Blackjack Surrender and Insurance Rules

Blackjack surrender and insurance rules can prove occasionally useful for online blackjack players. They are somewhat unique bets in that you’re making a concession with them that you’re not going to win the current hand. But you can use them to cut your losses and keep your bankroll strong.

Insurance Blackjack

When discussing online blackjack strategy, many players talk about the active moves they can use to win a hand. They ask questions like “Should I hit and to get closer to 21 or should I stand and hope the dealer busts?” Or “When should I double or split?”

While these are important parts of the online blackjack strategy equation, they aren’t quite all of it. There are also times when surrender and insurance can be useful to you. Even though they’re defensive bets in many ways, they can really help you come away as an online blackjack winner in the long run.

In the following article, we’ll explain all you need to know about online blackjack surrender and insurance rules. We’ll explain what they are, how they work, and what the different rules are surrounding them. In addition, we’ll talk about the best strategies to use for online blackjack surrender and insurance.

Basics of Online Blackjack Insurance

In terms of basic online blackjack with standard rules, insurance comes into play whenever the dealer is showing an ace and, as the player, your two cards don’t make 21. As one of your possibilities on the screen, you’ll see the icon for an insurance bet.

Insurance is essentially a side bet that the dealer has a value of 10 on his hidden card and, therefore, has blackjack. If you win, you get paid back odds of 2:1.

How Insurance Works

Ace Card and BUSC CardNormally, if the dealer has an ace showing, you don’t have blackjack, and you don’t make an insurance wager, the dealer will check what the hidden card might be. If it’s something with a value of 10, the dealer has blackjack and you lose your initial bet. And if not, the hand plays out as usual.

If you make an online blackjack insurance wager, you can bet up to half of your original bet. In other words, if you bet $50, your insurance bet can be up to $25.

There are two things can happen with this insurance bet.

  1. The online dealer, whether an automatic dealer or a live one, checks their hidden card and turns over a card with a value of 10, meaning blackjack. You lose your original $50 bet on the hand, but win the insurance bet, which returns 2:1, or $50 on your bet of $25, for a profit on that bet of $25. Your overall outcome on the hand is a loss of $25, which is less than the $50 you would have lost without the insurance.
  2. The dealer checks their hand and finds out that they don’t have blackjack, meaning you lose your $25 insurance wager. At that point, the hand proceeds. If you were to lose the hand, your overall loss goes up to $75, while a win would return a profit of $25 overall instead of the $50 you would have won without the insurance.

When Should You Use Online Blackjack Insurance?

Well, if you’re playing with correct basic online blackjack strategy, you should never use insurance. Think about the math.

  • The dealer’s chances of turning over a card for blackjack are 9:4 against. There are nine cards with values that aren’t 10 in the decks (ace through nine) and four with a value of 10 (10s, jacks, queens, kings.)
  • You are only getting paid 2:1 odds if you win the bet. To use the common denominator, you’re getting paid 8:4, despite the 9:4 odds of you losing the bet. Basically, you’re not getting paid enough to compensate for the odds of insurance.

The only time you should use insurance is if you’re card counting. And, as we’ll explore below, card counting is rarely effective in online blackjack.

Basics of Online Blackjack Surrender

When you make a blackjack surrender bet, you are essentially surrendering your hand before the hand is over. You would do this because you don’t think you have a good chance of winning based on what you have and what the dealer has. The incentive for this wager is that you only lose half of your original wager instead of all of it.

Some players might be wary of surrender because it seems like a losing play. In actuality, it can be an effective blackjack strategy to cut down on potential losses. It is actually a much better play than insurance.

How Blackjack Surrender Works

In most online blackjack variations, you can surrender any hand, regardless of what cards you and the dealer have. But, in actuality, there will only be certain situations that make sense.

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Let’s say for example that you’ve bet $20 on a hand, you get your deal, and have 16. It doesn’t come from a pair of eights, meaning that you can’t split. Meanwhile, the dealer has a 10 showing.

