Updated Updated: August 26, 2019

Live Dealer Blackjack

Live blackjack has been taking the casino industry by storm since it came into existence. It is one of the most popular table games, which combines elements of skill and luck. With the lowest house edge among table games, blackjack is appealing to beginners as well as experienced gamblers in the UK.

What is Live Blackjack?

Live blackjack is available via the web at online casinos, where you can play blackjack with a live dealer. Most often, the blackjack table and the dealer are set in an actual casino, with various camera angles to give the most realistic casino experience possible. Sometimes it can be set outside a casino, in a studio but with the same casino presentation. You can even interact live with the dealer via the chat box.

You can play one on one with the dealer or there may be other players around the table. Live blackjack tables come in a variety of minimum and maximum betting limits, so there’s something for everyone to choose from.

The classic blackjack uses the international 52 card deck without the jokers. Through the years, online casino operators have produced new and exciting versions of blackjack much to the pleasure of players.

Live Blackjack Gameplay Rules

The fundamental idea of live blackjack is to create a hand whose points amount to 21 or as close to 21 without going over (bust). Games are played using eight decks of 52 playing cards. You are initially dealt a hand of 2 cards while the dealer gets one card face up and one card face down. From this point begins a series of possible options you have available to play a rewarding hand and have a chance to beat the dealer.

Card Values

In live blackjack, the numbered cards assume their face value. The Jack, King, and Queen count as 10 points. An ace counts either as a 1 or 11, depending on the other card. For example, if you have an ace and a 2, the ace automatically counts as 11. If the ace value of 11 would make the hand go bust, the ace is automatically counted as one.

Hard and Soft Hands

In blackjack, you can have a hard or soft hand. The difference lies in whether the hand has an ace (soft) or does not (hard). As mentioned above, the ace can have two values, as such the total points of the hand can fluctuate.

A hard hand does not have an ace in it. There is only one possible total value for the hand. A hand with a 10 and a 5 will always be 15 points.

A soft hand has an ace in it so it could have two values. A soft hand cannot go bust from its first hit, as the ace would take its lower value. For example, a hand with an ace and a 4 is a soft 15. The blackjack live online dealer will refer to this hand as a 5 or 15.

Hitting and Standing

This is the crucial decision the game of live blackjack revolves around. It can lead to a winning or losing hand.

Hitting – a hit means that you want another card on top of your current hand. You can ask for a hit as many times as you think it gives you a chance of getting your hand closer or equal to 21.

Standing – when you opt to stand, it means that you are content with your current hand as is. Players usually stand when they think their hand has a good chance of winning or if they think there is a bigger chance of going over 21 if they ask for a hit.

Deciding to hit or stand depends on your hand on deck, as well as the dealer’s face-up card. Depending on the dealer’s card that shows, there are some recommendations.

Dealer’s face up cardPlayer’s recommendations
AcePossibly the worst case scenario since the blackjack live dealer has a better chance of drawing cards without going over 21. You have to play aggressive and try to get a hand of 17 or higher to improve your winning chance, but still, the dealer remains favourite to win the hand.
10, J, Q , KAnother scenario where you need a strong hand of 17 or more. You should hit if you have 16 or less but stand on 17 or more. It is a tricky situation as the dealer has a good chance of hitting 20 or 21.
7, 8, 9Your chances of winning are better in this case. As above, hit on anything below 17 and stand on 17 or higher.

Live Blackjack Doubling Down

Doubling down is used when you think you have a solid chance of winning the hand. It is a move made in favourable conditions, where you double your original stake for a single card. You should take advantage of this ‘money’ move in live blackjack as it is an opportunity that can be used to benefit your potential winnings.

If you are uncomfortable losing more money and the amount worries you, then you are at a table with higher stakes than you can afford. You should just find another one that accepts lower bets.

Some favourable conditions where you should really consider doubling down in a live dealer casino blackjack:

Your cardsDealer’s face up card
Hard 9.Low cards, anything below 7 but not an Ace.
Soft 16 to 18.In between 2 and 6.
Hard 10 or 11.Lower than your hand.

Live Blackjack Splitting

In almost all live blackjack versions, when you are dealt a pair (two cards of the same value), you have the choice to split them into two different hands. Your bet is doubled and you are then dealt two more cards, one for each hand. You then have two separate chances to beat the live blackjack dealer.

You can also take it a step further. After splitting the original pair, if you are dealt another pair in one of the hands, you can split that as well. Your original bet will triple, but you will also have three different chances at a winning hand.

It is extremely important to have a clear idea of when you should split pairs in blackjack, especially if you are looking to earn some profit. Considering there are only 10 card values in the game, it shouldn’t be too hard to memorize different scenarios and know what you should do.

