Blackjack is widely played across online and brick-and-mortar casinos the world over. The game emerged several centuries ago but has undergone multiple changes to become what it is today – one of the select few casino games where the player can actually gain an edge over the house through skill, optimal decisions, and advantage play.
Blackjack is also an appealing option for recreational players since its rules are quite easy to learn and follow even if one lacks substantial experience at the tables. In the last decade or so, the game of Twenty-One has gained a huge popularity among online players as well, with numerous exciting variants being offered across a great number of interactive casinos.
Playing blackjack on desktop or mobile devices is a straightforward process and a highly recommended option for beginners until their become better acquainted with the intricacies of this enticing card game. The following guide aims at introducing players to some key points concerning blackjack’s rules, strategies, and online play.
Blackjack is a comparing card game in which players are competing against the house i.e. against a casino croupier. Each gambling venue has set up its own blackjack rules which for the most part agree with those of other establishments on the pivotal points but there may be huge differences in the rules’ details.
Depending on the variation, there can be anywhere between one and eight full 52-card decks in play. In games where one or two decks are used, the cards are usually dealt face down but multiple-deck games utilize a shoe, where all cards are placed to reduce the time between the shuffles.
Before the game starts, the dealer would shuffle the decks and a player would cut the pack. The dealer would then remove or “burn” the top card from the pack and place it either in the discard tray or at the bottom of the deck, depending on the number of decks in play. Players then position their chips in the betting boxes at the layout and the game can commence.
Blackjack Additional Basic RulesThe deal starts in a clockwise direction, with the player positioned immediately to the left of the dealer being the first to receive their cards. The dealer receives one face-up card and one hole card. The goal of each player is to form a hand with a total that is higher than the dealer’s and comes the closest to 21 as possible but without going over.
All face cards are assigned a value of 10, the Ace is counted either as 1 or 11, and the remaining cards are given their face value. A starting hand which consists of a ten-value card and an Ace is called a natural or a blackjack and offers the highest payout. If the player obtains a blackjack and the dealer does not, then the player would receive one and a half times their initial bet. If it is the opposite and the dealer has a blackjack but the player does not, they would lose their initial bet. Whenever both are dealt naturals, they push and no money changes hands.
Players who are not dealt a natural evaluate how strong their hand is and choose between several actions. If the hand’s total bears improvement, the player can choose to hit and receive additional cards but if they determine their starting hand is already strong enough, they can decline additional cards and stand.
Once everyone at the table has acted on their hands, the dealer would flip over their hole card and play their hand according to the predetermined rules, set by the house. In most instances, dealers are expected to draw to a total of 16 and stand on 17 but the rules vary between venues. Players win whenever they obtain a higher total than the dealer or the dealer busts their hand i.e. its total goes over 21. And vice versa, the players lose whenever they bust or have a lower hand total than the dealer.
Sometimes it happens so that the player receives a pair of two cards of the same numerical value on the initial deal. There is the option to split the pair into two separate hands but this rule applies to players only as the dealer is not allowed to split anything. These two hands are then played separately, one after the other, and an additional bet is made to cover the second hand. At some tables, players are prohibited from splitting pairs of Aces which works to their disadvantage and gives the house edge a 0.06% boost.
As was mentioned in brief, there may be huge discrepancies in terms of rules in different gambling establishments. An example would be a blackjack game where players are allowed to split pairs only of specific values. Discrepancies in the fixed rules the dealers follow may also be observed as sometimes dealers are required to hit on soft 17, which also gives the house a slightly bigger edge over players.
Various additional rules may apply in relation to the games’ payouts and the rules of doubling down, taking insurance, or surrendering one’s hand. We will touch upon these in more detail below.
In blackjack, all winning hands with the exception of naturals return even money, which is to say the player’s profits are equal in size to their initial bet. For example, if you prevail over the dealer with a higher hand total and has originally put $10 on stake, your winning hand will earn you $20 for a net profit of $10.
In addition to hitting or standing, blackjack players are allowed to double down but this option involves placing a side bet which may be equal to the amount the player has initially staked. This is called a full double down. Players can also choose to double down for less than their original bet.
Payouts Additional TipsNaturals are the most profitable hands to obtain as they return at the rate of 3 to 2, which means the player gets back one time and a half their stake. Thus, if you have bet that $10 and are dealt a blackjack, you will be paid $15 plus your initial stake for a net profit of $25.
The majority of online casinos pay out 3 to 2 on naturals but many landbased gambling establishments have introduced blackjack tables where the payout on this hand is adjusted to 6 to 5. Inexperienced players fail to notice this detail but it is of utmost importance since this reduction in the blackjack payouts boosts the house edge with around 1.4%. No experienced blackjack player would possibly agree to take a seat at a 6-to-5 table.
Double Down Additional TipsMany experts recommend to either double down for the full amount of your bet or not to double down at all. Once the side bet is made, the player receives only one more card to add to their two-card hand. At some blackjack tables, players are allowed to double down only on specific two-card totals, such as 9, 10, and 11. At others, doubling down is not allowed after splitting pairs but such restrictions would normally apply whenever blackjack pays 6 to 5, which should be avoided anyway.
Some players mistakenly assume the goal of a double down is to improve one’s hand total. It is not. Players double down so they can increase the amount of money they can potentially collect when the dealer is in a weak position.
Whenever the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, players are allowed to make a proposition bet to insure their hand against a potential blackjack on behalf of the dealer. This side bet is called insurance and involves the player making a wager that amounts to half of their initial stake.
At some tables, players are granted one additional option called surrender. Whenever the strength of a starting two-card hand bears no improvement, the player is allowed to forfeit their cards in exchange for half of their bet. This resembles folding in poker but in blackjack, players at least get to retain half of their stakes when surrendering their hands.
Insurance Additional TipsOnce the chips are placed within the insurance box, the dealer checks for a natural and if they indeed have a ten-value card in the hole, the insurance would pay 2 to 1 to the player while their initial bet loses. The player would break even and would not lose any money on their original hand. However, if the dealer does not have a natural, the player would act on their hand as they normally would but would lose the insurance bet.
