Live Blackjack: The Essentials
Live Blackjack is arguably one of the best live dealer games you should try. With this game, you will get an authentic gaming atmosphere in the comfort of your home. Live casino tables have a chat function. You can use this feature to chat with dealers and other players.
In addition to that, live dealer games for both low and high rollers are easy to find. Your bankroll should allow you to experience a live casino in your home. We have compiled a list of casinos with the best live blackjack variations.
These casinos offer promotions, unlimited banking options, and 24/7 customer support. You can select the one you want and be assured of getting a live casino experience.
Live Blackjack Casino Sites
It might seem crazy to some that online casinos in Canada are dedicated to only live blackjack. However, this is simply a testament to the popularity of the game. A good blackjack casino also offers more than the regular 21 version.
The classic version is the most popular, but many exciting variants of the classic card table game exist. These include variants like:
- Spanish 21
- Las Vegas
- Atlantic City
They're easy to learn, fun to play, and most online casinos offer them. Many sites specializing in live blackjack also offer exclusive casino bonuses, so you're not left out just because you don't want to play slots.
Play Real Money Blackjack Online
Even in Canada, you could throw a rock and hit a real casino that offers live blackjack, but you want to play it online with real money. That's where you'll find all the variations, the biggest sign-up bonuses, and the tables that always have an open seat.
There's nothing worse than going to the casino and finding the table you want to play at is complete.
So, many Canadians are turning to online blackjack. It's easy to play from home or on the go. It often features unique game variations you won't find in traditional casinos. It's no wonder that online play is becoming a preferred choice in Canada.
How to Find the Best Live Blackjack Casino in Canada
Before recommending live blackjack casinos, we check all the site aspects. Specifically, we check if online casinos have what it takes to take your experience to another level. For instance, we rank live dealer sites based on the following metrics.
- License and regulations – Check if relevant authorities license and regulate these casinos. For example, look for permits such as MGA, UK Gambling Commission, Curaçao, etc.
- Safety and security – The Casino must have SSL encryption, firewalls, etc. They also need to have approvals from independent third parties.
- Trustworthy and reputation – Read reviews and testimonials regarding the casino you want to play on and earn massive prizes.
- User experience (app) – Look for websites with easy navigation on desktop and mobile units. If the casino offers live blackjack via apps for iOS and Android devices, it's a bonus.
- Bonuses and promotions – Check for all kinds of promotions, for example, welcome bonuses, cashback bonuses, reload bonuses, etc.
- Loyalty program (VIP program) – Loyal customers deserve VIP treatment.
- Deposit and withdrawal options – The casino payment options must be diverse, safe, secure, and fast.
- Customer service – The best live casinos should have 24/7 customer support. Furthermore, the support team should be knowledgeable and friendly.
Don't miss our guide to the best Canadian live casinos.
A Beginner's Guide to Live Blackjack
There are two popular versions of the blackjack game, online live blackjack played in an online casino and traditional blackjack played in land-based casinos.
In truth, we could say there is also a third variant. That's the online table game that many providers offer. This type doesn't feature live dealers and instead relies on Random Number Generators (RNGs).
Online live blackjack is a superb option for you if you're the type of player who prefers to play from the comfort of your home.
With live blackjack online, you can enjoy all the thrill and fun of a blackjack game from anywhere worldwide as long as you have an internet connection.
Given how fun and rewarding the game can be, it's no wonder it has become increasingly popular in Canada and other parts of the world.
To get an idea of how popular it is, about 47% of people in Canada who visited casinos often reported playing Blackjack regularly. In this beginner's guide, we will introduce you to the basics of live blackjack, the game's rules, how to place bets and how to maximize your chances of winning with a few strategies.
Rules for Live Blackjack
The main aim of live blackjack is to defeat the dealer with the cards in your hand. You have to do this without having the total score of your hand exceed 21.
This means that to win the game, the total score of your writing must exceed the dealer's while not going over 21.
Another way to win is to have a total score of less than 22 when the value of the dealer's hand you're playing against goes beyond 21; if this happens, you win, and they lose!
Immediately after placing your wager, the dealer deals you two cards – both placed face-up. Moreover, the dealer will also get dealt a card or two cards.
