Even money strategy

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Many Blackjack players across Canada can relate to the feeling of finally getting the magical number 21 and then frustratingly discovering that the dealer has blackjack. To avoid such a scenario and keep hopes of making a profit from your hand alive, many players could be tempted to apply the even money strategy.

This option may superficially appear attractive, but in reality, it’s rarely a good idea to choose it. In practice, the even money strategy is a camouflaged insurance strategy, which on average slashes long-term profits by 4 percent. This fundamental disadvantage is the reason why this alternative strategy is not part of the basic Blackjack strategy, which is also known as the optimal strategy.

This article will examine how the even money option is used at the Mr Green blackjack table, illustrating the following key points:

  • Even money option equals the insurance strategy
  • Even money reduces your long-term profits by 4 percent

Why and when are some players using even money?

Even money is considered a means of avoiding losing out when the player gets 21 but the dealer has an ace. Instead of risking the dealer scoring blackjack, the player can choose to end the hand and receive a payout double the size of his or her stake. By choosing even money, the player does not need to risk the possibility that the house also has 21, which would mean push.

Even money offers the possibility of a potential profit irrespective of the dealer’s cards. It ensures the player’s profit is no lower than if the house does not have blackjack. This is because the player will get 2.5 times the stake in blackjack versus 2 times the stake with the even money strategy.

Let’s illustrate this with a concrete example. You bet CAD$2 and you get blackjack while the dealer gets an ace. In such a scenario, you have the option of settling for a profit of $4.

If you decide not to use the even money option and the dealer gets 21, your profit is zero. But if the house does not have blackjack here, without the even money option your profit would increase to $5.

What does this strategy mean in practice? In the scenario described above, you could secure a net profit of $2 despite a house blackjack by choosing the even money strategy. However, your earnings will be $1 lower than what you could get if the house does not have 21.

Blackjack even money use

Even money and insurance are basically the same

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.

Blackjack even money insurance

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Even money produces 4% lower long-term profits

To demonstrate this, let’s assume that only one card deck is used. If the player receives 21 and the house gets an ace, the remaining deck will consist of 49 unseen cards. They will include 15 cards that are 10s or face cards because the 16th of these cards is included in the player’s blackjack.

In this scenario, the house will either get 10s or face cards 15 times out of a total of 49. This equals 30.6%. If you wager $2 for each of these 49 times it will lead to a profit of $98 ($2 x 49 play rounds).

If the player resists the temptation to pick the even money option, he or she will face a push in 15 out of 49 play rounds. On the other hand, the player will generate a net profit of $102 ($3 x 34 rounds) from the remaining 34 rounds.

In other words, the player’s profit will be $4 lower if they choose the even money option compared to resisting it ($102 – $98). This is equivalent to an average of 4% reduced earnings when the player picks the even money option.

Even money is only a good option in a scenario where the player knows that more than a third of the unseen cards consist of 10s or face cards. You can practice the even money option in our live casino.

Blackjack math even money


The even money option may appear attractive because it secures a profit regardless of the house’s cards. However, even money is in essence a simplified insurance option that reduces your long-term profits by 4%.

This option should therefore be avoided unless the player knows that more than a third of the unseen cards are face cards or 10s. This distinct disadvantage explains why the even money option is not a component in the blackjack optimal strategy.