For many players, Live Blackjack is the most exciting form of the game and the one that comes closest to capturing the atmosphere of the traditional land based casino. Real cards are dealt at a real table by dealers whose action is captured in live video streaming from a studio run by software companies like Playtech, Microgaming and Evolution Gaming. It’s a glitzy, glamorous setting – an environment which adds a real ‘buzz’ to the occasion. It’s little wonder that increasing numbers of players are taking up the challenge to play Live Blackjack.
The basic principle of Live Blackjack is no different to other variants of the game. It is to get a higher total than the dealer without going over 21. Games are generally played with six to eight decks of 52 cards.
While in the online world a Random Number Generator (RNG) determines which cards are played, in a live casino scenario the cards are shuffled either manually or by machine.
Aces count as either 1 or 11 depending which is most useful.
Kings, Queens and Jacks count as 10.
Number cards 2-10 retain their face value.
The different suits don’t matter.
If your cards add up to more than 21 you are ‘bust’ regardless of the dealer’s hand. If the dealer is bust you win the hand. The cards are shuffled after each game.
How Can You Play Live Blackjack?
There are two seating options at most casinos. Seven seat Live Blackjack, where you take your own seat with six other players and the less popular Unlimited Live Blackjack which is one hand played by a larger number of different players.
At the start of each game the player places a bet on the table. The dealer will then deal two face up cards to players and one face up and one face down for himself (There are some exceptions to this).
At this stage the players make the decision, based on the value of the hand, about how they want to proceed in the game. Players can hit to receive another card or stand if they are satisfied with what they have. At this point a number of other strategies can be brought into play.
Blackjack, which cannot be beaten, is achieved when the player or dealer receives an ace and a 10 value card.
A hard hand is one that does not include an ace. A soft hand does contain an ace.
Dealer must stand if his hand is 17 or more.
Dealer must hit if his hand is 16 or less.
This may vary depending on house rules.
What Types of Bets can be Placed in Live Blackjack?
Split – If the first two cards in your hand are the same value you can split them into two separate hands. This places an additional bet equal to the original bet.
Double Down – This is available on any two-card hand if they total 9, 10 or 11. One additional card is drawn, after which you must stand. No double down after split.
Perfect Pairs – You can place a bet on either your first two cards or the dealer’s first two cards being a pair of the same suit or color.
Insurance – This bet is available when the dealer’s up card is an ace.
Bet Behind – You can bet on another player’s hand as if it were your own.
Push – When the total of both hands is the same it means nobody wins and the house returns your stake.
In a few casinos, along with the traditional methods of payment, players can now use Bitcoin to finance their Live Blackjack games.
Payout rates may vary between casinos.
Blackjack pays 3:2.
Winning insurance bets will usually be paid at 2:1.
Standard wins 1:1.
All ties push.
Where are the Best Casinos to Play Live Blackjack
Most of the major casinos offer this ‘Live Blackjack experience but before you take your seat at the table, it’s important to understand the Terms and Conditions attached to new accounts particularly around welcome bonuses, wagering requirements and cashing in your winnings. There are many online reviews, from real players, which will help with this.
Summary of Live Blackjack
Live Blackjack offers players an entirely different experience from the online one with dealer -player interaction, live chat and a pit boss to turn to if a problem arises.
Although the play free Live Blackjack option is not available in the same way as in online play, some casinos offer a facility where you can play at their live dealing room in demo mode.
You can also play Live Blackjack casino games on PC, Android device and iPad and iPhone. Using 4g or a wireless connection is recommended.