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About Live Dealer Blackjack

Blackjack works really well online with both virtual and live hosted games attracting millions of players. It’s most enjoyable when played with a live dealer though, as that way you can enjoy a true casino floor feel and bet alongside other players.
Live play comes in two varieties: You can play using a format that simply involves just you and the dealer. Any number of players can join in from other locations but you won’t see what’s happening to them – just what’s going on in your own game. 

More realistic, though, are the multiplayer games that use allocated seating. With this format you’ll take a seat in front of the dealer just as you would in a real casino – and indeed the casino studio used will look just like the Real Thing. You’ll take one of seven seats, and if they’re all full up you’ll need to find another table – though this rarely turns out to be an issue as the operators that stream live Blackjack are highly adept at making sure there’s enough space for everyone at all times. 

So how does Blackjack actually work?

The basic premise is simple: Before any cards are dealt you’ll make your bet. You’re then dealt a hand (consisting of two cards face up), whilst the dealer gets one card face up and one face down. Your aim is to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going bust (exceeding 21). 

In order to reach your objective you have two options during a hand: If you’ve got as close to beating the dealer without exceeding 21 as you think you’re going to get, then you can choose to stand; otherwise you can hit, which means you’ll be dealt another card. 

Once you’ve stopped accepting cards to add to your hand it’s the dealer’s turn to flip over their face-down card. At this point they have strict rules to adhere to which vary by game type, though usually they’re made to keep hitting until they reach 17 or more. 

On top of this you’ll find that at certain points in the game you’re able to “double down” or “split”. Each of these options requires you to match your initial bet in order to receive another card from the deck.

You may Double Down if you have a starting total of 11 or less, then you can match your initial bet and receive one more card. The aim of this move is to get more money onto the table when you’re in an advantageous position. 

You can split if you’re dealt two cards of the same value you can split them by matching your opening wager. For example, if you are dealt a pair of tens, you can turn them into two separate hands and continue battling the dealer as before. 

There is one other option available after the initial set of cards have been dealt, and that’s insurance. If the dealer’s upturned card is an ace, you can make a side bet which pays out 2 to 1 if the dealer turns out to have a Blackjack (i.e, an ace and a picture card). The reason behind the name ‘insurance’ then becomes clear: The dealer is in a great position to win the main element of the game, so an insurance bet will balance up your loss. Read about live blackjack rules here

How many variations are there?

Blackjack actually comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes: In Double Exposure Blackjack the first two cards received by the dealer are dealt face up. Blackjack pays out at even money, although the player loses on a tie.

In Blackjack switch each player receives two hands, and one card from each hand can be switched. A natural blackjack pays even money, and a dealer 22 is considered to be a push.

Atlantic City Blackjack allows you to double down on any two cards and double after a split. If the dealer has an ace or 10 point value as his upcard, he immediately glances at his downcard and takes all table bets on a blackjack (except for players with a natural blackjack).

However, when you find these games online they’re almost always in virtual form. The games you’ll find at live online casino are almost always the standard European game. 

This is played with four decks and you can purchase insurance if the dealer shows an ace. Blackjack pays out 3 to 2, and there is a round of betting before cards are dealt.

Is there a way to regularly beat the dealer?

No casino would ever offer a live table game that stack the odds in favour of the player all the time, though by using an optimal strategy you can maximise your chances of regularly coming out ahead. This is easy to do with a strategy card, which will tell you exactly how to bet given what cards you’ve got and what upturned card the dealer has. This is where playing online has a great advantage as using a strategy card in a real live setting is not really allowed. At home or on your mobile, though, your secret is kept 100% safe. 

Some players, though, like to practice what’s known as Card Counting. This requires immense skill and relies on the fact that in live games real decks of cards are used. Card counters will memorise all the cards that have been dealt in the game and therefore know the probability of certain cards appearing again. Sadly only a handful of specialist land casinos in Las Vegas will let you practice Card Counting – everyone else forbids it. 

Many players assume that casinos can’t tell if you’re counting cards, but over a period of time certain patterns of results indicate strongly that a player is counting, and though no casino can really prove you’re engaging in this technique, they’re well within their rights to ban you if they suspect you – which they will. Card Counting is considered to be unsportsmanlike, so it’s better to stick to a strategy card instead. Click here to read more about live blackjack strategy

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