Live Dealer Blackjack
Live Blackjack is a casino game where you play at a real blackjack table against live dealers via a video stream. This makes interactions with the live blackjack dealer possible, as well as chatting with other players at the table.
Below, you can browse online.casino live blackjack guide, where we present everything you need to know about this specific casino game, in addition to the best live dealer blackjack casinos where you can play for real money.
What Is Live Dealer Blackjack?
Live Dealer Blackjack is any blackjack game with a real-life dealer and physical table, that is streamed to the internet. Instead of placing your bets with physical chips, you’re given a virtual overlay to use on top of the table.
Live dealer blackjack is a great game for those who want to experience a real live casino atmosphere, without ever leaving their home. Alternatively, if you’re using a mobile device on-the-go, you can now enjoy a little bit of 21-based action how it was it meant to be played – wherever you are in the world. Check out our guide for online blackjack games for more variations of this card game.
Why Should I Play Live Dealer Blackjack?
1. Classic Casino Feel
Along with roulette, blackjack is the quintessential casino table game. You don’t get much more iconic than hitting, splitting, busting, or doubling as cards hit that green felt.
With live dealer blackjack, you get all that – plus the physical sights and sounds of a working casino environment. You’ll hear the dealer calling out results, slapping the cards on the table and shuffling the decks, plus the clattering sounds of roulette wheels or cards being dealt at other tables.
This all combines to give a fantastic real-life casino atmosphere, that’s about as close as you’re going to get to a real casino floor without actually travelling to a physical venue.
2. Complete Convenience
As fun as they are for many of us, we all know how much of a hassle a physical casino visit can be. Some people won’t like the music, since most casinos tend to stick to top 40 chart-bangers. Others won’t find the seating comfortable or the temperature right.
None of that matters at a live blackjack table, played from the comfort of your own home. You’re in charge of everything. If there’s something you don’t like about your dealer, you can finish your bets and switch tables without needing to stand up and walk away.
On top of that, you’ll never run out of chips – unless your balance reaches zero. You can also see a whole load of information, like your betting history or the table’s history, before you join at the click of a button.
Put all of that together and you can easily see live blackjack is the simplest and most convenient way to play this classic table game online.
3. Dealer Interaction
99.99% of online casino games are certified completely fair. If we recommend a site, you can be 100% confident that all of their games are guaranteed to be above-board.
However, we understand that many people just inherently find Random Number Generator computerized table games to be less trustworthy.
Enter, live blackjack. When you can see and hear the true randomness of the cards being shuffled and laid down by a real-life dealer, it’s tough to doubt the integrity of the game.
This is amplified by the interactions you can have with the live host of the table. Most developers will offer you the ability to chat through a text box, and the dealer will enthusiastically reply to almost any appropriate comments.
4. Pick Your Table or Dealer
The best live blackjack dealers are incredibly friendly and really do care about your day or the results of the game. Or, if you want a more professional and quieter live dealer, you can get that too.
Unlike a land-based casino, which may have a dozen or so blackjack tables at the absolute most, online casinos can come with upwards of 50 or more live blackjack tables in their collections.
So, whether you want a fast-paced game with an attractive female host cracking jokes or a super-serious high stakes affair with a suited gentlemen dealing the cards, the best live blackjack sites will provide any kind of table you could want.
5. Special Tables
You’ll also find many special varieties of live blackjack online that you wouldn’t see at a physical casino.
There’s Evolution Gaming’s Party Blackjack for example. Party Blackjack lets unlimited players ‘bet behind’ the five who are seated at the table and also features two excitable hosts, loud music, and low bet limits.
Conversely, you have Evolution’s Salon Prive or PlayTech’s Soiree tables. Both taking their names from the French language, these sophisticated tables offer 1-to-1 live dealers with higher bet limits and classier décor.
In fact, you’ll need at least $10,000 (or your currency equivalent) in your account just to take a seat at some Salon Prive tables.
The above are just a few examples of the innovative and interesting spins on the classic 21 format that live casino developers offer today.
Safety and Support
It doesn’t matter how good a casino’s advertised services are. If an operator hasn’t made a safe and reliable place to play, then we won’t recommend them.
They might own the best live blackjack collection of all time – but if it takes you a few emails and several hours on the phone to customer services just to get a small withdrawal request put through on your third-choice banking method, then you shouldn’t play there.
This is always our number one priority. Stick with our expert reviews, and you’ll never have to deal with any of the tiny fraction of unscrupulous or unprofessional operators.
When you cash out on a hot streak, you want your winnings as quickly as possible. If a casino typically takes 10 days to do card withdrawals (which is not common, but does happen), we’ll warn you.
