Live blackjack games promise the convenience of online gaming, with the thrill and engagement levels of a real-world casino.
But what do you need to know about live blackjack – and how does it differ from the virtual blackjack games you may have played online before?
The most obvious difference between virtual online Blackjack and Live Blackjack is the presence of the live dealer – and they will play an important part in your game experience.
Your dealer will usually greet you by name within the first few seconds of joining a table, and will continue to address you directly at times throughout the game.
Obviously, they will also deal the cards – but sophisticated software adds an ‘augmented reality’ element to the game by detecting the cards as they are dealt, so that they can be displayed more clearly in virtual form as well as within the video stream.
In addition to the video, there may be the option of multiple camera angles, either showing the stream in a box with a normal computerised surround, or superimposing the computerised elements on to a full-screen version of the table for a more realistic, real-life feeling.
Switch on your speakers to hear the dealer’s narrative of each hand, and type in the chat box if you have any questions, or if you simply want to say hello.
Aside from all of the unique interface elements, live blackjack is generally played to the same rules as normal casino blackjack, and you can always check the rules from within the game screen – so what are the main versions you’re likely to see on the leading live blackjack websites?
There are two main providers of live blackjack software – Playtech and Evolution Gaming.
Playtech are one of the biggest casino software companies in the world and the scale of their operation is apparent even when you’re playing a game, as you can often see other blackjack, baccarat and roulette tables in the background.
If you have your speakers switched on, you’ll be able to hear the roulette balls spinning too, adding to the sense that this is real-world casino gaming.
Evolution Gaming’s tables are usually more closely matched to the branding of their host website – this is particularly true of Ladbrokes’ tables, which match the company’s usual bright red colour scheme.
The VIP option from Evolution Gaming is particularly compelling for high-rollers, with maximum bets that are typically set by the operating websites at around £5,000, but which in principle can be limitless.
|Software||Name||Play it at…||Betting Limits||Side Bets?||Multiple Hands?||Dealer Chat?|
|Evolution Gaming||Live Blackjack||888 Casino,
|Evolution Gaming||VIP Live Blackjack||888 Casino,
The standard game features are available on either platform, including split, insurance and double down, along with ‘bet behind’ which allows you to bet on another player’s hand if the table is full and you can’t get a seat.
Playtech sites may also offer ‘Perfect Pair’, a side bet that pays out if the player’s or dealer’s initial two cards form:
The ‘best’ Blackjack site and game variation depends on your specific interests, and can change over time – if you win big, for instance, you might want to consider switching to the VIP tables.
We’ve found that in general Playtech’s offering can be a little sleeker, with more information available at a glance, yet the feeling that the screen is less cluttered at the same time.
If you’re looking for side bets, Playtech again comes out on top, with Perfect Pair available to play on either the player’s or dealer’s hands at SuperCasino.
But if you’re a high-roller, Evolution’s VIP offering is a pretty persuasive alternative; while each individual site can set an upper table limit, Evolution do not enforce a maximum bet from their end, and that means there’s often big money to be won.