Many within the blackjack community differ in their opinions on accepting insurance. Some argue insurance is a losing bet for recreational players because the dealer’s chances of being dealt a blackjack are not as great. Yet, insurance should always be accepted by a player who sits on a natural. Another general rule states never to insure weak starting hands.
Surrender Additional TipsThere are two variations of this rule depending on the gambling venue one plays at. Some casinos allow for the so-called “early surrender” where the player is permitted to forfeit their hand before the dealer takes a peek at their hole card for a natural. It makes sense early surrender works to the benefit of the player.
Many blackjack tables incorporate the “late surrender” rule where the dealer first checks their hole card for a blackjack and then allows players to forfeit their hands. It makes sense that if the dealer indeed holds a natural, they would simply flip over their hole card and surrendering will not be an option since the player automatically loses their entire bet. Thus, late surrender gives the house a slightly higher edge than early surrender, which is why it usually prevails at tables where this option is allowed.
Soft and Hard Hands
An important distinction is to be made between soft and hard hands in blackjack. Hands which contain an Ace that can be assigned a value either of 1 or 11 are called soft hands. When a player is dealt a soft hand, he or she is in a better position than the dealer since the odds of going bust with such a hand by drawing a third card are nil. In such cases, the dealer would refer to a soft hand total as “3 or 13”, “5 or 15”, and so on, to remind the player that they are the ones to assign a value to the Ace.
Whenever both player and dealer have the same totals, they tie or “push”, in which case the player is returned their initial wager. Nobody wins or loses anything and no money changes hands. There may be deviations from this rule. In some blackjack variations, the dealer takes all ties with the exception of naturals. At first glance, this might not seem like such a big deal but will have a pronounced negative impact on one’s bankroll over time.
Soft and Hard Hands Additional TipsSoft 19 and Soft 20 are two exceptions where it is not recommended to double down or hit for additional cards. These are already in the safe zone so it would be best for the player to leave them alone altogether.
Hands where there is no Ace at all or the Ace’s value is inflexible, or 1, are called “hard” or “stiff” because the chances of exceeding 21 on the next hit are greater. Note that aceless hands that total 11 or below are not considered hard because they will not cause the player to go bust by requesting a third card from the dealer.
Starting hands with hard totals 12 through 16 are often called “breaking” hands by professional blackjack players. This is so because another hit is likely to lead to a bust. When the dealer holds an up card with a value of 2 through 6, he is also holding a breaking aka a weak hand because these cards are more likely to lead to a bust. When both the player and the dealer are dealt breaking hands, the general recommendation is to stay on your total and let the dealer take the next hit.
Push Additional TipsTables where dealers win on ties are rarely to be seen online or at Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. This rule variation on pushes usually applies on cruise ships where gambling is not the main source of profit or during charity events. Of course, if one partakes in a charity event, they may simply consider forfeiting their chips on ties as some sort of a donation. Other than that, tables where this rule applies are to be avoided as it boosts the house edge to the shocking 9.5%.
The game of blackjack has greatly evolved over the centuries and many new variants have sprung into existence, especially in more recent years, following the emergence of interactive casinos. Each variant comes with its oddities, rules, and side bets. Some of the most commonly played blackjack variants are covered in brief below.
This is one of the most commonly preferred blackjack variations, which derives its name from the surrender rule, allowing players to forfeit half of their initial stake when folding a hand.
Perfect Pair is a fun blackjack variant where players can diversify their session a little bit by placing different side bets on whether or not they (or the dealer) will receive a pair on the initial deal.
Blackjack Surrender Additional TipsOther than that, players can choose from the standard options of hitting, standing, splitting pairs, doubling down, and insuring their hands when the dealer shows aces. In some online variants, like Blackjack Surrender by Playtech, the dealer also checks for a blackjack whenever they show a ten-value card.
Perfect Pairs Additional TipsThe pairs that qualify for a payout include mixed pairs (5 to 10), colored but off-suit pairs (10 to 1), and suited pairs (30 to 1). Note that the payouts for the side bets may differ depending on the casino or the software developer providing the online game. Many experienced players abstain from making side bets on pairs because these carry roughly a 6% advantage in favor of the house.
Pontoon is a derivative of blackjack which is prevalent in the United Kingdom and Australia. In this version, a natural is referred to as “pontoon” which is where the game derives its name from.
Double Exposure is a popular form of blackjack where both cards the dealer receives on the initial deal are exposed. Since this works to the benefit of the players, several adjustments have been made to the rules to neutralize this advantage against the house.
Pontoon Additional TipsAnother essential peculiarity of this variant is a five-card trick whereby a player obtaining a five-card total of 21 or less is awarded the highest payout.
This sort of resembles the Charlie rules applying in some blackjack variations where drawing five, six or seven cards without busting results in an automatic win for the player, regardless of what the dealer has. In Pontoon, hand totals of 21 made with three or four cards beat all other hands with the exception of the pontoon and the five-card trick. Another difference is that in Pontoon, the dealer takes all ties.
The names of the actions following the deal also differ from those used in standard blackjack. Requesting additional cards is called a “twist” and when declining more cards, the player says “stick”. When the player’s total is less than 21, they may choose to increase their initial stake by an amount that is either equal to their original bet or is twice its size tops. Keep in mind that in Pontoon the dealer receives their two cards face down.
Double Exposure Additional TipsFor example, the dealer takes all ties in Double Exposure save for those on naturals. Players are not allowed to re-split pairs and are paid even money on blackjacks.
Blackjack Switch is one of the most engaging blackjack variants since it offers players an interesting twist. The main difference here is that one is actually dealt two hands. The player is then presented with the option to switch the top cards so as to improve both hands. Therefore, the player can win or lose with one or with both hands. Other than that, some online variants you can play for real money involve several side bets, with players being able to bet that they will be initially dealt a pair, a set, two pairs, or four of a kind.
