Live blackjack is one of the greatest gifts of gambling technology to real money players from different parts of the world. While online blackjack games are operated by software programs, live blackjack games are really being played at gaming studios or land-based casinos.
The gaming action is streamed to players’ computers through sophisticated video streaming and webcam technology. It is just like playing blackjack at a land-based casino, but from the comforts of home.
Some live casinos are compatible with mobile devices, enabling players to play on their smartphones and tablets. Playing live blackjack is a fun experience, and you will find yourself playing it again and again.
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How Does Live Blackjack Work
If you load a game of live blackjack on your desktop, smartphone, or tablet, you will see a virtual gaming table, which you can use to place bets. At the same time, the gaming screen includes a video box through which the live gaming action is continuously streamed to your device. In the live video, you can see a real croupier operating the live blackjack game.
You must understand that the video you see is not per-recorded and the game you are playing is not generated by computer software. You are viewing a game that is really being played either at a gaming studio or at a land-based casino. You are also placing bets on that game. If you still feel that this cannot be possible, you can interact with the croupier running the game through a chat box on your gaming screen.
Since live blackjack is a game that is actually being played at a physical location, it takes you as close to the land-based casino gaming experience as possible.
Live Blackjack in the US
Since the US is a grey jurisdiction, US players cannot enjoy a wide choice of live blackjack games. Ever since the US federal government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, a large number of operators, payment processors, and software providers withdrew from the US market, leaving residents with very few gambling options. For example, Microgaming, the casino gaming software giant, has developed the largest number of live games, but doesn’t offer its services to US residents.
In spite of this, US residents can play at live casinos powered by US friendly software providers such as Visionary iGaming and Global Gaming Labs. The latter has been in the US for a long time and has partnered with well-known online casinos that offer live games.
Live Blackjack Rules
Live blackjack is similar to online blackjack and the blackjack played at land-based casinos. The game has a number of variants, each of which stands in a class of its own although based on standard blackjack rules.
Here are some of those rule variations:
- Live blackjack games may use six, seven, or eight decks of playing cards.
- Live casinos may offer either one-to-one blackjack tables the way it is done at land-based casinos or one-to-many tables.
- Croupiers running one-to-many tables receive bets from as many players as possible and deal the same hand to each player.
- The dealer will either stand or hit on soft 17.
- Rules related to doubling the wager, splitting card pairs, the number of times pairs can be split, surrendering, purchasing insurance, and so on vary from one live blackjack game to the other.
- The betting limits vary from variant to variant and casino to casino. If you are a high roller who wants to play high-limit live blackjack, you only have to contact customer care. Depending on the online casino you are playing at, you can bet up to $5,000 at a time.
How to Play Live Blackjack
A game of live blackjack, like any other casino game, begins with a bet. Once all players have placed their bets, the live croupier will deal two cards to each player in the game.
Players have to now study the hand dealt to them and decide their next moves. Depending on the value of the hand dealt to them, they can choose to do any of the following:
- Hit or receive another card
- Stand or stop receiving any more cards
- Double their bets in case of a favorable hand
- Split pairs and play two hands simultaneously
The resulting hand is then compared to the dealers and players will either win or lose their bets. If a player gets blackjack or a hand that equals point value 21, they will receive a payout of 3 to 2. If players do not win anything, they can place another bet and play again.
Depending on the rules of the live blackjack game they are playing, players can also purchase insurance against a possible dealer blackjack or surrender bad hands and get back half their bets.
Each live blackjack game has a separate set of rules for dealers and players. If players need to interact with the live croupier or fellow players anytime during the game, they can do so using the chat box in their gaming screen. However, chat rules are very strict at live casinos. Players are not allowed to make rude or offensive remarks. If they do, the live casino will prevent them from using the chat functionality. In order to protect live dealers from such unpleasant experiences, some casinos do not offer the chat functionality, but this takes all the fun away from the live dealer game.
Live Dealer Blackjack Casinos
You can rest assured that live blackjack games are 100% fair and random. A live blackjack game can just not be rigged by the casino authorities because its results are based on actual gaming activity.
To start playing live blackjack, you only have to register any of our recommended live blackjack casinos.
Live Dealer Blackjack FAQ
With Live Dealer Blackjack offering the same human touch, rules, and gambling experience you can find in the best of land-based casinos, there are little excuses not to give this popular casino game a try. And if you’re still unable to make up your mind, here are the most frequent concerns about Live Dealer Blackjack addressed, to help you on your way.
Even though it seems like the perfect opportunity, since Live Dealer Blackjack doesn’t rely on RNGs, the reality is that card counting in live games is impossible. Not only do live dealer games use 6 to 8 decks, which complicates the matter by itself, but they also only go up to 50% penetration. This means that you’ll never get past half the deck, thus making your counting skills entirely useless.
The simple answer to this question is that casinos don’t need to fix their games to earn money. Blackjack has an inherent house edge that ensures casinos turn a profit with each hand and have fewer reasons to cheat. Also, most players who join a table are rarely skillful enough to increase their advantage significantly, thus giving the casino an even bigger house edge and fewer reasons to pull tricks.
And even if a casino dared to fix their games, the news will spread so fast around the online community that it will be impossible to prevent leaks. This will, in turn, get the casino blacklisted and lead to millions in loses, which is not something worth risking over an already profitable game.
There is no simple answer to this question. With Blackjack, the house edge depends both on the variation of the game but also you as a player. The more skillful and optimal your play is, the lower your house edge will be.
The average theoretical house edge is often said to be 1%, but with the right rules and style of play it can go even lower, sometimes even as low as 0.48%. However, it can also get higher, especially if you have little knowledge of the game.
Yes it is. Blackjack is a game of using simple math and planning, and as such requires a sound knowledge of basic strategy. If you’re only playing it haphazardly, you will only waste your money away.
As logical as this common myth sounds, it is very far from the truth. While it’s true that a player before you might have some effect on the next outcome, mathematically speaking this doesn’t affect your odds at any significant level.
There’s little to zero difference between both games, except for the personal experience. Both offline and online live Blackjack games have a human dealer, follow the same rules, and pay out the same.
There might be some games that offer a different rule or two, but the same can be said about land-based casinos.
Since Live Dealer tables can be abused with the help of software and card counting algorithms within the comfort of your home, live dealer games are usually played with 6 to 8 decks. Eight decks is the most common variety, as it allows for longer play before the cards are reshuffled. It’s always important to note the number of decks used, so that you can adjust your strategy.
Live dealer games now offer the same insurance that you can find in land-based casinos. The “even money” bet is normally offered when a dealer’s hole card can end up being a 10 value card, thus giving the dealer Blackjack. The wager pays 2 to 1, meaning you can end up with half your money back, should the dealer win.
But as lucrative as this sounds, it’s highly advised that you don’t take insurance, since statistics have shown that the probability of dealer Blackjack is lower than the probability of busting. Namely, you have a 69% chance of winning that bet, i.e. you have the upper hand.
No. While there are some casinos that let you watch a Live Blackjack game for free, you can’t actually interact in any way with the game. Thus, if you want to practice your strategies, you can use the free demo versions of regular Blackjack games offered at most online casinos.
Since live games are streamed in HD, it is better if you have a fast optical or ADSL connection for best experience. Lower connections speeds will lead to glitches and lags, which can end up causing mistakes from your side. That’s why you should always check your connection speed before you join a table.