Blackjack, being one of the most popular casino games, is also one of the firsts to have been adapted into the live format. Live dealer blackjack is played online but gives players the feeling of being in a real casino.
Unlike with poker, the term "live blackjack" is generally employed to refer to online live dealer blackjack, as opposed to land-based real blackjack played in person.
What Is Live Blackjack
Live dealer blackjack is an online version of blackjack but with a human croupier playing from a physical table in a real-life casino or studio. The dealer directs the actions and shuffles the cards using an automatic shuffler. He, then, deals the cards out to the players in the dedicated 'spaces' on the table.
The microchips in the cards are read by the table and the individual player's monitor displays the graphics. The players place real money bets and take the usual playing actions just as the dealer does the same depending on their actions. The winnings are paid out automatically by the casino to the winning hands.
Rules of Live Blackjack
Each player is dealt two cards, face up or face down (depending on the rules of the online casino). The dealer receives one card, face up. The value of the cards 2 to 10 is their pip value while the Face cards are worth 10. Aces can be 1 or 11. The sum of the card values is the hand value of the player. The idea is to get a 21 as a natural blackjack or as close to it without busting.
The basic rules of online live blackjack are simple and straightforward, mostly the same as of every other blackjack variation.
The possible actions taken by the players in an online live dealer blackjack are:
- Stand - The player takes no more cards and decides to stay.
- Hit - The player takes another card from the dealer.
- Split - If the player's first two cards are of the same value, then, he can decide to split them into two hands. He will then move a second bet equal to the first into the area, outside the betting box. The dealer separates the two cards and draws an additional one on each.
- Double - The player increases the initial bet up to 100% in exchange for his commitment to stand right after receiving just one more card.
- Surrender - The player (only in some live dealer blackjack games) can surrender directly after the dealer has checked for blackjack. When the player surrenders, the casino takes away half of the player's bet and returns the other half to him.
A soft 17 is when an ace is counted as 11. Accordingly, an Ace-2-4, Ace-3-3, Ace-Ace-5, and Ace-6 are soft 17. The dealer can either Hit or Stand on soft 17, depending on the other player's hands and his strategy for the game.
How Does Live Dealer Blackjack Work
Online blackjack with live dealers is quite interesting in the way it works. Behind the scene, there is a live room, a software room, and an analyst room. Players get the feel of sitting in a real casino as they are able to communicate with the real dealer in real-time through the camera and the microphone.
The cards in the deck are shuffled and reshuffled automatically. They contain microchips connected to a computer software program. As the dealer deals the cards, the microchips interface with the software, translating the actions on to the screen. Like in a brick and mortar casino, in online live dealer blackjack too, there will be multiple players sitting at the table. Players place the bets virtually. When the dealer begins to deal, he typically scans each card, which is important for updating the software and eventually, the screen of the players. The counts of the player's hands are reflected on the screen. The actions of the players and dealer are taken in the same way as they are in regular blackjack.
The main components in online live dealer blackjack are cameras, monitor, wheel, and the Game Control Unit. The GCU is the most important one and is attached to each table. It is the specialist that assists the dealer in running a game.
Benefits of Live Dealer Blackjack
Blackjack played online but with live dealers has several benefits and can be quite addictive for blackjack players. Here why it is so.
A Real Casino Atmosphere From Home
The most attractive part of a live dealer blackjack is, of course, the live dealer. He moves, speaks, and takes action, which leads to a real casino atmosphere. Players might not be present in a brick and mortar casino but they can very well enjoy this casino atmosphere right from their home and derive the excitement out of it.
A Pace That Is Exactly The Same As a Land-Based Casino
As opposed to video blackjack which is really fast-paced and feels like a rush, online live dealer blackjack promises a pace that players can relish while playing the game. Each step like shuffling, dealing, actions takes some time. This adds a certain charm to live dealer casinos, preventing the players from feeling like going through a robotic process.
Play Higher Stakes Blackjack Online
For many pro gamblers, the fun, and excitement of playing blackjack lie in the ability to place higher stakes. This high stake gambling is possible and also way more enjoyable in a live dealer blackjack than a video blackjack, where the player is simply betting huge sums against the computer. Blackjack players get the opportunity to engage in high stake games with live dealer blackjack, even when they are unable to visit a brick and mortar casino.
Multiple Bet Limits
Online blackjack with live dealer offers multiple options with respect to bet amounts, like in a brick and mortar casino. There are different tables with varying maximum and minimum bet limits. All that players need to do is pick the table that best suits their requirements.
Mobile Live Dealer Blackjack
Mobile live dealer blackjack is absolutely the same as online live dealer blackjack with the additional benefit that you can play them on your mobile. Certain gaming companies offer mobile live dealer blackjack apps, which allow players to play live dealer blackjack from their mobile devices even when they are on the go.
Best Live Blackjack Bonuses
Live dealer blackjack bonuses are an exciting part of live gambling. Many online live dealer casinos offer lucrative welcome offers and special bonuses to allure gamblers to wager on these online platforms.
Live dealer blackjack is undoubtedly addictive and to get you hooked to it with the promise of great offers and bonuses is something the casinos invariably try.
