Blackjack Insurance and Side-Bets Explained Simply

There is more to blackjack than avoiding going bust and hoping to land a magical win. You can double down, split cards, and have other ways to go about playing. Insurance and side-bets are two of those options. However, unlike a well-timed split or doubling down, these options are not typically deemed advantageous for bettors. Why? Join us as we explain why.

What Is Insurance?

Insurance is arguably one of the worst decisions you can make at the blackjack table, whether that table is a digital one or in a real land-based casino. The basic principle of taking insurance is that you are protecting yourself if the dealer has a 21-point hand, otherwise known as blackjack. If you take insurance (at the cost of $1 in most cases) and the dealer does have blackjack, you’ll receive a payout of 2:1.

And Why Is It Not Advised?

A payout of 2:1 – what’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, if you place insurance bets, you cannot use betting strategies, as this throws them out of sync. At the same time, your odds of success with insurance bets aren’t great. In fact, the probability of landing insurance bets is just 30%. The dealer has 9:4 odds of landing blackjack, so the odds are stacked against you from the start.

Blackjack Side-Bets

There are other ways to go in blackjack. Taking up side-bets, for instance, may seem like a good idea. Don’t be fooled by those, either though. Side-bets are typically found in games such as Perfect Pairs and 21+3. These allow you to wager a side-bet (again, at the cost of $1 in most cases) on something happening.

Types of Side-Bets

The Perfect Pairs side-bet is one of the most common. With this side-bet, you are betting that your first two cards will either form a Mixed Pair, a Coloured Pair, or a Perfect Pair. Mixed Pairs (same value, different suits), Coloured Pairs (same colour, same value, different suit), and Perfect Pairs (identical cards) are worth prizes of 5:1, 10:1 and 30:1, respectively.

By contrast, the 21+3 bet involves a poker hand. It uses both your two cards and the dealer’s upturned card. You can bet on a Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush or Suited Three-of-a-Kind. You’ll find all sorts of prizes that can be won with these. This will also sound tempting to players, but again – hold your horses.

It Is Best to Avoid Them

Whether you wish to place Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side-bets, you’re looking at some terrible odds and pretty woeful house edges. Neither of these is going to appeal to bettors. The odds of winning with side-bets is even less than it would be if you were playing with insurance bets, and we all know how most of us feel about those. Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with having the odd flutter on blackjack side-bets. However, these should not become standard fare whenever you play this card game – not if you want to maintain good balance management when gambling.

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