Live Dealer Blackjack is supposed to be not only fun to play, but also one of the better games in the casino in terms of house edge. But if a player is clueless about the essential Dos and Don’ts, it won’t be either.
As any reputable guide on casino gambling will tell you, in order to continue playing your favorite games and stay in the game, proper money management is essential. Also, you need to be properly capitalized, with a sufficient extra reserve to allow for the inevitable losing streaks and bad swings that are part of every game. This is true not only for games like slots where no special skill is required, but also for all forms of blackjack, including live dealer blackjack, where the outcome depends on luck and skill combined.
In order to succeed at blackjack, familiarity with the basics is necessary as well. And because specific rules vary, you also need to know what they are for the particular version of the game you are playing.
The Dozen Dos and Don’ts in this two part article cover all of these topics. Most of them apply to any blackjack game, while a few are specifically meant for Live Dealer Blackjack. Here in Part I we will discuss the most important Dos for Live Dealer Blackjack players . Then, in Part II we will discuss the most important things that Live Dealer Blackjack players should not do.
Part I: What Live Dealer Blackjack Players Should Do
Six Things That Belong on Every Live Dealer Blackjack Player’s List of To Dos
1. Do familiarize yourself with the rules of the game beforehand.
It is okay to ask questions at the table, but overdoing it slows down the game and will annoy other players.
2. Do take the time to learn the correct basic strategy beforehand.
Extensive statistical analysis of the game of blackjack shows that there is an optimum way to play each hand you are dealt. This recommended way of playing is known as basic strategy.
Following basic strategy doesn’t guarantee winning when it comes to any given hand, but if one were to make many thousands of bets of that nature, the results would show that winning occurs more frequently if the hand is played according to correct basic strategy than if it is played some other way.
Furthermore, in addition to the standard basic strategy that applies across the board to all blackjack games, depending on the particular version of the game you are playing and its specific rules, some adjustments in basic strategy may be necessary. For example, when a dealer hits rather than stands on soft 17, which is the case in Live Dealer Blackjack, the correct basic strategy is to double down on a starting hand of 11, rather than hit, against a dealer Ace.
Therefore, unless you are playing purely for fun and don’t give a hoot if you win, you need to be able to play your hands correctly. Learning the proper basic strategy both for blackjack in general and for the specific version of the game you are playing and applying it all times is a must. Correct basic strategy can’t erase the house edge entirely, but it can keep it at a level that makes playing Live Dealer Blackjack a smart choice. If you’re new to the game or haven’t played in a while, keeping a basic strategy chart by your side and referring to it as necessary is fine.
3. Do set aside a realistic bankroll or budget for your blackjack play.
Blackjack can be a volatile game. Bad runs of cards can and do happen and possibly extend over multiple sessions. So it is far better to be prepared than not be prepared for the worst case scenario. For example, for an average bet of $10, your minimum total bankroll for playing blackjack should probably be no less than $3,000 and your buy-in for each session $250 to $300.
Of course, if you see the cards are not going your way, no need to wait until you are out of funds completely to get up from the table. For example, if you start with $300, but are down to only $150, it might be time to pack it in for that session rather than risk losing more.
In any case, never reach for more money on top of your starting stake. Have your credit cards far away from where you are playing so you won’t be as tempted to reach for them when your online account is empty. Set aside a realistic total bankroll as well as a bankroll for each playing session and stick to it.
4. Do understand that Live Dealer Blackjack, like all casino games, has a built-in house edge.
Therefore, even if you play perfectly, you won’t always win. In fact, your results from any given session can deviate markedly in either direction from the expected results. That’s because it is only after many, many rounds of play that the true house edge manifests itself.
5. Do take full advantage of the social aspects of the game.
Engage in light conversation with the dealer and other players. Even when you are not winning, try to maintain a cheerful upbeat mood at all times.
6. Do get to know the other players at the table.
It can work to your advantage to get to know the other players at the table. This does not necessarily mean personally, although starting a friendship with someone you meet playing Live Dealer Blackjack is certainly a possibility. But after a few minutes of play, you should be getting a feel for which of the other players at the table know what they’re doing and which ones don’t.
If you decide to use the Bet Behind feature (described in my last post), you want to have your money riding on the bet of not only a lucky player, but also a good player!