Blackjack is the most popular card game in casinos and has been part of the online gambling industry for more than two decades. There are two ways to play blackjack online: RNG blackjack and live dealer blackjack.
RNG blackjack titles are all non-live games that use a random number generator to produce an outcome. In other words, a piece of software makes sure that the cards players receive don’t follow any sort of pattern. One problem with RNG is that players may not trust it. To be precise, they trust real cards more than virtual ones. Enter live dealer blackjack.
Live casino games, including blackjack, all feature human croupiers who use real cards and are streamed in real-time to players’ devices.
If you’re looking for a way to play live dealer blackjack, take a look at our guide, where we’ll explore the options in states where online casino gambling is licensed and regulated.
Best USA online casinos with live dealer games
How to play live dealer blackjack
Before making your first live blackjack bet, you need to select the best live game for you, so here’s a quick guide on how to do it.
- Pick a US online casino available in your state that offers live dealer blackjack games.
- Find the sign-up button and fill in the registration form to make a deposit.
- Find the cashier section and select one of the available deposit methods to add money to your account. Live blackjack games are only playable for real money (we’ll get to that later), so it’s important not to skip this step.
- Go to the live casino page and filter for blackjack games (if possible).
- Pay attention to the type of blackjack and betting limits, and select the one you like.
Once you’ve made a deposit and selected a game, it’s time to start playing live dealer blackjack.
- Choose your seat — Live dealer tables have a limited number of seats, much like their land-based counterparts. Your first task is to select one of the available seats to begin playing. If no seats are available, try finding an Infinite Blackjack table or wait in the queue.
- Place a bet — All online blackjack games begin with placing a bet. You’ll need to take the minimum and maximum betting limits into account.
- Wait for the deal — Once all of the players have placed their bets, the dealer will give each one a face-up card. After that, the dealer also gets a face-up card. Everyone gets a second card, face-up for players and face-down for the dealer.
- Make your decision — In most blackjack games, if you have a natural (21 points), you’re the winner right away. Otherwise, you have to tell the dealer what you want to do. You may choose to stand (not get another card) or hit (receive another card). If the third card gives you a total of more than 21, you’ll go bust and lose the round. The goal is to have more points than the dealer, but not more than 21.
- Watch the dealer’s play — Once all players have received their cards, dealers will flip over their face-down card and figure out what to do next. Different types of blackjack have different rules regarding the dealer’s play. In most cases, the dealer must stand if the total is 17 or more or take a card if 16 or less (and continue taking cards until the count reaches 17 or more).
Live dealer blackjack comes in all shapes and sizes. Many variants, including the classic one, feature additional options for players, such as splitting pairs and doubling down. Make sure to read more about them if you don’t have prior experience playing blackjack.
Moreover, some blackjack variants offer side bets, with the insurance bet being a popular option, though this increases the house edge. You can take an insurance bet if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. Players who have insurance will not lose if the dealer has a blackjack after turning the second card face-up.
Best live dealer blackjack casinos for USA players
New Jersey and Pennsylvania have licensed and legal online casinos with live dealer blackjack. Several additional states have legalized this activity, with Michigan casinos being the frontrunner. Live dealer games in Michigan are expected in 2021.
Golden Nugget Casino currently offers 20 blackjack games, but half of them are RNG options. The standard blackjack tables have minimum limits of $25 or $50. The maximum bet you’re allowed to make is $2,000.
However, if you’re on a budget, you can play Live Unlimited Blackjack, where the minimum bet limit is $1, and the maximum is $1,000.
Finally, there’s a high limit option that’s open from 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. The betting limits for this game are $100 to $2,500. It’s not that much higher than the standard option, but it’s still more suitable for high rollers, with the maximum payout being $10,000.
Caesars Casino offers a fair selection of blackjack games. The majority of them are RNG games, and one of the most popular options is Atlantic City Single-Hand Micro-Limit Blackjack. However, if you’re interested in live dealer games, you’ll be able to access Ezugi’s Live Unlimited Blackjack or go to the live dealer lobby and explore available options from there.
Caesars is still in the process of building its online presence. Even though it offers fewer live blackjack options than Golden Nugget, it’s safe to say that its library will expand in the future, given Caesars’ overall reputation and position in the market.
DraftKings Casino is one of the most popular sports betting sites in the US, and it also features a decent casino selection with plenty of great games, including live dealer titles. To access the blackjack games, make sure to enter the blackjack lobby or visit the DraftKings Exclusives lobby.
In most cases, blackjack tables start with a $25 or $50 minimum bet, and all of them have limited seating. If you don’t like waiting, you can always check out Infinite Blackjack, which features unlimited seats and budget-friendly limits. The minimum bet starts at $1 and the maximum is $2,000.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course also offers online gambling options to people in Pennsylvania. Blackjack is the most popular table game on the site, and there are currently 12 options, with the most dominant version being live dealer blackjack.
Apart from several standard live dealer options, players can play the popular First Person Blackjack, which takes live casino immersion to the next level by putting the player in the middle of the action. As the name implies, you’ll assume the role of a player sitting at the table and play the game from a first-person perspective.
Hollywood Casino also features Infinite Blackjack, which doesn’t have a waiting queue and features affordable betting limits.