Choosing a Blackjack Casino
Nowadays, blackjack fans will benefit from being able to enjoy their favorite game on their desktop and mobile devices as there are hundreds upon hundreds of online casinos where different variants are readily available at the tip of their fingertips. Those who are considering to switch from landbased to online play are recommended to take into account the following criteria when selecting an online casino to play blackjack at.
Bonuses for Blackjack
One of the easiest ways to increase your chances of turning a profit when playing blackjack online is by partaking in different promotional incentives and claiming various bonuses, starting with the welcome packages all newcomers are awarded upon signing up with real-money accounts and depositing for the first time.
Security is an important aspect one needs to consider when playing online as, after all, one is risking not only their money, but their personal and financial information as well. The first thing you need to check when an online casino catches your eye is its license and the authority that regulates it.
Bonuses for Blackjack Additional TipsAs a game with acceptable volatility and a very low house edge, blackjack is a great option for playing with bonus credits where allowed. Fans of the game can take advantage of a variety of promotional incentives, including cashbacks, sign-up and reload bonuses. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions of the blackjack bonuses you are interested in to ascertain the game is not excluded from participation in free play.
Security Additional TipsIf the casino is licensed and regulated by a renowned regulatory body, you can rest assured you will always have somebody to protect your best interest. If your casino of choice has published no licensing information on its website, do not bother registering there.
A licensed and regulated gambling operator is obliged by its regulators to process all payments on par with the established security standards in the industry. All information you share on its website will be hidden with secure SSL encryptions to protect it against frauds and misappropriation.
The average return of the available blackjack games also needs to be taken into account. Note that when playing online, the outcome of each round is determined by a special software called Random Number Generator (RNG).
Versatility in terms of titles may prove to be more important than many players appear to think. If you are a blackjack fan, the best course of action would be to choose an online casino where there is a greater diversity in terms of blackjack variations, preferably by several software developers.
Payouts Additional TipsTo ensure randomness of results and hinder advantage players, the cards are returned back to the shoe and the entire pack is freshly reshuffled after every single hand. The higher the theoretical percentage of an online blackjack variant, the better for the player.
For example, the average payout percentage of Microgaming’s Classic Blackjack at one online casino is listed as 99.50%, which means players would only lose $0.50 and collect $99.50 on average per every $100 they put on stake. These results may be accurate only over the long term but they still do matter, especially when you play frequently. It would be better to opt for the above-mentioned blackjack variant rather than choose a game where the average return is estimated only at 94.30%, don’t you think?
Game Variety Additional TipsThis will prevent you from growing bored soon after your registration. If you go for an online casino where only one or two variants of the game are on offer, you are guaranteed to start looking for another gaming operator within a week. Choosing an online casino with live dealer games, broadcast in real time is also highly recommended.
Winning at Blackjack
Being a game of dependent events, blackjack poses as one of the few casino table offerings where the players can actually gain a steady advantage over the house and win consistently. There are several ways to go about this, depending on your own personal goals when playing the game and the amount of efforts and time you are willing to invest into becoming a consistent winner.
Rules and Card Values
The first thing all rookie blackjack players need to do is learn and master the rules of the game, with a special stress on the word “master”. Knowing which rules are more favorable to you is of equal importance.
One of the simplest ways to reduce the house edge in blackjack is to adopt basic strategy. As the name itself suggests, this is a viable option for inexperienced and recreational players.
Professional blackjack players resort to more advanced methods than basic strategy to increase the edge they hold over casinos. One of these techniques involves counting cards, which is keeping track of the ratio of high (ten-value) cards and low cards.
Rules and Card Values Additional TipsThe tables where a natural would pay 6 to 5 are to be avoided like the plague as this rule gives the house a higher edge, which would inevitably ruin the player over the long run.
The best option would be to find a table where naturals return 2 to 1, but as these are rarer than hen’s teeth, a 3 to 2 table would also do. Then again, playing at a table where early surrender and re-splitting Aces are allowed will also increase players’ overall expected return. Another favorable rule enables players to double down on three or more cards.
Ten-value cards are more advantageous for the player so if you are dealt a pair of Queens, for instance, never split them. Also, players should not underestimate the strength of soft hands and should always strive to play these optimally. As was explained, the value of the Aces in those hands is flexible and can be either 1 or 11 preventing you from going bust.
Experts recommend to risk hitting or doubling down on soft hands rather than standing, even on totals of 8/18. A total of 18 is sometimes not as strong as it initially appears, especially if the dealer shows a ten-value card or a 9. Computations indicate that soft 18 loses on 59 out of 100 hands against a dealer showing a face card. Meanwhile, players would lose only 57 out 100 hands if they hit their soft totals of 18 against the dealer’s ten-value card. Therefore, the mathematically sound decision with such soft totals would be to draw rather than stand.
Basic Strategy Additional TipsBasic strategy is represented in the form of a chart which contains all optimal decisions the player can possibly make on the basis of their own hand total and the face-up card the dealer is showing.
The columns in the chart contain the values of the dealer’s up cards while the rows contain the total of the player’s hand. One simply needs to check the squares in the chart where the rows and columns corresponding to their situation intersect. This would help them make the best decision on how to play their hand against neutral decks.
When you are playing online against the RNG, you can conveniently keep the chart close at hand and use it to your benefit. Moreover, basic strategy is proven to work as it is based on a computer simulation involving over 9 billion combinations of player hands against all possible up cards the dealer may show.
Card Counting Additional TipsThe higher the ratio of ten-value cards remaining in the deck or shoe, the better the odds for the player. When the shoe is rich in high cards, card counters will increase the size of their bets.
Low cards work to the benefit of the dealers because they decrease their chances of exceeding 21. When the ratio of high cards drops down, so will the bet sizing of the card counter. Logically, this helps maximize one’s profits and reduce their losses. There are various card counting systems that can be used with great success at the blackjack table, but so far the Hi-Lo system has gained the most prominence.
