Should you ever take insurance? In general the odds are against you so the answer is no. You will see people insuring their 16’s on a hunch that the dealer has a ten in the hole. If you have played much Blackjack, you have seen them. They are either ignorant of the odds, or they might just be stupid.
The odds of the dealer having a Blackjack are the odds of getting a ten at any time: 4/13, or roughly 31%. That means that 69% of the time he/she doesn’t have a ten. Granted, insurance pays 2 for 1, so if you double the return, you have effectively doubled the odds. OK, so now it pays 62%. Still, 69-62 equals a house edge of 7%. By my standards this is pretty steep. So my advice is don’t take insurance most of the time.
This screenshot depicts insurance being offered in blackjack at Bovada Online Casino.
The one place when I take insurance is when I have a Blackjack. There are two main reasons why I insure a Blackjack:
- The difference in the long run is minuscule. From my computer studies I tested taking insurance and found a loss of 7.5% for 77 million insured hands. The incidence of you and the dealer receiving a Blackjack at the same time is 0.352% of the time. So let’s say your average bet is $10. $10.00 times 0.075 times 0.00352 equals 0.264 cents per hand or about a quarter per 100 hands. To me this is negligible.
- I use progressive betting and unless I have a one unit bet out, I want a win more than the 0.262 cents above. When progressive betting, you may have several units out, and it would be a shame to not insure and push, then get a stiff hand following the Blackjack.
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What exactly is progression betting? Basically, it is a sequence of bets that is supposed to improve your returns more than simply betting the same amount every time. This means that you are going to have to change your bets from hand to hand.
There are two basic types of progression betting: positive progression and negative progression. A positive progression works by increasing the amount you bet as you win. A negative progression means that you will be increasing your bets as you lose hands.
If you are flat betting, you might bet $5 per hand. The first bet is $5; if you win, you are up $5. You bet $5 again and win again, now you are up $10. This continues despite the hot and cold streaks that you are bound to go through when you are playing over the course of a couple of hours.
One of the simplest positive progression betting sequences is called the 1-2-3 betting sequence. This time, if you win the first bet, you will bet $10 on your second bet. Win this bet and you will bet $15 on your next hand. If you win this, you will be up $30 and you will revert back to the $5 bet.
One of the simplest, but most dangerous and expensive, negative betting sequences is called the Martingale betting system. In this system, you are simply trying to win one unit, or in this case $5. If you lose on your first hand, you will bet $10 on your next hand. Lose again, and you will bet $20. Lose again and you will bet $40. The amount keeps doubling until you win a hand, go broke, or reach the table limit. This system goes under the assumption that you will not lose more than 5 or 6 times in a row.