Live dealer blackjack is the ultimate middle ground between real money online casinos and land-based table games. Not everyone can take a quick trip to Vegas, Atlantic City, or even the nearest local casino on a regular basis to play a few hands of blackjack.
For players who like the land-based blackjack experience but can’t always make it to a casino, live dealer blackjack offers a great alternative.
The snag for players seeking live dealer games is that they are only available legally in a few states. Because live dealer blackjack is technically online gambling, a select few states have access to it.
What Is Live Dealer Blackjack?
Live dealer games combine real casino dealers with digital elements to create a unique gaming experience. After you place your bet using virtual chips and buttons on your screen, a dealer doles out cards much like at an actual casino table, but from a remote location. This is done via live stream. You can stream the video directly to your computer or mobile device to see the cards as they’re handed out.
From there, the process becomes digital. As a player, you choose whether to hit, stand, split, or double down using the digital interface on your device. The dealer reacts to these inputs and gives you additional cards or moves onto the next player as necessary. Once every player at the virtual table completes their actions, the dealer settles his or her own hand. Finally, the computer settles bets and resets for the next hand.
Live Dealer Vs. Casino Blackjack
Players will find that live dealer blackjack has a lot of similarities to “real” blackjack at a casino. After all, there’s a real dealer, a real table, and real cards. They’re just streamed to a device.
The primary difference you’ll likely encounter is minimum bet thresholds. Land-based casinos typically feature $5 minimums (sometimes $10 or higher during busy times). In the online world, including live dealer games, minimums can often be much lower. Sure, you’ll still find $5 live dealer games, but there are some that have $1 minimums, too.
In terms of payouts, live dealer games are pretty comparable to their land-based counterparts. Steer clear of 6:5 tables, because you get less money for a blackjack there than you would on a 3:2 table.
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Where To Play Real Money Blackjack In The US
Both live dealer games and fully computerized real money blackjack games are available in select states.
States With Real Money Blackjack
Currently, only three states have real money online blackjack available legally. New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have legalized and launched online casinos, and pretty much every site has online blackjack in some format.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania are full-fledged online casino markets with multiple competing operators and a wide variety of games. Delaware is slightly different. The state’s three online casinos all fall under the Delaware Lottery umbrella and are operated by 888 Holdings. While there are three sites, they all have the same offering with slightly different skins.
The competitive New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets were early adopters of online gaming, and the breadth of their individual online casino portfolios showcases each state’s willingness to adopt online casino games. Both states have casinos that offer live dealer games (or will very soon) and digital blackjack for real money.
Michigan and West Virginia both legalized online casinos in recent months. However, neither state has launched any online gaming sites just yet. They’re both finalizing regulations before operators can apply for licenses and offer games in either market.
What Casinos Offer Live Dealer Blackjack Online?
Live dealer games are still relatively new in the online casino world, but a handful of sites already have live blackjack available. In many cases, casino operators use the same provider to offer live dealer games. Ezugi and Evolution are the two biggest live dealer companies, and most sites use one of the two services to run their games.
The Garden State is home to plenty of online casinos, and most of the major sites have live dealer blackjack available. Right now, New Jersey is the best place for players to find live dealer blackjack games.
BetMGM has live blackjack in multiple formats in New Jersey, and detailed descriptions of each game are available on the BetMGM website. Most live dealer games on BetMGM run from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. local time.
Borgata’s live blackjack offering is nearly identical to BetMGM’s. You’ll find games from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. local time with various minimum and maximum bets.
Live dealer blackjack is available at Betfair in many formats. American blackjack is the most common. Most virtual tables at Betfair open at 11 a.m. (some open up at noon) and close at 4 a.m. These hours are slightly limited compared to competitors like Borgata and BetMGM.
Golden Nugget staggers the hours of its live dealer blackjack games more than most online casinos, giving you different options depending on when you want to play. Some tables offer high-limit blackjack, where the minimum bet is $100. Other tables offer a more sensible but still pricey $50 minimum, while more accessible virtual tables have $1 minimums.
Other NJ Online Casinos
We’ve only scratched the surface; New Jersey has plenty of other online casinos with live dealer blackjack. Party Casino, 888, Sugarhouse, Resorts, Mohegan Sun, DraftKings, and others have live dealer selections available in New Jersey, too.
Pennsylvania: Parx Casino
Parx Casino in Pennsylvania looks like it’ll be the first Keystone State operator to launch live dealer games. Parx already has online blackjack, which players can enjoy as they gear up for the launch of live dealer games. As of this writing, live dealer games have yet to reach Pennsylvania, though they’re expected in the very near future.
Other Pennsylvania sites will eventually launch live dealer blackjack as well. In the Keystone State, live dealer launches are a matter of “when” instead of “if.”
How To Play Live Dealer Blackjack Online
You can play live dealer blackjack on a desktop computer or a mobile device. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks. Desktop is less portable but gives you more screen space to work with while mobile devices are ideal on the go.
First, select a casino that offers live dealer blackjack in your market. Golden Nugget is a great example because it’s easy to navigate. Create an account by clicking “sign up at the top right of the desktop site (the app will have this option in a different area on the screen, but it should be easy to find). From there, enter the necessary information to create your account and complete geolocation.
Once you’re signed up, make a deposit. Golden Nugget (and most other sites) will walk you through this process as soon as you have an account.
