Instant Poker

Assuming you did not bust, the dealer will play out his hand at the end. As such, your best bet is to simply find a casino with high limits from the get- go. I will tell you everything you need to know to play the game, and also explain the few rules that can differ from one casino to another. There are two different dealing styles: Most state they shuffle the cards as often as they deem necessary, while some state they shuffle after four decks have been dealt from an eight deck shoe. You can find our top picks for online casino sites above, but we also have some pages dedicated to regions specific Live Casino Blackjack.


Part 1 – Blackjack Basics

If you want to win at Blackjack, you will eventually need to learn basic strategy from a basic strategy chart or play the interactive strategy trainer. However, there are some quick rules and tips that you can learn as a beginner to decrease the house edge and formulate a strategy.

Remember there are more 10 value cards 10, J, Q, K than any other cards in the deck—so when a 10 will get you close to 21 and you are against a card that is bad for the dealer, you should double.

A player 9, 10, or 11 would always be a good double when a dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6. This is because the 3, 4, 5, and 6 are starting cards that are more likely to make a dealer bust.

The Ace is such a powerful card because pulling a 10 on a split will give you a Even though a 21 gained through a split is still only paid 1: Two fives total 10—which is a hand much better suited for doubling. Insurance in blackjack is often misunderstood by players, and is a big money-maker for casinos. Naming this side-bet "insurance" was a brilliant marketing ploy, and some otherwise solid players will frequently make this bad bet to "insure" when they have a good hand.

But actually, insurance is not always a bad bet. For players who can recognize when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards, this can actually be a profitable side-bet.

Insurance is a proposition bet that is available only when the dealer's upcard is an Ace. When the dealer turns up an Ace, he will offer "Insurance" to the players. Insurance bets can be made by betting up to half your original bet amount in the insurance betting stripe in front of your bet.

The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance.

This is why the bet is described as "insurance", since it seems to protect your original bet against a dealer blackjack. Of course, if the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose the insurance bet, and still have to play the original bet out.

Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: Not surprisingly, the casino has a substantial edge on this bet. In a single deck game, there are 16 ten-valued cards. Assuming that you don't see any other cards, including your own, the tens compose 16 out of 51 remaining cards after the dealer's Ace was removed.

That creates a 5. It's even worse in six decks with a 7. Card counters can still beat the insurance bet, by only making the bet when they know that more than one-third of the remaining cards are tens. Unless you are card counter and know the deck is skewed sufficiently, just ignore the insurance bet. It doesn't matter whether you have a good hand or a bad hand. If you have a blackjack when the dealer turns up an Ace, he is likely to offer you "even money" instead of the insurance bet.

If you accept, the dealer will pay you the amount of your original bet and discard your hand of blackjack, before he even checks under his Ace to see if he has a blackjack as well. Many players think this sounds like a good deal, guaranteeing a profit even if the dealer has a blackjack.

But that guaranteed profit comes at a price. Let me show you how it works:. So, casinos allow you to eliminate the insurance bet altogether, and simply declare that you want "even money" for your blackjack when the dealer has an Ace showing. The problem is that you are still making a bad bet on insurance, which costs you money. A player who does not count cards should simply never take the insurance bet, even the "even money" variety.

Some games offer the player a chance to fold their hand, and forfeit half of their bet. This surrender option must be done as the very first action the player takes on the hand. In other words, you can't draw a card and then decide to bail out!

Even when surrender is available, it is rarely used by players. Often, the rules posted at the table won't mention it even if the casino allows it. And many players just don't like the idea of surrendering a hand. But for a smart player, it is a useful option, and reduces the house advantage by about 0.

When surrender is available, make sure you know the correct strategy for using it. Most players who use the option surrender too many hands. If your game offers surrender, I recommend reading my complete explanation of blackjack surrender. In the most common variety known as "late" surrender , a player cannot surrender until after the dealer has checked for blackjack.

If the dealer has blackjack, you will lose your entire bet with no chance of surrendering for half the cost. Generally, the dealer in blackjack must hit if he has a total of 16 or less, and stand if he has 17 or more. Seventeen is a weak hand, so if the dealer is allowed to try to improve the soft 17 hands, it makes the game tougher. When a dealer is allowed to hit soft 17, it adds about 0.

