Hit or stand? The simplicity and flow of blackjack are mesmerizing, and the mathematical elegance of an optimized set of rules for a minimal house edge holds a captivating allure.
If you love the experience of live blackjack at a local casino but enjoy the convenience of online gambling, you will want to try your hand at live blackjack.
Recommended Live Blackjack Casinos
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 Blackjack Rules
Like any other casino game, blackjack is a game with rule variations. So, there is not just one set of rules which applies to all live blackjack games. On the contrary, different casinos may have different house rules. On some casino sites, there might even be multiple live blackjack variants you can play.
A lot of live blackjack games are one-to-one, but sometimes they take the form of one-to-many. The number of decks used usually ranges between six and eight.
When you join a live blackjack game, you will be able to read the rules for that specific game, including the values for cards (generally 10 for face cards) as well as the rules for splitting and doubling.
Make sure that you read these rules carefully, and also check what the rules are for the dealer, i.e. whether they hit or stand on soft 17.
Some variants of blackjack also include a range of side bets. Most live blackjack games offer an insurance bet under certain conditions, but there may be additional types of side bets as well.
In case you are brand new to blackjack altogether, here are the basics of how the game is played.
- You place a wager.
- The dealer gives you two cards.
- 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.
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.