Finally, just click on the “Live Dealer” section on the top navigation bar. That will bring you to a page with all live dealer games, their hours, and more info readily available. Most online casinos will have a dedicated section for live dealer games. If you can’t find it, try getting in touch with support or looking at other sites.
The Best Live Dealer Blackjack Apps
Many online casinos provide sleek apps that make betting easy., including mobile blackjack apps. Before you download them, though, note that Google prohibits regulated gambling apps from its Google Play marketplace. If you’re using an Android device, you can download these apps directly from a casino’s webpage.
Golden Nugget is a top-tier online casino provider (there’s a reason the successful company went public recently). Live dealer blackjack is accessible and intuitive in Golden Nugget’s Android and iOS apps as well as the desktop site. Streamlined navigation and simple button layouts make this an easy choice for one of the best live dealer apps.
DraftKings may be known best for sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports, but the company’s technological prowess comes through in its casino app. DraftKings offers live dealer games packaged in an easy-to-use app for iOS or Android users. Live dealer games are easy to find and simple to play at DraftKings casino.
MGM is a massive force in the casino industry, and the BetMGM app reflects years of industry experience and leadership. BetMGM’s app makes it easy to find and enter live dealer blackjack games on any device.
How To Deposit And Cashout When Playing Live Dealer Blackjack
Online casinos give players a wide range of payment and withdrawal options when playing blackjack online. Credit/debit cards, PayPal, and online banking methods are usually the most popular simply because many people have access to them.
Credit and debit cards are an easy option, but be cautious. Some credit card providers flag any purchase at an online casino, so you risk having the charge declined when you try to make a deposit.
PayPal is typically a successful payment method, and if you already have a PayPal account, connecting it to an online casino only takes a few quick steps.
Online banking is another reliable method. You can connect your account and pay directly from your checking, but some players prefer to deposit via ACH echeck or wire transfer. Both methods are completely viable, just be cautious of transaction times and fees.
Withdrawals are usually available via online banking, PayPal, or check by mail. Choosing one is just a matter of preference.
Is It Safe To Play Live Blackjack For Real Money Online?
The simplest answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” But the truth is that a number of key factors make regulated live blackjack completely safe for players when playing blackjack on legal and regulated online casinos.
Encryption Protects Your Data
When you play blackjack at an online casino, whether you prefer live dealer games or fully digital ones, your data is safe.
Online operators use a high-level encryption tool called SSL. Essentially, it means any data (personal info, transaction data, account details) that you send to the operator is encrypted as it moves from your device to the site’s systems. This protects against hackers to try to intercept data while it’s in transit from one place to another.
SSL is used by countless online businesses, even outside of the casino world. Online banking sites, retailers, and social media hubs use it to protect your data on a daily basis.
Steps You Can Take
Of course, you can also take action to protect your data. Many of these actions are simple and very effective. First and foremost, manually log out of your account after every session.
Also, look for options offered by the casino that may not be enabled by default. For example, multi-factor authentication is usually available at online casinos. Using multi-factor authentication, you’ll confirm your login from two devices each time you sign into the site.
Avoid Offshore Operators
Stick to legal, licensed, regulated platforms. Online casinos in legal jurisdictions are governed by regulations and government agencies are assigned to enforce strict policies. If an operator violates licensing terms, regulatory policies, or state law, they risk getting their operators shut down.
Offshore operators offer their products with little to no oversight. Their security is low, their customer service is bad, and your data is not necessarily safe at these sites. Avoiding them and using legal options instead is one way to play more safely.
Live Dealer Blackjack FAQ
Yes, but it can be tricky for a number of reasons. Live dealers usually only get through half of a shoe before they reshuffle, which can screw up your count.
Also, some online casinos actively prohibit card counting in live dealer games, with account closure as a possible punishment.
Given the challenging nature of counting cards online, it really isn’t worth it for live dealer games. Instead, keep to brick-and-mortar properties if you’re looking to count cards.
No. Live dealer games cost money to operate. Casinos pay the cameramen and dealers in addition to buying the equipment or partnering with a live dealer company. For these reasons, you won’t find any free live dealer games. Instead, you can hone your skills using our free online blackjack guide.
Yes. New Jersey has a plethora of online casinos that offer live dealer games. Right now, it’s the best place in the US to enjoy live dealer blackjack. On this page, you’ll find plenty of tips for finding the best live dealer blackjack games, including which casinos have the best mobile apps.
Not yet. Pennsylvania will almost certainly be the next state to hop on the live dealer bandwagon. Parx casino plans to launch live dealer games, and many New Jersey operators will bring live dealer to their operations in Pennsylvania.
No. Offshore live dealer blackjack sites are very risky to use, and we recommend you steer clear. Grey market casinos aren’t beholden to the strict regulations that govern legal online casinos, so there’s always an inherent risk if you use them.
Yes. In fact, you can only play live blackjack for real money. Casinos have to cover equipment costs and pay for dealers and cameramen.
Live dealer tables have bet limits. Minimums range from $1 to $100 and maximums can reach much larger amounts well into the thousands. Live dealer has something for everyone–players on a budget and high rollers will all have options to fit their tastes.
Yes, at regulated sites. New Jersey has plenty of live dealer games, all regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
At a legitimate provider, you’ll have to confirm your age, identity, and location in order to place a bet due to regulatory requirements. If a site doesn’t ask for this info or confirm your location, it’s likely illegitimate.