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Live Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It’s fast and simple to play, but is also a game of deep strategy. That makes it approachable to a whole range of players: casual gamblers can jump right in and play reasonably, more experienced casino patrons can learn basic strategy to get the best odds possible, and true sharks can look for advantage plays to beat the house. Live blackjack is also known for its awesome atmosphere - there’s nothing like playing with a group of friends or stranger and all beating the dealer together.

Online casinos have done a great job of recreating the excitement of a brick-and-mortar table game with live dealer blackjack. This version of the game blends the convenience and interface of a traditional online casino game, with streaming video that features a live dealer who will be using real cards to determine the results of every hand. It’s the closest thing to a live blackjack experience you can get on the internet.

What Is Live Blackjack?

Live blackjack at online casinos is a special form of the game that allows you to play in a manner that’s more like sitting at the table in a brick-and-mortar casino. Instead of using a computerized interface and a random number generator to determine the results of each hand, you’ll be playing against a human dealer who will deal from an actual deck of cards.

This is accomplished with the use of video in order to show you all of the action. This way, you can see everything with your own eyes and confirm that the game is being run fairly, just as it would be if you were sitting at the table in a casino. Often, you’ll be able to see other games being dealt at tables nearby, adding to the atmosphere that’s so often missing from online gambling sites.

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How Live Dealer Blackjack Works

As we go through this summary of playing live blackjack at internet casinos, keep in mind that the specific details will often vary at different sites, since every software system and operator is slightly different. That said, all of these games do have quite a lot in common, so this guide will help you learn the ropes before you jump in.

First, you’re going to have to choose a live blackjack casino to play at. There are many great options to choose from, and we’ve listed some of the best right on this page. Remember that not every site offers live dealer games, so this isn’t something you want to try to figure out by trial and error.

Next, it’s important to note that you’ll need a real money account in order to play these live dealer blackjack games. Although it isn’t unheard of, most sites do not offer free play versions of their live dealer games. It’s easy to understand why, as the expense of hiring real dealers and producing a live stream don’t make it cost effective to let players try just for fun in most cases.

Finding Your Game

Once you’re ready to play, you’ll need to find the live dealer or live games section in the casino. There, you should see blackjack listed among the available options. Many sites offer multiple tables, so you’ll want to take a look at the stakes levels allowed at each table and the number of available seats. You will also want to make sure those tables are active: since live blackjack games need to be staffed by a dealer, there may be fewer tables available during off-peak hours.

You’ll also want to know exactly what type of live dealer blackjack game you’re getting into, as there are some very different styles of play possible. Here’s a quick look at the three main options:

  • Seated at a Table: This is probably what you’re imagining when we talk about live blackjack games. In this format, you’ll sit at a table and make all the decisions for your hand, with the dealer listening specifically to your instructions when determining when and if to deal out more cards.
  • Playing from Behind: Many live blackjack games allow additional players to take part in the action even when all of the seats at the table are taken. You can do this by betting behind one of the players who is sitting at the table. You won’t be able to make decisions for them, but you will win or lose based on how they do in the hand. Many sites also offer options to choose or decline to add additional money to your bet when the player doubles down or splits their hand.
  • Common Draw: This new style of game can service an unlimited number of players with a single hand. The dealer will deal out your initial hand, allowing each player to bet whatever they want. As long as players make decisions that would require more cards to be dealt, the dealer will do so, but the interface will keep track of what (if anything) those cards mean specifically to you. That allows each player to make their own choices to play out the hand, even though everyone is seeing the same cards.

Understanding the Interface

If you’ve ever played any other type of online blackjack, you should have little trouble playing live dealer blackjack. Once you load up the game, you’ll typically see that most of the screen is dominated by a large video display, allowing you to see the dealer, table, and cards. This might either be located in a real world casino, or (more commonly) in a studio set up by the software company running the game.

While the video is a major difference from a more traditional game, the actual interface is pretty similar to most online casino offerings. You’ll be able to place your bet by moving virtual chips to your position on the table. You won’t be able to trigger the start of the hand, as that will happen automatically on a set schedule. Once the hand is under way, you can make your own decisions by clicking on buttons that allow you to choose to hit, stand, double or split.

There are a few other quirks to live dealer gaming. There’s a lot of information on the screen, usually including a chat that will let you interact with other players and/or the dealer. In addition, you’ll often get to see statistical information on how the players are doing against the dealer, or how recent hands have played out. In common draw games, you’ll even get to know what percentage of players made each decision – a very interesting statistic when there’s a close call between hitting and standing.

Gameplay

During each hand, you’ll be alerted when it is time to place your bets. As the dealer deals out the cards, they will be automatically scanned so that the site will also know what you have, which can be especially helpful if you’re having trouble reading the cards exactly on the video.

You’ll then be given several seconds every time you have a decision to make in order to decide what to do. Should you fail to make a decision, or if you get disconnected, your hand will automatically stand, which ensures you at least have a chance to win the hand. After each hand is completed, your balance will automatically be adjusted based on how much you won or lost, just as in a normal online blackjack game.

Live Dealer Games

Why Play Live Blackjack?

There are several reasons why many players enjoy playing live blackjack more than traditional online games. Here’s a quick look at a few of the most common ones that we’ve heard from gamblers ourselves.

More Confidence in the Results

We can tell you as many times as we want that online casinos are fair and truly random, but for some players, there will always be a lingering doubt in the back of their minds when it comes to any game that is determined by a random number generator. For those players, live dealer blackjack is the perfect way to regain trust in the results they see in their online casino play. Since you can actually see the physical cards being used, you will know the results are just as true and reliable as you would see in any brick-and-mortar resort.

That Real Casino Atmosphere

There’s nothing like being in a real world casino and feeling the felt, the chips, and the cards in your hands. The sights and sounds of a major resort are a real rush, and live blackjack games help you get at least a taste of that same environment. It may not be exactly the same as going to a brick-and-mortar facility, but it’s the closest thing you’ll ever find on the internet. The social element is also often available in these games, thanks to chat functions that let you feel like you’re right there with the dealer and your fellow players.

Relaxed Pace of Play

Many players very much enjoy the fact that live blackjack forces them to go just a little bit slower than the rapid pace you can achieve in a traditional online casino blackjack game. This allows you to consider each of your decisions and enjoy playing for longer without risking as much of your bankroll thanks to the lower number of hands you’ll be grinding through.

Downsides of Live Blackjack

There are a couple of small drawbacks that also come with live dealer blackjack, and while we don’t think they’re enough to dissuade most people from trying these games, they’re at least worth being aware of.

For instance, we’ve already mentioned that because of the cost of these games to the casinos themselves, you won’t find many free to play versions of these games, and the actual game selection can sometimes be limited in a way you won’t usually see at online gambling sites. It also means that the minimum bets are usually higher than on traditional real money online blackjack games.

Overall, though, these disadvantages are pretty minor. If you’ve missed the “real” casino experience when playing online, we definitely recommend checking out a live blackjack game at one of our recommended casino sites. Even if it’s not something you return to regularly, we think you’ll enjoy checking out this unique blend between the atmosphere of brick-and-mortar blackjack and the unbeatable convenience of online play.

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