Live dealer blackjack is still unknown to most online gamblers, but its appeal increases with each passing year. That's because it offers more than the impersonal experience of virtual card games, allowing players to compete against a real dealer on the other side of their monitor. As an added bonus, these dealers are often attractive men or women with appealing smiles.
While the live version of online blackjack isn't available at all casinos, a growing number are beginning to offer their customers a choice. This article is intended as an introduction to the game, discussing everything from where to find it to how it differs from traditional Internet blackjack. Once you're familiar with the basics, all that remains is to open an account at an online casino and start playing.
How It Works
Thanks to high-definition, real-time video feeds, the live dealer feature can be streamed directly to your laptop or PC. Instead of staring at a virtual card table, you'll be playing against an actual person in real time. It's the closest thing you'll find to a brick-and-mortar gaming experience on your computer, which is why it continues to add scores of new fans each year.
Keep in mind, however, that the player cannot interact directly with the live dealer. You simply indicate your next move or wager by clicking on the screen, and the dealer is informed of your decision on their end. The dealer can't see you, either, which is probably wise considering some of the unwelcome sights that female dealers might be treated to.
Where to Find Live Dealer Blackjack Online
If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, you'll need to track down a casino that offers the live dealer option. This can be more of a challenge than you might initially expect, as the almighty Google is going to lead you down a lot of dead ends and wrong turns.
The best strategy is to start with some of your favorite online casinos. Navigate their homepage and look for the live dealer option. If they do have it, they're likely to offer blackjack, roulette, and even baccarat.
If they don't, then visit other leading online casinos (such as Jackpot City) and see if they have it. Of course, players from the United States will still have to deal with the usual hassles of finding casinos that accept American players, but who ever said life was perfect?
The Advantages of Live Blackjack
Here are a few reasons why you might want to give the live dealer version of blackjack a try:
Live Dealers - This one is a no-brainer. Instead of playing against a computer program, you're competing against a physical representation of the casino. And when they happen to be an attractive man or women, well, that's just icing on the cake.
Visual Excitement - The virtual blackjack table is fairly static, but the live version includes a person moving about, as well as activity in the background. It might not sound like much, but it can serve as a welcome change of pace.
Lack of RNG - Some people distrust the random number generator, and the live version allows you to see each card drawn out of a shoe. While reputable casinos are never going to cheat you with their RNG software, this gives cautious players some additional peace of mind.
How to Play Live Dealer Blackjack
Casinos offering live dealers usually include the option for blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Once you've created your account and logged in, you can access this feature by clicking on the live version of your favorite casino game.
At some casinos, you'll be asked to select the kind of dealer you want, with employees of either gender available. I've even encountered a couple of casinos that give patrons the option of choosing a female dealer dressed like a Playboy bunny. This isn't for everyone, of course, but it's always nice to have the choice.
Once you arrive at the table, the game progresses much like any other game of real-money blackjack. You enter your wager and decide on your strategy, and this is relayed to the dealer. The biggest difference is that oversized cards are used for blackjack, as the camera is located in a fixed position and doesn't offer close-ups.
In most cases, each live table supports up to seven players, and eight 52-card decks are used. The table limits differ with each casino, and I've even seen a couple that allowed you to make a side wager on whether a specific player would win the next hand.
Your winnings are deposited into your casinos account, just like normal. If you lose, however, at least you'll get a sympathetic smile from an attractive dealer.
While virtual blackjack is currently the most popular version of 21, don't be surprised if the live dealer option surpasses it in the future. It's just a matter of players becoming aware of the advantages, as well as higher-speed connections making streaming content more accessible to the masses. Once that happens, expect the increased excitement and attractive dealers to lure in new players by the thousands.