They get just one card if they're playing the European game style. When they're playing the Atlantic City variant, they get two cards, with one being face-up and the second card face-down.
In blackjack, each card has its value. The King, Tens, Queen, and Jack cards are called face cards and are worth 10 points. The Aces can be worth 1 or 11 points, depending on the option you think is best for your game.
The rest of the cards are worth their face value, i.e. a two would be with two; a three would be worth a three, and so on.
Live blackjack is different from its regular virtual online variants. Specifically, in live versions, the croupier deals with the real cards from a traditional shoe. It has rules such as:
- Eight decks – Live dealer Blackjack has eight decks with 52 playing cards. Moreover, the shoe penetration is always 50%, and you can only change it after four decks.
- 3:2 – The payout percentage of live dealer games is usually 3 to 2. This is the industry standard rate. Avoid casinos with 6:5. It might seem slightly different, but the casino increases its house edge by over 400%! 3:2 means a house edge of roughly 0.5%, making Blackjack one of the cheapest casino games.
- Soft 17 – This is one of the basic rules of live blackjack. The general rules require the dealer to draw on 16 or fewer. Also, the dealer must stand on 17 and more. However, if the dealer's 17 contains an ace counted as 11, that hand is referred to as soft 17.
- Double down – With this rule, you can increase your initial bet to 100%. In return, you must stand after taking an extra card.
- No re-splits – Some casinos require you not to split your identification cards and have two hands. So, if you, for instance, get two eights, you must continue playing with them.
- Players can't hit the re-split aces – At many online casinos, you can't hit an ace after a split. Instead, each ace will receive one extra card.
- No late surrender – With this rule, you cannot surrender and take half of your bet.
- Perfect pairs – This side bet can guarantee some winnings even after losing the main hand. To play, you must place the initial ante on the game. After that, go to the perfect pairs box and place your chip. If the two cards receive a pair, then you will win the game. If they don't pair, you will lose.
- 21 + 3 – Live dealer blackjack also has a 21+3 side bet. With this one, you will need your original game ante and place your bet on the 21+3 box. Besides, you will aim to create the best three-card poker hand after combining the first two cards that the dealer has dealt.
Finally, although some game variations may have different rules, the idea remains the same. This is why you must keep an eye on the house rules of the live dealer blackjack table you are playing at.
How To Place a Bet
To place a bet, choose the amount you wish to wager. Once you've done this, the dealer will deal with the cards. Here, you can either “hit” and add to and improve the cards in your hand or “stand” and retain your current hand.
Also, Live blackjack games usually have a maximum and minimum bet limit, varying depending on the casino and the contest. So, before you place any bet, ensure you've gone through the house rules and know the minimum and maximum you can wager,
Live Blackjack: Strategies to Win
Indeed, you play live blackjack to win some money. And believe it or not, in live blackjack, you can make decisions based on strategy and skill, not just pure luck.
You can adopt multiple tactics to improve your chances of winning and defeating the house significantly. This game is even more appealing to players worldwide and especially in Canada.
That is because live blackjack games boast a lower house edge, unlike other casino games like slot machines. That makes it much more likely for you to win games and earn sizable rewards. To this end, some strategies include:
- Hitting and standing – The hitting blackjack strategy is where you take a card and add it to your hand. If the dealer's upturned card is 2 or 3, you can hit on 12 or less. However, if the dealer's card is 4, 5, or 6, you can hit on 11 or less. The standing strategy is keeping your cards without taking any more cards.
- Double down –In this strategy, you must double your bet and take another card. This strategy is best if you're confident in your cards.
- Splitting – Sometimes, you may have two cards of the same value. You can split these cards and have two hands.
- Basic strategy – One of the most essential and popular strategies in live blackjack is the “basic strategy.” This strategy was determined in 1965 and is best when you use it against a shuffled deck. It also gives you an edge of +.13 against one deck and -.53 against four decks. Playing a live blackjack game, you can expect to lose merely 0.5% of your total wager.
To summarize, live blackjack is a game heavily focused on strategies and skills. Whether you play live dealer blackjack in a land-based or an online live dealer casino, you can increase your chances of beating the dealer and winning.
If you closely follow some of the abovementioned techniques, your chances of winning are even higher.
