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Blackjack is one of the most popular card games. One of the most exciting things about it is that it’s a fast-paced game. Furthermore, in blackjack, players won’t compete against each other but rather against the dealer or house.
Probably the main reason for the popularity of blackjack is that the game is so simple. You won’t need much time, and the rules are easy to follow and understand.
The main goal of blackjack is to defeat the dealer. Unlike other casino games, you won’t play against anyone other than the dealer. There are a few ways you could defeat them. When the game starts, both you and the dealer will receive two cards. Naturally, if there are more players at the table, each of them will receive two cards, and each of them will compete against the dealer only.
The players’ two cards will be facing up (or down depending on the casino), while the dealer will get one facing up and other facing down.
Each of the players will take turns deciding what they will do with the cards they have. The idea is to get as close as possible to twenty-one without going over. All the cards from two to nine will count as their inherent value; ten and higher will count as ten, while Aces can be both one and eleven.
As you can see, it is not possible to go over the limit with only two cards. Of course, getting 21 with only the first two cards will count as “blackjack,” and the player will win unless the dealer has a blackjack too.
After receiving your two cards, you’ll have several options. You could keep the cards you have or ask for another one. You can take as many cards as you like, but if their sum is over 21, you will lose. If one of the players has two cards where Ace counts as eleven, this is called a soft hand because they can draw an additional card without the fear of going over the limit. Naturally, the hand where Ace counts as one or a hand without an ace is called hard.
Finally, when all the players are done with their decisions or they busted (went over 21), the dealer will show their hidden card. If the total sum of the dealer’s cards is less than 17, they will have to draw until they either go over 17 or bust. In some casinos, the dealer will have to draw even if they get a soft 17.
How to Play
Let’s assume that you are the only person at the table. You will play against the dealer, and when you go to the table, both you and the dealer will receive two cards. However, you’ll be able to see only one of the dealer’s cards.
If you hit blackjack, you will win. However, if the dealer has blackjack too, you will split the reward, meaning that you’ll only get your money back without an additional reward.
If you get five and an Ace, that’s an example of a soft hand, and the Ace could count both as one and eleven. Since the total value of your cards is soft sixteen, you could ask for an additional card without a chance of busting. If the next card is ten, your total sum is still sixteen. Of course, if it’s less, you could still ask for an additional card, but you’d risk busting.
Depending on the dealer’s revealed card, you would proceed to strengthen your hand in order to try to get as close to 21 as possible. Finally, if your total sum is 19 or 20, it would be smart to stand and wait for the dealer to reveal their cards.
What Is Live Dealer Blackjack?
When you play online blackjack, there are so many websites that offer games that are played against the computer. While the basics are the same, you would have to rely on the RNG (or random number generator). We won’t say that games like this are rigged, but some people still prefer real human dealers rather than playing against the machine.
In live blackjack games, you would play against a real dealer. There will be a camera, and you would be able to see what the dealer is doing as well as their revealed card. Via chat system and commands on-screen, you would dictate your game. The dealer is part of the team that enables the game, and they will be your opponent just as in a regular casino.
However, if you think about how much easier it is and how you might be able to count cards, we should stop you there. While blackjack can be played with a standard 52-card deck, live games are usually played with several decks to reduce any possibility of card counting.
Furthermore, most of the dealers play with the so-called 50% penetration — when they reach half of the deck, they simply shuffle it before proceeding. The rules of blackjack are the same in live dealer games as in any land-based casino.
Decisions and Variations
To make things even more interesting, there are several options when it comes to betting. When you confront the dealer at the live blackjack table, you will have several betting options and decisions.
Each of the following options has a different hand gesture to ensure the fluid pace of the game and avoid having to talk and explain your next action and decision.
The first option you’d have after receiving your two cards from the dealer is hitting. If you opt to hit, you will receive another card. Usually, the mark for hitting is either tapping the cards with your finger or waving towards yourself.
The second option is to stand. You will receive no more cards, and you’ll wait for the dealer to reveal their cards. This is done by waving horizontally above the table.
The third option is to “double down.” You will increase the initial bet two times and receive a single card after which you will “stand” and wait for the dealer to show cards. The gesture is placing additional chips and showing one with your finger.
The final option is to split. Splitting is done when the player receives two identical cards. They can opt to split those cards to create two independent hands for which they will receive one card per hand. Most of the casinos won’t allow splitting cards like a ten and King for example, but players will be able to split two Kings or two tens.
It is worth mentioning that some casinos offer a “surrender” as an option as well. This feature would allow the player to retrieve half of their initial wager.
Normally, the payout on blackjack is 1:1. So if you defeat the dealer while wagering $10, you will receive back your $10, and you’ll win $10. However, if you get a natural blackjack or a two-card blackjack, you will be paid 3:2. This means that for the $10 you bet, you will receive $25. Of course, some tables offer 6:5 payout, where you would receive $12 instead of $15 at a 3:2 table.
If you opt to double down, you will double the initial wager. Furthermore, the result will be the same if you split and win both hands.
Finally, there are casinos that will reward you for additional combinations inside the game. For example, some live dealer casinos will pay for combinations similar to the ones found in poker. In these games, if you manage to win by getting, for example, three cards that are all diamonds, you will get a higher payout.
In these types of games, the payout can go as high as 100:1 for getting three identical cards, like three Queens of Hearts, for example.
The popularity of live casino games is only rising, and it is exciting to play with real people and real dealers instead of “imaginary” opponents. Since gamblers have always loved playing blackjack for real money, live dealer games managed to make everything even more thrilling and exciting. If you were looking for a new approach to online gambling, search no more. You will undoubtedly love live dealer games.