Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world. In fact, according to some surveys, it’s the most-played game worldwide, in both bricks-and-mortar and online casinos. Blackjack is known to be a historic game, although its exact origins are unclear.
One theory is that an early version was invented by the ancient Romans, who used to play using wooden blocks, rather than cards. However, the first clear, documented evidence of blackjack dates from around 1700, when it was played in the French casinos.
At this time, it was known as “vingt-et-un”, which is the French translation of “21”. This relates to blackjack’s objective, which is to score a higher card count than the dealer, without exceeding 21. In fact, blackjack was still called vingt-et-un until as recently as the 1930s.
Live blackjack ???
It was in 1931 that Nevada became the first US state to legalise gambling. To attract more customers, the casinos offered a special bet with good odds. Any hand featuring one of the “black jacks” (the jack of clubs, or the jack of spades) plus the ace of spades would pay out at 10/1 odds. This pay-out was merely to attract new customers in the early days of casinos and was discontinued pretty quickly. However, the name “blackjack” stuck and so the game as we know it today was launched.
In recent years, online live blackjack has increased in popularity for people wishing to experience the thrill of playing, but without having to go to a crowded casino. Play from the comfort of your own settee, or in any other location if you’re playing on a mobile device.
How to play live blackjack
As mentioned earlier, the player aims to win a higher card count than the dealer, without exceeding 21. Playing live online blackjack means it will be a real croupier, at an actual table, dealing the cards in real time.
Start by placing your bet on the rectangular blackjack table on your screen. Make yourself aware of the casino’s maximum and minimum table limits first. You have only a limited time to place your bet. This finishes when the croupier says, “No more bets.”
So the last thing you want is to find your bet automatically rejected and made void because it isn’t in accordance with the table limits. Then you may be too late to bet again on that game and you’ve missed your chance.
The croupier deals the cards to the players, starting on his or her left. One card is dealt, face-up, in turn to each player. The croupier is last in the rotation and has one card. The croupier then deals a second card to each player, in the same order. Every player gets a second card, although the croupier doesn’t. Once all the cards have been dealt, the players have the chance to improve their total, should they wish to do so.
Try not to “bust”
Players now have a choice of how to proceed once the first two cards have been dealt. The croupier will continue to deal a third card to each player, in the same order. However, it’s up to you whether you want to take a third card (“hitting”) to improve your total, or whether you wish to just keep your two existing cards (“standing”). If you choose to stand, that’s the end of your turn and you remain with the total cards that you already have.
If you choose to hit, but this takes your cards’ total over 21, you have “bust”. You will immediately lose your bet if this happens.
If you’re lucky and your initial count with the first two cards totals 21, this is called a blackjack. If there’s no chance that the croupier also has a blackjack, you win immediately. The croupier’s card would need to be a ten, an ace or a face card in order to potentially have a blackjack. If you win in this situation, your bet will be paid at odds of 3/2.
What happens if the croupier has a blackjack?
If there’s a chance the croupier has a blackjack too, the pay-out is delayed until his or her final count is completed. When all the players have had their turn, the croupier will then take a second card. The croupier can choose whether to stand or draw another card. This is done according to the casino’s own strategy. The croupier will also bust if he or she exceeds 21. The croupier has then lost and you will be the winner.
If the croupier doesn’t bust, each player’s card count is compared to his or her total. If the player’s count is nearer to 21 than the croupier’s, the player will win. If the croupier’s count is closer to 21, the player will lose. In the event of a tie between the croupier and the player, the bet is known as a “standoff” or a “push”. This means the player will neither win, nor lose, the bet. It’s simply a tie.
When all the bets have been resolved in this particular game, the croupier will announce that the next game is starting. Players can then start placing bets again.
Player’s options and value of the cards
All the face cards, such as kings, queens and jacks, are worth ten. Aces are worth either one or 11. When a player has stood, if their hand contains one or more aces, it’s deemed to be at its highest value, without exceeding 21.
After the first two cards have been dealt, the players have the chance to improve their count. They are permitted to alter their wager by “splitting”. This means that pairs can be split into two separate hands. A pair of cards means the cards are of equal rank. This can be two kings, or two ten cards, for example. The two separate hands each has a bet that’s equal to the original amount wagered. You can’t split if you have two different ranked cards.
When you split your hand, the first of your sub-hands is dealt a second card. The player can choose to either stand, or to hit another card (or more than one card) to improve their total count. When you stand on the first sub-hand, the croupier deals a second card to your second sub-hand. The player can then stand, or hit, on the second sub-hand.
