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Live Blackjack Table Rules Explained – Which Rules Affect RTP and House Edge the Most?

Features of Live Blackjack

Neil’s TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LIVE BLACKJACK

GREATEST BLACKJACK SELECTION

  • Dedicated tables. On table promotions.
  • Multiple Suppliers, 50+ Tables.
  • English, Danish & Italian Dealers.

5 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

Up to €300 in Live Casino Welcome Bonus Offers

Terms and Conditions Apply.

BEST MULTI LANGUAGE BLACKJACK

  • Dedicated Evolution studios.
  • Native Language Dealers.

4 / 5 Stars

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For Welcome Bonus Information Click Here.

BEST PLAYTECH BLACKJACK CASINO

  • European & Vegas Rules.
  • Select Dedicated Tables.
  • Welcoming Dealers.

4 / 5 Stars

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For Welcome Bonus Information Click Here.

BEST BLACKJACK PROMOTIONS

  • Evolution & Playtech Blackjack.
  • New Dedicated Studio Tables.
  • Weekly on table promotions.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

100% deposit bonus up to €100

18+. Play Safe. Opt-in required. Only first deposit qualifies. 100% deposit bonus up to €100, with 70x wagering on Roulette tables only. Min. deposit €10. Max. bonus €100. Bonus expires 7 days from issue. Player, country, currency, game restrictions and terms apply.

BEST FOR VIP’s

  • Dedicated Studios.
  • Ongoing Rewards.
  • Tailored Experience.

4 / 5 Stars

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Welcome Package up to €500 and 300 Free Spins

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Live Blackjack Tables with the Most Favourable Rules

GameDeveloperFavourable RulesPlay At
Live BlackjackBetconstructDDAS, SurrenderVbet Casino
Live Blackjack Early PayoutVisionary iGamingEarly PayoutDublinbet Casino
Infinite BlackjackEvolution6 Card Charlie RuleLeo Vegas Casino
Oracle Live BlackjackPortomasoDDAS, Split Up To 4 Hands
Live Seven Seat BlackjackEzugiDDAS, SurrenderLeo Vegas Casino
Cashback BlackjackPlaytechSurrender

Dafabet Casino

What are the best table rules in live blackjack?

As you can see in the table above, some of the most favourable rules you can get are Double Down After Split (DDAS), the ability to split your hand more than once, Surrender, Early Payout, and Six-Card Charlie.

This is in addition to the usual stuff: Vegas rules, Dealer Peeks for Blackjack, and Dealer Stands on Soft 17.

Now let me explain each blackjack table rule in detail and how they affect the bottom line.

Number of Blackjack Decks

In an ideal world, you want to play single deck blackjack. Because it’s easier to calculate the odds, and the game favours the house the least.

All online live casinos reviewed on Live Casino Comparer use 6 or 8 decks.

The general standard for Live blackjack is eight decks. If you see a 6-deck game, such as Playtech Live Quantum Blackjack Plus, know that it has a house edge that’s reduced by about 0.03%.

When Is The Shoe Shuffled?

As a general rule of thumb, shuffles s occur when there is 50% penetration in the dealing shoe. This means the shoe will be re-shuffled after four of the eight decks are used.

Manual Shuffling is performed either by a human, generally to the side of the table, or by a machine. The human process takes about five minutes, while the device can shuffle eight decks in thirty seconds. Once mixed, the cards are cut and placed in a manual dealing shoe. Re-shuffles occur when half the shoe has been used.

Automatic Shuffling is where a mechanical dealing shoe is being used. The discarded cards are placed back into the shoe before each new hand, where they are shuffled, effectively giving a brand new shoe for each game round. An Auto Shuffler is popular with the casinos as it speeds up play, meaning more hands per hour.

For all practical purposes, blackjack card counting won’t work with these shuffling methods.

Burn cards on shuffle

After the shuffle, the dealer removes several cards from the top of the deck before they start dealing.

It’s a practice being phased out across all the live casino providers and one that I’d like to see removed altogether.

It’s done to help counter card counting and shuffle tracking. It also demonstrates the shoe hasn’t been tampered with.

Burn on each hand

The first card of the deck is removed from the shoe before each new hand is dealt.

European Rules

The dealer receives one card face up in European Blackjack and gets the second card after all players have completed their hands.

This type of dealing prevents the dealer from Peeking for Blackjack, a favourable feature for players. With the peek, if the Dealer has a Blackjack, the game round is ended, preventing players from building potentially losing hands.

European Rules prevent this from happening. It’s also more likely to tempt players to take Insurance which is a poor bet.

No Hole card (European Rules) hurts the player’s return by 0.11% (courtesy of wizardofodds).

