Your No-Nonsense Guide to Live Blackjack
The popularity of the “Live Casinos” option has been growing massively which is why the online casino sites are incorporating this section. The appeal of live casino games is that it allows you to play against a dealer in real time instead of the computer, therefore your online casino experience is much more authentic and it feels like you’re playing at a real land-based casino.
There are several choices when it comes to games at a live casino; however, Blackjack is definitely a top favourite. They offer several different game variations and of course, various dealers. Most casinos also give out welcome bonuses for new players as well as additional prizes for playing the live games.
Here we bring you everything you need to know about the game, including which online casinos offer the best Live Blackjack experience.
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Live Blackjack Basics
Live Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world so knowing the basics before getting into it is a must. The game itself is considered a banking game where your opponent is the bank. You should be aiming to get a hand that’s closer to 21 than the bank’s hand; however, be careful not to go over 21 and bust.
Live Casino Blackjack is played with 52 cards and the Jokers are not used. When you play at a casino, you will notice that several decks are shuffled together and added to something that’s called a “shoe” from where they are dealt. Cards from 2-10 are worth their face value while Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth 10 points each. The Ace is the only card in the deck that can be counted as both 1 and 11 which makes it the strongest card in a blackjack deck.
How to Play Live Blackjack Like an Expert
Stick to these 4 simple principles and you will be playing live blackjack like a pro in no time:
When to Hit or Stand – The only reason to hit your hand is to improve it. The goal is to improve your hand to 19 because the average winning hand in blackjack is a bit above 18. However, if you get 17 it’s not reasonable to request another card. Standing, on the other hand, should be done only if you think that your hand is better than the dealer or if you believe that the dealer will bust. The rules state that the dealer must always hit when he has 16 and stand when he has 17.
The Value of Aces – The reason why aces are worth more than any other card is that they are a face card that is not counted as a 10 but rather as 1 or 11. This helps you immensely when you are trying to improve your hand and you are not sure whether to stand or hit. Aces can really improve your odds of winning in blackjack.
When to Double – It’s smart to double down if you reach a hard total of 10 or 11. If you have a soft hand, the decision is not that easy. If you have an Ace plus any card from 2-7 then it’s good to double down. If you have an 8 or higher though, you should never double down.
Effective Splitting – Always split a pair of 8’s because their total is 16 which is among the worst hands in blackjack. Also, always split Aces because that hand is either a 2, a 22(bust) or a 12 which are all bad hands. However, if you split them and you get a face hard on each of them, you end up with two blackjacks.
Essentially, live blackjack works the same way as regular blackjack at any casino. The only difference is that you will be waging against a real dealer and there will be other real players seated at the table with you. The first thing you need to do at the live casino is entering the lobby for Live Blackjack. There, you will be able to see all the different tables and variants so you can pick what Blackjack game suits you the most.
Some of the tables will be for low bids, some for high bids, a table where it’s just you against the dealer, and usually a VIP table. Once you select a table that fits your requirements, it’s time to pick a position to sit at the table. As soon as you pick a position, you will be included in the game. The round that’s in progress will finish and then you can place your bids for the following round. After that, everything is just like playing at a real casino.
The common payment methods for playing Live Blackjack are credit/debit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfer. These payment options provide players instant deposits and quick payouts.
Live Blackjack Rules
The rules for Live Blackjack are simple and there is just a few of them. The first thing you need to know is that stakes will be limited, depending on the casino. All active boxed get two, face-up cards while the dealer gets one hole card and one up-card. If the dealer is showing an Ace, players can buy “insurance”, which will pay out 2:1 if the dealer has Blackjack. If the player hits blackjack after buying insurance then he will be paid out at 3:2 odds. Some other rules include:
- The dealer must stand if he hits 17
- The dealer must hit if he has 16
- You can split paired two-card hands
- The option “surrender” is not allowed in Live Blackjack
Live Blackjack Strategies
Choose a table that has a minimum bet which is no more than 5% of your total bankroll. Blackjack is all about discipline, so your bankroll can last longer, thus giving your increased chances of winning.
Try to play just one hand and always sit as far away from the dealer as possible. That way you can see which cards have been drawn for the other people playing on the table and for the dealer as well. This will help you make a better decision, whether to stand or hit.
Try to find a table which pays 3:2 odds for Blackjack and where the dealer stands on soft 17. These tables have the lowest house edge, so the player is at a bigger advantage compared to all the other tables.
Never take the “insurance” because on most tables the odds for insurance are 9:4. Based on the odds, if you made thirteen $1 insurance bets, you are likely to win 4 of these bets. In the meantime, you will lose in the other 9 cases which means you lost $9 and won only $4. All in all, you will be 5$ in the hole, so try to avoid getting “insurance” as much as possible.
Double down if your hand value is 11 because chances are you get blackjack with any face card.
Double on an Ace and 6, because this is an ideal time to take a risk- you have both 7 and 17 at once.
Double down if: your hand equals 10 while the dealer’s open card is 4, 5, or 6.
Never Split a pair of 10’s, because it’s not smart to split a total value of 20 (the only blackjack beats that).
Hit when the dealer’s up card is high (7 or more) as there’s a good chance their total is high.
Live Blackjack Features
There are different features for Live Blackjack and they all depend on the online casino and the software provider. Most casinos will have manual shuffling and dealing while few of them also offer auto shuffling and dealing. Other features include:
- Vegas Rules – Dealer gets 2 cards at the start, just like the players.
- Dealer Stands on Soft 17/Any 17 – If the dealer gets any kind of 17 then he/she must stop and can’t get an extra card which can potentially improve their hand.
- Double on Any Card – This means you can double your bet regardless of the cards you have.
- Surrender Hand When Dealer Has Ace – Some casinos offer the option for the player to surrender their hand and lose only half the bet when the dealer has Ace as the first card.
- Split Pairs – You can split your hand regardless of what kind of pair you have.
- Multi-Hand – Allows you to play on more than one seat at a certain table.
- Multi-Table – Allows players to play at several tables at the same time.