Even money did not always exist in blackjack. It was introduced as a possibility for a larger number of players to have their hands insured – an alternative that always benefits the dealer.
Some players may find the offer of money instead of a side bet tempting, because the player will also be offered a guaranteed profit regardless of whether the house has 21 or not. However, in practice, there is no difference between even money and insurance.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. You bet $2 and receive blackjack while the dealer gets an ace. In such a scenario, you are offered the even money option of receiving a profit of $2 if you agree to end the hand.
What is the alternative? Let’s assume you choose the insurance strategy over the even money option. You insure your hand with a side bet that corresponds to half of the original stake. There are two possible outcomes of such an insurance option:
Outcome 1: You decide to insure your hand with $1 and the house turns out to have blackjack. This means a push on the original stake where your profit will be eliminated.
On the positive side, you will earn $3 on the side bet because the insurance strategy pays three times the stake. This means that your net earnings in this outcome will be $2 ($3 win – $1 insurance stake)
Outcome 2: You insure your hand with $1 but this time the house does not have blackjack. This means that you will win the original $2 stake and get a $5 payout because blackjack pays 2.5 times the original bet.
This will give you a net profit of $3 ($5 – $2). On the other hand, keep in mind that you have also lost the $1 you paid for your side bet. In other words, your total net earnings will be $2 ($3 net win from the original stake – $1 on the insurance stake).
To sum up, your net earnings will be the same regardless of whether you pick the even money option or settle for the insurance strategy.