Blackjack is among the oldest casino card games in the world and as such, boasts a rather rich history. Debates as to when and where it appeared for the first time continue to this day. A similar game was first mentioned in a short story by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, written at the beginning of the 17th century.
Some historians argue that blackjack is based on an old Spanish game where the goal of the players was to obtain a three-card hand with a total of 31. Others are of the opinion that blackjack derives its rules from two other card games, Chemin de Fer and French Ferme which were hugely popular in France several centuries ago.
Allegedly, French colonists brought the game to the United States where it was initially known as Twenty-One. In the 1930s, casinos across Las Vegas temporarily introduced a promotion which paid out 10 to 1 for a natural, consisting of an Ace of spades and a black Jack, which is how the game got its name.
Online Blackjack Featuring Real Money
If you are looking for suitable online variations to play for real money online, you can turn to live dealer variants of the classic game of 21. With Live Casino software companies becoming an integral part of the iGaming industry, you can come across a vast variety of live blackjack tables online. These games are strictly available to players who make real money bets as it is too costly to offer live dealer games in fun mode.
Below, we have composed a list of live dealer blackjack games so you can choose from some of the best options you can play for real money. While there are plenty of variations to try, you should know that some games will offer better rules and possible returns, making them more suitable for your real-money betting sessions.
|Real Money Live Blackjack|
|Game Title||Software Provider||RTP||Dealer Stands||Number of Decks||Side Bets|
|VIP Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||99.29%||Stands on 17||8||Perfect Pairs, 21+3|
|Infinite Free Bet Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||98.45%.||Stands on soft 17||8||Any Pair, 21+3, Hot 3, Bust It|
|Power Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||98.80%||Stands on soft 17||8||Any Pair, 21+3, Hot 3, Bust It|
|Lightning Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||99.56%||Stands on soft 17||8||N/A|
|Speed Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||99.29%||Stands on 17||8||Perfect Pairs, 21+3|
|All Bets Blackjack||Playtech||95.90%||Stands on soft 17||8||Pair bets, 21+3, Lucky Lucky, Top 3, Buster|
|Quantum Blackjack Plus||Playtech||99.57%.||Stands on soft 17||6||Perfect Pairs, 21+3|
|ONE Blackjack||Pragmatic Play||99.28%||Stands on all 17s||8||21+3, Perfect Pairs, Bust Bonus, Crazy 7|
|Mega Fire Blaze Blackjack||Playtech||99.55%||Stands on all 17s||8||Mega Fire Blaze Bonus, Perfect Pair, 21+3|
|Super Stake Blackjack||StakeLogic||98.01%||Stands on all 17s||8||Golden Pairs, 3 , Golden 3, Buzz-T|
Top 10 Real Money Live Blackjack
If you are a fan of live dealer games, then you probably know that Evolution Gaming is one of the biggest providers of Live Casino solutions, catering to the needs of different players. VIP Blackjack is one of the great variations of the classic game you can play for real money at Evolution casinos.
Typically, the blackjack lobby of Evolution offers multiple VIP blackjack tables, with different dealers conducting the games and ranging bet limits to fit the preferences of players. That said, the rules of every VIP Blackjack table at an Evolution casino will be the same. The minimum bet limit usually starts from €50 and goes up to €5,000.
The game is played with eight regular decks, and the dealer always stands on 17. Players can double on any two initially dealt cards but there is no double allowed after a split. You can split any pair but there is only one split per hand allowed. After you split Aces, you will receive a single card to each hand. Players are allowed to make use of insurance if the dealer shows an Ace. This type of bet pays 2 to 1 and blackjack pays the standard 3 to 2. The game is considered a push if players are tied with the dealer.
Up to seven players can sit on the live table of VIP Blackjack but if you are not seated at the table, you can always make use of the Bet Behind options. It allows players to place their wagers on a hand played by another player at the table.
In addition to the regular gameplay, VIP Blackjack will also allow you to make side bets like Perfect Pairs and 21+3. The Perfect Pairs side wager is won when the player’s first two cards comprise a pair. Three different types of pairs will promise specific payouts for those who have made the side bet. A perfect pair of the same suit will pay 25 to 1, while a colored pair of the identical color will pay 12 to 1. The lowest payout of 6 to 1 is given for a mixed pair of different suits and colors.
Players win the 21+3 side bet if their initial two cards and the dealer’s face-up card comprise specific combinations like Suited Trips, Straight Flush, Three of a Kind, Straight, or Flush. The respective payouts for these combinations are 100 to 1, 40 to 1, 30 to 1, 10 to 1, and 5 to 1. The theoretical return of VIP Blackjack by Evolution is 99.29%, with the Perfect Pair and 21+3 side bets having RTPs of 95.90% and 96.30% respectively.
VIP Blackjack Gameplay
2Infinite Free Bet Blackjack
Another great live dealer blackjack variation by Evolution is Infinite Free Bet Blackjack. This is a revamped version of Infinite Blackjack, with the provider adding the Free Bet option to the gameplay to make players’ real money betting sessions even more lucrative. The betting limits of this blackjack live table tend to range between €1 and €1,000. The most exciting features about this live blackjack table are the free double bets on hard 9, 10, and 11 as well as the free split on any pair but 10s, Js, Qs, and Ks.
In addition to the aforementioned rules, Infinite Free Bet Blackjack incorporates rather basic rules in its gameplay. The game features eight standard 52-card decks, with an unlimited number of players being able to join the table each round. The dealer always stands on 17 and the bet is a push when the player and the dealer are tied or when the dealer busts with 22.
Doubling is allowed on any two initial cards dealt to the player, with this option being free on hard 9s, 10s, and 11s. As mentioned earlier, splitting any pair but 10s, Js, Qs, and Ks is free, with players having the option to make a single split per hand. After split Aces, each hand gets a single card. There is no double after a split. If the dealer shows an Ace, players can make use of insurance, which pays 2 to 1 if it is won. Blackjack pays 3 to 2 but there is also a chance to win if you are holding a hand of six cards with a value of 21 or lower.
