Welcome to your expert guide to live blackjack sites. Here, we will show you everything that you need to know about playing at the best live casinos that have all the leading live blackjack games. We’ll explain to you how you can get the most out of your live blackjack playing, and how to get your hands on the juiciest blackjack bonuses.
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Comparing Top Blackjack Sites
If you don’t want to visit each site in turn to work out which is the best for your live blackjack play, then do not worry as you don’t have to! Here are all the important details about the top ten live blackjack casinos UK that feature on our list. Peruse our information and make your choices accordingly!
How We Rate the Best Live Dealer Casinos
As you probably know, there are dozens of online casinos available in the UK, and that means there are dozens of live blackjack casinos UK too. You may then be wondering how we have narrowed down our selection of the best online live blackjack casinos down to ten, and how those ten are – in our opinion – better than all the online casinos that did not make our list.
We think that around 90 percent of online blackjack casinos in the UK are worthy of your custom, but we have selected the ten above to be the cream of the crop, and below we will tell you why.
Number of Live Blackjack Tables
Well this is a no-brainer isn’t it? The best live casinos are those that have plenty of live tables and live blackjack games available. In truth, live blackjack casinos seldom fill up, but it does help if a great number of tables are available. After all, if the cards don’t seem to be falling for you in a way that appeals at one table, you can always move to the next! Also, if you are unhappy with a dealer, you can go and find another one.
Most online casinos that have live options, including the ones on our list, have sufficient live blackjack tables available for even the most demanding live blackjack player.
Number of Live Blackjack Variants
Die-hard blackjack fans of course prefer the classic version of blackjack, and not gimmicky versions that have sidebets that never come off (such as scoring 21 with three sevens). However, even the classic version of blackjack has a number of options, and players will look for live blackjack tables that have these options set in a way that appeals to them.
Is Insurance offered? Can you re-split split aces? Can you surrender on any total or just 13, 14 or 15? What can you double down on? We consider the best online live blackjack casinos to be those that have the most options available across their live blackjack games.
Live Blackjack Betting Limits
Blackjack players who like it live come in all shapes and sizes. Some only want to play for pennies, while others have spent years adapting their blackjack systems and think they can take any online live casino to the cleaners.
We like to see live blackjack casinos that cater to both extremes. If you want to play for fun without risking oodles of your hard-earned cash, or if you are a serious high roller, both options should be available at the live casino that you are playing at.
Live Blackjack Mobile Experience
The advent of casino apps for iOS and Android devices has shifted the casino experience from PCs and laptops to phone and tablets. Blackjack is supremely suited to mobile play, although live blackjack play is a little different as it involves video streaming.
When we review a site we check out the live blackjack experience on mobile. We expect hi-def video, a non-dodgy stream that does not freeze every couple of minutes, and a seemless interface that makes playing the game super easy. All the sites on our top ten list have proven to be supreme when it comes to the live blackjack mobile experience.
Live Blackjack Bonuses
Alas, even at the best live casinos specific live bonuses are a rarity and live blackjack bonuses are even rarer than a Scunthorpe United goal in the UEFA Champions League final. We do though check the bonuses (both welcome and ongoing) at online live casinos to see if they can be used for live blackjack play.
We also check to see if you can meet your wagering by playing live blackjack. There is nothing more annoying than acquiring a bonus and then finding out you have to play games you have zero interest in, such as slots, in order to fulfil your wagering. We like bonuses that have as few restrictions as possible.
How to Play Blackjack Live
Blackjack is a very simple game to play, which is probably why it is so popular. With casino blackjack (which of course includes live casino play) it’s a case of you against the dealer. You must score as close to 21 as possible without scoring more and busting.
There are some ‘oddities’ with casino blackjack that you need to be aware of. For example, if you stick on 15 at blackjack and the dealer turns over a 10 and a 6, then surely they have won?