That’s why it’s almost always better to play blackjack with Vegas/American rules.

Vegas Rules

In American blackjack, or blackjack with Vegas rules, the dealer receives two cards, one face-up and one face-down (the hole card).

The dealer can peek at this card if Blackjack is a possibility – if the face-up card is an Ace.

If the hole card makes a Blackjack, the hand will instantly end, and the dealer collects all players’ bets.

This is beneficial for the player as it stops you from splitting and doubling down – spending more money – on what is already a lost hand.

Although, there is a special rule that might be in effect, depending on the software you’re using, that says you only lose your original bet if the dealer had Blackjack.

Peeking for Blackjack under Vegas rules isn’t available everywhere, so check the game rules before you start playing.

Blackjack Pays 3:2

The most common payout for blackjack, although you sometime find in land based games 6:5 or even 2:1!!

Insurance Pays 2:1

The payout for insurance. The bet is normally half your initial stake.

Dealer Peeks for Blackjack

In Playtech Live Blackjack, played under Vegas rules, the dealer never checks for Blackjack, but if you double when the dealer is showing ten, and you lose your hand to a Blackjack, you get half of your stake back. This essentially means you only lose your original bet.

Also, in Playtech Live Blackjack, the dealer will offer Insurance if his up card is an Ace.

Insurance pays 2:1 and is generally a losing bet to make. It’s called the suckers bet for a reason.

In Evolution Live Blackjack, also played under Vegas rules, the dealer will always peek for Blackjack and offer Insurance if his up card is an Ace.

Infinite Blackjack is the one game that’s an exception and where you can win even if the dealer has Infinite Blackjack.  The Six-Card Charlie rule comes into play, explained in more detail below.

Six-Card Charlie: 0.16%

The Six-Card Charlie rule mentioned above is the only way to beat the dealer’s Blackjack.

This is present in Evolution Infinite Blackjack. You will automatically win your hand if you accrue six cards without busting – even if the dealer has Blackjack.

Accruing six cards without busting is expected to happen once every 400 hands. This rule reduces the house edge by 0.16%.

Dealer Hits or Stands on Soft 17: 0.21%

It is favourable for the player if the dealer must stand on a Soft 17, as it means he can no longer improve his hand.

A Soft 17 is a hand that totals 17, where one of the cards is an Ace, which is counted as either 1 or 11.

In almost all cases, the rule will be the dealer must Stand on Soft 17. However, have a quick peek at this rule whenever you join a new table. You want to be sure you’re not playing a game in which the dealer can draw more cards on a soft 17, which increases the house edge by 0.21%.

Doubling Down on Any Card: 0.19%

Doubling the bet is allowed on any first two cards in live blackjack games.

I’m mentioning this because you shouldn’t play a blackjack game that only allows you to double on 9-11 only or 10-11, as that increases the house edge by 0.19%.

Double Down After Split (DDAS): 0.14%

Being allowed to double the bet after splitting the cards is particularly favourable for the player.

Only Double Down After a Split (DDAS) when playing conditions are favourable and Basic Strategy says you should.

Four live blackjack games that offer DDAS are Betconstruct Live Blackjack, Ezugi Live Seven Seat Blackjack, Playtech Live Quantum Blackjack Plus and Portomaso Oracle Live Blackjack. Do note that your strategy for these games will differ.

When you’re allowed to Double Down after Split, you will split 2’s and 3’s when the house has upcards of 2 through 7 (as opposed to splitting at 4 through 7 if DDAS isn’t available).

You’re going to split 4’s when the house shows 5 or 6 (as opposed to not splitting 4’s at all without DDAS) and will split 6’s when the house shows 2 through 6 (as opposed to splitting at 3 through 6).

Splitting

This is where you are able to split a pair into two separate hands.

You have to replicate the bet of your first hand to do this. You go on to play both hands as independent hands.

Split multiple times: up to 0.06%

If you’re allowed to split more than once, the house edge is reduced by 0.05%, and then another 0.01% if you’re allowed to split one more time for four hands.

The only live blackjack game that allows you to split up to 4 hands is Portomaso Oracle Live Blackjack.

In all other blackjack games I mention on this site, you can only split once for two hands.

Draw to Split Aces: 0.19%

Splitting the Aces is so beneficial for the player that some land-based casinos go as far as to limit your ability to do so.

In live blackjack, you can always split Aces; then there’s whether you’re allowed to resplit them and how many cards you get.

You will always get precisely one card per split Ace in live blackjack and can’t get any more.

If you could, the house edge would be reduced by 0.19%.

A split Ace and a ten is counted as 21, not as a Blackjack, and would lose to a dealer Blackjack.

This again emphasises how important the Dealer Peeks for Blackjack rule is.

