Live Blackjack vs Online Blackjack

Brett C. - January 11, 2022
Blackjack game table

Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack share many similarities, but each variant of this skill-based casino card game is uniquely different. Let’s explore together!

Blackjack is the quintessential casino card game. It is considered by aficionados to be a beatable game i.e. one where a skilled player can dramatically reduce the house edge to negligible levels. Noted authorities state that the optimal house edge for blackjack, based on perfect playing strategy can be as low as 0.5%. The typical house edge on blackjack is around 2%.

As a partially skill-based casino card game, blackjack players have but one objective: Beat the dealer without busting. This is possible by compiling a hand total greater than the dealer’s hand total, without exceeding 21. A common misconception among blackjack players is that 21 is the desired goal. Today, we're going to walk you through two distinct blackjack variants, notably Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack.

What is Online Blackjack?

Online blackjack is played at an online casino. Software providers have created scores of entertaining online blackjack games for players to enjoy. Arguably the most popular online blackjack games include Spanish 21, Classic Blackjack, European Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, 21, Pontoon, Perfect Pairs Blackjack, Multi-Hand Blackjack, and Double Exposure Blackjack, to name but a few. While each game is different from the next, all online blackjack games rely on RNGs.

Random number generators are sophisticated software programs that randomly generate outcomes for each card that is dealt, based on the remaining cards in the deck/s. There is no way of manipulating an RNG by the player or the casino. A computer-generated interface serves as the blackjack table, and the dealer is the RNG program. Online blackjack games are readily available to register online casino players in real money mode. It is also possible to play these games in demo mode, direct off your browser. Nowadays, HTML 5 functionality allows players to enjoy instant-play online blackjack, no download is needed.

This game pits the player against the dealer in a virtual battle for the ranking hand. You may be required to register and log in to your online casino account before you can play online blackjack games. Some online casinos allow you to simply practice in demo mode – but you can't win real money in demo mode. Cards are dealt with the player and dealer in turn. You are tasked with compiling the strongest possible hand, based on your cards and the dealer’s upcard.

You can use blackjack strategy charts and blackjack odds calculators to better understand when to hit, stand, double, split, or take insurance. It's always a good idea to pick the highest RTP online blackjack game based on the number of decks in play, whether blackjack pays 3:2 or 6:5, and minimum/maximum bets at the blackjack table. One of the best introductory online blackjack games for new players is Classic Blackjack with a single deck and a 3:2 payout on blackjack.

What is Live Blackjack?

Perhaps you have frequented a land-based casino on the iconic Las Vegas Strip, the Atlantic City Boardwalk, or in Monte Carlo? These illustrious resorts feature a smorgasbord of wildly entertaining casino games. As a blackjack player, you have the option of playing at a blackjack machine or participating in an in-person blackjack game with a real dealer and other players. The authenticity of the player/dealer blackjack game is what makes this so exciting to fans.

Of course, the online casino world is a virtual arena where computer software governs gameplay. In the 1990s, one of the biggest problems that online casinos faced was credibility. How could players trust the outcomes generated by the RNGs in online casino games? Random number generators are third-party programs that randomize the outcomes of all cards dealt to ensure a fair, credible, and transparent result. Despite assurances, many players were reluctant to risk real money playing casino card games like blackjack online.

Enter a breakthrough innovation in the form of live blackjack games. Leading software developers such as Evolution Gaming, NetEnt Live, Microgaming Live, Authentic Gaming, and others fashioned a new way to play blackjack games. They were tasked with creating a credible gaming milieu, with authenticity and real-life outcomes sans RNGs. The casino game software developers and their partners built actual casino studios (largely in Eastern Europe) where professionally-trained blackjack dealers place bets, deal cards, and pay winnings to players in real-time.

Multiple Cameras for the Best Views of the Game

Live blackjack games stream live via secure Internet feeds at a land-based casino direct through an online casino’s server to registered players. Multiple high-definition cameras are strategically positioned around the table. This provides players with the perfect vantage point to see every card that is dealt, and every bet that is placed. It's just like being physically present at a bricks-and-mortar casino with the dealer and other players at the table. Of course, players get to experience all of this from the comforts of home on a personal computer, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

The beauty of live blackjack games is that they are hosted by real-life dealers. They are not limited by the number of players who wish to participate, since players virtually join a table with a dealer. The kicker is that dealers communicate with players at the table

in real-time via the software. For privacy reasons, dealers cannot see players. Of course, players can see everything that dealers are doing. This establishes trust and eliminates the need for random number generators. Automatic card shuffling machines are used in place of computer software. It's blackjack exactly as you would play it in person at a land-based casino.

Similarities Between Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack

  • Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack Games are usually available around the clock at licensed online casinos.
  • Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack games require the player to beat the dealer's hand total without exceeding 21.
  • Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack do not factor in the hand totals of other players at the table – it’s simply your hand versus the dealer's hand.
  • Players can use the same tactics, strategies, betting systems, and bankroll management techniques in both forms of blackjack.

Differences Between Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack

  • Online Blackjack games are available to players in demo mode and real money mode. Live Blackjack is only available in real money mode.
  • Many online casinos do not require players to register to practice online blackjack games. However, all online casinos require you to be a registered real money player for live blackjack games.
  • Players can complete many more online blackjack rounds of play per gambling session than they can with live blackjack games. Live blackjack games are populated by actual players on their computers or mobiles. This means you will have to wait for every player to complete their hands before a new game begins.
  • Live Blackjack games typically have a payout of 3:2 on blackjack, while many Online Blackjack games feature even-money payouts for blackjack. This means that it may be more lucrative to play Live Blackjack online.
  • Online Blackjack games are more affordable for low-stakes players. Games can begin from as little as $0.50/$1.00, depending on the online casino. Live Blackjack games are costlier, with some games starting at $5.00 per hand. A player on a limited budget who wants to enjoy as many blackjack games as possible is better served with Online Blackjack.
  • Online Blackjack games preclude the possibility of advantage play. Card counting is not possible since cards are shuffled after each hand, making the running count irrelevant. Plus, there's no benefit to forming blackjack (Ace +10-value card), given the payouts with video blackjack games.

What Game Should You Play? Online Blackjack or Live Blackjack?

As a new player with little experience, it's best to start with demo play online blackjack games. Over time, you will grow in confidence and be able to switch to real money online blackjack games. Start with games like Classic Blackjack with a single deck and a 3:2 payout on blackjack. The minimum bets are low in this variant of the game. Read as much as possible about blackjack tactics and strategies before increasing your bets, or advancing to different variants of the game.

Remember that online blackjack games are cheaper to buy into, but you will be playing more hands per session. That means your total losses per hour could be much higher. The odds (RTPs) with video blackjack games are less favorable towards players. This increases your total losses over time. By the same token, online blackjack games are always available in demo mode and real money mode.

With live blackjack, there is a lot more authenticity. First of all, you're playing with an actual dealer and other players at the table. You can see everything that's unfolding in real-time but you will have to pay for that privilege. Live blackjack games are costlier, but you can expect to play fewer rounds per hour. This may or may not increase your loss rate depending on how well you apply the blackjack strategy to your game.

Advantage play is also possible with live blackjack. It's just like playing at a land-based casino where the dealer and other players are in attendance. There is no advantage play with online blackjack games since cards are automatically shuffled after every round and the rules preclude this possibility. Ultimately, it's your call!

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