Odds of a Blackjack Game
The live blackjack game is a highly strategic game filled with mathematical probabilities. Our experience with the game leads us to discover that the odds of a player or dealer winning depend on the variant of the game they're playing.
This doesn't mean there isn't a general probability calculation of your odds of winning a game; there is.
In general, the probability of a player, you, being dealt blackjack (i.e. getting twenty points with merely the first two cards) is about 4.8% for a single-deck game.
In a multi-deck game, the odds barely reduce as they are calculated as 4.7%.
What is the Difference Between a Soft and Hard Hand in Blackjack?
The main difference between a soft and hard hand is one card – the ace. You have a soft hand if one of your two cards is an ace. An ace can be 1 or 11, meaning the risk is less. It is considered soft because there are fewer risks involved.
Your hand could be 9 or 19 with an eight and an Ace. A hard hand is a hand without Aces. The risks with a hard hand are high since you can't change the hand. For example, if you are dealt with two 5s, you will have 10.
Live Blackjack vs. Traditional Blackjack
Live blackjack and traditional blackjack are both popular versions of the classic card game, but they offer different experiences for players.
Live blackjack, aka live dealer blackjack, is played online with a live dealer and is streamed directly to your device.
The dealer can interact with you and other players in real time and vice-versa. Playing the game this way would give your experience a more authentic and immersive feel.
Although the gameplay of the two versions is broadly similar, there are some minor but critical differences. We highlight some of the significant differences between the two modes of playing down here:
- Traditional blackjack is played in a physical casino and is a game between you and the house, i.e. the casino. The event/game will be streamed by the casino entirely online in live blackjack games. Additionally, in live blackjack tables, there is usually a dealer you and other players can interact with. A chat function will usually be provided for you to interact with the dealer. That makes the game almost as social as its traditional counterpart played with other players physically.
- Live blackjack allows players to play multiple hands simultaneously, whereas traditional blackjack usually only allows one hand per player.
- The atmosphere of live blackjack and traditional blackjack can also be very different. Live blackjack is more relaxed, convenient, and casual. That is because you have the convenience of playing from your home. Traditional blackjack, however, has a more formal and classic atmosphere; you will be exposed to all the sounds and sights of a physical casino.
Live Blackjack Casino Software
When looking to play live blackjack, it is good to consider the game developer. This is because there are developers who offer low-quality live dealer games.
The leading developers of live casino games are:
|Evolution Gaming||Undoubtedly, Evolution is the leading developer of live dealer blackjack games. Founded in 2006, the developer has popular titles such as Power Blackjack, Infinite Blackjack, and Diamond VIP Live Blackjack.|
|NetEnt||NetEnt is among the leading providers of live games. Popular versions from this supplier include VIP and Common Draw Live Blackjack.|
|Microgaming||If you want a live casino experience, you should try Microgaming. You will get variations such as European Blackjack, Classic Blackjack, and Super 7.|
|Playtech||Established in 1999, Playtech also leads the way in playing blackjack live. The best variations include Grand Blackjack, Blackjack VIP, and Royale Blackjack.|
|Ezugi||Ezugi offers the most customizable platform in the gaming market today. That means you can personalize every feature to fit your needs.|
High Limits: Evolution Gaming Diamond VIP Live Blackjack
We have your back if you are a high roller looking for a game. Evolution Gaming, the industry-leading developer of live casinos, has a match for you. Specifically, the developer has a Diamond VIP Live Blackjack that allows you to stake high. The minimum you can bet is C$1000.
On the other hand, the maximum stake per bet is C$5000. In addition, some professional real dealers will ensure you enjoy a VIP blackjack atmosphere at your home. You also have HD cameras, multi-angle feeds, side bets, and many other benefits.
The Psychology of the Live Blackjack Dealer
The psychology of the live blackjack dealer is vital to your live blackjack experience. These professional dealers are extensively trained to interact with you and other players professionally, calmly, and friendly manner. To do this, they use body language and nonverbal communication to maintain a positive gaming atmosphere.
A live blackjack dealer is trained to handle customers like this professionally, calmly and responsibly. Some players can be unnecessarily challenging to handle.