Almost all other areas used the better rule of standing on all 17s. Over the years, more and more casinos have switched to hitting soft 17, and there are now far more H17 games than S17 games. You can still find some games where the dealer stands on all 17s, even in casinos where some of the tables use the H17 rule. After splitting a pair, many casinos will allow you to double-down on a two-card hand that arises as a result of the split.

For example, if you split a pair of eights, and draw a 3 on the first hand, it is valuable to be able to double-down on the resulting hand of As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces. You will receive only one card on each Ace after splitting. Some casinos will allow you to resplit if you draw another Ace, and some will not. That's true even if the casino allows resplits of all other pairs.

Many casinos in Europe, and some in other parts of the world, handle the dealer's second card differently. In these "European No Hole Card" games, the dealer only deals himself one card at the beginning of the round. After all the players have completed their hands, he deals his own second card and completes the hand. Contrast that with the normal US style of play. There, if the dealer has a ten or Ace card up, he checks the other card immediately to see if he has a blackjack.

If he does, the hand is over. This process of "peeking" under the hole card to check for blackjack means that players can only lose one bet per hand if the dealer has a blackjack. In a No-Hole-Card game, a player might split or double and have multiple bets at risk to a dealer blackjack, because the dealer cannot check ahead of time. This changes the optimal strategy, and means that players should usually not split or double against a dealer ten or Ace upcard.

An exception is splitting Aces against a dealer ten. Note that there are a few no-hole-card games where the rules specifically say that only one bet will be collected from a player if the dealer has a blackjack.

In those games, although there is no hole card, you can play the game as if there were. That means you should play it as a Peek game, even though there's not really a peek! It's all a bit confusing. When the No-Hole-Card rule is in use, and all bets are at risk to a dealer blackjack, it costs the player 0. Use the "No-Peek" option at our Strategy Engine.

Ok this one's an extremely rare variation which I doubt you will see in any casinos today but I thought I'd mention. Similarly there is a rule variation whereby the player automatically wins when drawing 7 cards without busting which is called a "Seven Card Charlie". The most important item is the sign declaring betting limits.

Both the minimum and the maximum allowable bets should be on a sign on the table-top. Look around to find a table that suits your bet sizes.

Make sure that the table you have selected is actually for blackjack, and not another of the many kinds of table games that casinos offer. Look on the table for the phrase " Blackjack pays 3 to 2 ". Avoid any games that say " Blackjack pays 6 to 5 " instead. See 6 to 5 Blackjack? Beginners should start off playing the shoe games. The advantage in this style is that all of the players' cards are dealt face-up, so the dealer and other players can easily help you with playing questions and decisions.

Once you become proficient at the game, you may want to switch to a game with fewer decks since that lowers the casino's advantage. The dealer will exchange the entire amount of cash for the equivalent in chips, and drop the cash into a box on the table.

Take a quick look at the chips to make sure you know the value of each color. If you have any questions, just ask the dealer. Part of his job is to help players learn the game. Once you are ready to place a bet, wait for the current hand to be completed, then push your bet into the betting circle.

Your chips should be in one stack. If you are betting multiple denominations of chips, place the larger valued chips on the bottom of the stack, and the smaller value chips on top. Once the cards have been dealt, you are not allowed to touch the bet in the circle.

If you need to know how much you have bet for doubling or splitting explained later , the dealer will count down the chips for you. Once the hand is over, the dealer will move around the table to each position in turn, paying winning hands and collecting the chips from losing hands.

After the dealer has paid you, you can remove your chips from the circle, and place your next bet. If you want to let your winnings ride, you will need to form one stack of chips from the two or more stacks on the table after the dealer pays you. Remember, higher value chips should be placed on the bottom of the stack.

When you are ready to leave the table, you do not cash in your chips the same way you bought them. The dealer cannot give you cash for the chips at the table. To do that, you must take the chips to the casino cashier. If you have a lot of low denomination chips in front of you at the table, you should trade them for the equivalent higher value chips instead. In between hands, just tell the dealer you want to "color up", and he will have you push your chips into the middle of the table.

He will count them down, and give you a smaller stack of chips that amount to the same value. This makes them easier to carry for you, and for the dealer it maintains his supply of smaller chips.

Now you can take those chips to another table for more play, or head to the casino cashier where you can exchange them for cash.

