As part of time you spend playing Blackjack, either in a live casino that you drive to, or on the Internet, you will most likely, at some point encounter the option of taking “even money”. However, not always will it be offered, verbally, or it may also be offered as insurance, to all of the blackjack players at the blackjack table.
“Even Money” is actually just an other form of “insurance” but only applies to the blackjack player with the Blackjack, or Natural 21. It is only an option if the blackjack dealer is showing an “Ace” as an up card and only offered to the blackjack player that has a Blackjack or Natural 21. Blackjacks typically get paid three to two, or “time and a half” at most casinos that you drive to and Internet casino rooms. If the blackjack dealer also gets a Blackjack, it is then a “push” or tie, which does not get paid, but luckily, does not lose either. So, when the blackjack dealer’s up card is an “Ace” and you have a Blackjack, you can choose to take “even money”, which means you will take an immediate pay off of one to one, sacrificing the additional fifty percent you would normally get, if you waited to see the blackjack dealer expose a hole card of anything, other than a ten valued card.
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This would surely not be offered if you had a pair of tens and split them, receiving an “Ace” on one of the ten valued cards, that would not be a Blackjack, or Natural 21, it would be considered a “soft twenty-one” or could also be considered as an eleven, and at some casinos, it could be doubled down on.
A lot of blackjack players have opinions on whether or not you should choose to take even money on your Blackjack or not. Some blackjack players base their decision to take even money on how much of a bet they have on that specific hand, some blackjack players base it on a pattern they think they have picked up on, of how the cards are running, and think they can predict if the blackjack dealer has Blackjack or not. A lot of basic strategy blackjack players, that follow the math and go with the odds, will not take even money, because statistically, it is a very bad bet. There are also a lot of blackjack players that will take even money on big money blackjack hands, and wait for the extra “half” only on small blackjack bets. Also there are the blackjack players that are counting cards, and have a better understanding of the likeliness of the blackjack dealer/house having a blackjack based on how many ten valued cards versus small cards have been dealt, and of course, how many would be remaining.
In the end, taking even money on a blackjack, is the exact same thing as putting an insurance bet on the insurance line. I also believe there are some other ways of looking at this situation. By accepting even money, on your own blackjack is taking a “for sure” thing. It is taking one to one payout now, instead of gambling and hoping for the win of three to two payout, if the blackjack dealer does not have a blackjack of their own. One blackjack player might say, since it is a casino, or an on line game, you are most likely there to gamble, therefore you should gamble on the blackjack and hold out for the much bigger pay off. Some blackjack players argue that could be a greedy way of looking at it.
The very bottom line is this, the odds are with you, the blackjack player that your blackjack should wait and get paid it’s full time and a half payout, but if you are just an average blackjack player, playing to have fun and not looking to make a living off of playing the game of blackjack, taking even money is nothing at all to be ashamed of. When you put your blackjack bet in the circle, and you don’t lose that money before the blackjack hand is over, it is a very good feeling, when it gets paid, it is a much greater feeling, it is up to you, the blackjack player, if it is important enough to reach that “great feeling AND a half” mark on all of your blackjacks.
As applies to most all the aspects of the game of blackjack, playing it the same way every time, is the best way to avoid getting mad at yourself, for not guessing right on the big ones.