Blackjack is undoubtedly the most popular casino card game. Millions of players worldwide enjoy this game due to its simplicity and low house edge. It is easy to find, as it is available in any land-based and online casino. Still, experienced casino-goers might prefer playing live dealer blackjack offered at various online gambling platforms.

Live blackjack brings a new level of excitement to the game, especially for those players who want a more immersive casino experience without leaving their homes. Luckily, online casino providers offer exactly that, thanks to their high-quality live streams and professional dealers.

If you’ve never played blackjack before, it’s time to learn the ropes. In the following article, we’ll tell you all there is to know about live dealer blackjack — from rules to special tips and tricks. Stay tuned.

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What is Live Blackjack?

Live blackjack brings together the best of both worlds. You get to gamble from the comfort of your home or on your mobile device, but there is a live dealer at the other end instead of a computer program. You can see the dealer on camera, but she can’t see you.

How Live Blackjack Works

To make live blackjack games possible, online casinos hire real, flesh-and-blood dealers to work the tables.

Sometimes, live blackjack dealers work in land-based casinos. But usually, they set up in a studio instead. The reason for this is to offer a more controlled environment and screen out unnecessary background noise or possible interruptions.

The dealer’s transmission is live-streamed to your desktop or mobile device, and you are able to interact in real-time.

While you can see and hear the dealer, the live feed transmission is one-way; you are not transmitting video or audio back. But you can interact with the dealer in a chat box.

Why Play Live Blackjack?

Here are a few reasons why live blackjack is popular among online gamblers:

  • The land-based casino experience. The number one reason to play live blackjack online is because it is as close as you are going to get to the traditional land-based experience from the comfort of your home or on the go on your mobile device.
  • Trust. While fully digital online casino games at reputable websites are trustworthy and fair, some people still have a degree of mistrust when their dealer is a computer program. For those who feel uncomfortable with that situation, being able to watch a real, live blackjack dealer through a live stream can be reassuring.
  • Support human employment. Most people probably don’t think of this, but another good reason to play it live blackjack online is to continue feeding into demand for real human dealers, which helps to create jobs in a world moving increasingly towards automation.
  • Attractive dealers. Finally, online casinos are in the habit of employing attractive people, usually women, to serve as live dealers. So, eye candy is another incentive for playing live dealer blackjack online.

What You Need to Play Live Blackjack

If you want to start playing live blackjack, here is what you need:

  • A desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Most casinos offer software compatible with a wide variety of platforms, or allow you to simply use your web browser to log in and play.
  • An internet connection. You need a reliable, fast internet connection to support live dealer blackjack and other live dealer casino games online.
  • An account on an online casino. Before you can start playing live blackjack, you will need to open an account on a casino site which is reputable and safe. Once you find a casino you want to join, the sign-up process should only take you a few minutes.
  • You will need to make a deposit into your account. After opening your account, you will need to add some funds so that you can begin playing. Online casinos accept a variety of deposit methods for your convenience.

Live Dealer Blackjack Rules

If you’ve played blackjack before, you probably know all the rules. The great thing about live dealer blackjack is that the game is the same — these rules still apply, so you will be able to jump straight into the action and enjoy.

However, if you’ve never played before, blackjack rules are as follows:

  • If you want to beat the dealer’s hand, your score needs to be as close to 21 as possible.
  • In the beginning, the dealer will give you two cards while also keeping two cards, one face-up and the other face-down.
  • You’ll be able to see your cards and decide what your next step will be.
  • You need to pay attention to the card value — face cards (king, queen, and jack) have a value of 10.
  • An ace offers two options — 11 and 1, depending on the total value of your hand.
  • If you go over 21, you lose — as simple as that.

Live Blackjack Terminology You Should Know

Now that we’ve gone over the basic live dealer blackjack rules, we can discuss other details and explain the terminology you should know before starting a game of blackjack:

  • Hit — When it’s your turn to play, you can decide to add another card by choosing the Hit
  • Stand — If you’re satisfied with your hand, you can choose the Stand option, and the dealer won’t give you another card.
  • Split — If the two initial cards are of the same value, you can split them into two hands. The dealer will then add another card to each hand, and the game will move forward with you having two separate hands.
  • Double Down — You can choose to increase the initial bet up to 100%. However, by doing that, you will agree to stand once you receive another card.
  • Bust — If your hand value goes over 21, you’ll lose.
  • Surrender — This option gives you a chance to surrender the hand before your turn comes. By doing so, you can keep half the initial stake.
  • Bet Behind — If there are no free seats at the desired table, you can choose to bet on another player’s hand. You might find some live dealer tables that don’t have a limit on this type of wager.
  • Side Bets — Live dealer blackjack is known for various side bets, which allow you to boost your chances of winning.
  • Insurance — This is one of the most popular side bets that will protect you if a dealer ends up having a blackjack.

Live Blackjack Variations

Live blackjack comes in various shapes and forms. Over the years, people changed and added the rules and created different blackjack variants. However, the gist has always remained the same — aim for 21.

As you’ll see, online casinos are overflowing with multiple versions of the game, each more innovative than the other. So, if you’ve mastered classic blackjack, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common variants you’ll find in almost any online casino.

Live Multi-Hand Blackjack

The Multi-Hand variant has the same rules as classic blackjack. However, you’ll find that this live dealer version allows its players to have multiple hands, as the name suggests. That way, you’ll have even more opportunities to win. Keep in mind, though, that this also means all hands can lose, so tread lightly.

Live Blackjack Switch

This variant uses six decks and deals two hands to each player. Both hands must have an equal number of bets. What’s interesting is that you’ll have the possibility of switching the top card if you’re not satisfied with the total amount.

