Live Dealer Blackjack
Live dealer blackjack is one of the best additions to the online gambling market since the first online casino was launched in the 1990’s.
Every online casino has blackjack run by the software, but now you can find ones that offer live dealers shown using streaming Internet technology and cameras in real time.
In most ways it’s the same as sitting down at your local casino and playing a few hands of blackjack, but you never have to leave your house. You can even play on the go, with your tablet or smart phone.
Live online blackjack has finally arrived. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to your old casinos again.
Here’s a list of the best casinos with online live dealer blackjack in 2016.
|Live Dealer Casinos||Live Provider||Market||Play now!|
|VIG||Play at Black Diamond!|
|VIG||Play at Rich Casino!|
|VIG||Play at 21Dukes Casino!|
|Evolution||Play at Betway!|
|VIG + GG LABS||Play at 5Dimes Casino!|
|VIG||Play at Winward Casino!|
|VIG||Play at BetAnySports!|
A live online blackjack game needs to strike a balance between two extremes. It physically cannot have all of the factors that go into a game in the real world and, at the same time, the designers are pushing to get away from the standard digital-only format. At the moment, they seem to have found a great compromise. You still have an image of a table that exists only in cyber space. This is an important tool for making bets and ensuring that the game runs smoothly. However, your screen also has a box for streaming video, in which you can see a real dealer running the game.
Apart from above mentioned casino sites we can also recommend having a look at the Exclusive Bet Casino offer many live games from Evolution, NetEnt slots and much more. They do not accept US players though.
These games do not use a cheap set of pre-recorded video to liven up a computer generated game. The video you see is a live broadcast of a dealer who is specifically running your game from a remote location. You can even chat with them if you are unconvinced. Blackjack with live dealers like this brings you as close as possible to the fun and exciting casino experience you expect. It really feels like they can beam a real casino straight into your home! In addition to blackjack, most of these sites have other live table games like live roulette and live dealer baccarat.
Live Blackjack for US Players
Even though they make up the largest market for live dealer blackjack, United States players have fewer options to play live dealer blackjack than players in some other countries. This is largely because of the hostile legal environment in the United States since the passage of UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) of 2006.
It’s worth noting that UIGEA doesn’t make it illegal for U.S. citizens to gamble online. It only makes it illegal for banks and credit card processors to conduct transactions for the purposes of illegal gambling. State laws vary, though, so consult a reputable source of information about the laws in your state for more information.
At this time Microgaming is one of the largest suppliers of live dealer games and they don’t accept players from most US states.
The best way to learn which live dealer casinos accept US players is to follow the advice on this site or visit the home page of the individual casinos. We offer pages about which live dealer casinos are available for US players?
Here are a couple of specific recommendations:
Their blackjack variations offer the most player-friendly rules in the industry. These rules include the option to double after splitting and to double on any two cards. The dealer also stands on soft 17, which favors the player. The house edge for these games is 0.41%, but only if you’re following perfect basic strategy.
Live Blackjack in Other Countries
Each country has their own unique set of laws and rules concerning online gambling. These laws create a situation where some live dealer casinos are available in some areas and not available in other areas.
You need to research the laws in your country before playing for real money.
If you don’t know which online casinos offer play in your country, a quick and easy way to find out is see if you can make a deposit. If you can get money into an online casino they offer play where you live. This doesn’t always mean it’s legal, but players in most countries don’t have to worry about criminal prosecution.
Most countries are more interested in the owners and operators, not the players when they start trying to shut down online casinos. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll be safe just because other players have been.
Contact an attorney or lawyer if you have any concerns or questions.
One of the things you’ll see playing live dealer online blackjack that you often don’t see in a land based casino setting is the wide range of different options and rules.
We suppose it’s similar to visiting a bunch of different land based casinos with each offering different rules and set ups, but it seems like a wider variety of options are available online. This might be because it’s so easy to switch from one casino to another.
Here’s a list of some of the available options for online live dealer blackjack play.
Number of decks – Most online games use 6 or 8 decks, but you can also find a 7 deck game occasionally.
One to many or one to one – Most live dealer blackjack tables are set up with numerous seats just like in your local casino. But a few software providers offer what they call one to many tables.
At a one to many table the dealer takes wagers from as many players who want to play and then deals one hand that every player uses.
Stand or hit a soft 17 – Just like at your local casino, the dealers will hit or stand on a soft 17 based on the house rules.
Other rules – Other rules include the ability to double on any two cards or just on certain totals, how many times you can split, if you can hit split aces, and if you can surrender.
Every casino, both online and land based, sets its betting limits based on a number of factors.
The casinos also have the posted betting limits at their tables and the real limits that they’re willing to use for true high rollers.
You probably won’t see a sign stating that a casino will accept a million dollar bet, but you can probably find some casinos that will.
If you want to play at a higher limit in a land based casino you ask the dealer or the pit boss. When you play online it can be harder to get the limits raised. You can contact the support department, but don’t count on it doing any good.
