Live Blackjack has taken the world by storm since its inception and is continuing to see a rise in popularity in India. Also known as 21, there are many variations of this casino game, each with its own special rules. Nevertheless, the basic Live Blackjack rules are common for all variations.

Top Online Live Blackjack Casinos

How to Play Live Blackjack

The main goal in Live Blackjack is to create a hand whose points amount as near as possible to 21 than the banker’s hand without going over. The common version involves 6 card decks, which amounts to a total of 312 cards. An Ace is worth either 1 or 11 depending on your other card. Face cards are worth 10.

Firstly, the player places his bets. When this is complete, the Live Blackjack dealer hands out one card face up to the player and another one to himself. Another round of cards is then dealt to the player in face up manner. However, the dealer takes his second card face down.

If your initial 2 cards are an ace and a 10, it gives you a total of 21 (natural or blackjack). You automatically win unless the dealer has the same score.

The Player’s Hand

The possible actions you can take include:

  • Stand – This is when you stop taking additional cards.

  • Hit – This is when you take a card.

  • Split – This is when you create 2 hands if you are holding a pair.

  • Double – This is when you take one additional card to double your bet.

  • Surrender – This is when you give up your hand before the dealer does. The return you get via this option is usually 50% of your initial bet.

  • Insurance – when a dealer shows an Ace, you have the opportunity to protect your hand with a 1/2 size insurance bet, which pays 2 to 1.

The Dealer’s Hand

  • The dealer automatically wins if you bust or surrender

  • Dealer wins if his hand has a higher value than yours.
  • If a dealer has a soft 17 or lesser value then he must hit
  • If the dealer has a hard 17 or higher value, then he stands
  • When dealer shows same value as player then it’s a Push and no one wins the hand.

The Game

Once both you and the dealer have played your hands, the winner of the game is automatically determined and declared based on the following factors:

– You have a blackjack and the dealer does not – You Win
– Your hand goes bust – You Lose
– You stand and the dealer busts or has a lower value – You Win
– You stand but dealer has a higher hand than you – You Lose
– Dealer has the same card value as your hand – Push

Live Blackjack Basic Strategy

Many books have been written in our life time about blackjack. Blackjack is a casino game where the house has the least amount of edge over players. Luck plays a big part of the outcome, but there is also a lot of skill involved. So, a basic blackjack strategy was formulated into a chart, which is followed religiously by online gamblers around the world. Basic strategy charts are best used on Live Blackjack. If you follow the chart 1 to 1, then you should start winning more in your blackjack sessions. Learning when to hit, stand, double down and split are the most fundamental skills needed to succeed. Let’s look at the chart below and see how to play each hand.

live blackjack basic strategy

Hitting

Players hit the table to improve it. However, it’s best advised not to do this if you think you may go over 21 (your winning hand needs to be in the ballpark of 18). Taking this into consideration, you should be looking at 19 to get best results. Many strategies talk about Standing on totals of 17 or more.

Many experts also advice to assume that dealers have 10 in the hole since there are multiple 10-value cards in the deck. This can be a productive assumption.

Standing

On the other hand, players should consider Standing if you are sure their hand is going to beat the dealer’s hand, or if they think the dealer will bust. Live Blackjack is a mathematical game based on odds and probabilities that cannot change under any circumstances. You should act accordingly.

Double Down

Live Blackjack players often opt to make the Double Down move. As the name suggests, this gives them the opportunity to double their profits. A Double Down essentially means doubling the original bet in exchange for a single card. Dealers often refer to this move as “Reaching Deep”.

Splitting Pairs

Splitting can be explained as the action of actually dividing a hand into two separate ones, upon being dealt a matching pair at the blackjack table.

You can only split a hand if you have been dealt two cards of the same value. You must also place a bet that is equal to the original bet to cover the second hand while splitting a hand. Once done, your matching cards will be separated into two hands. Now the dealer deals one extra card per hand.

If you split a pair of Aces, you will only be dealt one extra card and won’t have the option to hit or double down. Some online casinos will allow you to split Aces again if another Ace is dealt.

Holding a Blackjack

Side Bets & Jackpots

There is also the option to adopt more advanced strategies. One such tactic is Card Counting, which allows you to keep track of the hi and lo cards in the deck. If you possess the ability to gauge the count, you can potentially determine the optimal time to increase your bets and increase your earnings.

Different Versions of Live Blackjack

Live Casinos feature different types of Blackjack variations which offer a few twists to make the game more interesting. Below, we detail some of the common Blackjack variations that Indian players enjoy.

Single Deck Blackjack

Single Deck Live Blackjack is becoming a thing of the past because it arguably gives the players the best chance to win. The house edge is just 0.15% and card count counter waits are shorter. This obviously still requires the player to show a good understanding of the game and make the right moves.

You will need to read the fine print before engaging in a Single Deck Blackjack game because more and more casinos are now offering unfavorable rules.

Switch – Also known as Blackjack Exchange in select markets, Blackjack Switch is a blackjack variant which allows the player to trade cards between two hands (considered a cheating maneuver otherwise). The player must make two bets of equal size and is allowed to switch the second card dealt to each hand.

Of course, this is a double edged sword. In this case a dealer getting 22 results in a push against all non-busted hands and blackjacks pay even money.

Surrender

Side Bets & Jackpots

Play Live Blackjack