The Ultimate Guide to Live Blackjack Online
Blackjack is a popular casino game that often has the lowest house edge, so there's a good chance of walking away a winner. Luck does play a large part in blackjack, but a good knowledge of basic strategy might tip the house edge slightly in your favour.
This article looks in depth at live blackjack online, including what it is, how you might win, what strategies to use, and what bonuses and promotions to look out for when choosing a casino. Read on for all this and more!
What is Live Blackjack?
When you play blackjack via the web, you have two options: video blackjack or live-dealer blackjack. With the latter, you'll be playing against a real dealer who you can interact and joke with. There may be other players around the table. Often the blackjack table will be in a real casino, always with cameras and camera angles set up to give you a realistic casino feeling.
How to Win at Live Dealer Blackjack
One way in which players win at blackjack in real casinos is by counting cards. This isn't usually illegal as long as no card-counting device or external help is in play, even though casinos frown upon it. In online live blackjack it is not usually viable anyway because of slower game speed, inadequate deck penetration and unfavourable rules. You can learn more on how to win at live dealer blackjack here.
The best way to win at blackjack is by studying the rules, playing strategically and setting yourself a winning target or a losing limit, at which point you'll leave the table. When you play indefinitely, you are "pushing your luck" and inviting the house edge to slowly catch up with you. That may happen glacially in blackjack, but it will happen if you wait long enough.
Live Blackjack Online Strategy
Let's talk about some blackjack tactics. First, here are some of the choices available during a blackjack game:
- Hit: the dealer gives you another card
- Stand or stick: take no more cards
- Double down: increase bet by up to 100% and draw only one more card
- Split: the act of splitting two cards of the same value into two hands and doubling the bet
- Insurance: an optional risk-averse bet to recoup loss against a dealer's possible blackjack hand
The way you play will vary slightly according to rule differences. For instance, the dealer must achieve a hand of 17 before standing, but a "soft 17" hand with an ace and a six may require the dealer to hit if the rules demand it (denoted "H17"). If this is the case, the house edge increases slightly. The dealer stands on soft 17 in S17 rules.
Winning at blackjack revolves around the probability of the dealer turning over any given card and what you should do to improve your odds in any situation. It helps to study strategy charts, which are available online.
One rule of thumb is that you should stand on 12 or over when the dealer reveals a middling card, such as a 4, 5 or 6, since this increases the probability of the dealer busting. When the dealer turns over a 7 or above, your best bet is to aim for a minimum 17 hand. If the hand is patently in your favour, you should consider the double down or split options. A hand of 10 or 11 will often be worth doubling down on, for instance, unless the dealer's card matches the value.
Live Blackjack Bonus
When choosing an online casino, you'll want to pick a regulated site with a good reputation for fairness and security. After that, a popular way for casinos to entice new players is a welcome bonus in the form of free credit.
Cashable bonuses from casinos allow you to eventually withdraw the bonus, plus your own deposit and any profit. Less favourable non-cashable bonuses are never yours, so only your initial deposit and any winnings are ever available. Non-cashable bonuses are sometimes called "sticky bonuses" because they never leave the casino.
You should always study the small print to see exactly what you're getting before diving in. Bonuses are always subject to conditions, which we'll discuss a bit later. Generally, the more you deposit, the bigger a bonus you'll get. But remember that it will also take longer at the table before you can withdraw a bigger bonus and/or any winnings accrued.
Best Live Blackjack Promotions
In addition to bonuses, you'll find various other incentives at live blackjack UK casinos, as well as venues elsewhere. The types of promotion you'll find include these real-life examples:
Place a bet on 17 and win a cash reward on top of any payout
- Win a cash sum for every 10 blackjack hands you score
- Blackjack card hunt with cash prize if you collect all 12 puzzle pieces on dealt cards
- Blackjack prize card – win a cash prize if you're dealt the prize card
- Cashback (25%) on blackjack losses
- Winning streak cash reward for 10 consecutive wins
- Double your last win if you win 5 hands in a row
BGO Live Casino
BGO Casino offers a 100% welcome bonus that matches a first deposit of up to £200. Thus, if you deposit £200, you'll have £400 to play with. Whatever you deposit, up to £200 will be doubled, so you may as well make it worthwhile. This applies to all of the casino's blackjack games. The BGO bonus is subject to a 40x wagering requirement, meaning you'll have to wager (or "play through") 40 times the amount of your bonus before withdrawals can be made. You can withdraw a cash balance before wagering requirements are met, but doing so forfeits the pending bonus and winnings - a common condition among casinos.