Some of the highest live dealer blackjack limits can be found at Guts Casino and RedBet Casino. They both offer the ability to wager up to $2,000 per hand. But the highest one I’ve seen is the $5,000 per hand offered by BetOnline Casino.
If you only play 50 hands per hour you’ll be betting $100,000 per hour at $2,000 a hand, and $250,000 an hour at $5,000 a hand. So be careful when you start playing at the highest limits.
Just like you can find online casinos that use software from a wide range of vendors, you can find live dealer blackjack games offered from many different software companies. The most popular live dealer companies are listed below with a short summary covering the games they offer. You can also find more details about each provider on our live blackjack comparison page.
Evolution Gaming – Evolution Gaming is one of the most well-known live gaming software providers. They currently offer four different blackjack games including two different VIP tables.
Some of the rules and options available on one or more of the four variations of Evolution Gaming blackjack include double on 9 to 11 , double on any, private table, ability to hit split aces, ability to re-split hands, surrender, and some casinos offer side bets.
Exclusive Bet live casino uses Evolution Gaming software.
Global Gaming Labs – Global Gaming Labs offers a 7 seat multiplayer table blackjack game that uses an 8 deck shoe, no re splitting, surrender, can double any two cards, can’t hit split aces, can double after split, and the dealer stands on soft 17.
At this time they only offer one live dealer blackjack game.
Microgaming – Microgaming offers a single live dealer option that is a 7 seat multi player game using an 8 deck shoe. The dealer stands on soft 17, players aren’t allowed to double after splitting, can only double totals of 9, 10, and 11, and are allowed to hit split aces.
Along with Evolution Gaming listed above, Microgaming is one of the two biggest and most popular live dealer options.
Playtech – Playtech offers five different live dealer blackjack games. Their standard game uses an 8 deck shoe, has 7 seats, offers a Perfect Pairs side bet, can only split once, can double on any two cards, and can double after splitting.
They also offer a game called Ultimate Blackjack that they used to call Unlimited Blackjack. It’s dealt from an 8 deck shoe and is designed to offer one to many play as opposed to having a set number of players at the table.
Visionary iGaming – Visionary iGaming is a newer entrant into the live dealer blackjack market but they offer both a regular game and a proprietary game variation.
Their regular game is a 7 seat table dealt from a 6 deck shoe that has the dealer hit on soft 17, no re splitting, no hitting on split aces, ability to double after splits, and can double on any two cards.
The proprietary game is called Early Payout Blackjack and it’s designed so you can play the normal basic strategy play offered or you can take an early pay out based on the chance of success. The game is dealt one to many from a 6 deck shoe.
I always enjoy checking out new games and proprietary games and Early Payout is one I recommend trying. It puts a neat twist on blackjack and offers another option for the way you play each hand.
Two popular online casinos that offer live dealer blackjack using Visionary iGaming solutions are 21 Dukes Casino and Rich Casino.
The Pros and Cons of Live Dealer Blackjack versus Playing against a RNG
Other than the visual difference, playing against the computer or a live dealer is much the same. The rules are usually the same, the betting limits are usually the same, and how the game of blackjack is played doesn’t change.
When the computer or the software is running the game it uses a random number generator program, often called an RNG, to determine which cards are played.
Each card in the shoe is assigned a unique number and these numbers are placed in a unique order for each shoe based on the RNG.
Here’s an example:
In a shoe that holds eight decks of cards, you’ll have 416 unique numbers. This is because 52 cards per deck times 8 decks equals 416. These can be numbered 1 thru 416 or 0 thru 415 or any other combination the software programmer decided to use.
The ace of spades from the first deck may be number 1 and the ace of spades from the second deck is number 52, etc.
Before each hand the RNG runs and places each of the 416 cards on a stack, which we think of as the shoe. As each random number is presented the card matching that number is placed on the stack until all of the cards are on the stack. In the case where the same number is generated more than once, it’s ignored until the next stack is built.
When the software starts dealing the hand the top card of the stack is either burnt or dealt to you. If the first card was burnt you receive the second card. The next card is dealt to the dealer and the deal continues as normal.
As you can see, this is almost exactly what happens when a shoe is manually shuffled by a dealer or a shuffling machine. The RNG actually does a better job producing random shuffles than and dealer or machine.
So what’s the difference between playing using the RNG software and a live dealer game?
In the end you won’t find much difference. Your results should be close to the same in the long run.
Counting doesn’t come into play. Read the special section on card counting below for more information.
The main difference is you can play quite a few more hands per hour using the RNG software than playing live dealer blackjack.
Depending on your desired outcome, live dealer play with the same bankroll, rules, and bets will let you play longer on average than playing against the computer.
If you assume a house edge of 1%, 50 hands per hour at a live dealer table, 100 hands per hour at the computer table, and an average wager of $100 per hand you’ll lose on average $50 per hour playing live dealer and $100 per hour playing against the computer.