This may not be the case. If the dealer is on 16 they still have to take another card. This because at a real casino the dealer will be playing against several hands at once. They must follow a set series of rules, and one of these is that they are not allowed to ‘hold’ on any total of 16 or less, and they are not allowed to ‘hit’ on any total of 17 or more. This confuses a lot of people who are unaware of how casino blackjack is played.
There are some other rules associated with casino blackjack that you need to understand. Note, not all versions of casino blackjack have all these rules:
Insurance: If the dealer’s up card is an ace, you can place a side bet that the dealer has blackjack (a total of 21 with only two cards). If the dealer then does turn out to have blackjack, then your insurance side bet pays out.
Double down: Once you have two cards, you can ‘buy’ a third using your original bet size (therefore doubling your wager) if you agree to hold after receiving that card. Doubling down is usually on offered when you have a specific total, which may be 9, 10 or 11.
Surrender: After receiving your cards, you can elect to take no further part in the deal for the return of half your stake. if offered, you can usually only surrender on specific totals, with the most common being 13, 14 and 15.
Splitting: If you are dealt a pair you have the option of splitting them, doubling your stake and then playing each card as a separate hand. This can come with a few caveats. The first is that you may or not be able to split hands that are already split. The second is that if you split aces, you cannot take any further cards beyond the two new cards that you are dealt, one to each ace.
Must players prefer to play the standard version of blackjack, while others like to vary things up a little by playing a different version with a side bet or some kind of variation on the blackjack theme. Here for you now is a brief look at some of the more popular versions of live blackjack that you will find available.
Free Bet Blackjack
This is offered at a number of online live casinos in the UK. It has a number of advantages, but a number of disadvantages too, to even things up.
The free bets are for doubling down on 9, 10 or 11, or splitting any pair (except two tens). You may also double down for free after a split.
The two ‘balancing’ terms are as follows. Firstly, if the dealer scores 22 then all bets are pushed rather than won. The second is that blackjack pays out at 6:5 as opposed to the normal rates of 2:1 or 3:2. These changes push the house edge back to in favour of the house, but it makes for an interesting game none the less.
You may find Spanish 21 at a live casino in the UK, but it is a variant that is slowly diminishing in popularity. The strangest thing about Spanish 21 is that it is played with a deck of only 48 cards as all the number 10s are removed from the pack.
In Spanish 21 you are able to double down on any total, and that includes after splitting. You can also surrender after doubling down, and re-split split aces. In addition, ANY hand worth 21 is a winner, no matter what the dealer scores.
A number of side bets are available too, for five card 21, 777 or 678. Despite all these additions the casino maintains the edge, mainly because of the removal of those tens.
Face Up Blackjack
In normal blackjack the dealer is able to maintain a hint of mystery by having one of their cards remain face down. With face up blackjack … well, you can guess. All cards that are dealt, are dealt face up.
This would normally give players a huge advantage, so there are some common rules changes to counter this. For example, blackjacks only pay even money and the dealer wins ties whereas normally ties result in a push.
Face up blackjack is certainly an entertaining variant, even if the advanages are not quite what they seem.
Your Step by Step Gude to Live Blackjack Online
If you have never even been dealt as much as a single card at an online live blackjack casino, then you may be a little trepidatious about sitting down at a live table and getting involved in the actions. Here, just for you, is our step-by-step guide to how you can swiftly be up and running at playing at a live blackjack casino.
Step One – Choose a Live Blackjack Casino
Choose one of the live blackjack casino sites on our list to join, or make up your own mind from the many dozens of online live blackjack casinos available. If you are new to the site, complete your registration. This should not take long as your account should be up and running in a few minutes. Log in when you account is ready.
Step Two – Make a Deposit & Claim Your Bonus
You cannot play live blackjack (or indeed any casino game in the UK) without using real money. Head to the cashier section of your new online casino account and choose a convenient payment method. Load up your account with a little bit of money (or a lot if you’re a high roller) and you are good to go. Don’t forget to claim any bonus you might be entitled to!