Also, for you high-rolling blackjack fans – if there are BTC transactions available, that’s always on our radar too.
How we Pick a Great Live Dealer Blackjack Casino
Live Blackjack Selection
Once practical issues have been addressed, it’s time to move on to the fun part. This is where we look at all of the live blackjack tables on offer at a casino.
A great live casino should have Evolution Gaming or PlayTech as their main supplier. Not only have these two perfectly nailed the basic thrill of the live blackjack experience, but they’ve also developed a range of unique and innovative tables.
- Salon Prive or Soiree VIP tables
- Tables with dealers speaking many different languages
- Fast paced and low budget ‘party’ tables
- Custom tables in collaboration with various big-name casinos
- Infinite tables with unlimited players
You’ll also want some variety from other developers such as Ezugi, BetConstruct, Pragmatic Play, or Asia Gaming.
These developers all offer their own exclusive charms, such as unique side bets or tipping the dealer, but they also have some flaws that prevent them from being quite as good as Evolution or NetEnt.
Last but not least, we’ll look for the best live blackjack applicable bonuses.
The greatest sites will have a welcome offer that is specifically aimed at live blackjack, or at least general live casino players. On top of that, you should also see weekly or monthly promotions that are exclusive to live casino games.
How to Play Live Dealer Blackjack
Blackjack, at its core, is one of the easiest casino games to pick up and play. Live dealer versions are no different.
Players start out with two cards and can adjust their hand from there, all with the aim of beating the dealer by being closest to the score of 21.
Aces can count for either 11 or 1, depending on what is most advantageous to you with your hand. Royal cards all count as 10.
Here’s our step by step guide to hitting the felt, and hopefully, bagging your first win:
1. Take a seat
First things first, you’ll need to choose a seat. Most live blackjack tables have four or five seats. If there are no free seats available, you might be able to ‘bet behind.’
‘Bet behind’ allows you to pick one of the other players who you think might win and bet along with their hands, although you’ll have no control over how they play.
2. Place a Bet
Before any cards are dealt, you’ll have to place your bet. This can start at as little as $1 and go all the way up to $10,000 or more at some casinos.
There may also be some side bets, which can get you a win by matching various secondary conditions (more on these later).
3. First Cards
When all bets are placed, the dealer will hand out two face-up cards to each player – with either just one card or one face-up and one face-down for themselves.
A little pop-up will then appear, telling you the value of your cards. The closer to 21, the better.
If you’ve pulled a 21 with just the first two cards (that’s a ten, Jack, King or Queen paired with an Ace) then you’ve hit a ‘blackjack’ and you’ve already won.
If you haven’t already gotten a blackjack at this stage, it’s time to choose your play.
Mainly, you’ll be looking at one of two options. You can hit (get another card) or stick (sometimes called stand) to stay with the cards you have. These are usually represented by a plus or minus sign on your screen.
If you hit, you’ll get another choice to hit again or stand in the next round of play.
Just be careful not to hit one too many times and go over 21, at which point you’ll go bust and automatically lose.
If you have two of the same card, you can also split your hand into two hands and you’ll get to make another choice for each.
You might also be able to double down, where you double your bet and get an extra card. This only makes sense to use if you think you have a winning hand – for example, if the dealer has a low card (six or less) and you have an 11.
5. Winners and Pay-outs
Once all the players and the dealer have made their plays, the dealer compares their score against the players’. If you end up closer to 21 than the dealer, you win the bet.
If both you and the dealer have the same hand, any winning bets are ‘pushed,’ which means you get your stake back.
Blackjack Glossary: Key Terms Explained
Blackjack is when you are dealt a score of 21, automatically winning the hand. In some instances, you’ll see your bet returned in a ‘push’ if the dealer also gets a blackjack.
Soft hands in blackjack are ones that feature an ace. Hard hands are those without aces. This is because aces in your hand count for one or 11, thereby lowering the risk when hitting for an extra card.
For example, imagine you have a hard 15 hand consisting of a 10 and a five. If you then hit for an eight, you’d get a total of 23 and you’d go bust.
Now imagine If your hand was a soft 15, say an ace and four, and you hit the same eight. This time you wouldn’t go bust because the ace can now count as a one and your new total is only 13.
Sometimes you’ll see terms on the table such as ‘dealer must stand/hit on a soft 17’. If the dealer must hit on a soft 17, your edge increases slightly.
This is when you bet on another player’s hand, instead of taking a direct seat at the table. You make no decisions when the hand is in play though, so make sure that you’re not betting on players who make statistically poor plays like hitting on a hard 17.
