Live Blackjack Guide
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in history, and you will be very hard pressed to find a casino, whether online or in brick and mortar form, that doesn’t offer multiple variations of the game. Playing live is the best way to get the realistic feel of a street casino online.
When considering what games to offer for live play, it would not make much sense to leave Blackjack out, and that is why at any online casino that offers live gaming, you can be sure to find Blackjack. It is a much-loved casino game the world over and the reasons are obvious. It’s a simple game in all its glory, and it requires full player interaction; skill is needed and so the game is not solely based on luck. Having said that, bets can be very low indeed, ensuring that it doesn’t cost a beginner player an arm and a leg to gain experience in the game. This is especially true for the online version of the game, where bets can be even lower than they are in a brick and mortar casino. Apart from that, the house edge is very favourable for Blackjack players, provided that they play the right moves at the right time, and therefore experience can indeed translate into cash!The game itself lends itself very well to the live atmosphere, it would not make any sense to play it on a digital version if live Blackjack is available.
The aim of the game
The aim of playing Blackjack is to achieve a total of 21 points using the face values of the cards in hand, without the banker doing so too; or failing that to get closer to 21 points than the banker’s hand, without exceeding 21.
Blackjack is played with a traditional 52-card deck excluding jokers. In a casino, multiple decks are used and shuffled in together, which is referred to as a ‘shoe’. A shoe can contain between two and eight decks at the discretion of the casino.
A blackjack table is also needed, since we are talking casinos here, and this generally has designated areas for the card pile, the banker’s hand and each of up to eight players’ hands, as well as an area for bets, and an area for the dealer to stand in. The betting limits and the main rules that differentiate that table from another are also generally visible on the surface of a Blackjack table.
The Blackjack Story: From French back rooms to live Online
As with every great casino game, Blackjack has a rich history. So, what happened from its very being invented to it landing on your desktop in live format from casinos the world over? Its history is extensive and exceptionally interesting.
Blackjack originated in the French and Spanish region in the 1700s. It is known to have been preceded by a variety of games, also European, with similar names and objectives such as “Quenze”, “Trente Un” and “Sette e Mezzo”. The oldest version of the game is believed to be a Spanish game called “Trente-Un” for which the oldest reference that stands is in a publication of 1440. It is thought to have been a game where one had to reach the value of 31 using 3 cards. Some speculate thata version of Blackjack using tokens or bricks was invented by the Romans, who we all know to have been notorious gamblers, but this theory has never been confirmed. Naturally, considering its origins, the original known name for Blackjack was “Vingt-Un”, or “Vingt-et-un”, which literally translate from French into ‘Twenty One’. When it hit America, however, somebody there didn’t like the name, or maybe it was the spelling, because Vingt-Un was from then on known as Blackjack.
The change in name is known to have come about because in the early period of the 20th century, handsome rewards in the form of 10 to 1 odds were given out to players who sported an Ace of Spades and a card depicting a Jack of Spades or Clubs, a black Jack! Also in America, is where the rules were changed slightly to allow a player to see the banker’s first card before playing, thus bringing about the birth of Blackjack Card Counting. Up until this point, only the dealer hand was allowed to double, and betting was allowed after every card dealt; and that’s still not all, because also until this point in history, players had been allowed to decide when to hit or stand, whereas now, the new rule was established for players to stand on 17 and hit on 16. This was a time where illegal houses and player backings were rife until in 1920, in New Orleans, the first legalised and house-banked tables were born, and it wasn’t until 1931 that they arrived in Nevada! Naturally, with house-banking came the need to enforce rules, regulations and standards, and thus the game was formulated into what we know today.
With the advent of card counting, for example, came the decision to increase the number of decks from one into a shoe. This made it a tad more difficult for card counters to keep track of what was going on in the deck. Initially decks were increased to between 2 and 4. Nowadays, an 8-deck shoe is common.
The expansion of casinos
The first casino in Atlantic City opened in 1978 and after a series of events described in detail in our card counting article, it is worthy of note that from here on end casinos could not evict suspected card counters, but could restrict their bets even if all the casino had was a mere suspicion.
In 1987, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act came into force, giving native tribes the equal right to build and run their own casinos. States quickly smarted up to this and wanted to get in on the actionl! This led to the first shoreline and riverboat casinos, creating gambling zones around the US. Washington State was at the forefront of this, as it took the responsibilitiy of owning state casinos, giving its individual cities the option to host specific casinos that were regulated by size. Hence the first mini casinos were born.