Yet, it remains essential that live blackjack dealers maintain a professional and positive demeanour, even when dealing with these problematic players. They must be able to do this and enforce all the rules and regulations of the casino.
Body language and nonverbal communication play an essential role in the psychology of a live blackjack dealer.
They must master the art of communicating with the player and other casino staff effectively and efficiently. Dealers are trained to note all the players' body language and mannerisms, regardless of the number of players at the dealer tables.
They do this to understand the players' intentions better and, in turn, convey helpful information about the game to the players.
Dealers must always be conscious of how their behaviour can impact the player's experience. A dealer's attitude can differentiate between an exciting and a terrible game. If the dealer has a terrible demeanour, it can negatively affect the mood and performance of the blackjack players in the game.
The live blackjack dealer's psychology, personality and professionalism have an incredible role to play in your live blackjack experience. They are tasked with maintaining order and creating a professional, positive and friendly experience for you to kick back and enjoy the game.
Be sure to drop a positive comment to the dealers you like! We promise it's highly appreciated.
Live Blackjack Tournaments
Live blackjack tournaments are the surest way to experience all the excitement, thrill, and drama a physical casino game offers. You get to pit yourself against other players in a live setting and employ various strategies and tactics to outsmart them.
The main challenge of these tournaments is that you have to read and predict your opponent's move and think at least one step ahead of them. The games can also be very fast-paced and intense.
You can adopt various strategies and tricks to navigate the game's fast-paced nature. One of these strategies you can learn and adopt in live blackjack tournaments is the card counting tactic.
This strategy involves paying extra attention to all the cards played to gain an advantage over the dealer. As simple as it sounds, this strategy is more complicated than it appears.
Despite the challenges and risks involved, the outcome of a live blackjack tournament can be gratifying for you; if you are the winner. With its fast-paced action and potential for huge payouts, it's no wonder live blackjack tournaments have become one of Canada's most popular online casino games.
What is live blackjack?
Live blackjack is played at a classic Blackjack table. This variant creates a deck with a total of 52 cards. Players win a round if they have more points than the live dealer blackjack at the end of the game. However, the maximum number of 21 points may be within the maximum.
Is online live blackjack legal in Canada?
Yes, playing live blackjack in Canada is legal. The casinos have licenses from various jurisdictions, such as Kahnawake Gaming Commission and MGA.
Are there specific bonuses for the game?
Yes, there are. Many blackjack bonuses range from sign-up, reload, cashback, and no-deposit bonuses.
What do I need to play blackjack online?
You can use your smartphone, tablet (Android or iPhone), or computer to play live blackjack online. PC or Mac works.
Can I play live blackjack for free?
Yes, you can. Most casinos offer free play as a way for you to get used to the game.
What payment methods are available for playing live blackjack in Canada?
You can use payment methods like credit cards, Interac, ecoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal.
Double down or draw?
It depends on what you have! The most likely card value to get in any situation is a 10. With this in mind, double down if you have 7-10 and the dealer is lower, as it's statistically the correct play.
How old do I need to be to play online blackjack?
Depends on your jurisdiction. Usually, you must be 18 years and above.
Are there any differences between live blackjack and regular online blackjack?
As far as rules go, there aren't any stark differences between them. While some live blackjack variants have different side bets and features, you still have to form a hand that makes up 21.
Is online live blackjack safe?
Suppose you choose a licensed, reputable online casino. In that case, playing live blackjack online is as safe as playing in a land-based casino in terms of fair play and financial security.
Can I play any other card games in online casinos?
Live Blackjack sites host Live Roulette, Poker, Live Baccarat, Sic Bo, and some of the best online blackjack games.
Lars Wahlström is a recognized leader in the iGaming industry, with over 20 years of experience from both the tech side and an operator. He's now CEO and Publisher at ARGO Gaming Group, the company behind Casinoclaw.
Games and gambling has been an interest of Lars' since early years and besides slots and casino, he's also into poker, sports betting and trotting.
All this experience is drawn upon when he writes, and we dare say he's one of the best casino writers out there. Lars' base is the ARGO HQ and Stockholm office, but he travels a lot and often participates in industry trade shows and panels. To get in contact with Lars, use our contact page or message him directly on LinkedIn or Twitter.