Since you lose some of the overall live blackjack experience, betting behind is usually only worth doing if you’re waiting for a seat at a table where you really want to play.
This rule gives you the mid-round option to put down another bet of the same value as before, doubling it up. You only want to do this when you’re sure you have a good chance of winning the hand, for example holding a 20 vs the dealer’s five.
Some live blackjack tables will only let you double on a score of nine to 11. Those have a lower edge compared to tables that let you double on any hand.
If you are dealt two of the same card, many tables will then give you the option to split. This creates two hands of the same initial value, which you can then hit or stand on individually in your turns.
Some developer’s blackjack tables will let you double down on split hands, but others will not. So, if you enjoy doing this, be sure to read our reviews and check table rules carefully before you join.
Hit Split Aces
On some developers’ blackjack tables you can only hit once on a pair of split aces, as these are such a strong hand. This rule increases the house edge on a table slightly.
Side bets are wagers you can place at the same time as your main hand bet. They have various conditions attached to the outcome, such as being dealt a specific kind of pair, or yours and the dealer’s hand forming a poker hand.
They often pay out a lot more than the main bets, as the odds of winning are lower. These change a lot between developers, probably making them the most variable factor in live blackjack.
Some live blackjack tables from various developers let you surrender your hand, before any actions are taken. This can be advantageous if you have a poor hand, against a good initial card from the dealer.
Sometimes, the dealer will check for a blackjack if their first card is an ace – before surrenders are allowed. This rule increases the house edge slightly.
Types of Live Blackjack
VIP: VIP live blackjack tables have higher bet limits and usually feature calmer, more professional hosts. Generally, it’s much easier to find a seat if you’re a high-rolling player, since fewer people are interested in playing as minimum bets get higher.
VIP tables at online casinos usually start at around $100-plus per hand and may go up to $10,000 or more.
Party: In contrast, live blackjack tables labelled something like ‘party’ or ‘celebrity’ have the lowest bet limits – sometimes as little as $0.50. These lower bet levels are rarer in live casino games, as they cost a lot more to run than setting up a slot or RNG table game.
In addition to low limits, party tables will usually have louder music and chattier hosts. They nearly always allow betting behind as well.
Common Draw or Infinite Blackjack: A fairly new innovation in the industry, these tables are currently only available from developers Evolution and NetEnt. We’re sure that other companies will make their own in due course, though.
What common draw live blackjack games do, is allow you to play with literally hundreds (and theoretically thousands) of people on one blackjack hand simultaneously.
This works because the dealer puts dealt cards into a chute in the middle of the felt, which then creates an electronic copy on each player’s display. As one of many players, you can then make their own decisions, on one hand.
Perfect or Automatic: Another new variant on the scene, these types of live blackjack essentially play the hand for you – according to a near perfect mathematical strategy.
Obviously, live blackjack is still a game of chance (even if there is some skill involved) so you’ll never win every time. But if you’re still learning to play the game, and you keep making silly mistakes like hitting at the wrong time, then this might be the game for you.
Sadly though, these are only offered by market-leading developers Evolution and NetEnt at the current time.
Live Blackjack Developers
Evolution Gaming: The top dog in the wider live casino market for the past few years, Evolution is similarly the most popular and the best live blackjack developer as well.
They were the first to develop many of the live casino field’s biggest innovations of the past few years, such as personal luxury VIP tables, Party tables, and Infinite tables. With no disparagement toward the others, NetEnt and other competitors have mostly been playing catch-up.
Evolution’s huge custom-built studio in Riga, Latvia, enables them to host literally hundreds of live blackjack tables at any one time and their production quality is second to none.
From stream quality to interface to the sheer number and variety of games, Evolution definitely takes the number one spot for live blackjack developers.
NetEnt: The main point at which NetEnt’s live blackjack offerings diverge from Evolution’s is their use of green screen computer generated backgrounds.
This means you’ll see some fancy animated backgrounds, such as mansion hallways or penthouse suites with city views – and even sometimes computer characters wandering through the background.
Even though the dealers, tables and cards are certifiably live, for a live casino experience, it feels a little flat for us. You may disagree, but this is the biggest drawback to NetEnt live blackjack games in our opinion.
Otherwise, their 20 or so live blackjack tables run just as smoothly and efficiently as Evolution’s and they hold their live dealers to the same high standards.
You’ll also find NetEnt live casinos come with most of the same special varieties of blackjack that Evo offers, as well as a few of their own devising.
Others: Just a few other developers that provide casinos with live blackjack tables include:
- Xpro Gaming
- Lucky Streak
- Pragmatic Play
- Asia Gaming
Out of these, Ezugi, Lucky Streak and Pragmatic Play offer the highest quality streaming and the most efficient interfaces.