Always splitMaybe splitNever split
Aces2s, 3s or 7s if the dealer’s face up card is a 7 or lowerPair of 10s
Pair of 8s If you split a pair of aces or 8s and are dealt another pair of aces or 8s, always re-split6s if the dealer’s face up card is from 2 to 6Pair of 4s
9s if the dealer’s face up card is 2 through 6, 8, 9Pair of 5s

Minimum and Maximum Bets

The bet limits vary from table to table and from casino operator to casino operator. Generally speaking, the minimum limits tend to be higher in live blackjack than just the online version without the dealer.

Minimum bets usually range from £5 to £10. But you will find some online casinos that offer live blackjack tables with lower bets, such as Paddy Power with £3 minimum.

Maximum bets usually range from £1000 up to £5000. These depend on the casino provider and also higher amounts are allowed for players’ part of their VIP or Loyalty programs.

Whether you are a low or high roller, you can see how bet limits can fluctuate from a couple of pounds to thousands of pounds depending on the online casino. So do take the time to look up these limits before deciding on the place to play live blackjack. Sometimes these limits can be quite hard to find out, so don’t hesitate to contact the casino directly, especially since most of them have live chat support.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

●       Convenience – it saves time to play live blackjack from the comfort of your home instead of getting dressed and travelling to brick and mortar casino. You can play anytime, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Not only can you play from the comfort of your home, but you can also, play live blackjack from your smartphone or tablet. Almost all online casinos in the UK have applications for iOS or Android that are free to download and use.

●       Authenticity – playing blackjack with a live dealer from an actual casino floor almost makes you feel as if you were actually there. Most of the times you can even interact with the dealer via the chat box.

●       Bonuses – due to the fierce competition for players among online casinos, there are appealing sign-up bonuses for new members that can turn profitable with some skill and luck.

●       Peace and quiet – when you play live blackjack, you have the casino experience from your own environment, be it your home, bed, the bus etc. You get the power to choose when and where to play. In a brick and mortar casino, you do not choose if the players around you are very talkative, smokers, fussy and so on.

Disadvantages

●       Slower paced – this is obvious especially against online blackjack without the dealer, where you play against a machine. As live blackjack involves physical cards, the hands are not dealt as fast. If you are playing live blackjack at a table with other players, each with his or her time of thinking to place a bet, the pace slows even more. It is also sometimes slower than playing in a real casino, as players don’t have eyes staring at them or sighing to try to rush a bet.

●       Waiting to get paid – in a brick and mortar casino, if you walk away from a blackjack table with more chips than you started with, you can exchange those for cash then and there. In live blackjack, depending on the payment method, you can wait up to a week to get your money.

Live Blackjack Bonuses

In the online casino industry, bonuses such as sign-up, reload, no-deposit and cashback are typical. However, when it comes to bonuses for live blackjack, you will have to dig around a little deeper to find some that covers your preferred game type. That is because live blackjack has the lowest house edges so it would be a high risk for online casinos to offer a generous bonus.

Welcome/Sign Up bonuses are by far the most popular, and oftentimes the only bonus available for live blackjack players in the UK. Despite the low house edge, the fierce competition to get more players on their websites make online casinos take the risk and offer lucrative sign-up bonuses.

More often than not, a welcome bonus comes attached to wagering requirements. Wagering requirements are the number of times a player has to roll over the deposit amount in order to withdraw any potential winnings. For example, a sign-up bonus might sound like, “100% match up bonus up to £100 with 40x wagering requirements”. That means that if you deposit £100, you will receive a £100 bonus. But you would have to stake £4,000 (£100 x 40) before you could withdraw your funds.

Most sign-up bonuses available to live blackjack players in the UK either come with high wagering requirements or a fraction of blackjack contributions counting.

For example, Leo Vegas offers a matched first deposit bonus with 100% contributions for live blackjack. It does have a 70x bonus amount wagering requirement though, which is pretty high. 

Betfair offers a matched first deposit with 30x wagering requirements but only 50% of live blackjack contributes towards that. This basically brings the wagering requirements to 60x.

It is crucial to read the terms and conditions of each available bonus. They may seem very generous but once you read over their fine print, you might change your mind.

Tips for Live Blackjack

●       Minimum bet 5% or less of your bankroll – it is a way to extend your experience and improve your chances of walking away with some profit.

●       One hand at a time – it may be tempting to play live blackjack at a few tables at the same time, but you should really focus on one hand at a time.

●       Use strategy tables – there are blackjack strategy tables that show you the best decision to take depending on your cards and the dealer’s. These formulas have been mathematically tried and tested. They give you the odds of winning with the current hand you have, against the live dealer’s face-up card.

Conclusion

You can enjoy the thrills and casino experience when playing live blackjack from the comfort of your home or when on the move with your smartphone or tablet. Choose a reputable online casino and make time to read and understand their terms and conditions and the small print on bonuses.

This will ensure you have an enjoyable and exciting experience playing live blackjack.

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