Single-Deck Blackjack

All blackjack variants typically use six or eight decks of cards. However, this version is played with only one deck, making it slightly easier to predict the value of the cards in your hand. All other rules are the same as in the classic variant.

Live Progressive Blackjack

This version also follows the same rules as classic blackjack, with one addition — a progressive jackpot. With this feature, you’ll have a chance to win some massive prizes if you opt for the side bet that triggers the jackpot.

VIP Blackjack

VIP Blackjack is reserved for high-rollers. There are no new rules. However, bet limits are significantly higher in this variant. Some games allow players to place wagers of up to $5,000 on one hand. But, if you’re a rookie, this might not be the best option, as you’ll be competing against some experienced players who aren’t afraid to go all out.

Live Blackjack Party

Created by Evolution Gaming, Blackjack Party is the perfect choice for anyone looking to ramp up the excitement. This variant is accompanied by music and chatting, and you’ll also see more than one dealer seated at the table. Therefore, if you’re looking to take your mind off things, Party is the way to go.

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs is one of the more popular live blackjack versions with a unique side bet. During the game, you’ll get to wager on the perfect pair. To win this bet, your hand needs to have a pair. If you predict this correctly, you can win a hefty prize. 

Blackjack Basics

In case you are brand new to blackjack altogether, here are the basics of how the game is played.

  1. You place a wager.
  2. The dealer gives you two cards.
  3. Your goal is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over (busting). After adding up the value of your hand, you may take one of the following actions:
    • Stand (keep your current hand).
    • Hit (let the dealer give you another card).
    • Double your bet.
    • Split your hand.

Splitting is only possible with a pair (or any two face cards), and rules for splitting vary from game to game. When you split a hand, you are dealt two more cards to create two new hands, each including one of the cards you were originally dealt and one of the new ones.

As you are making these decisions about your hand, the dealer is doing likewise with her hand. Unlike you, the dealer has no leeway with decisions, and must follow a prescribed set of rules.

Once both you and the dealer are done, you compare your hands. If the dealer busts, you win. If you bust, the house wins. If neither of you bust, whichever of you is closer to 21 wins.

Live Blackjack Software

Content aggregators and game providers have been competing to provide the best game, resulting in dozens of exciting live dealer blackjack options. Evolution, NetEnt, Playtech, Ezugi, and Pragmatic Play are some of the leading software developers that provide top-rated games you’ll enjoy playing.

As a newbie, you should stick to classic blackjack. However, as you progress and improve your skills, you can try to spice things up by choosing one of the popular blackjack variants available online.

Useful Tips for Playing Live Blackjack

Learning a new game can be terrifying, especially if you’re inexperienced. But even the world’s best players had to start somewhere, right? Today, with hundreds of guides, tips, and tricks, getting the hang of the game is much easier.

We don’t want to overwhelm you with information, so we’ll just point you to a couple of useful things you should know:

  • Live dealer blackjack is played at a slower pace — Unlike an RNG-based game, live dealer blackjack is slower, allowing you to consider all your options carefully and make the right decision.
  • Some tables have low bet limits — Some live dealer tables offer low bet limits starting from $1. So, if you want to, you can make smaller bets and not risk losing large sums of money.
  • You should memorize a basic blackjack strategy — Over time, you’ll create your own blackjack strategy. Still, in the beginning, memorizing a simple one can still get you some nice wins.
  • Never wager more than half of your money on a single bet — Don’t be reckless, as you don’t want to see half of your funds disappear in one go.
  • Stay calm — Sometimes, the cards just won’t be right, and that’s okay. The important thing to remember is that you should never try to win back the money you’ve lost by making larger bets, as it never ends well. Therefore, if you notice you’re on a losing streak, stop and take a deep breath.

Conclusion

Now you know all about live blackjack and what you need to get started playing the game online with real dealers. Remember, the most efficient strategy is always the blackjack basic strategy. So if you want to keep the house edge as low as possible, follow the basic strategy to the letter. Good luck and have fun.

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FAQ

Can you communicate with the dealer or other players in live blackjack?

Yes. To do this, use the chat box which is provided to you. You can only communicate with text, not your voice. You are able to communicate with both the dealer and the other players.

Make sure that you only use the chat box when it is necessary, like when you have a question. Do not use it to harass the dealer or the other players. If you do, you will be kicked out of the game. Excessive chatter could also get you thrown out of the game, so try not to distract people.


Should I take insurance?

The answer to this question each and every time is “no.” If you investigate the math, you will find that the insurance bet never pays off.


Can you count cards when playing live blackjack?

No. Intuitively, you might think that you would be able to because you have a live dealer. But because the dealer is using six or more decks, it is impossible to achieve sufficient deck penetration for card counting to be a viable strategy.


How do you win at live blackjack?

You know now that card counting is out of the question. So, you might be wondering what the optimal strategy is to use for live blackjack online.

While you can find many “systems” for winning blackjack, often for sale at a price, none of them are worthwhile.

The only strategy you should consider is the basic blackjack strategy, which you can find for free. This strategy is mathematically optimized, and is necessary if you want to play the game with the minimal house edge you see advertised (which can be as low as 0.28% depending on the rules that apply to specific variant you are playing).

Because there are multiple variants of blackjack with different rules, it is important to note that there are also different variants on the basic strategy.

To make sure you are using the appropriate one, read carefully through the rules for the blackjack game you are about to play. Then, look up the basic strategy which is a fit for those rules.


Can I play live blackjack for real money?

Yes. In fact, you cannot do otherwise. Even though you can find regular virtual blackjack games that you can play for free online, that is not the case for those which feature a live dealer. They are always played for real money.


Do live blackjack dealers cheat?

No. If they did, it would be possible to capture the footage of them doing so and share it online, so they would not get away with it. This is not to say that such a thing cannot happen, but it is highly unlikely that any casino would risk it.


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