Play Live Dealer Blackjack Online in Canada: an Expert Guide

Posted by Arthur Crowson .

Online blackjack, long one of Canada’s most popular casino games, is quickly gaining popularity in the live dealer space at online casinos. Live dealer blackjack allows players to enjoy the game they know and love, with all the social elements, from the comfort of their own home.

Our expert guide to live dealer blackjack will cover:

  • The best live dealer blackjack casinos
  • How to play live dealer blackjack
  • Different variations of the game
  • Proven strategies for winning at live dealer blackjack
  • Advantages to playing live dealer blackjack

Best Live Dealer Blackjack Casinos

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What is Live Dealer Blackjack?

As we’ve covered, live dealer casino games are the online casino’s solution to losing the social elements of playing at a brick-and-mortar casino – when you play a live dealer game, you’ll be on a live video feed at a real table, with a real dealer and real players.

Live dealer blackjack is no exception – if you’ve ever sat down at a blackjack table in real life, you’ll be familiar with the social, team-based atmosphere. You’ll get the same experience when you play live dealer blackjack online. Real players and dealers you can banter with in real time, the opportunity to watch the dealer shuffle, and more.

If you haven’t played blackjack before, live dealer is a great place to start. The dealers are friendly and helpful, and can help to provide advice on how to handle certain situations.

How to Play Live Dealer Blackjack

Live Dealer Blackjack

The goal of blackjack is simple: you are trying to build the best hand to beat the dealer – and the dealer only – without going over 21. Each of you will be dealt two cards initially, and you will need to choose whether to take more cards, or stick with your hand.

  • An ace is worth one or 11 points, whichever benefits your hand more
  • Face cards are worth 10
  • The remainder of the cards are worth their face value (e.g. a 3 would be worth three)

This process remains the same whether you’re playing standard blackjack online or playing live dealer blackjack. The main difference, in addition to the social atmosphere, is that in live dealer blackjack, you’ll communicate directly with the dealer throughout each round, rather than pressing buttons.

A Hand of Live Dealer Blackjack

Here’s a hand of live dealer blackjack in five simple steps:

  1. Place your bet. Table minimums vary depending on which online casino you like and which live dealer blackjack table you select. Bankroll management is important – we recommend choosing a bet size that will allow for you to play at least 20 games (for example, if you have $100 to play with, we’d recommend playing $5 hands at most.
  2. The dealer deals. Each player and the dealer will receive two cards. Both of the dealer’s cards will be face down, while one of yours will be face down, and one will be face up.
  3. Hit, Stand, Split or Double Down. Based on the point value in your hand, you’ll need to decide whether to hit (take another card), stand (decide to take no more cards), double down, or split. We’ll talk more about this step – and how to choose your play – later.
  4. Repeat Step 3 if applicable. If you hit, split, or doubled down, you’ll again need to choose if you want to hit or stand depending on your new card total. You’ll repeat this process until you either have a card total you’re happy with, or until you go over 21 (a “bust”)
  5. Await dealer’s hand for result. Once you’re done with steps 3 & 4, the dealer will go through the same process.

Once each player and the dealer are all settled on their hand, everyone will reveal their cards. At this point, if you’ve beaten the dealer – by getting closer to 21 than they do, without going over – you are paid out. Otherwise, the dealer takes your bet.

How to Win at Live Dealer Blackjack

Manage Your Bankroll

Manage Your Bankroll

We recommend this for every type of online gambling. Have a strategy for how to spend your money, and stick to it. In blackjack, each bet should represent – at most – 5% of your bankroll.

Learn Blackjack Strategy

Learn Blackjack Strategy

Our guide to online blackjack strategy will teach you the nuances that will help you take your game to the next level.

Play Against the Dealer

Play Against the Dealer

You’re playing against the dealer and the dealer only. Don’t get distracted by what other players are doing and don’t let them impact your strategy.

When to Hit, Stand, Double Down, or Split

When to Hit in Live Dealer Blackjack

A “hit” is asking for another card from the dealer

Hit in Live Dealer Blackjack

Depending on what the dealer is showing and the casino’s rules, a general strategy would be to ‘hit’ when your cards total fourteen or less.

When to Stand in Live Dealer Blackjack

Choosing to “stand” is committing to receive no more cards from the dealer

Stand in Live Dealer Blackjack

A player would “stand” when they’re confident they have a high enough hand to beat the dealer, typically on hands that total fifteen or more (depending on what the dealer is showing.)