So, if you have made it this far, congratulations. You should have a good idea of what to expect when you sit down at a blackjack table in the casino. What we have not talked about is how to actually make the best decisions while playing the game.

That is a whole subject all its own. To have the best chance of winning, you should learn and practice "basic strategy", which is the mathematically best way to play each hand against each possible dealer upcard. For a free chart that shows the right play in every case, visit our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine.

If you are looking to play from the comfort of your home, you can visit our online blackjack or live dealer blackjack sections for further resources. Hopefully I've covered just about everything you need. But if you have other questions, feel free to post a reply at the bottom of the page. Our free blackjack game lets you play at your pace, and the Strategy Coach provides instant feedback on the best strategy. To find the best strategy, use our most popular resource: The Blackjack Strategy Engine provides free strategy charts that are optimized for your exact rules.

If you prefer a plastic card that you can take to the table with you, we have those too: Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards. The original version of this explanation of the rules of blackjack has a very long history here at BlackjackInfo. I created and published it here sometime in It was widely copied by other sites, and it has appeared without my permission on literally hundreds of sites over the years.

When I relaunched BlackjackInfo with a new mobile-friendly design in , I took the opportunity to write this all-new version. Hmmm seems I have been making some bad calls for years now, I thought splitting tens against anything but an ace or 10 was a good move: If a player decides to stand on 15 for whatever reason and the dealer has 16, must the dealer still draw another card since it is less than 17?

Is there any significance in blackjack when you have a black jack paired with a black ace, same suit? The question came up on the multiple choice question on Millionaire. I guessed 16 but the answer was 32??? In playing 21 with one deck off cards aND two people playing, in playing Blackjack with one deck of cards and two people playing what is the most black jack show up. Ken, This may not be the most appropriate page to post this, but let me explain the situation.

I aspire to hopefully gather a group of trustworthy guys together to form a blackjack team. Team play is complicated and far more involved than a group of friends pooling resources. There is not much published on team play. The following book may be helpful. The strategy does not change, but the player is worse off by around 0. As the dealer I get up to Can the dealer chose to stay and take the chips bet from player on the left. But pay the player on the right?

His rules are fixed. He must hit until he has 17 or higher, and then he must stand. Even if all the players at the table have 18, the dealer must stand if he ends up with a Most casinos now deal games with an extra rule about soft This is covered in detail in the article above. I have a question. I signed up on an online casino and I was getting ready to play blackjack for real money and I asked the live chat help person how many decks were being used and she said 24 decks. Casinos, both online and land-based, can deal the game pretty much any way they like, including increasing the number of decks to a ridiculous 24!

Fortunately, once you get to 8 decks, the game does not get much worse for the player by adding even more decks. Eight decks is the most typically seen in brick-and-mortar casinos, but in most jurisdictions, land-based or online, there is no legal requirement for any specific number of decks. Is there any standard in the way a dealer deals from the deck? You are describing a CSM continuous shuffle machine , where after each hand the dealer immediately puts the used cards back into the shuffler.

As you note, this eliminates the ability to count cards, or to even observe a useful bias. Since used cards can return into play immediately, the penetration is effectively zero. These machines have spread widely. The only recourse is to see if your casino also still offers regular games either hand-shuffled, or machine-shuffled but with a normal discard tray.

If not, voice your discontent and look elsewhere. Should I be able to ask a casino to provide a copy of their rules? I assume you are talking about online casinos. I didnt catch it at first but sure enough when I drew another card I busted. This particular game would not count both my Aces as one.

Is this ever done at a casino? Who knows what else they are doing wrong! To answer your question, no, this is never done at any casino I have visited. Is this a good bet? What is the house percentage? Yes, there are outstanding opportunities afforded by some sidebets under some circumstances, but if you are able to figure out how to beat them, you no longer need to ask about them.

So, the answer to that question is always no. I read the following in the Casino Verite Software: Can you help me with this? There you can find: This works because of the unbalanced nature of the count.

Or do I need to count them equally? Treat them independently, and reassess after each drawn card changes the hand. Here are some examples: You will draw each of those hands about once every hands or so.