In addition to the regular play, Infinite Free Bet Blackjack offers optional side bets, which include Any Pair, 21+3, Hot 3, and Bust It. The side bet on pairs is won when players are dealt a pair of any suit or color, or when they get a suited pair. Just like in VIP Blackjack, the side bet 21+3 in Infinite Free Bet Blackjack is won when the dealer’s face-up card and players’ first two cards form a combination. The HOT 3 side bet is similar to 21+3 as you will be betting on the two initial cards dealt to you plus the card the dealer reveals. In this case, however, you will be betting on certain totals or triple 7s. As the name of the bet suggests Bust It is won when the dealer busts, with the payout ranging according to the number of cards the dealer has busted with.
The base game’s RTP is calculated on the first hand in the shoe, with this game’s potential return being estimated to be 98.45%. The Any Pair, Hot 3, 21+3, and Bust It side bets have RTPs of 95.90%, 94.60%, 96.30%, and 94.12% respectively.
Infinite Free Bet Blackjack Gameplay
Yet another great Evolution live dealer blackjack version we would like to offer players who enjoy real money bets is Power Blackjack. The most exciting feature of this Live Casino game is the option to double, triple, or even quadruple on any two cards. Another unique rule in this game is the dealer peeking for blackjack on J, Q, K, and Ace. While the bet range of this table may range in different casinos, the average bet limits of Power Blackjack vary between €1 and €1,000.
This blackjack variation is played with eight decks, however, 9s and 10s are removed from all decks. The dealer always stands on soft 17, and as mentioned above, checks for a blackjack on more occasions than a face-up card being an Ace. Not only can players double, triple, and quadruple on any two cards, but they can also make use of these betting options after a split. Players can split any cards of equal value, with a single split per hand allowed. Only one card can be dealt on any Split Ace.
Whenever the dealer shows an Ace, players can make use of an insurance bet which will pay 2 to 1 if the dealer holds a blackjack. If players win the game by landing a blackjack, they will enjoy the regular payout of 3 to 2. A playing round is considered a push when the player’s and the dealer’s hands are tied.
Like other live dealer blackjack tables by Evolution, Power Blackjack offers the side bets Hot 3, 21+3, Any Pair, and Bust It. The rules for winning these optional bets are the same as the ones incorporated in Infinite Free Bet Blackjack and other Live Blackjack tables by Evolution offering the same extra betting options.
The RTP of Power Blackjack is based on the first hand in the shoe, with the estimated RTP of the base game being 98.80%. The RTPs of the side bets will be tweaked as there will be no 9s and 10s in the decks. The respective potential return on Any Pair, 21+3, Hot 3, and Bust It is 96.58%, 96.09%, 96.21%, and 94.71%.
Power Blackjack Gameplay
We hate to be repetitive but Evolution is the software provider with one of the largest selections of different live blackjack variations. If you enjoy real money bets, we recommend you try Lightning Blackjack, which incorporates one of Evolution’s biggest bonus features. The game’s bet limits start from €1 and can go up to €2,500 per betting round.
This blackjack version is played with eight standard 52-card decks. The dealer always stands on soft 17 and checks for a blackjack on Ace. The player can double on any two initial cards and split any pair, with both split and double requiring no fee. Players are allowed only one split per hand but they cannot double after they have split their cards. After splitting Aces, you will receive only one card to each Ace.
If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, players can make use of an insurance bet, which pays 2 to 1 if the dealer gets a blackjack. If players win by getting a blackjack, they will be paid 3 to 2, which is the standard blackjack payout but thanks to the multipliers, they can also enjoy a payout of up to 25 to 1. The normal winning hand will pay either even money or up to 25 to 1 when a multiplier is applied. The game round is considered a push when the player’s and dealer’s hands are considered a tie.
The specific lightning feature of this live blackjack requires a mandatory 100% Lightning fee, which means that your bet per round will be doubled on each new hand that you play. The usual minimum bet per round is €1 while the maximum is capped at €2,500. Keep in mind that the Lightning fee is automatically deducted from your balance and even if the game is a push, you will only get your initial bet back, while the fee will not be returned to your balance. After bets are closed, random multipliers are displayed on the screen, representing the value, which may be added to the next hand you choose to play.
The way Lightning multipliers work is that in each round, certain hand values will carry a random multiplier. You will notice that the hands between 4 and 17 or hands amounting to 18, 19, 20, and 21 can qualify for a multiplier between 2x and 15x. Meanwhile, blackjack hands will qualify for a multiplier of between 6x and 25x. Whenever you beat the dealer, you will win the multiplier attached to the value of your winning hand, with the multiplier being stored and applied to the next hand that you play on Lightning Blackjack.
If you win a multiplier but decide to quit the game, you can come back to Lightning Blackjack in the next 180 days and your multiplier will still be available to apply on your next bet. Keep in mind that even if you opt for a higher original bet and Lightning fee in the round with the applied multiplier, your win will be based on the Lightning fee you paid when the multiplier was won. The base game has an RTP of 99.56%, which is calculated based on the first hand from the shoe.
Lightning Blackjack Gameplay
Blackjack players who seek enticing live dealer options to make real money bets on can try Evolution’s Speed Blackjack. While the rules of the game are pretty basic and there is nothing unusual about the way you play or win the game, Speed Blackjack allows players to enjoy more gaming sessions as they can speed up the play. While Speed Blackjack has only seven seats, there is also the Bet Behind option, which players without a seat can utilize. Thanks to this feature, you can place your money on any of the hands played by other players who have joined the table.
Speed Blackjack is offered in several variations, with ranging bet limits and different dealers conducting the game. There are also VIP Speed Blackjack tables, allowing high rollers to stake higher amounts on their hands.
When players place their bets on the live blackjack table and the betting session is over, the dealer draws one card to each player, one card to the house’s side, then the second card to each player’s hand, and lastly draws their hidden card. As soon as a player on the table receives their second card, they are free to make their decision. If you are the first one to choose the action for their hand, the dealer will acknowledge your decision first. Once all players on the table have made their moves, the dealer will reveal their hidden card and will draw if they are not holding 17. The pace of the game is extremely quick, making it a great option for seasoned players who do not enjoy longer gaming sessions.