When to Double Down in Live Dealer Blackjack

“Doubling down” is choosing to double your original bet and committing to receiving only one more card from the dealer

Double Down in Live Dealer Blackjack

As an example, a player should generally “double down” if their hand totals 10 or 11, as the odds of the next card being a ten or face card is in the player’s favour in the long run. Again, this will depend on what the dealer is showing as well as the casino’s dealer rules.

Remember – doubling down doubles a player’s bet, and they only get one more card. If the player gets a good card and win, they win double, but if they get a bad card and lose, they’ll lose double.

When to Split in Live Dealer Blackjack

“Splitting” doubles your current better and splits your existing pair into two separate hands

Split in Live Dealer Blackjack

A split is only an option when a player is dealt a pair. For example, if a player was dealt two 8s, they could split these. They would then have two hands worth 8 each, and receive an additional card for each hand. They’d then play these hands the same way they’d play one – choosing to hit, stand, double down, or even to split again.

Live Dealer Blackjack Tips

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

The Dealer Plays by Pre-Determined Rules

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.

Typically, dealers are also required to hit until they reach 17, meaning they’re required to hit on high hands like 16 and 17.

Assume Face-Down Cards are Worth 10

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.

Leverage Other Game Features

When dealt two of the same card, you have the option of splitting them and playing two separate hands, which does require another bet. For example, if you have two 8s and the dealer is showing a 6, splitting makes a lot of sense because of the better odds.

You can also double down, which means doubling your hand on that bet and committing to receiving only one more card. This type of aggressive wagering allows you to capitalize on your best hands.

Don’t Buy Insurance

When a dealer is showing a face-up Ace (i.e. is a 10 or a face card away from a blackjack), players will be offered the option of purchasing ‘insurance’. Insurance is a separate wager that protects you in the event that the dealer does indeed have blackjack.

While it may seem like a good deal, our experts recommend never buying insurance. It increases your wager size, and the house has nearly a 6% advantage on these bets. Stay away.

Advantages to playing Live Dealer Blackjack

Play From Home

Play From Home

It’s the best way to enjoy a real 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.

Real Cards & a Real Dealer

Real Cards & a Real Dealer

When you play online, you don’t have to rely on random number generators and algorithms to deal your cards – it’s a real person, dealing real cards.

Enjoy the Social Element

Enjoy the Social Element

Blackjack is a social game, and being able to interact with a real dealer instead of just watching flashy motion graphics pump out cards is a nice touch.

Variations of Live Dealer Blackjack

You’ll find most of the usual suspects in live dealer blackjack games, but with added features that make these games stand out from playing against the computer.

VIP Blackjack

VIP blackjack is typically limited to VIP players and high rollers. These games may have larger minimum and maximum bet amounts, along with special VIP treatment to make your experience even more enjoyable. Since these games are so exclusive, you’d be playing against other people with the same gambling habits as you, so you may even make some friends in the end.

Party Blackjack

These games usually involve multiple dealers, loud club music, lots of chatting with players, and sometimes coloured lights to make you feel like you’re actually at a party. Live dealer party blackjack tries to emulate the feeling of being at a party or a casino by connecting with players more often than other games do.

Bet Behind Blackjack

This live dealer variant allows you to sit back and watch the game unfold without playing yourself, but you’re able to bet on other players’ hands. This is a great way to learn and understand the game more.

Live Dealer Blackjack Software Developers

The live dealer casino industry is massive, and there are tons of great software providers on the market. The name you’ll probably see the most often is Evolution Gaming. They are the largest provider of live dealer games and their streams appear on most casino sites, so you know they’re trustworthy and legit. Pragmatic Play is also a common developer, though they sometimes use the name Pragmatic Live for live dealer games specifically.

Live dealer software providers usually operate 24/7 to cater to blackjack online players all over the world, so they are constantly monitored for quality assurance and rarely run into any streaming issues.

Learn More about Online Blackjack

Online Blackjack

Online Blackjack

Read our expert guide to playing standard online blackjack.

Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack Strategy

Master basic blackjack strategy using our guide.

How to Play Blackjack

How to Play Blackjack

All the basics of blackjack gameplay, in one place.

Live Dealer Blackjack FAQ

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Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

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