Beginners guide to live dealer blackjack 

With the birth of online casinos, players were thrilled with the opportunity to enjoy blackjack without the need to even leave home. However, as time went on, and as technology developed, there was a need for something more. That something more was the live dealer experience. Take a look at this guide to live blackjack. 

While there are still plenty of fans of the more traditional online blackjack games, the live dealer versions are becoming more and more popular. Yes, the aim of the game may well be the same but there’s something different about the experience. If this form of blackjack is something that you’re yet to try, we’re here to guide you through.

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Guide to live blackjack

What makes live dealer blackjack different?

When you play the traditional online blackjack game, it’s you against the computer. You watch the cards being dealt and you need to outsmart the device that you’re looking at. While this way of playing is hugely popular, it lacks certain elements that you can get from a land-based casino. That’s where the live dealer game comes in.

With live dealer blackjack, you’ll find that the game is interactive. You’ll find that it’s led by professional dealers who know the game inside out. You’ll also notice that you’re playing at a real table and that there are other real players too.

The action is live-streamed, in HD quality, from purpose-built studios. This means that the experience is nothing short of amazing with clear and crisp footage and multiple camera angles.

Guide to live blackjack  – the basics 

With live dealer blackjack, there is an interactive stream. This means that you can communicate with the dealer, and even with the other players, in real time. You’ll find that the setting looks just like any casino you may have visited and you’ll notice that there are dealers at every table.

The one thing to bear in mind is that the quality of live casino blackjack can vary from one developer to the next. You’ll find that some have superior streams and the very best dealers whereas others may be lacking. While there are numerous great providers, if you come across an online casino offering live dealer games from Evolution or NetEnt, you can be sure that you’re in for a great experience. 

Guide to live blackjack – Remember – the rules don’t change

If you’ve played blackjack in a land-based casino or if you’ve played other online versions, then you already know how to play live dealer blackjack. That’s because the rules are just the same. Yes, there are different variants but these still follow the rules that you’ll be familiar with from playing elsewhere.

The key points to bear in mind are:

  • You’re only playing against the dealer – this is who you have to beat and the other players, and their actions, don’t matter
  • You win by having a hand stronger than the dealer’s – it’s about you getting closer to 21 than the dealer does
  • A natural blackjack is the strongest hand – this is made up of an ace and any card that’s worth 10
  • If you go over 21 you’re bust – this means that you lose you’re wager and are out of the game 

A look at live dealer blackjack and RTP (return to player)

RTP relates to how much a player can expect to win over time. Let’s say that you wager $10 and there’s an RTP of 90%. That would mean that $9 would be returned to the player with the other $1 retained by the house as its profit. The RTPs that you can expect from live dealer blackjack are:

  • Blackjack bet – 99.28%
  • 21+3 Side bet – 96.30
  • Perfect Pairs side bet – 95.90

These RTPs are exactly the same as a house edge. In the top example, the house edge would be 1.72%. While these figures are representative, they are just a rough guide. The truth is that you will see variations based on ye developer behind the game and the casino that’s hosting it. 

Live dealer blackjack and side bets 

Just as when playing at a land-based casino, live dealer blackjack gives players the opportunity to try out side bets. As we’ve often said, these bets can be enjoyable and bring a new dimension to a game but, as we’ve highlighted above when looking at RTP, the house edge tends to be titled too heavily in the wrong direction.

That being said, here’s a look at two of the more popular side bets that you’re likely to come across:


This bet is all bout adding the total of your first two cards to that of the dealer’s upcard. The ways that you can win are:

  • Flush – three cards of the same suite
  • Straight – a sequence of three cards regardless of suite
  • Straight flush – a sequence of three cards from the same suite
  • Three of a Kind – three cards that are the same
  • Suited trips – three identical cards i.e three queens or three kings

Perfect Pairs

This side bet is just about your first two cards and here’s how you can win:

  • Colored pair – two cards that are the same color
  • Mixed pair – two cards with the same value or face but of different colors
  • Perfect pair – two identical cards 

Thoughts on live dealer blackjack strategy 

The biggest consideration when playing live dealer blackjack is the choice of table. You need a table that fits with your bankroll and bet range and you need one that has the side bets and the rules that favour you. As you’ll have heard us say so many times before, the best starting point is to get to grips with basic blackjack strategy.

That being said, it’s important that you also have some fun. You can easily remove this element from the game if you go trying to master every strategy and technique out there. The live dealer game was created as it brings back some of the social aspects that had been lost by playing online. That’s why you should really just kick back and enjoy. 

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