If you’ve been around for more than 5 minutes, then there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Live Blackjack.
Live Blackjack is the world’s largest casino banking game, and it’s one of the most popular games in the world for good reason.
Blackjack spans decades, yet you might have heard it by its alternative name, 21.
Blackjack has gained widespread notoriety in part because of its small house edge, and how easy it is to understand compared to other card games.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the game of Live Blackjack, its history, how to play and how to win.
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The History of Live Blackjack
The history of Blackjack spans back so far that its exact origins are still debated, yet the first recorded mention of the game is believed to have surfaced in a 16th-century novel, Don Quixote.
Many other sources seem to agree that it first originated in France during the 1700s, where it was called Vingt-et instead of Blackjack. Supposedly, it is derived from French Card games like Chemin de Fer, and French Ferme.
To confuse matters further, others believe that it was an invention of the Romans, who apparently loved gambling.
Unfortunately, we’re short on time machines to go back and check for ourselves, but we can tell you about the growth in popularity of Live Blackjack up until now.
Sources and statistics seem to suggest that the popularity of Blackjack is actually decreasing, yet these statistics only take into account land-based casino Blackjack.
As gambling evolves, so do players, and players everywhere flock to Online Casinos in search of the best Live Blackjack games around.
How to Play Live Blackjack
The Best Live Online Blackjack Games are available to play at pretty much every Online Casino, but how do you play?
The rules of Blackjack are actually quite simple, but it can be hard to master.
In this section, we’ll go over Blackjack rules, the aim of the game, and how you can improve your edge with perfect basic strategy
The Object of the Game
Each player in Blackjack must attempt to beat the dealer by getting a card count as close to 21 as they can, without exceeding 21.
How to Play Live Blackjack
In Blackjack, the player on the left of the dealer will play first.
The Dealer will proceed to deal 2 face-up cards to the player, and 2 to themselves. One of the dealer’s cards is face-down, so you won’t see it until you’ve made your decision on what to do with your current hand.
- Hit – The player chooses to receive another card from the Dealer in an attempt to take your hand value closer to 21, or hit 21 exactly.
- Stand – Face the dealer’s total with your current total
- Double Down – Double your bet in the middle of a hand in return for one extra card
- Split – Turn your two cards into two separate hands, before receiving one extra card for each hand.
- Surrender – Surrender your hand and forfeit half of your bet to the dealer, and receive half back
The only win condition in Blackjack is that your hand is closer to 21 than the dealers. Once you’ve made your move, the dealer will reveal his down card, before continuing to draw cards until they go bust, or their hand totals 17 or over.
The dealer must stand on 17 in most iterations of Blackjack, which means they’ll conclude their hand once they reach 17 or more.
You’ll win the hand if your total is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand is, but you’ll go bust if you or the dealer exceeds 21.
Each card in Live Blackjack is identical to the value shown on the card, with the exception of Royals, and Aces.
King, Queen and Jack are worth 10, but it’s up to the player if an ace is worth 1, or 11.
This is where Soft and Hard totals come into play, and you can use them strategically to secure yourself a better hand
If one of the aces in your hand is an Ace, then you’re believed to have a soft hand. This gives the player more choice on what to do.
The Dealer deals the Player an Ace, and an 8.
The total of the hand is now either 9, or 19.
In this example, the player has a fairly strong hand against the dealer, no matter what cards they have. If the player is happy with 19, then they stand against the dealer, who must stand on 17.
Here’s another example of where it won’t be beneficial to stand on a soft hand.
The Dealer Deals the Player an Ace, and a 2.
The total of the hand is now either 3, or 13.
In this example, the player has a rather weak hand, but the presence of the Ace makes things a bit easier.
The choice here would be to hit for another card to raise the total value, but there’s more of a safety net than there would be if you were dealt a hard 13.
This is because the Ace reverts to a value of 1 if the new card would cause the player to bust in normal circumstances.
Let’s look at this example.
The Dealer Deals the Player an Ace, and a 2.
The total of the hand is now either 3, or 13.
The player decides to hit, and the dealer deals the player a King.
The total hand value is now hard 13.
As you can see, the player isn’t bust as they’d normally be. The Ace changed its value to 1, preventing a bust. The hand in this example is now a hard 13, and the player can hit for another card.
Splitting Pairs in Live Blackjack
In Live Blackjack, you may come across an opportunity to split your hand.
To do so you’ll need two cards of the same denomination, and if you do decide to split, then you’ll essentially be playing two hands.
Once split, the two identical cards will become separate, and you’ll be able to Stand or Hit on each hand independently.
Once you’ve stood or gone bust on one hand, then you may play the other.
It might be tempting to split, but there are situations where you shouldn’t.
- Always Split Aces
- Never Split 10’s
- Split 9’s if the dealer’s total is 2-9, otherwise stand.
- Always Split 8’s
- Split 7’s if the dealers total is 2-7, otherwise hit
- Split 6’s if the dealer’s total is 2-6, otherwise hit.
These are just some examples of what decisions to make with what hands, but how on earth are you supposed to memorise them all?
