The syllogism behind live dealer blackjack games at online casinos.
Live dealer casino games aren’t just another way to gamble for real money. Some call live blackjack games the perfect meld of land-based and internet-based gaming. I call it a natural evolution of casinos, providing players with the demonstrably higher degree of quality gaming they demand and deserve.
When online blackjack first arrived in the late 1990’s, the games were digitally-rendered software programs, fully computerized, fully automated, and deemed fair by use of a random number generator (RNG) that shuffled the virtual deck just as unpredictably as any human or mechanical shuffling device could in the physical world. To prove the games were not rigged, online casinos had their software audited and certified fair. But that wasn’t enough for everyone.
As always – and reasonably so – there were skeptics; those who doubted the legitimacy of a computer algorithm over a live dealer. For most, it wasn’t a disbelief that computers weren’t capable of schotastic shuffling, but rather a lack of trust in a group of unknown humans responsible for the software. Who’s to say they couldn’t or wouldn’t alter those algorithms to give the casino even more of an advantage than a live game would naturally provide?
How could an online casino operator prove that its games weren’t rigged; that they were just as random and unpredictable as the real deal in land-based casinos? There was only one way – by bringing the same live dealer games found on land into the online realm. Thus, with the help of high-tech video and audio equipment…
…Live Dealer Blackjack was born.
The concept behind this new way of gaming was to reverse the roles between casino and player, much the same way RNG-based online casinos did at the turn of the twenty-first century. Instead of bringing the players to the casinos, the casinos had to bring the games to the players. This time, however, the plan was to deliver real tables and real cards, with real professional dealers, right into the players’ homes via desktop and laptop computers.
The tables are streamed in real time via HD-quality webcams. They broadcast 24/7/365 out of studios all over the world, from Riga, Latvia, to Manila, Philippines, to right here in Canada. Players can stand, hit, double and split just as they would in any other blackjack game.
Today, the technology is far better than it was in the early days of live casino gaming. The videos are smoother, audio clearer, and you don’t need a high-powered desktop computer to run them. In recent years, every worthy platform has been optimized to run seamlessly on all major hand-held devices. Mobile live blackjack games are available on iPhone and iPad, as well as Android smartphones and tablets.
Cultivating Player Trust
In the beginning, many players questioned the safety of live dealer blackjack games. After all, regulation wasn’t nearly so strict back then as it is today. But after a few years, it all came together. Self-regulation spread to live casinos, all the necessary technologies aligned into mainstream optimization, and suspicions dissolved among the world’s more educated iGamers.
That was more than 10 years ago. To this day, only the top gambling websites go the extra mile to present their players with a live platform. Those that do are often lauded for their commitment to player satisfaction. Throw in other commendable qualities – things like operational longevity, reputable licensure, versatile deposit options, and quick payouts – and you’ve got the makings for a top-notch live casino.
The Good, the Bad, and the Far from Ugly
As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to playing blackjack online with a live dealer. For instance, you can’t set your own pace in a live setting. In RNG-based games, you can play fast, seeing well over 100 hands per hour, or slow things down, taking all the time you like to decide how best to proceed with each hand.
Live games are just like their terrestrial counterparts. There are other live players to consider, therefore each player must act before they run out of time. If the clock expires, they will be sat out of the hand, or if they’re already in a hand, they will automatically stand on the current total. For this reason, live dealer blackjack is not recommended during times when you might be distracted by real-life occurrences.
On the bright side, live games offer the ability to count cards – at least, to an extent. Just like land-based games, a large shoe of 6 to 8 decks is in play. The shoe isn’t replaced with a freshly shuffled set until approximately 50% depth. The further the better, of course, but it sure beats RNG-based blackjack games, where the digital deck is reshuffled after each and every hand, thoroughly abolishing the benefits of card counting.
Last but not least, those live blackjack dealers aren’t too hard on the eyes, either. While extensive training and professionalism take precedence in hiring live casino dealers, they do have to clean up well. Most studios pride themselves on presenting attractive dealers who are finely dressed and well groomed.
Software, Game Variety and Features
When it comes to live casino brands, no two are exactly alike. The quality of equipment, variety of games, and the features within do vary. If you’re just looking for a good blackjack platform, the extenuating game variety won’t matter, but even the blackjack variants on offer will fluctuate from one studio to the next.
There are low-limit games that start at $1 and up, and high-limit VIP tables that require minimums of $100, $1,000, sometimes more. Evolution Gaming’s Salon Privé requires a minimum account balance of $6,000 just to access the tables, and won’t accept any wager under $1,500.
The house rules and available side bets may also differ between platforms. Of the major operators, only NetEnt Live Casinos utilize a 6-deck shoe, whereas all others employ an 8-deck shoe. Microgaming only permits doubling on totals of 9, 10 or 11, while their competitors leave it open to any 2-card total. Microgaming is also the only live platform that allows players to hit after splitting aces. See our live blackjack platform comparison for more details.
Most of all, please remember that with gambling comes great responsibility, first and foremost. Do not exceed your means, and always put entertainment at the top of your priority list. If the games aren’t “fun”, then you’re not really “playing”.