The Worst Casino Scam of All Time: Blackjack Insurance Bet
When you think of casino scams, you probably think of cheaters, con artists, and rogue operators that rig the games. Today, we’re going to talk about a different kind of scam. This one is totally legal, and it’s happening at every casino in the world, online and on land.
I’m referring to the Insurance Bet available in all blackjack games.
The Worst Casino Scam of All Time
All casinos operate on a simple premise – to separate players from their money. The game of blackjack is considered one of the best games for gamblers, because its theoretical return to player (RTP) comes so close to giving them a 50/50 chance of winning. Not exactly 50/50, of course. The casino still has a slight house edge. But with proper strategy, you can get the RTP up to as high as 99.73%. That equates to odds of 49.865/50.135, ever so slightly in favor of the house.
By throwing in an insurance bet, casinos are preying on all less experienced players. They know very well that the odds are always against a player on this bet. I can easily imagine casino managers, sitting up in some booth, watching the security cameras and having a good laugh every time they see a blackjack player take insurance.
To them, and any educated player, it’s truly amazing how many players fall victim to it. It is among the absolute worst bets you can make. You don’t even need to calculate the math to understand why. All you have to do is examine the three most probable outcomes of a hand where insurance is offered.
Blackjack Insurance Bet
An insurance bet is actually a side bet. As any moderately intelligent player knows, all side bets are sucker bets. Here’s how it works.
Whenever the dealer is showing an Ace, all players are offered insurance. To take insurance, the player must place a bet equal to half of their original bet. For ease of understanding, we’ll say the player is betting $10, thus the insurance bet will be $5.
Taking Insurance has No Good Outcomes
To win the insurance bet, the dealer must actually have a 10-value card in the hole, resulting in a blackjack. If so, the player is awarded a 2:1 payout on the insurance bet. In this case, $10. However, because the dealer has blackjack, the player’s original hand instantly loses. So, in effect, they will break even. They won the $10 insurance, but lost their $10 opening bet.
Now, let’s consider what happens if the player takes insurance, and the dealer does not have blackjack. The player immediately loses their $5 insurance bet. And, they now have to play out the $10 hand they’ve already bet on, with a higher chance of losing simply because the dealer is showing an Ace – the most versatile card in the deck. Thus the odds are that the player will lose $15, instead of just the original $10.
If a player does not take the insurance bet, they face the same odds of losing to the dealer’s Ace-up, but are only risking the $10 they initially bet.
The only instance here in which the player has a positive expected outcome is if that player has been dealt a blackjack, too. In this case, because the dealer and player both have blackjack, the hand is a push. The original bet is returned – no win, no loss. But because the dealer has a blackjack, the insurance bet would win $10. However, it’s worth noting that the odds of the dealer and player both getting blackjack on the same hand are 0.177%.
As I said, the backtalk insurance bet is nothing but a casino scam used to separate players from their money. Don’t be a victim!