Online Live Dealer Blackjack Strategy
While playing the live dealer blackjack, players can adopt certain strategies to improve their odds of winning such as these.
Optimum Blackjack Strategy
The optimum blackjack strategy for online live dealer blackjack is the basic strategy for playing the game. While the term was coined by Roger Baldwin, the optimum strategy is basically a mathematically proven trick to allow the players a competitive advantage while playing. The strategy chart lists down the probable actions and decisions the players should take in different situations and depending on the cards they have in hand and those that are dealt with. This Optimum Strategy applies to a game that has 4-8 decks, in which the dealer hits on a soft 17, doubling down is allowed following a split, and where original bets are lost on the dealer's blackjack.
Card counting is a strategy used by blackjack players to increase their chances of winning. It is a technique that helps players in determining whether the next hand will give a probable advantage to the dealer or to the player. By counting cards in the right way, players can gain an advantage and reverse the casino house edge to some extent. The rule of the strategy is to keep a track and tally of the cards by assigning a value to each card and then looking at how many high-value and low-value cards have already been dealt. Card counting is possible but difficult in live dealer blackjack because the cards are automatically reshuffled at each step.
Blackjack side bets are additional bets that the player places during a standard game of blackjack. They are based on the assumption and prediction of which cards the player and at times, the dealer will receive. Side bets can be of several types with varying rules, house edge, probability, and payout.
Blackjack side bets are placed with the primary purpose of winning a higher amount by beating the odds. Most side bets are independent of the main blackjack game. Some of the popular and arguably profitable side bets include Perfect Pairs, 21+3, Over/Under 13, and Insurance.
Developers of Live Dealer Games
A leap in technology has led to several gaming companies offering live dealer online blackjack software. Some of the leading ones are as follows:
Extreme Live Gaming
Extreme Live Gaming is a relatively new entrant in the field given that the company was founded in 2013. It exclusively develops the live dealer software. The games offered by Xtreme Live Gaming have rules and betting limits of their own. The basic one plays with 8 decks of cards and the payout is 3:2 on hitting a blackjack. There are 7 seats available at the gaming table. For players, doubling down is allowed but not splitting after a double down. Surrendering is also not allowed while insurance is offered if the dealer has a blackjack.
NetEnt had a late entry into the field but it made real progress in the development of live games, with NetEnt Live. The rules of the game are slightly different. For instance, the live dealer blackjack is played with 6 decks instead of the standard 8. Doubling down is allowed, both on any two cards as well as after a split once. The payout ratio is the standard one that is 3:2.
Founded in 2006 and dedicated to the creation of live dealer games, Evolution Gaming is a pioneer in the genre. It is also one of the firsts to bring an online version of blackjack. There are some specific rules of the live dealer game offered by this company. To begin with, the blackjack tables are 7 sitters. 8 decks of cards are used in the game while the winner is paid 3:2. Double down is allowed but splitting can be done only once. Surrendering is not allowed but insurance is offered to the players when the dealer draws an ace.
Playtech is the leading developer of live casino software. It was among the firsts to offer live dealer blackjack games to the mass market. Its version of the game is featured in many online casinos worldwide. The basic rules are the same like 8 decks of cards are used, the payout is 3:2, and doubling can be done on any 2 cards as well as following splitting a pair, once. Surrendering is not allowed while insurance is offered when the dealer gets an ace.
Vivo Gaming is another reputed provider of interactive online live dealer blackjack with real money games. The company offers both live casino software and additional gaming software. The games are offered in both Flash and HTML5 and promise a full cross-platform gaming experience. As for the live dealer blackjack, the tables are 7 sitters; the game is played with 8 decks of cards, and the payout is 3:2.
Online Live Blackjack - FAQ
Answers to the most common questions about online live dealing blackjack.
Is live dealer blackjack fair?
Live dealer blackjack is as fair as standard blackjack in a brick and mortar casino is. In live dealer blackjack, there is a real dealer who deals real cards from a real shoe so, players can trust the process.
How much does live blackjack cost?
The cost varies depending on the online casino in which you are playing the live dealer blackjack. The minimum bet can be as low as $5 per round.
How many decks are used in live dealer blackjack?
Normally, 8 decks of cards are used in live dealer blackjack. A few gaming software can facilitate live dealer blackjack games with 6 decks of cards also.
Can you cheat at blackjack with an online live dealer?
No, it is not possible for players to cheat at blackjack with an online live dealer. Using any external software or assistance in such games is strictly prohibited and an offence too.
Is card counting effective with a live dealer?
Card Counting is a difficult and less effective in online live dealer blackjack because the cards are automatically reshuffled at each step.
Is live dealer blackjack rigged?
Live dealer blackjack is not rigged. To ensure this, players must play in trusted and reputed online casinos only.
Can you play live blackjack online for free?
Live dealer blackjack cannot be played online for free mainly due to the high maintenance and staff costs. However, players get a 'play money' offered by most online casinos.
So, online live dealer blackjack is fun, exciting, and advantageous too because it gives the players a real-life casino feel without having to visit one.