How to play Live Blackjack
The rules of live blackjack are an oxymoron. People say that it can be equally the simplest and most complicated of casino games. Playing live has its advantages and disadvantages of course, as you get the real deal of live play while you also get all the pressure. Now if pressure is what you love then there’s nothing that should stop you from playing live. But first, learn how to play live blackjack by reading our rules of the game!
Strategy to playing Live Blackjack Online
Unlike a casino game that relies solely on luck, Blackjack requires strategy. Of Course the cards you are dealt make a great difference but what you do with them is equally important. Blackjack strategy is a vast topic that is best tackled in great detail. Knowing what the house edge is with every card dealt is exceptionally important. Card Counting is not the way to go about it at all. At best, it will get you in a casino’s dog house. But don’t feel daunted by all this. We have you completely covered in our Live Blackjack Strategy feature.
Why Play Live Blackjack Online?
Online is always more convenient to play any casino game. You don’t need to plan for long before starting a game, you can play anytime and anywhere, and your wins are monitored by a computer and therefore the chance that mistakes are made are absolutely negligible; you get to choose whether you want to sit at a smoking or non-smoking table, and the chances of getting bullied by verbal players is minimised. The downside to playing online is that you have no interaction with the dealer or other players, and that you don’t have the feel of a real casino. Live Blackjack gives you the best of both worlds. Why would you want to go through the hassle and expense of travelling to a casino, when you can get the very same experience online? With Live Chat available, great dealers who know the game well at your service, and an unlimited pool of players to play against always at your disposal, there is no better way to play this beautiful game.
What is different in the live version of Blackjack?
When Blackjack went online, a lot changed from what players were used to in their local brick and mortar casinos. Online, the game itself is virtual. The game is graphics based, and of course the graphics are exceptionally real. Rather than a person dealing, the virtual dealer is influenced by a random number generator which essentially is a set of algorithms that ensures pure randomness in play to ensure that play is fair and unbiased towards either players or the house. The online game gave players the opportunity to access their favourite casino game while on the go.
With the advent of live Blackjack, everything changed again, upside down and inside out! With Live Blackjack, players are once again exposed to the exciting world of actual live gaming without losing the ability to play remotely. So, the live dealer is real. The table is real. The cards are real. Randomisation of play is akin to that in a street casino. The only difference is that the table you are playing in is in a location different to yours. It’s a physical table with a real dealer in a casino or studio casino, with a live camera for you to be present during the game through a remote connection. The rest of the players around the table are also in their own remote locations and therein lies the difference.
While you’re browsing live blackjack casino software you will often encounter the term ‘bet behind’. If you’re a seasoned Blackjack player in a street casino then you already know that the option to Bet Behind is the option to bet on another player’s hand who is on a hot streak. This of course does not stop you from betting on your own hand too while you play and so your betting range is increased greatly if you decide to Bet Behind. Live Blackjack online has brought this feature back to online Blackjack. When you are in a Live Blackjack Room online you will see, on your screen, an a table showing you which players have had consecutive wins and how many consecutive wins they had. If you want to bet on any of them, you can place your chips on that respective player’s ‘bet behind’ slot. Generally, bet behinds have lower and upper limits of 10 and 200 respectively. Remember that not all software companies offer this Bet Behind feature so if it is something that you are interested in, make sure you look out for it when selecting software or casinos to play at. MrLive takes Bet Behind into consideration when comparing Software Companies that feature Live Blackjack online.
As we said, live casino games have live dealers aside from everything else, and just like most other live casino games, Live Blackjack players can benefit from having the option to play at a Playboy Casino Blackjack Table! If you’re into Black and Red, and love a bit of the bunnies then you would do well to check out our Playboy Live Dealer page and read all about what we mean!
Who designs Live Blackjack Software?
Live gaming software is the latest in online gaming and is not provided by everybody. Even though this industry is growing rapidly and new providers are surfacing all the time, it’s always best to keep on top of who offers what. Players always have their favorite software providers and here at MrLive we know all about that and have dedicated pages to software providers in order to bring you the low-down on who offers what and what to look out for when selecting!
Where can I play Live Blackjack Online?
