Contrary to what you may think, live dealer blackjack is not dealt by captive hobos and streamed out of some obscure gaming baron’s basement. No. It is a professional, regulated, booming industry dealt by real life croupiers or in some cases Playboy Bunnies. In fact, these days live dealer casino games like blackjack are loaded with features and possibilities all tailored to seduce you away from the bright lights and big brick and mortar casinos.
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Live dealer blackjack is only available to play for real money, however it is possible to simply observe a live dealer game without actually playing. This is so you can get a feel for the game and the dealer, the bets involved and how to play. So what can you expect from live dealer blackjack? What sort of betting options are there? What are the minimums and maximums? Which online casinos offer live dealer blackjack? Which software companies produce live dealer blackjack? This is what our guide aims to answer for you.
Where to play live dealer blackjack
Many online casinos offer live dealer blackjack, with several Microgaming powered casinos also offering an additional Playboy Live Dealer Blackjack, which feature attractive live croupiers handling the games. Another great thing about playing these games online through these casinos is that each one has their own unique sign up or welcome bonus when you first sign up, not to mention their regular promotions.
Live dealer blackjack interface & gameplay
Other versions of online blackjack are dealt due to a Random Number Generator or RNG: a complex computer program that randomly plucks numbers and presents them as cards. Live Dealer Blackjack however relies on a human dealer, set up at a traditional Blackjack table, dealing real cards from a manual shoe. This dealer and the table action is live streamed to your computer via a webcam so a quick internet connection is advantageous.
Each shoe consists of eight decks of cards and to minimise the chance of card counting each shoe is shuffled or changed a little after half way through the set.
From there you click on the table you want, such as a single player or multiplayer table, and place a bet in the box. Decide on whether you want to control the box or simply back bet?, and then play the cards in front of you.
How to play live dealer blackjack
When you have placed your bet, which can be anything from $5 to $5,000, you are dealt two cards and the dealer either deals themselves two cards, one face up and one face down, or deals themselves one card, face up: this all depends on which site you play through. The aim of the game is to get a total as close to, without exceeding, 21. An ace and 10 value card (10, King, Queen or Jack) is a Blackjack and pays 3:2.
If the dealer’s exposed card is an ace you are given the option to take Insurance which requires another bet that can be no more than your original bet. If the dealer achieves Blackjack then you lose your hand but your Insurance bet is paid at 2:1. If the dealer does not achieve a Blackjack you lose your Insurance bet.
From there you have three choices: hit or stand. It is generally played that if the dealer’s exposed card is seven or higher then you should hit until you have a total of 17 or greater. If the dealer’s exposed card is a six or less then it is not completely necessary to get to 17 or greater.
The dealer will deal to 16 and stand on 17 or greater.
If you have a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer then you win 1:1 on your bet.
Differences between casinos
Online casinos use differing gaming software providers to power their live dealer games such as Microgaming, Evolution Gaming and Ezugi, so interfaces and betting layouts differ slightly, but all compete with each other to offer the highest quality gameplay – exactly the competition we players want.
Evolution Gaming Live Dealer Blackjack
Leo Vegas is powered by Evolution Gaming and is the most realistic, comparatively, to being at a real life casino. The card size and game speed is almost identical to a bricks and mortar casino. The Evolution Gaming version of Live Dealer Blackjack offers two optional bonus bets: Perfect Pairs and 21+3 Bonus.
Pairs plus pays 6:1 for a mixed pair (a black and red of equal value), 12:1 on coloured pairs (a heart and diamond or club and spade of the same value) or 25:1 for a Perfect Pair (two cards same suit, same value). The mixed and coloured pairs odds available through this format are better than what you would usually find at bricks and mortar casinos.
The 21+3 side bet takes your initial two hole cards and the dealers initial exposed card to create:
Suited Trips – 100:1
Straight Flush – 40:1
Three of a Kind – 30:1
Straight – 10:1
Flush – 5:1
Betting has a minimum of $5 and maximum of $5,000.
Microgaming Live Dealer Blackjack
All Slots Casino and Royal Vegas Casino are all powered by Microgaming and also offer Playboy Live Dealer Casino Games. If you ever needed another reason to have a punt then you need look no further than the beautiful Playboy Live Dealer Blackjack.
The Microgaming option also offers back betting with lower minimums and maximums than if you were controlling the box yourself.
These games are a little slower paced and the dealers use larger, easily identifiable cards. Microgaming has tables with minimums starting at $25 and a maximum of $500.