurance bet. Full insurance would be $5. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, the player would lose the insurance bet (-$5), but win 3:2 on the blackjack ($15), netting $10. If the dealer has a blackjack, the player would win 2:1 on the insurance bet ($10) and push the blackjack ($0), again netting $10. In either scenario, the player wins even money ($10).

In a 6:5 game, a $10 blackjack pays $12. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, the player would lose the insurance bet (-$5) and win the blackjack bet ($12), netting $7. If the dealer has a blackjack, the player would win 2:1 on the insurance bet ($10) and push the blackjack ($0), netting $10. $7 and $10 are two different outcomes. Therefore, on 6:5 blackjack game, players with a blackjack may opt to make an insurance bet when the dealer shows an ace, but may not ask for “even money.”