Blackjack is a big part of the live dealer casino movement, one of the first live dealer games to appear a few years ago, and of the handful of games in live dealer format that comes in a few different varieties. This popular casino card game pits gamblers against the house rather than against one another, one of the many reasons why the game has been enjoyed since the early 18th century at casinos all over the world. Blackjack has a special place in many gamblers’ hearts, since it offers some of the best odds in the house. Played according to a few basic blackjack strategy rules, the casino’s edge is just 0.5%.

Of course, skilled players can shrink that advantage, and even turn 21 into a positive expectation game, by practicing card counting tactics. With the right training, a gambler who can keep even a basic count of the cards that have already appeared in the game can gain an edge against the casino. Card counters have fought for years for the right to use their strategy in casinos, though most gambling venues keep records of known counters and reserve the right to refuse to do business with them, except in Atlantic City, where card counting is specifically allowed at table games, if not exactly encouraged

Card Counting & Live Dealer Games

The issue of card counting comes up often in discussions of live blackjack games online. Live games, with a real dealer conducting the wagering and card activity, use webcam technology to connect you with a dealer in real-time. Adding a dealer to Internet blackjack means adding a real shoe made up of real cards. The appeal of this style of online casino play is supposed to be that the games are more realistic. Gamblers used to land-based casino play who miss the human contact when they play online games of chance may prefer to play roulette with a real human croupier, for example. But people who count cards may be tempted to think of the physical existence of a deck of cards as an opportunity to turn live dealer blackjack into a positive expectation game.

Does the existence of a physical deck, rather than a random number generator, really mean card counters can finally practice their strategy with the online game?

Theoretically, yes, if a player had a genius-level IQ and savant-level memory skills. Existing online casinos that use real dealers have shoes composed of between 6 and 8 decks, and almost all of these versions of the game use random shuffles and other tactics to prevent card counters from taking advantage of webcam dealers and their real playing cards.

How Does Live Dealer Blackjack Work?

Each online casino offering live games looks a bit different, using their own color schemes, design elements, different screen layouts, and varieties of games. Blackjack played with a real human dealer looks similar to a standard Internet game, with the addition of an extra screen showing the dealer working the game. The player still uses some form of point-and-click interface to make game decisions and place wagers, but the action of the game unfolds live. Players can watch the shuffle, see the cards being dealt, and interact with the dealer almost the same way you would in a traditional casino.

Remember that the shoe in Internet games of 21 aren’t anything like the shoes used in land-based casinos. Online gambling depends on random number generators rather than a real deck of cards – unless you’re playing a human dealer game, you can’t see the shuffle or the cards themselves, only graphical representations of cards that are based on random numbers plucked out of thin air by the casino’s software. No matter how realistic a 3D blackjack game‘s graphics may be, no version of Internet casino play feels much like real casino gambling. In fact, it’s more like playing a video game.

Live dealer games run similar to their traditional other games – you have to sign up for an account with an Internet casino that offers these types of games, fund your account, and choose your specific live dealer game. As of this writing, the bulk of real-dealer Internet casinos offer at least two versions of blackjack: multiplayer and single player. The only real difference is the number of players sitting at the table and watching the same dealer and betting surface. Multiplayer games with a webcam-based dealer feel even more like actual casino play, thanks to the presence of other players.

After you’ve picked your favorite version of the game, place a bet and watch as the dealer lays out all the player’s cards. It’s very simple – the difference between live dealer casino play and standard online gambling is the mere presence of a human dealer, a set of real cards, and a little bit of dealer and player interaction.

What Types of Blackjack Games are Available at Live Dealer Casinos?

Until this type of casino game becomes more popular, game variety is a little bit limited. It’s important to shop around before you choose a site providing a real-dealer blackjack game and look at the variation in rules between the different games. Besides the choice between multiplayer and single player games, different sites have different rules in terms of splitting, surrendering, number of decks in the shoe, and other in-game rules. As technology improves, expect to see more variance in the casino games available with a human dealer shuffling and controlling the game.

Innovation in online gaming is somewhat rare since games offered at Internet betting sites tend to be the same even across different software platforms. As more sites add real dealer games into their libraries, and players catch on to the added realism you get with human dealers, player options will increase. For now, human dealer games are only slightly different from one provider to the next.