A Beginners Guide to Live Dealer Blackjack

For the casual gambler, blackjack was likely the first casino game they learned how to play. Thanks to its simple rules and basic core strategy, picking up blackjack, or 21, is easy and it remains one of the most popular table games in the world. Though his skills weren’t the sharpest, even the “International Man of Mystery”, Austin Powers dabbled in a game of blackjack when he hit the casino floor. With advances in online technologies and live video streaming services, now you can enjoy the casino blackjack experience from the comfort of your own home. Live dealer blackjack is an interactive online experience where once you log in, you are seated at an actual casino table with a real-life dealer accepting your bets and dealing out hands, all in real time via live video stream.

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This online guide will introduce you to the basics of blackjack and why live dealer blackjack continues to gain followers as a complement to the popular casino game.

How To Play Live Dealer Blackjack

The rules of blackjack are simple. You are trying to build the best hand to beat the dealer’s without going over 21. An ace is worth one or 11 points, face cards are worth 10, while the rest of the cards are worth their ranking (i.e. the 3 of hearts is worth three).

The steps to a hand of blackjack are as follows:

  • You place your bet. Table minimums vary depending on which online casino you like and which live dealer blackjack table you select.
  • The live dealer gives each player and himself/herself one card face up.
  • The dealer then gives each player a second card face up, while the dealer’s second card is face down.
  • Based on the points system explained above, you now know the value of your cards and have an idea of what the dealer’s hand value could be.
  • You now decide whether to stand (take no other cards), hit (take another card or cards), or double down (double the amount of your bet because you like your odds of winning and are given a third card). You can also split cards, which we will review later on in this tutorial.
  • After each player makes a decision, the dealer flips over their face down card and, like you, tries to get the best hand without going over 21. In most cases, dealers hit on 16 and stand on 17.

The difference between regular online and live dealer blackjack is that you’re not interacting with a flashy graphics package game software and relying on random number generators to deal your cards. You are literally playing blackjack at a casino with a real dealer and fellow players, but just watching from a video stream. You can see them, they can’t see you, but you may interact with the dealer via a chat function.

Also, because this is like playing in a casino, you’ll probably notice the pace of play is a little slower. The pace of typical online random number generator blackjack is quicker because you’re not waiting on fellow competitors.

Live dealer blackjack

Are there different variations?

There aren’t different variations of live dealer blackjack. At its core, the rules of the game are the same. However, some casinos offer a bet behind feature, which allows you to wager on another player’s hand even if you’re not sitting down at the table. This is a fun alternative if you think that person is running hot, but remember, they control their hand.

Tips and strategies

Without getting into the weeds of best blackjack strategy and theory, here are some basic blackjack tips to give you the best chance of beating the dealer’s hand.

  • In most cases, a dealer must stand on 17. So, if they’re showing a 7 and hit a 10, they can’t take any more cards.
  • If a dealer is showing a 6, your hand is in great shape because most blackjack rules force a dealer to hit on 16. So, if their other card is a king, queen, jack or 10, they’re hitting with a good chance they bust (go over 21).
  • If a dealer is showing a 2-5, your hand remains in great shape for the same reasons noted above.
  • Depending how aggressive you want to be, when dealt two of the same card, you may split and play two separate hands, which does require another bet. Let’s say you have two 8s and the dealer is showing a 6 (from above). Splitting makes a lot of sense because of the better odds. However, if a dealer is showing a 9 and you have two 5s, you probably don’t want to split those cards because the dealer may be sitting on a face card or ace, which is a tough hill to climb from 5.

With advances in online technologies and live video streaming services, now you can enjoy the casino blackjack experience from the comfort of your own home.

Advantages of live dealer blackjack

If you’ve played regular online blackjack for years, you may be wondering what advantages a live dealer offers. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Home comfort. It’s the best way to enjoy a casino atmosphere without having to get up off the couch, drive to the local casino or hop on a plane to Vegas or Atlantic City. The casino, table and dealer are right in front of you thanks to the live video streaming technology.
  • Reassurance. Some veteran online blackjack players may be skeptical that the random number generator is on the up-and-up when dealing out hands. Instead of concerning yourself with what the computer software will deal you, the live dealer experience is all in real time under the same bricks-and-mortar rules and regulations you’ve grown accustomed to and trust.
  • Being able to interact with the real dealer instead of just watching flashy motion graphics pump out cards is a nice touch. You can choose from a wide selection of dealers from all over the world before deciding which table to join.

Live Dealer Blackjack FAQs