Blackjack was the first online casino game to be adapted to the live casino platform. Live blackjack doubles the fun quotient of online gambling: you get to play at an online casino from the comfort of your home and enjoy the excitement at a blackjack table in a land-based casino. The live dealer deals out the cards and basically runs the game: this makes a huge difference compared to playing a game driven by a random number generator, which can be very mechanical.
In this article we will explore the following:
- The best live dealer casinos and bonuses
- Explain the components of the live dealer game
- Live dealer house edge
- Tips on how to play live dealer blackjack
- Types of live blackjack games
- Software provider overview
- Live blackjack FAQ
Top Live Dealer Blackjack Casinos
The following is a list of the top live dealer blackjack casinos for you below.
Components of a Live Dealer Blackjack Game
Every live blackjack game has the following components:
- The live dealer or croupier
- Blackjack table
- HD Cameras
- Game Control Unit (GCU)
A live dealer casino screen consists of three elements:
- The blackjack table, where the game unfolds.
- The card-view section where you can get a magnified view of the cards dealt.
- The dealer section where you see the dealer.
Live Dealer Blackjack Betting Limits and House Edge
The house edge is slightly lower in live blackjack as opposed to RNG generated games. The standard house edge ranges from less than 0.50% to 6.95%, depending on the game you choose to play. There are different elements that can impact the house edge, including:
- Decks used: The more the number of decks used the higher the house edge is likely to go; e.g. the house edge will be lower for single-deck blackjack than a game played using 8 decks.
- Dealer’s action on soft 17: A dealer standing on soft 17 results in a lower house edge, while a dealer drawing on a soft 17 results in a slightly higher house edge.
- Surrender: The Surrender option reduces the house edge.
- Split aces: Split aces reduces the house edge in favour of the player.
- Doubling down on any 2 cards: Doubling down on any 2 cards lowers the house edge, while a game that allows doubling only on 9, 10 or 11 has a higher house edge.
- Doubling after a split: Doubling after a split reduces the house edge.
Another thing to remember: there are overheads when it comes to running a live blackjack that you would not encounter in a standard online casino. These include:
- Studio set-up and maintenance costs
- Equipment costs
- Remuneration for the live studio staff
These overheads impact the bet range in live blackjack, making the minimum and maximum wager limits higher (to cover these costs). The minimum bet ranges between £1 and £25 while the maximum bet can range between £50 and £10,000. The increase in minimum and maximum bets also depends on the table you are playing at: VIP tables will always have higher bet limits.
How to Play Live Dealer Blackjack
Live blackjack is played between you and the dealer. Follow the steps listed below to play live blackjack:
- Clicked on the live casino/live dealer casino tab on the casino website.
- Selected the live blackjack game you want to play.
- Place your bets at the table. For multi-hand games click on the betting areas of the hands you want to play.
- Once the bets are placed the dealer deals a 2-card hand each to you and herself.
- Both the cards in your hand are open.
- The dealer’s hand has the first card open and the second one face-down – the hole card.
- Based on the strength of your hand and also the dealer’s you choose your next move:
- Hit: Click Hit if you feel your hand needs to be shored up to get close to or equal to 21.
- Stand: Click Stand if you feel your hand is sufficiently strong to beat the dealer’s.
- Split: Split if your hand has 2 cards of identical value, e.g. 2 kings, and you feel playing 2 separate hands with each of these high cards could result in a double win.
- Double down: You could double your initial bet, after which you are dealt just one more card.
- Once you have made your move, the dealer will make hers. She opens the hole card and depending on her hand she can choose to hit and try to get a hand bigger than yours.
There are features that you get in some variants but not in others. Some of these are:
- Insurance bet: Offered if the dealer’s open card is an Ace.
- Dealer peek: Allowed if the dealer’s open card is a 10-value card.
- Surrender: Allowed if you feel your hand has no chance.
- Side bets: A number of live dealer blackjack games come with interesting side bets that make the game exciting, including Perfect Pairs and 21+3.
- Bet Behind: Some games offer the Bet Behind feature, which allows you to place a bet on the player or the dealer’s hand even if you are not playing, i.e. from behind the scenes.
Types of Live Dealer Blackjack Games
On the basis of the number of players that can be accommodated at the table, live blackjack games can be categorised into:
- Classic 7-seater live blackjack: These games can accommodate up to 7 players per table. Most of these games are 6-deck or 8-deck games; you will find the occasional 7-deck game too.
- One-to-many live blackjack: These games allow a large number of players to play at a table game simultaneously. The dealer accepts bets from multiple players and deals one hand of cards that the players access from multiple locations.
Games can also be categorized on the basis of specific elements:
- Kind of tables: Some live blackjack games are available at VIP tables
- Number of card decks: Single deck, 4 decks, 6 decks, 8 decks (an occasional 7-deck game also pops up)
- Number of hands: You get single-hand as well as multi-hand games
- Game rules: Some games allow dealers to hit on soft 17s, while others require the dealer to stand on all 17s. There are other rules on whose basis categorizations can be made:
- Double 9-11
- Double after split
- Double any 2
- Extra or special bets: Some games offer the Bet Behind feature; other special bets include the Insurance bet, side bets, and more.
Software Providers Offering Live Dealer Blackjack Games
The following is a list of leading software providers with live blackjack games in their portfolio. The table also lists out the games from each provider along with features and basic rules.
Extreme Live Gaming (Novomatic)
|Live Common Draw Blackjack||6||
|Blackjack Early Payout||6||
Other providers that are not currently licensed in the UK include Ho Gaming and Visionary iGaming.
Live Dealer Blackjack FAQs
The popularity of the mobile casino has been the reason for a number of software providers offering games that are accessible from a smartphone as well.
All casinos offer bonuses and you could use these bonuses to play live dealer blackjack also. However, some casinos limit the games covered by a particular bonus; therefore ensure that you read the terms associated with a bonus carefully before using it to play the game. Of course, you may also get game-specific bonuses.
It is mostly available for real money play. There are a few casinos and also portals offering information on live blackjack, however, where you get the game for free play.
There are a large number of software providers offering these games; most of them have multiple variants. There are enough games around for you, all of them equally exciting.