That’s where Blackjack basic strategy comes into play, and if you can memorise it then you’ve given yourself a good chance at beating the dealer.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
Blackjack Basic Strategy is a way for players to cut the house edge by a marginal amount, and it’ll give you the knowledge to play your hand in an optimal way on every turn.
Basic Strategy can change depending on the rules of the game, but a standard basic strategy start will give you all you’ll need to play in the best possible way if the dealer stands on soft 17.
- H – Hit
- S – Stand
- P – Split
- D – Double (Hit if not Allowed)
- DS – Double (Stand if not Allowed)
Is Basic Strategy enough to Beat Blackjack?
Basic strategy will only get you so far. The house edge with perfect basic strategy is still 0.5% higher than your edge, so in the long term you’re still expected to lose even if you make the right move each and every time.
Plus, how would you even memorise Basic Strategy? That alone seems like a herculean task, and we’ve not even covered card counting yet.
Thankfully, there’s a system you can use that makes memorising the chart easier.
Memorise Live Blackjack Basic Strategy
Here’s our handy little guide on how you can memorise basic strategy most effectively. First of all, we’ll talk about splitting.
- Always Split Aces and 8’s
- Do not Split 10’s & 5’s
- Split 2, 3 and 7 if the dealer has 2-7
- Split 4’s if the dealer has 5 & 6
- Split 6’s if the dealer has 2-6
- Split 9’s if the dealer has 2-9 with the exception of 7
- Always stand on soft 20 and 21
- Double Soft 19 against 6, otherwise stand
- Soft 18 Doubles if the dealer has 2-6, stands against 7 or 9 or hits against 9-Ace.
- Double Soft 17 against 3-6, otherwise hit.
- Double Soft 16 or Soft 15 if the dealer has 5-6, otherwise hit
- Double Soft 14 if the dealer has 5 and 6, otherwise hit.
- Surrender 16 against the Dealer’s 9 – Ace
- Surrender 15 if the Dealer has 10
- Stand on Hard 17 or above
- Hard 13-16 always stands against the dealers 2 – 6, and hit against 7 – Ace
- Hard 12 always stands against the dealers 4-6, otherwise hit
- Always Doble Down on Hard 11
- Always double a Hard 10 against the dealers 2-9
- Always Double Hard 9 against the dealers 2-6
- Always Hit Hard 8 and below
Live Blackjack Card Counting
You might have heard of Card Counting before, as well as its moral and legal implications, but the truth is, it’s not illegal.
Casinos in Las Vegas certainly has the right to remove players from the casino if they suspect them of counting cards, but that doesn’t mean you’re breaking the law.
Live Blackjack Card Counting is a strategy used to determine who has the advantage on the next hand.
By assigning drawn cards a positive, negative or zero value, players can determine its “Effect of removal”, or EOR for short.
The Effect of Removal is an effect that a single card has on the house advantage once it is removed from play.
This then allows the player to make a rough estimate on the house advantage based on the composition of cards that are yet to be dealt.
Card Counting is an extremely advanced tactic, and many won’t have the discipline to learn it.
Some professional Blackjack Players insist upon this being a fundamental skill if you’re to beat the casino.
|Card Strategy||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10, J, Q, K||A||Level of count|
|Red 7||+1||+1||+1||+1||+1||0 or +1||0||0||−1||−1||1|
Live Blackjack FAQ
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Live Dealer Blackjack.
Where Can I Play Blackjack Live in the UK?
Live Blackjack is available at any Online Live Casino! Blackjack is so popular that you’ll find an ample selection of Live Dealer Blackjack almost anywhere!
Is Live Blackjack UK Regulated?
If you’re playing Live Blackjack at UK or MGA regulated online casinos, then you can be sure that the games you’re playing have been tested for player fairness.
What is the Best Blackjack Live Dealer Game?
The Best Live Online Blackjack is the one with the best chance at winning! Look for fair rules in your favour, such as the dealer standing on Soft 17, and make sure a Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
How Many People Can Sit at a Live Casino Blackjack Table?
The number of seats at the table will depend on the game itself. Some Live Blackjack tables accommodate up to 7 players on a table, but some bypass this problem by accepting lots of players with the same hand!
Even though everyone has the same hand, players can make a decision on what to do with their hand.
How Can I Learn to Play Live Blackjack?
Above you’ll find a lot of information about the game of Live Blackjack and how to play it! Learning Basic Strategy gives you a better chance at beating the dealer, but if you’re even more determined then you should take on the herculean task of learning how to count cards.
What are the Best Blackjack Casinos Online?
On our site you’ll find many great online casinos, and each and every one of them has something for every Blackjack lover!
There’s no best Live Dealer Blackjack Casino, but rather a LOT of great ones!
Is Live Dealer Blackjack Better than Single-Player Blackjack?
This depends on your preference. If you love the buzz of playing with other real people, then Live Dealer Blackjack is the game for you.
If you prefer more of a solitary experience with a game that is just you vs a computer dealer, then there’s plenty of single-player blackjack options too.
To Play Blackjack Online Live Dealers, you’ll probably want to know what you’re doing in Blackjack if you want to avoid the embarrassment of hitting on a good hand!