If the player has split a pair of aces, then each of the sub-hands will receive one more card. There will not be an option for the player to hit in this scenario. In the case of split aces, a count of 21 with two cards in a sub-hand isn’t deemed to be a blackjack. It would lose to a croupier’s blackjack. Players aren’t permitted to re-split sub-hands further.
What does doubling mean?
When the first two cards have been dealt, the player can choose whether to “double down”. This means that you can wager extra money (an amount equal to your original bet) in order to receive one more card on the hand. It’s also permitted to double down if you’ve split a pair, except if you’ve split a pair of aces.
If the dealer’s card is an ace, the player may choose to get “insurance”. This is a further bet of a sum that’s equal to 50% of your original wager. In this scenario, if the croupier has a blackjack, the insurance pays at 2/1. If the croupier doesn’t draw a blackjack, the player will lose his or her insurance. A player can obtain insurance even if he or she already has a blackjack.
What happens if my device disconnects from the game?
When players are involved in a game of live blackjack, UK casinos will have a strategy in place in the event that your computer or mobile device is disconnected from the game for any reason. This is to safeguard your money.
For example, if you’ve confirmed your bet, but subsequently you’re disconnected from the game because of a computer crash or some other issue, the casino’s system will play your hand so that you don’t lose out. The game will be completed based on a blackjack basic strategy.
Implications of the house strategy
The casino doesn’t have flexible choices on whether to hit or stand, as players do. There are rules in place which govern the casino’s actions. The house must hit if the total count is 16 or less. The house must hit on a soft 17. It’s called a soft hand if one card is an ace, which may be counted as either one or 11, without the total exceeding 21. You can’t go bust if you take an additional card in this scenario.
The house strategy also dictates that the dealer must stand on a hard 17, or anything higher than this. It’s called a hard hand if all aces may be counted only as one each to avoid going bust.
How do pay-outs work in live blackjack?
If a player has a blackjack (a two-card 21 which isn’t the result of a split), the winnings are paid at 3/2, as long as the croupier doesn’t have a blackjack too. There will not be a pay-out at all if both the player and the croupier have a blackjack. As explained earlier, this is a tie. Other winning bets are paid at odds of 1/1. The player will lose his or her bet if they bust.
What’s a pairs bet in live blackjack?
It’s called a pairs bet if the first two cards dealt in any blackjack hand are a pair. Players can place a bet on the first two cards being a pair. You will lose the bet if they’re not a pair. You can win with three different kinds of pair: the odds for a mixed pair are 6/1; the odds for a perfect pair are 25/1; and the odds for a coloured pair are 12/1. Players must make a pairs bet before the cards are dealt. A pairs bet can be made only if a regular bet is made as well on the same betting box.
What are the benefits of playing online live blackjack?
- Playing live blackjack online can be more exciting for the players. Simply connect your device to the internet, log on to your chosen casino site and you’re playing within minutes, without having to stop what you’re doing to travel to a casino. Play at home, on the train, or in a bar, the choice is yours.
- When playing online live blackjack, there’s a more realistic feel to the experience, with there being a live dealer. In addition, some online casinos offer a cash bonus to players making a deposit. This added bonus is attracting players from bricks-and-mortar casinos to online casinos as, of course, it’s a way of making extra money.
- As well as the fun and excitement of a game of blackjack, at the end of the day, we all want to be winners. Make sure you check out the casino sites thoroughly to find out which are the best in terms of bonuses.
- Another benefit of playing live blackjack online is never having to wait because the table is full. You will always be able to play, even if thousands of people are playing at the same time. There’s never a queue and you can always simply place your bet and start playing. You can play with your chosen stake at your chosen table, safe in the knowledge that as long as you place your wager on time, you’re in!
- Playing live blackjack online, you’re guaranteed speed and accuracy. There will never be errors and there will be no mistakes when your winnings are paid out. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the money to pop into your account.
- As with all online gambling, take care to gamble responsibly. Set yourself a limit of how much you’re going to spend and stick to it. Don’t get swept along by a winning streak and end up wagering more than you intended. Similarly, set a limit on how much you can comfortably afford to lose and stop if you reach that limit.
- Above all, playing live blackjack online is fun. Aside from winning money, it’s a chance to interact in an exciting casino environment, without the hassle of having to leave your home! Try clicking on one of the links above and enjoy a game of live blackjack now!