If you know basic blackjack odds, you know that you’re in bad shape in this hand. If you so choose, you could surrender the hand. Instead of losing $20, you would lose just $10.

After you surrender, your hand is over. The risk you run with surrender is that, if the cards turned your way, you might have won the hand.

When Is Surrender a Good Play in Online Blackjack?

Most basic online blackjack strategies suggest surrendering on hands like the ones above. When you have 16, your chances of hitting and staying under 21 are slim. Yet if you stand, the chances that the dealer somehow busts while sitting with 10 are pretty unlikely as well.

You’ll also find occasions when you’re advised to surrender at 15 as well. When you get to more advanced strategies, you might find it depends on which cards you have to make up the 15. For instance, whether you surrender might depend on whether you have a 10 and a five or an eight and a seven. But the bottom line is that it’s mathematically in your favor to surrender at times.

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This is never the case with insurance when playing blackjack online.

Different Rules for Online Blackjack Insurance And Surrender

We’ve told you about online blackjack insurance and surrender in terms of the standard formats most often used at top real money online casinos. But you have to keep in mind that there are occasionally different rules for these bets that can be found online. It’s important to know the rules in place for surrender and insurance so that you can choose the proper strategy.

Late Surrender Versus Early Surrender

Most online blackjack games (and casino versions as well) use the late surrender format. This means that the dealer will check to see if they have blackjack before the surrender is offered. Obviously, this comes into play only when the dealer is showing an ace or a 10.

Early surrender gives you the chance to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack when they are showing ace or 10. When early surrender is an option, it is an advantage for the player. Having the chance to surrender before a blackjack check will bring several more hands into play where surrender is a good, money-saving strategy.

Online vs. Offline Play With Insurance and Surrender

The main difference when it comes to online and offline blackjack play is that, when you’re playing in a casino, you have the opportunity to count cards. Online play makes this next to impossible. But if you can count cards, you’ll find that surrender and especially insurance comes into play much more often.

Casino Blackjack and Online Blackjack

By card counting, you can know which cards have already been played. That gives you a better idea of what cards are still in the deck. And this can come into play with insurance and surrender.

For example, there may be times when insurance is actually a good play if you can count cards. If there are enough cards with a value of 10 still in the deck, the odds of the dealer having blackjack with an ace showing might increase to the point where it makes sense to make the insurance bet.

By the same token, you might find that surrender strategies change depending on which cards are still remaining in the deck. Unfortunately, online blackjack makes card counting almost impossible. Shuffling is either constant or, in the case of live online dealers, much more frequent than in casinos.

FAQ on Blackjack Surrenders and Insurance

  • Should the Size of My Bankroll Affect Whether I Use Surrender or Insurance?

    If a play is strategically correct, the size of your bankroll should not affect it. If you find yourself making any kind of blackjack decision based on whether or not you have enough of a bankroll, it could be a sign that you need to lower the size of your bet per hand. Don’t eliminate certain strategic plays just because you’re trying to stay afloat longer.

  • Should I Consider a Blackjack Variation That Doesn’t Allow Surrender?

    Unlike insurance, surrender is a good strategic play at times when you’re up against standard blackjack odds. Therefore, any online game that denies it to you will be lessening your potential payback. Unless the game in question offers up some other rule that’s extremely advantageous to you, you should avoid it if surrender is not available to you.

  • Aren’t Surrender and Insurance Like Betting Against Yourself?

    If you think about surrender and insurance in this manner, it could dissuade you from using them. That could be a mistake, especially in the case of surrender. Think of them in terms of boosting your overall payback, even if they might be a concession in the moment.

Conclusion on Surrender and Insurance Rules

We hope that you now understand online blackjack surrender and insurance rules clearly. More importantly, we hope that you know how and when to use these bets to increase your online blackjack winnings over the long haul.