Step Three – Find a Live Dealer Blackjack Table
Head to the ‘live casino’ section of your chosen online UK casino. You will find plenty of tables in there, so choose one where blackjack is currently being played. Don’t worry if all the seats are full; either put your name on the waiting list or head to a different table. If you find a vacant seat, click on it. You are now ready to play, although you will have to wait for the next deal before you can bet.
Step Four – Place Your Bet
Click on the chips on the software interface to move them to your position on the table. Don’t worry if you click too many as you can lower and raise your bet accordingly. Click ‘place bet’ once you are happy with the size of your wager. You will have a set time limit – if you don’t place your bet in time you will just have to wait until the next deal.
Step Five – Play!
When it’s your turn to play the dealer will ask what you want to do. Choose ‘hit’ if you want another card, or ‘stand’ if you are happy with your total. If you are ‘hitting’ the dealer will deal you another card. If you bust the dealer will move on to the next player waiting to play. Once all players at the table have either bust or stood the dealer will play their cards. If you have made the right choices, then you will be a winner!
Live Blackjack v RNG-based Blackjack
You may wonder what are the differences between live dealer blackjack and RNG-based or software versions of blackjack. You may also wonder what are the differences between live blackjack and blackjack played at live casinos. Well, we are here to tell you what they are.
Live Blackjack v Blackjack Software
There is very little difference between online live blackjack and the kind of non-live software blackjack titles that have been around for twenty years or so – but there is one major difference and it’s an important one.
This main difference is that at the start of every hand of a software- based blackjack game the deck is shuffled. With live dealer blackjack, it is not. This may not seem too much of a deal-breaker, but it actually means that the house edge with live blackjack is slightly less than with RNG-based blackjack. In truth, it’s not much of a difference, but if you are playing blackjack long term than you are slightly more likely to win more if you play live blackjack online over RNG-based blackjack.
In all other ways, both versions of blackjack play the same way.
Live Blackjack v Casino Blackjack
There is more of a difference between live blackjack at a casino site than playing blackjack at a casino. It’s a very important difference too – with live dealer blackjack, some of the cards will be dealt unseen and put to one side. This just does not happen at real world casinos, and there would be rioting if it did!
The reason live casino studios do this is to deter card counting. Card counting is a way of determining whether a dealer’s card shoe is currently blowing hot or cold. If the shoe has a sudden run of hot cards (aces and cards worth 10) then it’s likely to quickly run cold. If the shoe is running cold then more than likely it’s about to run hot within a couple of hands. Card counting can reduce the house’s edge in blackjack, and in fact turns it in favour of the player.
Card counting at a live casino would be incredibly easy, as you can sit at your PC or play on your mobile, and keep a note of whether the deck is currently running hot or cold. To deter this, the live blackjack UK dealer will deal several cards unseen, which renders card counting useless as you have to see ALL cards in order to make card counting effective.
Top Live Blackjack Bonuses
if you want to get the best online live blackjack bonuses, then all you need to do is pop into your time machine and head back ten years. This was the time when live casinos where first becoming popular, and so online casinos would offer specific deals that could only be used on live tables, and indeed some were even on live blackjack tables.
Those days are long gone, sadly. Online casinos still offer deposit and other bonuses of course, and you should be able to use your bonus cash on live dealer blackjack play. Here are the current offers at each of the sites on our list of the best live blackjack UK casinos for the UK.
So, with the help of our guide you should have been able to work out which are the best live blackjack sites for you. You’ve learned about the best blackjack sites, the differences between live casino blackjack and RNG-based blackjack and the differences between live casino blackjack and the kind of blackjack you would play at a real-world casino.
We hope that you’ve found yourself more educated about blackjack, some of the different variants and some of the rules you perhaps were not too certain about before. The more knowledge you have about blackjack, the better you are likely to perform!
Always remember to keep your live blackjack playing entertaining, and always gamble responsibly.