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How Online Video Blackjack Compares to Live Dealer Play

Although most people learn to play blackjack with friends, there are plenty of other ways to learn these days. Casinos are found in more and more countries where you can play for cash, and online gaming is so popular now that most people have played for free or for real money at some kind of a web casino by the age of 18.

Unfortunately, players may find (after the fact) that not all games are created equal. That’s not to say that there are a lot of cheating websites, although there are some that refuse to payout when players do have a nice run of luck. What players’ online need to understand is that most games are offered without any details about how the decks of cards are composed?

Live Dealer Play

If you sit down to play blackjack with a friend, you’ll probably be using a single deck of 52 cards (unless the dog ate a card or two). And, you’ll probably come to an agreement as to what the rules are and what the game-stakes are. If you share the deal evenly, you have a fair game. If not, well at least you know what to expect.

The same applies when you go to a live casino and play under their rules. If you can see (or ask) how many decks are being used, what player options (like double downs and splits) and dealer rules (like hitting or standing on a soft 17) are in use, you’ll know how close to an even-money game you are entering. If you play basic strategy, you’ll know if you have a good game or a poor one based on the rule variations. But what about online Live Dealer Play?

The best thing about Live Dealer blackjack online is that the stakes are reasonable and you can ascertain exactly what the rules are, how many decks are in use, and see your results as they happen. You are likely to find 8-deck shoes in use, and the cut-card is likely to be placed somewhere near the middle of the shoe, which makes card counting very tough. However, it does make for a pretty good game when the rules are player friendly. Look for resplit of aces and double on any two cards as your best advantage.

Your outcome with Live Dealer blackjack is, well, real. You’ll still have streaks you think are crazy, still have periods where you can’t lose, or can’t win a hand, and times when you won’t see a blackjack for what seems like hours. That’s blackjack – and gambling in a nutshell, especially at blackjack where the odds can change.

Video Blackjack

Online video blackjack is a different animal. To start with, you probably won’t know just what kind of a game you are getting into. Sure, you may take a look at the rules (good for you) for splits, doubles and dealer hitting, but what is the deck composed of? How many decks are in use? When is the deck reshuffled?

As a general rule you will find a game that is like a live continuous shuffler. The game will be run as though the decks are constantly being shuffled.  Of course there aren’t really any cards being used, just a Random Number Generator that chooses the next card.

There are two types of RNG’s, the first of which is influenced by things like the exact time a button is pushed, but most online casinos run a Pseudo RNG that uses algorithms to produce a sequence of numbers from a seed number to connect to the possible card values. The idea is to always produce unpredictable results, which protects the web casino (and the player, kind of). However, since the same algorithm or mathematical formula is used each time, the process itself is repetitive.

It is this process, and the fact that the so-called cards are always in a constant state that produces what many players consider a slightly strange game of blackjack. Although the overall rules of play may be better on some video blackjack games than the Live Dealer games, the game isn’t the same, because the odds don’t change.

With an RNG, the player is always at a small disadvantage to the house, that’s the long and short of it. The beauty of a live blackjack game is that the odds change from time to time, moving from the house (always, at the start of a new deck or shoe of cards) to the player as certain cards are used in play. An obvious example is when there are no aces used in the first few hands, at which point the player has a large advantage because they will be paid 3 for 2 on a blackjack, while the dealer wins only even money. This never happens on a RNG game, because there are no cards being used from previous play – each new hand is from a pseudo deck that is complete (or more likely, eight pseudo decks).

If you find an online video blackjack game that tells you how many decks are in use and also when the decks are being shuffled, you’ll experience the odds swing that blackjack is known for. If not, the house will always have that small advantage.

In addition, video blackjack offers a speed that most players can barely conceptualize. If you play live and get 60 hands per hour but the video game blazes along at 300 hands per hour, your entertainment cost is 5-times higher with the video variety. That’s a really big difference! Keep that in mind whenever you play.


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