The rules of this blackjack variant are pretty basic, with the game utilizing eight standard 52-card decks. The dealer always stands on 17 and checks for a blackjack if holding an Ace. Players can double in any two initial cards but cannot double after a split. It is allowed to split any pair of cards of the same value, with one split per hand allowed. When you split Aces, you will get only a single card to each split Ace.
When the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, players can make use of insurance, which pays 2 to 1. A winning hand pays even money, while a blackjack will pay 3 to 2. The game is considered a push whenever there is a tie between the dealer and the player.
While Speed Blackjack has only seven seats, there is also the Bet Behind option, which can be utilized by players without a seat. Thanks to this feature, you can place your money on any of the hands played by other players who have joined the table. Perfect Pairs and 21+3 are the type of side bets you can also make while playing Speed Blackjack by Evolution. The potential player return for the base game in Speed Blackjack is 99.29%.
Speed Blackjack Gameplay
6All Bets Blackjack
To those who are looking for a thrilling gaming experience online, we also recommend All Bets Blackjack by Playtech. This version is similar to Evolution, allowing players to make quite a few side bets while playing blackjack for real money, with one of the optional bets offering a payout of up to 2,000 to 1.
The game is played with eight standard 52-card decks and there is no limitation on the number of players that can join this live blackjack table. Each player is dealt a single hand, which is played separately and the outcome does not depend on the decisions other players make.
The dealer always hits on 16 and stands on a soft 17. If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, he/she checks for a blackjack. What is more, when the dealer shows an Ace, players can make use of an insurance bet, which pays 2 to 1. Following the standard blackjack rules, All Bets Blackjack will pay the usual 3 to 2 for a natural. Players are allowed to double on any two initial cards and can split any pair. However, there is only one split allowed and no doubling is allowed after a split. If players split Aces, each Ace will receive only a single card.
The base game of All Bets Blackjack is rather basic, following the standard rules of the game of 21. What makes this blackjack variant more exciting during real money wagering sessions is the option to make one or several side bets.
Player/Dealer Pair is the first option for a side bet, allowing players to place a bet on either the dealer or the player side drawing a perfect, colored, or mixed pair. It is also possible to place the bet on both sides drawing pairs. The payout for a perfect, colored, and mixed pair is 25 to 1, 12 to 1, and 6 to 1 respectively.
Another standard side bet you can place is 21+3, which pays if the player’s two cards and the dealer’s face-up card form a Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, or Suited Three-of-a-Kind. The respective payouts are 5 to 1, 10 to 1, 30 to 1, 40 to 1, and 100 to 1. Another side bet that players can make while playing All Bets Blackjack is Lucky Lucky, which enables another type of wager on the player’s initial two cards and the dealer’s face-up card. Combinations like a total of 19/20, suited 21, 678, 777, suited 678, and suited 777 will offer players a return of 2 to 1, 15 to 1, 25 to 1, 50 to 1, 100 to 1, and the huge payout of 200 to 1 respectively.
To complete the series of side bets on the dealer’s face-up card and the player’s first two cards, the game also offers the Top 3 optional wager. It will offer a payout of 90 to 1, 180 to 1, and 270 to 1 for the combinations of Three-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, and Suited Three-of-a-Kind respectively.
The last type of side bet offered in All Bets Blackjack is Buster, which pays when the dealer busts. The payout depends on how many cards the dealer busts with, with the highest possible payout being 2,000 to 1, awarded when the dealer busts with 8 cards.
The main game’s RTP is 99.46%, while the player’s advantage for the side bets is as follows: Pair bets – 95.9%, 21+3 – 96.3%, Lucky Lucky – 96.1%, Top 3 – 91%, and Buster – 93.83%.
All Bets Blackjack Gameplay
7Quantum Blackjack Plus
Another great live blackjack variation we believe players who enjoy real money bets will enjoy is Quantum Blackjack Plus by Playtech. The limits for this table usually range between €/$5 and €/$2,000. Since this table deals a single hand, played individually by every player, this allows an unlimited number of people to join the game at the same time and play each hand the way they find most suitable. While this blackjack game incorporates the basic rules of the game of 21, there is a slight twist, including random multipliers that can be applied to players’ hands.
Quantum Blackjack was the first live dealer blackjack to include multipliers. In 2021, Playtech decided to revamp this live dealer solution and introduced several changes to make Quantum Blackjack Plus an even more attractive version of the classic card game. This blackjack variant is played with six standard decks, which is the first noticeable change from the previous eight-deck version. The cards are shuffled thanks to an automatic shuffling machine. The dealer stands on soft 17 and peek for a blackjack when drawing a hole card.
One interesting deviation from standard blackjack rules is that when the player wins and the dealer busts with three cards, the game is considered a push. The only exception to this rule is when the player’s hand contains one or more multiplier cards, in which case, the push turns into a win. Keep in mind that when there is a Multiplier win, players do not get their stake back. That means that the maximum win players can enjoy provided they have a 50x multiplier applied to their hand is actually 49 to 1. If you play with no multipliers, a winning hand pays even money and blackjack offers the standard 3 to 2 multiplier.
The interesting twist added to Quantum Blackjack Plus, just as in the original version, is the presence of multipliers. On every playing round, between three and five multiplier cards can be randomly chosen, with the value of multipliers ranging anywhere between 2.5x and 10x. The random multiplier will be applied to all three to five cards randomly chosen on each round. Assuming the round has chosen five multiplier cards with a 10x multiplier and you are dealt all five cards, you can hold a hand with a cumulative multiplier of 50x. Multipliers are paid when the player beats the dealer or the dealer busts with three or more cards.
The difference between the old version and the new version of Quantum Blackjack is that the multipliers in the older variant were multiplied when players were dealt several multiplier cards, with the maximum possible multiplier in the new version being significantly lower. That said, in Quantum Blackjack Plus, you get more multiplier cards on each round, which gives players more chances to get the value of their hands multiplied.