BetRivers also has an online gambling platform where people in Pennsylvania can play casino games or place bets on sports. The site also has a pretty similar selection to Hollywood Casino when it comes to live dealer blackjack games, as both platforms feature standard options in addition to First Person and Infinite Blackjack. Moreover, Evolution Gaming, the current leader in live dealer games, provides the gameplay.
It would be difficult to pick between Hollywood and BetRivers based on their live blackjack options. However, you can always check individual reviews for these sites and choose the one you like more based on other aspects, such as bonuses, other games, interface and design.
Live dealer blackjack games in Michigan
Even though you can’t find live dealer games at online casinos in Michigan right now, they are likely to become available pretty soon. Casinos in the state have big plans, and the leading supplier is going to be Evolution Gaming. The following three casinos already have announced that they will offer live blackjack and other games:
- BetMGM in Michigan — Evolution Gaming issued a news release in August 2020 announcing a nationwide agreement with BetMGM. Still, players from Michigan can join the site and play RNG blackjack until the live version arrives. Apart from blackjack, the site offers an array of other table games, slots, sports betting and poker.
- DraftKings — Players in Michigan can also join DraftKings and try its plentiful casino section. They will have to wait for a while longer for the live blackjack option, however.
- Golden Nugget — Like the previous two platforms, the Michigan version of Golden Nugget only offers RNG blackjack right now. However, there are plenty of other options, including exclusive games, that you can play while waiting for live dealer options.
Michigan online casinos will likely try to move quickly on live dealer games. They may be available by the time you read this, in fact. Keep checking if playing live dealer games is something you’re interested in.
Can you play live dealer blackjack for free?
Perhaps you have noticed that you can play a number of casino games for free. However, that’s not the case with live dealer blackjack, and here’s why.
Organizing a live dealer blackjack game takes time and resources. After all, live dealers are humans, and they can only work a certain number of hours in a day. RNG, on the other hand, is a machine-operated algorithm, and it needs no rest.
Sure there are some 24/7 live tables, but several dealers will take turns running them. Simply put, there’s a cost to hosting a live dealer game. If casinos allowed free live dealer games, they would just lose money.
Moreover, most blackjack tables in live casinos have limited seating and can accommodate approximately six players. Once the queue is full, you won’t be able to access it until one of the active players leaves. Letting a player try the game for free would occupy a spot that could go to a player who would play with real money.
This is just like playing blackjack at land-based casinos. There’s a limited number of seats and a human being on the other side of the table.
However, if you still don’t feel like using real money to play blackjack, you can always play some of the RNG options in demo mode.
Comparing live dealer blackjack vs. land-based casino
For a long time, online casinos lacked the social element of land-based facilities. RNG games are entertaining, but there is a noticeable lack of other people to keep online players company, which is how the concept of live casinos was born in the first place. During the early 2000s, online casinos started to notice the power of live stream technology, which led to live dealer games.
Live dealer games are a perfect blend of land-based and online play. They provide the atmosphere of land-based casinos and the convenience of playing games whenever you want. And you can play from home if you wish.
Therefore, the biggest similarity between live casino games and their land-based counterparts is the lively atmosphere and the social factor. Moreover, both options use real cards and rely on the dealers shuffling them, as opposed to RNG games that use software to create a random outcome.
However, the two are also very different. Online casinos can offer many more options and varieties of blackjack simply because land-based facilities are limited by space. Because of that, players can find more affordable blackjack games online, such as the popular Infinite Blackjack that uses a special algorithm to provide an unlimited number of seats and low minimum bets.
Moreover, live dealer blackjack is fast-paced. Instead of talking to the dealer, you’ll use special software and select when to hit, stand, double down and more. This achieves a new level of automation when playing and makes the game faster.
Can I play live dealer blackjack online via mobile?
Nowadays, all online casino games are built using HTML5 technology, making them suitable for an array of devices. Therefore, most live dealer game providers offer live blackjack for phones and tablets.
To access live dealer games on your phone, you need to download an app from the casino of your choice. Mobile casino apps are usually provided for Android and iOS devices, but it’s not uncommon to see apps for just one of the two systems.
Another way to access live dealer casinos on your phone is by loading them in your mobile browser. Some platforms don’t even bother making an app, as that can be time-consuming and expensive, which is why they choose to offer a mobile version of the site. All you have to do is load the casino in the browser on your phone or tablet, log in (or register if you don’t have an account), make a deposit and play.
Can online casinos rig live dealer blackjack games?
Live dealer blackjack games at reputable online casinos are incredibly unlikely to be rigged. One of the biggest live casino game providers in the US is Evolution Gaming. All of its games are regularly audited for fairness and have all the necessary certifications that confirm their trustworthiness.
Moreover, you can see dealers using real cards on the live stream. In other words, no underlying algorithms determine the outcome. Instead, it is up to pure chance, as dealers make sure to shuffle cards after every round.
It’s also nearly impossible to count cards when playing live dealer blackjack for several reasons. First of all, the shuffling patterns in live games are often different from those in land-based casinos, making it difficult for card counters to keep track. Moreover, the games are faster, and most counters can’t keep up after a couple of rounds. In addition to that, card counters risk being exposed if the online casino notices unusual behavior.