Blackjack is a popular casino game for good reason. A low house edge and high winning odds make it a game of skill, strategy, and chance. Playing blackjack online can be less exciting than at a land-based casino, where you can interact with the dealer and other players and enjoy the atmosphere.
As a result, many online casinos offer blackjack with live dealer, where a real dealer deals cards from a deck in front of a webcam. You can see and hear everything at the table, talk to the dealer and other players, and tip the dealer. It’s the closest thing to casino blackjack at home.
However, how does one win at live dealer blackjack? What are the best strategies and tips for beating the dealer and making money? We’ll answer these and other questions.
Rules of Live Dealer Blackjack
Live dealer blackjack resembles online blackjack. The goal is to get a hand value close to 21 without busting. You compete against the dealer, not other players. You can hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard.
The dealer must hit on a soft 17 (a hand with an ace that counts as 11) and stand on a hard 17 or higher. If you get a natural blackjack (an ace and a 10-value card), you win 3:2 on your bet unless the dealer also has a natural blackjack, which is a push (tie).
However, some variations of live dealer blackjack may have different rules, such as:
- The number of decks used in the game (usually six or eight).
- The betting options available to the player (such as side bets or bonus payouts).
- The table limits and payouts for each bet.
- You should always check the game rules and conditions before you play live dealer blackjack, as they may vary from one site to another.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Live Dealer Blackjack
Playing live dealer blackjack has its pros and cons. Here are some of them:
- Realistic Experience Live – Live dealer blackjack gives you a more lifelike and engaging gaming feel than standard online blackjack. You interact with the dealer and fellow players like you’re in a real casino.
- Transparency and Fairness – Unlike regular online blackjack, live dealer games show you real cards shuffled and dealt by a human dealer. This enhances trust as you can verify game results and ensure fairness.
- Variety and Thrills – Live dealer blackjack offers diverse game types like European Blackjack, American Blackjack, and exciting variants such as Perfect Pairs and 21+3. Tournaments and special bets amplify excitement.
- Internet Reliability – A solid and speedy internet connection is essential for smooth gameplay. Slow or unstable connections lead to lags, buffering, or disconnects, impacting enjoyment and success.
- Concentration Required – Playing live dealer blackjack demands more focus. You must track cards, dealer actions, and player chats while making quick and accurate choices within a limited time.
- Cost and Time – Live dealer blackjack calls for higher bets, which may require a larger bankroll. The game’s slower pace and breaks demand more time than regular online blackjack.
Best Live Dealer Blackjack Strategies
Playing live dealer blackjack strategically can improve your odds and minimize the house advantage. Here are the top strategies for different scenarios:
Based on your hand and the dealer’s card, the basic strategy employs mathematical probability to optimize your decisions (hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender). Depending on the game rules, this can reduce the house edge to around 0.5%.
Memorize or reference basic strategy charts to make the best move swiftly during the game. Here are some key basic strategy rules:
- Hit on hard 11 or lower
- Stand on hard 17 or higher
- Stand on soft 19 or higher
- Split aces and eights
- Never split fives and tens
- Double down on hard 10 or 11 against a low dealer card
- Double down on soft 16 to 18 against a low dealer card
- Surrender hard 15 against a dealer’s 10
- Surrender hard 16 against a dealer’s 9, 10, or ace
Card counting involves tracking the ratio of high cards (aces and tens) to low cards (twos through sixes) in the deck. Adjusting your bets based on the count can give you an edge, though it’s challenging in live dealer games due to multiple decks and frequent shuffling.
Consider the Hi-Lo system, which assigns +1 to low cards, -1 to high cards, and 0 to neutral cards. Increase your bets as the count rises and decrease them as it drops.
Key card counting tips:
- Opt for games with fewer decks and better penetration (more cards dealt before shuffle)
- Practice card counting before playing for real money
- Use a suitable betting spread
- Employ basic strategy and modify it based on the count
- Monitor wins and losses and quit when ahead or behind a certain amount
Side bets are extra wagers in live dealer blackjack that offer higher payouts for specific card combinations. They add excitement but have greater risk and typically offer smaller rewards than the main bet. Here are some common side bets:
If your initial two cards form a pair, you win. Payouts vary based on the pair type: mixed pair (different suits and colors) pays 5:1, colored pair (same color but different suits) pays 10:1, and perfect pair (same suit and color) pays 25:1.
You can win in this game if you and the dealer receive the first two cards and make a poker hand. The payout amount depends on the hand type. A flush (same suit) pays 5:1, a straight (consecutive values) pays 10:1, a three-of-a-kind (same value) pays 30:1, a straight flush (same suit and consecutive values) pays 40:1, and a suited three-of-a-kind (same suit and value) pays 100:1.
With Bet Behind, you can wager on the outcome of another player’s hand. If they win, you win; if they lose, you lose. The payout is the same as the main bet, but natural blackjacks pay 1:1 instead of 3:2.
Effective strategies are recommended to improve your live dealer blackjack experience and increase your chances of winning. However, remember that winning is ultimately subject to chance and luck. The best approach is to find a strategy that allows you to have fun while maintaining control over your bankroll and expectations.