As to whether or not to double, 9,3 is a hard 12 and should certainly never be doubled. Also against a dealer 4 in some 1 and 2 deck games. See the Strategy Engine for accurate advice for any game. I assume you are asking about accessing the charts on your smartphone in the casino. I do not recommend that. In the US, there are laws prohibiting the use of devices in gambling. Most of these laws are based on the Nevada version, which is written in a way that it could be interpreted to mean even something as harmless as looking up a strategy.

If you want access to the strategy in the casino, get a plastic card instead. The shoe game will be easier for a visually impaired player, because both the other players and the dealer have full access to the needed information about the hands.

I have played at the table on many occasions with blind players, and the dealer has always assisted by verbally providing the details of the hand. Awesome page, One question.. Is this a standard rule? Need to be sure which is the standard and which is the exception… Thanks. I have seen the behavior you describe in online casinos, but I have never seen it dealt that way in any land-based casino. There, the dealer always deals a card to the first split hand, finishes that hand, and then deals a card to the second split hand and begins it.

I was in Cancun in a casino and in one hand I had 2 Aces against dealer King. I split the 2 Aces and I,ve got Queens on both aces but the dealer draw a card that was an Ace and said that he won since he had blackjack and I only had Blackjack is 21 in the first two cards, and it beats a total of 21, even the case of splitting and getting two hands that look like blackjack.

They are just 21s. But when the dealer does not take a hole card and all bets are subject to losing to a potential dealer blackjack , you should not double or split against a dealer ten or ace because of this. Hi, can please anyone help me with an answer. Do casinos now change the deck of cards after every game or not?

Because I heard lot of people saying that now it is impossible to memorise cards that are still in the game. But I am not sure if this is due to change or because casino use so many decks at once I read above that there are 8 decks in the game.

I think what you are trying to describe are continuous shuffle machines CSMs , which allow the dealer to put the discards back into the machine immediately instead of waiting until the shuffled shoe is completed.

The use of a CSM does eliminate the ability to count cards. Fortunately, there are still plenty of games available in most areas that do not use CSMs. The difference is that you must draw a card to your total of 9, whether you double or not. Standing is not an option.

With A8 instead, you already have a completed solid hand of Basic strategy will reduce the house edge, but not eliminate it. In typical games, your long-run expectation will be to lose around half a percent of your total action. As such, we would say these have the best live blackjack platform available for US Players. The reasons for this are down to the styles they offer. Their blackjack variations offer the most player-friendly rules in the industry.

These rules include the option to double after splitting and to double on any two cards. As well as this, the dealer also stands on soft 17, which favors the player. The house edge for these games is 0. Each country has their own unique set of laws and rules concerning online gambling. These laws create a situation where some live dealer casinos are available in some areas and not available i n others.

You need to research the laws in your country before playing for real money. If you can get money into an online casino, it means they offer live games where you live.

Most countries are more interested in the owners and operators, not the players when they start trying to shut down online casinos. Contact an attorney or lawyer if you have any concerns or questions. However, even then, there is still likely to be a much wider variety of options available online. As well as this, you can also switch casinos quickly and easily if you get bored of games on one site. Every casino, both online and land-based, sets its betting limits based on a number of factors.

If you want to play at a higher limit in a land-based casino, you need to ask the dealer or the pit boss. When you play online i t can be harde r to get the limits raised.

As such, your best bet is to simply find a casino with high limits from the get- go. So be careful when you start playing at the highest limits. Just like you can find online casinos that use software from a wide range of vendors, you can find live dealer blackjack games offered by many different software companies. The most popular live dealer companies are listed below with a short summary covering the games they offer.

You can also find more details about each provider on our live blackjack comparison page. Evolution G aming is one of the most well-known live gaming software providers. They currently offer four different blackjack games, including two different VIP tables. Global Gaming Labs offers a 7 seat multiplayer table blackjack game that uses an 8 deck shoe. However, at this time they only offer one live dealer blackjack game. Along with Evolution Gaming listed above, Microgaming is one of the two biggest and most popular live dealer options.

Playtech offers five different live dealer blackjack games. Their standard game uses an 8 deck shoe, which has 7 seats and offers a Perfect Pairs side bet, allows players to split only once.

There is the option to double on any two cards, and you can double down after splitting. They also offer a game called Ultimate Blackjack, which they once called Unlimited Blackjack. Visionary iGaming is a newer entrant into the live dealer blackjack market but they offer both a regular game and a proprietary game variation. Their regular game is a 7 seat table dealt from a 6 deck shoe that has the dealer hit on soft There is no re-splitting, but you can double on any two cards.

