I know I have always said to never take insurance when playing blackjack. And for the most part this is true. But there are a tiny number of times in which you do want to use insurance because you can turn it to your advantage.
Now the reason I normally do not say this is because the majority of blackjack players fall into one of two categories: always taking insurance and never taking insurance. And of the two, never taking insurance is safer for your bankroll and better for your odds.
But typically the majority of players do not find, remember and exploit the small times in which it can pay to take insurance.
But to begin to understand the finer points of exploiting insurance, we need to define exactly what insurance is and how it works.
Insurance is offered in blackjack when the dealer has an Ace showing. This is because he is definitely holding one of the two cards need for a natural blackjack. The two cards needed are an Ace and a 10 value card; of the two, the Ace is less populated in the deck, hence why insurance is offered when the dealer shows an Ace rather than a 10 value card.
Most blackjack players think that insurance is offered because the dealer stands a shot of having blackjack and that the player needs to protect—or insure—their wager so as not to lose it. Casinos want players to feel threatened and to take insurance.
But think for a moment what insurance is. Insurance is offered when the dealer has an Ace, meaning he has a shot at blackjack. That means that insurance is really a side bet on whether or not that hole card is worth 10 or not. If it does turn out to be a 10 the player collects on the insurance wager. But if it is not a 10 the player loses the insurance wager.
So keep in mind that insurance in blackjack is only a side bet on whether the dealer has 10 value card for a hole card or not. Now that we have that straight about insurance, next time we will discuss when those small number of times to take insurance are, and why you can.