Standard side bets like Perfect Pairs and 21+3 will also be available in Quantum Blackjack Plus, offering the usual payouts that other live blackjack tables by Playtech offer for these bets. The RTP of the base game, including the multipliers, is calculated to be 99.57%. The RTPs of the side bets Perfect Pairs and 21+3 are 93.89% and 95.38% respectively.
Quantum Blackjack Plus Gameplay
If you have joined an online casino that offers Live Casino games powered by Pragmatic Play, you will have the opportunity to join quite a large number of live blackjack tables. Players will be able to pick the dealer they find most charming and they can also base their choice on the different bet limits of a large number of tables. Among the various blackjack options, players will see ONE Blackjack, which is one of Pragmatic Play’s signature Live Casino titles.
The thing that differentiates ONE Blackjack from the rest of the live dealer blackjack options offered by the same software provider is the unlimited number of seats in the game. Thanks to the special software integrated into this game, each player will be presented with the same initial two cards but every player will be able to make decisions about the hand, with the following actions being independently taken by each player. The betting limits range between €1 and €2,500 but it is possible that some casinos may have lower or higher table maximums.
ONE Blackjack is played with eight standard 52-card decks, which are automatically shuffled. The dealer must always draw to 16 and stand on all 17s. Doubling is allowed on any two initial cards, with only one card dealt after doubling down. No doubling is allowed on cards other than the initial two dealt to players.
Any pair of identical cards can be split, including Aces. After you have split Aces, you cannot hit, which means that only one card will be drawn to each hand. When the dealer shows an Ace, players can make use of insurance, which pays 2 to 1. The payout for a blackjack is the standard 3 to 2 return. Six Card Charlie applies, awarding a win to players who have not surpassed the sum of 21 with six cards in their hands. When players tie with the dealer, the game is considered a push, and players receive their stake back. The potential return for the base game in ONE Blackjack is 99.28%.
In addition to the base game, players will also be able to make side bets like 21+3, Perfect Pairs, Bust Bonus, and Crazy 7. The rules of winning the first two side bets are identical to the ones implemented in other blackjack games offering these options. Payouts for 21+3 and Pair combinations are also standard ones. Similar to other games offering this side bet, ONE Blackjack can also pay when the dealer busts, with the bonus pay increasing if there are more cards the dealer has busted with.
A rather unusual live dealer blackjack side bet is Crazy 7, which pays for different card combinations containing 7s. Players who have made this wager can win for one 7, 7-7, Suited 7-7, Triple 7s, and Suited Triple 7s. The respective payouts for the first four combinations are 5 to 1, 25 to 1, 150 to 1, and 500 to 1. The biggest payout is given on Suited Triple 7s, bringing players a return of 2,000 to 1.
ONE Blackjack Gameplay
9Mega Fire Blaze Blackjack
If you want to try a different live blackjack experience, you can also try Playtech’s Mega Fire Blaze Blackjack. This game will offer a standard Vegas-style blackjack mixed with an extra thrilling side betting option. If the Mega Fire Blaze Bonus is activated during the base game, blackjack players can enjoy a win multiplier that may range between 1x and 1,000x.
Mega Fire Blaze Blackjack is another unlimited version of the card game, meaning there is no restriction on the number of players that can join the live table. Instead of having one hand, however, this unlimited-seat blackjack has two hands, with players having the choice to play both of them or just a single hand. The game uses eight standard 52-card decks, with an auto shuffler mixing the cards on every new round. The dealer always hits on 16 and stands on 17s, with the dealer also checking for a blackjack if he/she is holding an Ace.
Provided that the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, players can make use of insurance, which pays 2 to 1. The payout for blackjack is the standard 3 to 2, with all other rules of the base game also being your standard Vegas-style blackjack gameplay conditions. These include doubling on any two initial cards, splitting any pair, including two Aces, and doubling after a split. Re-splitting is not allowed and you will only receive a single card to a split Ace.
Regular side bets like Perfect Pairs and 21+3 are also available in Mega Fire Blaze Blackjack, offering players the standard payouts for pairs or combinations of players’ and dealer’s cards. As far as the base gameplay goes, players should not have any issues understanding the rules.
As for the Mega Fire Blaze Bonus play, things might seem a bit complicated but we will try to simplify the rules for you. This type of bonus wager is like other side bets and it is completely optional to play, allowing players to bet any amount on the Mega Fire Blaze section on the betting grid. If you have made this side bet, when the bonus round occurs, you will qualify for the Mega Fire Blaze Bonus payout. The bonus round is triggered through a points system, with certain cards dealt by the dealer creating a specific number of points. As these points are added up, they will tip you into the bonus round when it is triggered. The minimum requirement to qualify for the bonus round is to collect five points.
Points can come from either the dealer’s hands or the two player hands, and it is not required to play the two hands in order to collect points for the bonus round. Certain conditions for a player’s total value of hands, or the dealer’s face-up card can award the points that you need to enter the bonus round. The Mega Fire Blaze Bonus has five tiers, with a higher bonus round being unlocked with the higher number of points collected in the base game. The Minor, Mini, Major, Grand, and Mega rounds of the bonus game will be unlocked by respectively collecting 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 points.
When the Mega Fire Blaze Bonus game is activated, the screen behind the dealer will display a grid with three spins awarding random multipliers. Any time a multiplier lands on the grid, the spins will reset to three and the bonus round will continue until no more multipliers land on the grid or the entire grid is covered in multipliers. Not only can multipliers add up as they land on the grid but if columns get fully covered in multipliers, special random multipliers can also be won during the bonus round. The higher the bonus level you have unlocked, the bigger the multipliers during the bonus game can be.
While the Mega Fire Blaze betting grid can seem a bit confusing, the game’s interface is designed to help you concentrate on the base game without worrying whether you qualify for the bonus play or not. The base game’s RTP is 99.55%, while the RTPs for the Mega Fire Blaze Bonus game, the Perfect Pair side bet, and the 21+3 optional bet are 97.47%, 95.9%, and 96.3%.
