What You Need to Know About Live Blackjack
If you have played any other live online casino game before, you are already familiar with the concept: live online gambling tries to deliver the best of both worlds, namely, the intimate atmosphere of a real casino buzzing with action and the convenience of gambling any time anywhere.
Most live blackjack casino sessions are streamed to you from studios all over the world that faithfully replicate casino gaming floors and have human dealers building your hand and interacting with you, just like on location. Some sessions take place in actual casino establishments. The immediacy and excitement of the ‘real deal’ casino experience is within your reach like never before. Most of all, it caters to all: both casual players and VIPs, low and high rollers.
How is Live Blackjack Different From Typical Online Blackjack?
Overall, live blackjack is an upgraded experience to the regular virtual game. You are spoilt to a richer gambling experience with real human contact and various additional features. Here, you’ll find summed up some of the live blackjack’s most prominent hallmarks:
- Choice of Where to Play: You can choose the online casino, the type of blackjack and the specific table to ‘sit’ at. Interior design and overall aesthetic may thoroughly affect your experience. Most casinos maintain a feel of glamour and sophistication and will invite you to enter their premises through a stylish online lobby.
- Real Money, No Free Rides: Since most live casinos have limited seating and set up costs are high, free trials are rare to come across. However, once you’ve set up an account, you may be able to observe an ongoing game to get a feel of the live version.
- Bonuses: Live blackjack may count towards meeting your wagering requirements for sign-up bonuses (mostly, 10-20%), though promotions and cashback bonuses are more common.
- Human Interaction: For many players, this is part and parcel of where the game’s spell lies. Having a live dealer across the table may give you a feeling that you’re not alone in your wins and losses, and it pumps up the game thrill a notch. In some cases, you may be able to chat with the other players, and just like in a real casino, if any issue arises, you can call on the pit boss to sort it out.
- Bet Behind: This feature offers you the chance to bet on another player’s hand, if there are no available seats or if you have faith in the player’s skills based on their track record. Even though you can’t decide on hitting or standing yourself, the lower minimum bets are worth it.
- Multiple Games: Challenge yourself with multi-tasking by switching between multiple blackjack games that run in separate windows.
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What to Look For in a Live Blackjack Casino
You may wonder where and how to find the right live dealer blackjack for you. Trust us, your initial intimidation will be short-lived once you acquaint yourself with the following consideration points we put together for your convenience. Through these criteria, we explain to you in more detail what you should be getting and expecting at any reputable live blackjack casino:
- Safety, and if Your WiFi Brings You Down: Besides the basic security ensured by every online casino, make sure the live blackjack software provider has got you covered on malfunction. Software giant Microgaming, for instance, has in-built disconnection insurance, while market leader Playtech redirects you to an exact replica of your table in an RNG version to finish your hand, before launching you back onto the live table.
- Technology Matters: A smooth and easy-to-navigate game run on the live blackjack studio grounds depends on the use of state-of-the-art technology for high stream quality, multiple camera angles and a user-friendly settings bar with customizable options.
- When Your WiFi Slows You Down: Some software allows you to adjust the quality of the stream to fit the speed of your Internet connection.
- The Croupier: If the croupier is what draws you to a certain table in a real casino, you can make a pick here as well, whether based on superstition or sympathy. Rest assured, live online blackjack casino dealers are, as a rule, well-seasoned professionals and some are even trained in prestigious croupier academies.
- No Language Barriers, Por Favor: While live online blackjack is yet to penetrate many more markets internationally, most providers already offer the live version in multiple European and Asian languages.
- Mobile: You can play live blackjack on your computer, tablet or mobile device. Check our section on mobile gaming.
Top 5 Software Providers Behind the Best Live Dealer Blackjack Casinos
First of all, why pay so much attention to casino software operators?
You need to. A widely acknowledged, high-performing software is a key ingredient to the success of an online casino. The blackjack live dealer studios and their staff, mainly located in Southern and Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia, are maintained by online casino software companies, therefore all the aforementioned criteria are completely in the hands of those enterprises.
If there are only a few worthy software providers out there, how does live blackjack vary from one online casino to the next?
It does, because each casino still has the right to customize bets, limits and features, which changes the odds and, naturally, the game. Now, live online blackjack is still pretty traditional and doesn’t yet have a range of exotic variations. You will find the usual seven-seat tables with one up to eight decks and multiple shuffling. The bigger casinos may diversify their selection with multiple software providers.
Here are the prime software companies:
Evolution Gaming’s market domination here is completely justified: the company is dedicated solely to this niche and overshadows competitors in terms of design and streaming quality. It targets mainly the European market and currently offers four different live dealer blackjack games, including side bets (perfect pairs & 21+3). Platinum and Diamond Tables offer a more exclusive experience for high-rolling thrill seekers, whereas the casual Blackjack Party with background music and low stakes is usually full on Friday nights. The games are optimized for iPhone, iPad and Android, though still some improvements can be desired.
Playtech is the other top live blackjack provider, streaming from both its European and Asian platforms, and brick-and-mortar casinos like Casino Gran Madrid in Spain. They offer five different live dealer blackjack games, including VIP and private tables, and Ultimate Blackjack that allows an unlimited number of players to join a single table. Playtech’s live blackjack accepts same side bets like Evolution, and can be played on iPhones, iPads and Android.
Valuing quality over quantity, NetEnt’s live dealer blackjack games are instantly recognizable for their beautiful graphics, superior innovative interface and crisp streaming quality – perhaps a nod to their Scandinavian origin. Made from scratch with mobile use in mind and in collaboration with real players, their two blackjack games, Live HD Blackjack and Common Draw Blackjack for multiple players, are some of the best out there.
For a much-trusted veteran in online gambling, Microgaming is a bit behind in the game when it comes to live blackjack. Its studios in Canada, the Philippines and Argentina offer two versions of live blackjack: classic and Playboy Live Dealer (croupiers clad as ‘bunnies’ of the iconic brand). Streaming quality is agreeable, though the company is yet to work on mobile optimization.
Extreme Live Gaming
Extreme Live Gaming is another specialty company used by big brand casinos and it may be getting better in the future, since its 2014 acquisition by Austrian headquartered gaming giant Novomatic promised a fresh infusion of resources and goal-setting. They stream two types of blackjack from their London studio, regular and VIP, and also feature tables from some actual land-based casinos through their so-called Live Box service. Also optimized for Android and iOS.
Reap the Rewards
Now that you know how to navigate the live blackjack terrain, keep in mind that this new virtual casino favorite is under rapid development. Software companies continuously expand studio grounds, improve game design and selection, introduce new languages and features, and re-master the mobile incarnation of the games. And if the shoe still pinches here and there, it won’t be for too long before live blackjack is perfected into a beloved cross-breed between the golden and the modern days of gambling.