Their proprietary game is called Early Payout Blackjack and is designed so that you can play the normal basic strategy play offered, or you can take an early payout based on the chance of success.

Early Payout is one I recommend trying. It puts a neat twist on blackjack and offers another option for the way you can play each hand. Other than the visual difference, playing against the computer or a live dealer is much the same.

When the computer or the software is running the game, it uses a random number generator program, often called an RNG, to determine which cards are played. Each card in the shoe is assigned a unique number and these numbers are placed in a unique order for each shoe based on the RNG. This is because 52 cards per deck times 8 decks equals These can be numbered in order but can depend on the combination the software programmer decided to use, but it makes no difference to the odds anyway.

However, usually, the ace of spades from the first deck is numbered 1, with the ace of spades from the second deck being number 52 and so on. Before each hand, the RNG runs and places each of the cards on a stack, which we think of as the shoe. As each random number is presented, the card matching that number is placed on the stack until all of the cards are on the stack. In the case where the same number is generated more than once, it is ignored until the next stack is built.

When the software starts dealing the hand the top card of the stack, it is either burnt or dealt to you. If the first card was burnt, then you receive the second card. The next card is dealt to the dealer and the deal continues as normal. As you can see, this is almost exactly what happens when a shoe is manually shuffled by a dealer or a shuffling machine. The difference being that the RNG does a better job producing random shuffles than the dealer or machine. Your results should be close to the same in the long run.

Read the section on card counting below or go here for more information. The main difference is that you can play quite a few more hands per hour using the RNG software compared to playing live dealer blackjack. It depends on what you desired outcome is, but playing live dealer play with the same bankroll, rules, and bets, will generally let you play longer on average than playing against the computer.

Many live dealer blackjack games are set up more like traditional blackjack games with numerous places around the table for other players. When you play at a table with other players you have to wait for them to act just like in a land-based casino.

This can slow the game down a great deal and become irritating if one of the players is slow or has a poor Internet connection.

Many blackjack players know that the only way to beat the game, in the long run, is to change the house odds in some way. The most common way for blackjack players to change the odds is to learn how to count cards.

Most blackjack games played online use a random number generator and the cards are basically shuffled after each hand. This makes it impossible to gain an edge by counting cards. We suppose it is theoretically possible to reduce the house edge by counting, but the reality is the casinos know counters exist and know that they can easily use computer programs to track the cards while playing at home. The main thing online live dealer casinos do to combat counters is to shuffle the cards more often.

Most state they shuffle the cards as often as they deem necessary, while some state they shuffle after four decks have been dealt from an eight deck shoe. This creates a level of deck penetration that makes it practically impossible to overcome by counting. In addition, you might not be able to tell when a new shoe is put into use, but this depends on how that specific table is laid out and how the camera angle is used in the different software solutions.

The best way to pla y blackjack is with real money , but some live casino sites may let you try their games for free. Live casinos have a limited number of seats and resources, and they want them occupied and used by players who are playing for real money.

Some casinos might do it, but the only way to know for sure if an online casino offers free live dealer blackjack is to log into your account and try to play. This is because live dealer games cost the online casinos more money to run than their normal games.

The added cost of paying the dealers and support personnel, plus the expense of the cameras and streaming feeds all take away from the bottom line, casinos are businesses and they want to make money.

This is the main reason the casinos only want real money players at their live dealer games. Blackjack is traditionally a low house edge game anyway, so if they add the cost of offering the game for free, it reduces the edge further. When an additional player is added to the normal blackjack games run by software, the extra expense is almost zero. The cost of the software and bandwidth has already been paid, so a casino has to have thousands of free players on the regular games before it costs them extra.

The casino knows that if they can get thousands of players to try their blackjack game for free, some of the players will make a deposit and play for real money, easily covering the small added expense. One of the recent fads in the online gambling world is the ability to use Bitcoin to play. While a few online casinos that exclusively use Bitcoin have been launched, many traditional online casinos have started accepting it along with their other deposit methods.

This means that if you want to play live dealer Bitcoin blackjack , it is now easier than ever and most also offer live dealer play. For example, If the site supports wagering in US dollars, then the Bitcoin is converted to dollars before you start playing.