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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you read live dealer blackjack?
It’s probably something along the lines of having a live dealer at the blackjack table.
So what’s the big deal? I’ll bet you had a real live dealer the last time you visited your closest casino and played blackjack just like I did.
One issue with playing casino games online is the lack of social interaction with other people. You basically play hour after hour against a computer.
Now many online casinos offer the chance to play blackjack from the comfort of your home with a live dealer. But these casinos do:
These live dealer casinos create the closest thing you can find to actually playing in a casino like the ones found in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
How Live Dealer Blackjack Works
Live dealer blackjack uses live streaming technology involving your Internet connection, the online casino software you connect to, cameras, and live dealers at blackjack tables.
The dealer has a monitor showing the players sitting at the table, their balances, and their playing decisions throughout the hand. A camera captures the dealer’s image and transmits it through the software to the device you’re using to play.
Each decision you make is displayed to the dealer so she can follow the correct procedure during the hand.
For example, you tell the software you want to make a $20 wager so the dealer sees the amount of your bet and that you’re ready to start the hand. Once each player at the table is ready the dealer deals cards to each player and herself. Play continues throughout the hand just like when you’re playing in a land based casino.
Is Live Dealer Play Better?
When comparing live dealer blackjack play to just playing with the computer software running the game it really comes down to a matter of opinion. Some players like live dealer play and some prefer not dealing with anything but the cards.
You can read some of the possible negatives associated with online live dealer play in the next to last section below, but the answer lies with which version you like better.
As humans we often let other people and their opinions alter the way we do things. One of the best things about playing online is you don’t have to worry about what anyone thinks or how they feel. You don’t even have to tell anyone you know that you play online.
I highly recommend trying live dealer online play if you haven’t had the chance yet. It’s a little different than playing in a land based casino and it’s a great deal different than normal online play. The only way to see which variation you enjoy more is to start playing.
Live Dealer Software Providers
Currently online casinos and mobile gaming platforms can chose from close to 20 different software packages offering live dealer blackjack games. Many of these platforms only work with one or two online casinos, but the market continues to grow so I expect more live dealer platforms to emerge in the future.
Here’s a quick overview of the five biggest providers of live dealer blackjack games to the online market.
(Just to be clear, you don’t play at the companies named below. They provide the games to casinos where you play. For example, you don’t play at Microgaming; you play at an online casino that uses Microgaming software.)
Evolution Gaming – Evolution Gaming is the leading live dealer blackjack provider. They have a wide range of casino clients who use their software, one of the best quality video streams available, game availability around the clock, mobile gaming, and great dealers. They were the first company to grab a leading market share in the live dealer market and have done an excellent job of fighting off competitors. While the other top companies listed below have acquired some of the market share, Evolution is still the biggest name in the market.
Net Entertainment – Net Entertainment is known for offering some of the best graphics on their popular casino games and continues offering a nice looking gaming experience with their live dealer solution. Though they haven’t been offering software solutions to the gaming industry as long as Microgaming or Playtech, Net Entertainment has quickly become one of the top software providers and continues gaining more market share by expanding their product offerings.
Playtech – One of the oldest casino software providers, Playtech also offers a wide range of live dealer games. Playtech powered casinos that choose to offer live dealer games provide their players the chance to play blackjack, baccarat, roulette, sic bo, and casino holdem.
Microgaming – Microgaming is one of the largest and most popular providers of casino software packages to the online casino market and is one of the oldest companies in the market. They offer a wide range of gambling services to the online market and now offer their licensees the opportunity to have live dealer games. In addition to blackjack they offer baccarat and roulette.
Visionary Gaming – One of the few live dealer blackjack options that offer a free play option, Visionary Gaming has a browser based system offering a simple straightforward blackjack game. At this time they don’t offer a mobile live dealer game so you’ll have to play on your regular computer.
Live Dealer Blackjack Negatives – What’s Wrong with Live Dealer Play?
You won’t find many negatives when considering live dealer blackjack play, but here’s a few things to consider.
Most live dealer software platforms don’t offer free play. In other words, if you aren’t playing for real money you aren’t welcome. This is pretty much the same policy most land based casinos follow, so this one isn’t a huge surprise.
The pace of play can be slower than playing at an online blackjack table with the software dealing and running the game. Most of the time you’ll be playing with other players at the same table so the dealer has to wait on each player to make a playing decision on their hand before continuing on to the next player.
Because blackjack is a negative expectation game when played online, playing fewer hands per hour is generally a good thing. You’ll lose at a slower pace at a live dealer table so you’ll be able to play longer on average on the same size bankroll.
Live dealer online blackjack offers a nice change of pace to regular online play. If you start playing and enjoy the experience, make sure you take the time to check out two or three different software providers to find the version you like best.