ComeOn! Casino offers a 100% deposit bonus up to £25 based on a minimum deposit of £10. The bonus comes with a 35x play through requirement in the casino before withdrawal. You can't combine casino wagering with sportsbook betting to achieve it. Other casino awards are separately available, like 20 free spins on the Starburst slot.
New players at LeoVegas Casino benefit from a 100% no-deposit bonus up to £100, plus 80 bonus spins on each of the first four deposits, so a £400 maximum bonus overall. This is subject to a 35x minimum wagering condition before winnings can be withdrawn. LeoVegas excludes deposit payment by Neteller and Skrill in this offer.
Live Blackjack No Deposit Bonus
Casino welcome bonuses generally come in two forms: deposit and no-deposit. The first gives you a percentage of your initial deposit(s), while a no-deposit bonus is a smaller amount of free credit. Neither should be thought of as free money, because usually there are terms and conditions attached, such as minimum wagering requirements or maximum withdrawal limits.
Wagering requirements refer to how much you need to wager before you can withdraw the money. On the face of it, a no-deposit bonus is attractive because you can just dive in with someone else's money and get used to your new surroundings and the house rules. You don't have to concern yourself with what you can afford.
Be aware that blackjack won't always contribute greatly to wagering requirements regardless of bonus type (i.e. only a certain percentage of what you wager will count towards it). Be sure to check this before playing. This is because the low house edge in blackjack increases the likelihood of players turning free credits into cash.
Online Live Blackjack Dealers
With its narrow house edge and element of skill, blackjack is a popular casino game. Live dealers combined with innovative software and camera work make for an authentic experience. You can even enjoy friendly banter with the professional and attractive dealers for a more personal touch.
The good-humoured, adept croupiers keep every game moving and under control whilst making you feel at home. Perhaps you are at home, but it'll feel like Vegas!
Live Blackjack Game Providers
Some of the world's best game providers are behind live casinos, streaming high-definition video straight to your PC or mobile device. Some of the well-known live casino providers with licensing for the UK include Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, BetGames, Playtech and Extreme Live Gaming. Each provider varies a little in the experience they deliver to the player and the number of games they offer, so it's worth comparing a few of them.
NetEnt Live Casino
Already a huge name in video casino games and slots, NetEnt branched out into live casino a few years back and quickly became one of the market leaders. Among the features NetEnt offers are the following to encourage responsible gambling:
- Self-exclusion allows players to freeze their account on a temporary or permanent basis
- Play limits let players limit their bets and losses
- Reality check remind players how long they've been playing and the amount won or lost
- Game speed controls the speed of games to avoid rapid loss
- Visible clock keeps players apprised of the time
Evolution Live Casino
Evolution Gaming has won the EGR Live Casino Supplier of the Year award for 9 years in a row (2010-2018). Evolution's blackjack game has many enjoyable perks, such as 21+3 and Perfect Pairs side bets. With the "Bet Behind" feature, players can bet low stakes on other players' hands while waiting for a seat at the table. For outside companies and corporations, Evolution offers customized tables and branding as advertising.
How to Play Live Blackjack Online in the UK
For UK players, there is plenty of choice when it comes to finding a game of blackjack. To ensure your safety and guarantee fair play, you might head to one of the long-established and reputable casinos like MrGreen Casino or BGO Casino. These are powered by software from Evolution, NetEnt and Playtech. Depending on how familiar you are with the game, perhaps you'll look for extra features and game variations. Or, if you're still learning, you could stick to classic rules.
Blackjack enthusiasts can now enjoy all the thrills of the casino without leaving home. Or they can play on the move with a tablet or mobile phone. As long as you choose your site wisely, study the rules and pore over the bonus small print, you'll have tremendous fun scoring blackjacks at an online casino. Go for a winning streak and always know when to walk away!