One difference between the two experiences is while playing live dealer you play a game dealt by a beautiful dealer, who’s usually female. This may be a positive or a negative depending on your preferences, but sometimes a bit of human interaction, even if it’s across the Internet using cameras, is a nice change up to normal online life.
Another difference is when you play against the computer it’s almost always you against the machine one against one. Even if you’re able to place more than one bet you’re just playing heads up against an invisible dealer.
Many live dealer blackjack games are set up more like traditional blackjack games with numerous places around the table for other players.
When you play at a table with other players you have to wait on them to act just like in a land based casino. This can slow the game down a great deal and become irritating if one of the players is slow or has a poor Internet connection.
Is Live Dealer Blackjack Rigged?
Live dealer blackjack is run using the same rules, regulations, and oversight used by land based casinos.
We’ve never seen evidence that a live dealer blackjack game was rigged. If one is discovered in the future it’ll be widely reported in the news and all over the Internet.
While it’s possible for a blackjack table to have a stacked deck of cards inserted into the shoe, it’s highly unlikely and the risk is just as big at a local casino as it is if you play live dealer online.
The main reason casinos don’t do things like this is they don’t have to in order to turn a healthy profit. They don’t need to run the risk of being caught cheating; the rules of the game and the player mistakes lock in a long term profit for the house.
Card Counting and Live Dealer Blackjack
Many blackjack players know that the only way to beat the game in the long run is to change the house odds in some way. The most common way for blackjack players to change the odds is to learn how to count cards.
Most blackjack games played online use a random number generator and the cards are basically shuffled after each hand. This makes it impossible to gain an edge by counting cards.
But when you find a live dealer blackjack game it looks just like a game you can play at your local casino, so many players ask if it’s possible to gain an edge by counting the live dealer game online?
The short answer is no.
We suppose it’s theoretically possible to reduce the house edge by counting, the reality is the casinos know counters exist and know that they can easily use computer programs to track the cards while playing at home. So they’ve made the games so counters can’t beat them.
The main thing online live dealer casinos do to combat counters is shuffle the cards more often. Most state they shuffle the cards as often as they deem necessary, while some state they shuffle after four decks have been dealt from an eight deck show.
This creates a level of deck penetration that makes it practically impossible to overcome by counting. In addition, you might not be able to tell when a new shoe is put into use depending on how the table is laid out and how the camera angle is used in the different software solutions.
Free Live Dealer Blackjack
The best way to play blackjack is with real money. But the best live casino sites let you try their games for free. You’ll usually only be able to get a limited demonstration, though–they have a limited number of seats, and they want them occupied by players who are playing for real money. This is more than enough to see how it all works, though
If you’re just looking for free blackjack games, digital examples are out there. But they don’t have live dealers.
The only way to know for sure if an online casino offers free live dealer blackjack is log into your account and try to play.
On the other hand, almost every online casino offers free blackjack play on their non live dealer games.
Live dealer games cost the online casinos more money to run than their normal games. The added cost of paying the dealers and support personnel and the expense of the cameras and streaming feeds all take away from the bottom line.
This is the main reason the casinos only want real money players at their live dealer games. Blackjack is traditionally a low house edge game anyway, so if they add the cost of offering the game for free it reduces the edge further.
When an additional player is added to the normal blackjack games run by software, the extra expense is almost zero. The cost of the software and bandwidth has already been paid, so a casino has to have thousands of free players on the regular games before it costs them extra.
And the casino knows that if they can get thousands of players to try their blackjack game for free that some of the players will make a deposit and play for real money, easily covering the small added expense.
Bitcoin Live Dealer Blackjack?
One of the recent fads in the online gambling world is the ability to use Bitcoin to play. While a few online casinos that exclusively use Bitcoin have been launched, many traditional online casinos have started accepting it along with their other deposit methods.
This means that if you want to play live dealer Bitcoin blackjack you need to find a casino that accepts Bitcoin and also has live dealer play.
Once you make a deposit it doesn’t matter what method you used, as the game play will be the same. When the Bitcoin is deposited it’s converted to the standard currency you play in. If you usually wager in US dollars the Bitcoin is converted to dollars before you start playing.
5 Dimes is an example of an online casino that accepts Bitcoins for deposits and offers live dealer blackjack.
Gambling can be addictive and problem gambling can lead to other issues. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem you can get help. The first place to look for help is http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/
Signs of problem gambling include hiding your gambling activities from other people, gambling with money you can’t afford to lose, like your rent or house payment, and feelings of anxiety when you lose.
Many other signs may be less noticeable. If you’re worried that you or someone you know has a gambling problem please seek help immediately and research ways to spot possible gambling problems in yourself and others.
Most online casinos offer a service that allows you to be placed on a list of players who have self-excluded themselves from playing. Contact the support department of any online casino where you’re considering playing for additional details about being placed on the excluded list.
You can learn more about responsible gambling and how to set your limits when playing live online blackjack at GambleAware.co.uk.
Live dealer blackjack play isn’t for everyone, but it does offer a great alternative to traveling to your nearest casino to play a few hands.
Last updated on the 11th July 2016