10Super Stake Blackjack
When you wish to play blackjack for real money, we suggest you try StakeLogic’s Super Stake Blackjack, which is a live dealer card game that can be very entertaining and rewarding if luck is on your side. Like many of the variations we have reviewed above, Super Stake Blackjack gives players the chance to play standard blackjack and add generous multipliers to their wins.
At first glance, the base game of Super Stake Blackjack is using standard rules and offers regular payouts of even money for a winning hand, 3 to 2 for a blackjack, and 2 to 1 on insurance. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that every betting round will impose a mandatory 50% SuperStake fee. For instance, if you bet €/$2 on your hand, your total bet is going to be €/$3, with payouts being calculated only on your base stake of €/$2. In that case, a winning hand will pay €/$4, instead of €/$6 and blackjack will pay €/$5 instead of €/$7.50.
Unlike some live dealer options with limited seats, Super Stake Blackjack allows an unlimited number of players to join the table at the same time, with every player handling the hand independently. It should be noted that while players can decide for themselves whether to split or double, standing and hitting are decided automatically based on Basic Blackjack Strategy.
Super Stake Blackjack uses standard Vegas rules with eight 52-card decks being used in the game, with a cutting card being placed at the end of the fourth deck, which will mark the point of a shoe change. The dealer always hits on 16 and stands on all 17s. Double Down and Splits are options you can make use of, with split Aces receiving only one card.
What makes this blackjack variation interesting and potentially rewarding is the chance of landing a random multiplier card, with the highest possible multiplier value being 60x. After players place their bets, six Golden cards will be displayed on the screen behind the dealer, with each card carrying a specific multiplier. If you are dealt any of these cards, the multiplier will be applied to your stake. It should be noted that multipliers count only when golden cards appear on the initial draw of the player’s hand. That means whenever any of the special cards appear after doubling or hitting the hand, the multiplier will not be applied to the hand.
Another specific thing about the multipliers in Super Stake Blackjack is that they apply only to the original stake players have made. Let us assume you have placed your €/$2 stake, you have landed a Golden card with a 10x multiplier and you want to double down. In that case, your wager will increase to €/$4 but the 10x multiplier will still apply only to your original stake of €/$2. If your hand ends up winning, your return will be €/$28, with €/$20 being the multiplied €/$2 stake and €/$8 being the even money return on your €/$4 stake after doubling.
In addition to the base game, players can also make four side bets, which include Golden Pairs, 3, Golden 3, and Buzz-T. Similar to the Perfect Pairs side bet in other live dealer blackjack options, Golden Pairs will pay when players are dealer Suited Pair, Colored Pair, or Mixed Pair, with respective returns being 25 to 1, 12 to 1, and 6 to 1.
The 3 side wager is the 21+3 side bet you have seen in other Live Blackjack variations, paying for the players’ two cards and the dealer’s face-up card forming Suited Three-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, Three-of-a-Kind, Straight, or Flush. The respective payouts for these hands will be the standard 100 to 1, 40 to 1, 30 to 1, 10 to 1, and 5 to 1. If you decide to make the Golden 3 side bet, you will be making almost the same wager as the optional 3 bet but you will get paid only for Suited Three-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, and Three-of-a-Kind. That said, the payouts will be higher, offering 270 to 1, 180 to 1, and 90 to 1 respectively.
The Buzz-T side bet will allow players to enjoy a bonus payout if the dealer busts. The more cards the dealer busts with, the higher the payout will be, with the best return of 250 to 1 offered for a bust with eight or more cards.
Due to the mandatory fee, which is never returned, the actual RTP of the base game in Super Stake Blackjack has been significantly reduced to 98.01%. Of course, this is done due to the chance of much higher payouts when players hit a Golden card with a multiplier.
Super Stake Blackjack Gameplay
Is blackjack a game of chance?
The short answer to this question is no, blackjack is not based merely on luck. Of course, a certain amount of luck is involved in any card game, blackjack included, as the outcome of a hand is always affected by the cards one is dealt. Even the most skilled players have to influence over what cards they receive from the dealer unless cheating is at hand.
In blackjack, the outcomes of previous hands can affect the hands that are to follow. The element of luck involved in the game can be further reduced if players are making the optimal decisions in all hands, which would also increase their overall expected return.
Is blackjack a beatable game?
Yes, blackjack is among the few casino offerings where players have a significant chance of beating the house at its own game. Dice and roulette wheels may not have a memory, but the same cannot be said about the cards in a blackjack shoe. The cards that are dealt on previous rounds can influence the odds for both players and dealers on subsequent rounds. In other words, the odds change with every hand, played at the table.
A shoe rich in high cards works to the advantage of the player, while low cards benefit the dealers. Skilled professionals know how to exploit the richness of a shoe to their advantage but recreational players can also reduce their long-term losses with perfect basic strategy.
Do the bad decisions of other players affect the odds for me?
This is a widespread myth among inexperienced and overall clueless players, who fail to recognize the impact of variance in blackjack. The truth of the matter is bad players are the very reason why blackjack is still offered in casinos – if everyone’s play was on par, the house would not be able to generate any profits from its blackjack tables.
Since it is impossible to know what the order of the undealt cards is in advance, one cannot say for certain whether the bad playing decisions of a fellow player will have a positive or a negative impact on any given round. A bad player’s hit is just as likely to help you as it is to hurt you.
What is better – single-deck or multiple-deck blackjack?
Multi-deck games are known to give the house a slightly bigger edge over blackjack players. This can be attributed to the effect of the card’s removal throughout the course of a game. In single-deck blackjack the removal of a single card from the deck has a much bigger impact on the game compared to the removal of one card from a shoe containing eight decks, for instance. It is more difficult for card counters to keep track of the cards in multiple-deck games. However, many professional players prefer to engage in shoe games because these would normally offer better rules and payouts as opposed to the majority of single-deck tables, where a natural returns 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2.