Live Blackjack can be played at a number of casinos online and MrLive is constantly testing these out in order to bring you the best of casinos on offer. We constantly evaluate promotions and offers, Live casino bonuses, graphics, safety, playing interface and so on, in order to bring you the best casinos to play at. New casinos are constantly being evaluated to always bring you the latest in what the online world has to offer in terms of live casino gaming. On our page about the best live casinos and the individual casino review pages you will find all the information you need to decide which casino is the ideal bet for you!
Live Blackjack Limits
Your minimum and maximum bets usually determine whether or not you choose to play at a particular casino. We’ve already given you the top casinos where we think you should play, and of course they all have their individual minimum and maximum bet allowance for Live Blackjack. Which one you choose should be determined by the bet limits that they offer. Bet limits can range from anywhere between $1 and $50,000 so there really is something for everyone out there.
Variations of Live Blackjack
Blackjack is a classic and like all classic casino games, you will find several variations online. The difference between them is usually rule-based and not always clearly obvious. Sometimes it’s just a matter of the number of decks involved or whether or not the casino offers a side bet. An even better choice is whether your preferred variation is offered by lovely Playboy bunny dealers. Choose between playing early payout or common draw live Blackjack, but first, as always, make sure that whatever it is that you want to play is available at the Live Casino of your choice!
What it looks like
So what does live Blackjack online actually look like? Hereunder is a screenshot from live dealer Blackjack at Rich Casino. You can see the live dealer, as viewed on live cam, with some details about the dealer, a chat facility where you can talk to her directly, 4 open seats and 3 seats already occupied.
Anchorman – The player to the right of the dealer, which means he is last to play before the dealer.
Barring a player– Chucking him off the table, either of cheating, or if it’s that kind of casino, for winning too much (!)
Blackjack (or Natural) – A value of 21, using two cards, an Ace and a 10-card.
Bonus Bet – This is an optional bet and not offered at all casinos. It’s a side bet designed to help a player better winnings.
Card Counter – The expert player who remembers which cards have already been drawn and therefore knows the odds of what will be coming up. If you’re a card counter, casinos do not like you!
Double Down – The option to double your bet once you see your first two cards. Most casinos dictate which cards can be doubled or not.
Early Surrender – You can give up on your hand and lose half of your bet. Normally this option is selected when the dealer shows an Ace as a first card.
Face Card – Another name for a picture card, i.e. a J, Q or K.
First Base – The player to the left of the dealer.
Head to Head – A game between the dealer and one player.
High Roller – A player who bets large.
Hit – Asking the dealer for another card.
Hole Card – The card belonging to the dealer that he is not showing
Insurance – This is a side bet that you can make when the dealer shows an Ace in his cards. If the dealer gets a Blackjack, then the side bet pays off on a 2:1. If he doesn’t, then the bet is lost.
Multiple Deck Game – Blackjack played with between 6 to 8 packs of cards per game.
Paint – a card with a value of 10
Push – when the player and the dealer tie. The player will get his bet back, meaning that he/she would break even on that hand.
Soft Hand (or Soft Total) – A hand in which an Ace may equal either a 1 or an 11.
Splitting Pairs – Creating two hands by using each of the two cards of the same value that you were dealt in two separate hands, i.e. splitting your two cards into two hands.
Stand – When a player wants to stop at the cards he’s already got and not ask for another.
Stiff Hand – This is a hand that can be busted if hit. For example, 12 through 16.
Ten-Value Card – ten, jack, queen, or king.
Practice does a great Blackjack player make!
Ok so you know all about the game and you’re interested in giving live online Blackjack a go, where should you head to? If you’re new to Blackjack, you would do well to spend some time practising on practise tables with play money rather than real money; most casinos will offer this option. Bear in mind though, that just because you’ve played on play money, the dynamics would not be the same when playing for real money, so you should definitely play for some time using low bets with real money before venturing to a live online casino.
Live Blackjack, any time, any where!
Whether you prefer playing live casino on your tablet or perhaps if you prefer to play live from your mobile, we have thought of you too. Provided you stuck with our recommendations for software and casinos, you are able to play Live Blackjack online from any device you like. Whether you’re on your tablet on the train, or on your mobile phone while waiting for a meeting, or in the comfort of your office at your laptop, software companies now make it possible and indeed sometimes even better to play on mobile and tablet devices. They truly give you the chance to play any time and any where!
And there you have it… your comprehensive guide to everything live is to be found in our pages. Go out there and win BIG!