At Pragmatic Play, there are a number of unique side bets to enjoy and you can tip the dealer at any time.
At Ezugi, they offer a range of languages you won’t see from other developers including Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, and Russian, and their Costa Rican studio has its own busy atmosphere that’s different from the competition.
This is not to say the others listed don’t offer an enjoyable live blackjack experience in their own way, but they definitely have their problems too.
Three Hot Blackjack Tips
1. Look for variants of the game that follow American rules over European. These are far more likely to offer surrender or double downs on any hand or splits – all of which increase your winning edge.
On the flip side, American rules mean the dealer gets one card face-up and another card face-down. If the face-up card is an ace, the dealer is allowed to check the other card for a Blackjack. If they have a Blackjack, they win the game on the spot.
However, this house advantage is not enough to offset all of the other rules that favor the player. American style remains your better option based on return potential.
2. Ignore other players. Many people who play live blackjack online, to put it bluntly, just aren’t very good at it.
You shouldn’t follow what the previous person did, or anyone else. Think about your own hand and what the possibilities might be with yours and the dealer’s cards.
3. Probably the most important tip – learn basic blackjack strategy. Researchers and scientists have been studying the game for many years, and there is undeniably a basic set of optimal plays to make for every possible hand combination between you and the dealer.
Sure, if you’re feeling lucky and want to take a hit on a 16 to see if you can salvage a fortunate win from the jaws of defeat, then go ahead. Blackjack is a game, and it should be fun, after all.
However, following the widely-known basic blackjack strategy will see you win more often than any other tips we have to offer.
Playing Live Blackjack on Mobile
If you’ve got a fairly modern mobile device that can harness a decent connection, you should be able to enjoy thrilling live blackjack action on the move with ease.
Live casino titles are generally more demanding on both device hardware and internet however, so don’t assume they’ll work perfectly just because you can play slots on your device.
Naturally, developers take steps to ensure games are as optimized as possible nowadays. So, even if you’ve got an older device, you might just be pleasantly surprised if you give it a try.
The top developers will also ensure that their user interfaces, lobby systems, and bet overlays are all adapted smoothly for mobile play. You might find some of the lesser-known developers to be a bit shaky on this, but certainly not always.
Live Blackjack Bonuses
There are some fantastic live blackjack suitable bonuses out there, and we do our best to find them all for you.
On the other hand, many welcome bonuses that gift you bonus cash just won’t work with live blackjack.
That’s because the house edge on this classic table game is way less than on slots, so the chances of you making a profit on your free money are higher.
However, there are many casinos that also offer exclusive live blackjack promotions through innovative ideas such as golden cards, or how many blackjacks you can pull over a weekend.
In all of our casino reviews and content, we’ll point out these great live dealer blackjack applicable offers and promotions – so you can enjoy top-tier bonuses on the games you want to play.
Card counting is a famous practice that has been used to predict the results of real-life blackjack games in casinos across the world.
However, it is very difficult to card count at nearly all online casinos, as live blackjack games use a selection of up to eight ‘shoes’ of one or two decks of cards that are shuffled very regularly.
You could still technically try to card count, but without using some computational aids (which is highly illegal and will get you banned from any casino), it’s almost impossible to succeed.
Unfortunately, as far as we know, there are no free online live blackjack games.
Live casino developer’s expenditures on upkeep for their studios and the salaries of their 24/7 live dealers is much higher than a slot developer’s. This means you’re highly unlikely to find a casino that lets you play for free.
Still, if you want to practice or learn the rules before hitting a live table, you can always play classic online casino RNG blackjack for free
If you find a game with the same set of rules, your odds will be exactly the same.
Even with the various rule differences on offer, live blackjack tables’ house edges only vary between 0.5% and 0.8%, based upon following basic strategy. This is the same odds range as most classic online blackjack tables.
For those who are interested, NetEnt’s tables offer the lowest average house edge of all live blackjack tables at just 0.5% and Pragmatic Play averages as the highest with a fractionally larger 0.79%.
Evolution Gaming and NetEnt are the most popular and high-quality providers of live blackjack games.
A few other greats who also produce good quality tables are Ezugi, BetConstruct, Lucky Streak, Pragmatic Play and PlayTech.
Yes, you most certainly can find live blackjack bonuses for your mobile. You might have to look through a few of our reviews first to find the perfect one for you, but they absolutely do exist.
If your mobile device can run live blackjack, there’s an online casino out there that will offer you some kind of bonus with which to play it.