The player can Resplit Aces: 0.07%

Aces can be split in all cases; the question here is what happens if you get another Ace after splitting the original pair of Aces.

If you’re allowed to resplit again, that’s favourable for you and bad for the house.

Split Bets returned on Dealer Blackjack

If the player splits his hand and the dealer shows a Blackjack, the player will have their split bets returned to them.

The initial bet will be lost.

Half Stake returned on Double if Dealer gets a BJ after showing a 10

As it says, if after the player has doubled his hand the Dealer draws a Blackjack when showing a 10, the player will have half his stake returned to him.

Even money for Player BJ if the dealer is showing an Ace

If the dealers up card is an Ace he will offer any players with a Blackjack even money (as opposed to 3:2).

Multiple Table

Where you are able to play at multiple tables at the same live casino.

Multiple Hand

Where you can play multiple hands at the same table.

Side Bets

Side bets are additional bets that can be placed alongside the main Blackjack bet.

These include Bet Behind (betting on someone else’s hand), Perfect Pairs (betting that your hand or the dealer’s hand is a pair) & 21-3 or Rummy (where you bet that your two cards and the dealer up card form a poker hand).

You can read more about these side bets and where you can play them here.

Surrender Hand when Dealer showing an Ace

If the Dealers up card is an Ace the player may be able to surrender their hand for half their stake back.

Surrender: 0.08%

Surrender is a beneficial option to control your losses when you’ve got a weak hand and are up against a strong dealer up card.

With Late Surrender, you can surrender your hand after the dealer checks his down card and before you draw a 3rd card.

This rule is very, very rare.

Visionary iGaming has blackjack games that allow Late Surrender if the dealer doesn’t have Blackjack. Specifically, Live Blackjack Early Payout lets you surrender your hand for a payout before the dealer completes their hand – which may be greater than or less than the original bet. This particular game has an RTP of 99.50% for a house edge of only 0.50% if you use a basic strategy, and you can play it at Dublinbet.

Ezugi Seven Seat Live Blackjack will allow you to surrender your hand if the dealer’s up card is an Ace. Play the 99.50% RTP game at Vbet or Dublinbet.

Playtech offers Cashback Blackjack, where the hand is given a cashout value depending on the cards dealt.

Finally, Betconstruct has the most favourable set of live blackjack rules I’ve ever seen, and a big part of it is the Surrender. The RTP is between 99.52% and 99.60%. You can play Betconstruct Live Blackjack at Vbet or Dublinbet.

Live Blackjack features by software provider

FeatureEvolution GamingPragmatic
Play
EzugiBetConstructLuckyStreakLiveG24Micro
Gaming
PlaytechVisionary iGamingWirex
Number of Decks8888888868
Shuffle / DealManualManualManualManualManualManualManualManual & AutoManualManual
Burn Cards on ShuffleNoNoNoNoYesNoMultipleNoNoNo
Burn Cards before handNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
European Rules (No Hole Card)NoNoNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYes
Vegas Rules (Two Cards)YesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNo
Dealer Stands on Soft 17YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Dealer Peeks for BJYesYesYesYesNoNoNoNoYesNo
Surrender Hand when dealer showing AceNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoYesNo
Double on any cardYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Double on 9/10/11 onlyNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNo
Double Bet Returned after Dealer BJ with 10 Showing.NoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Split PairsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Split after a SplitNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
Double on a splitNoNoYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Split AcesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Cards on split AcesOneOneOneOneOneOneYesOneOneOne
Split Bets returned on Dealer BJNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Half Stake returned on double if Dealer BJ with 10 showingNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
6 Card CharlieYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Blackjack Pays3:23:23:23:23:23:23:23:23:23:2
Insurance Pays2:12:12:12:12:12:12:12:12:12:1
Even money for Player BJ if dealer showing AceNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Side BetsBet Behind
Perfect Pair
21-3 Rummy
Bust It
Hot 3
Bet Behind
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Crazy 7
Bust Bonus
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Honey Bonus
Lucky 7’s
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Bet Behind
NoBet BehindBet Behind
Perfect Pair
21-3 (Rummy)
Bet Behind
Perfect Pair
21-3 (Rummy)
No
Multi HandYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesNo
Multi TableYesNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNo
Free Bet Blackjack
(Free Doubles & Splits)
YesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Blackjack SwitchNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Multipliers on PayoutYesNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Cashback/SurrenderNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
 Go To
Evolution Casinos
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Pragmatic Casinos
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Ezugi Casinos
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Betconstruct Casinos
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LuckyStreak Casinos
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LiveG24 Casinos
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Microgaming Casinos
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Playtech Blackjack Casinos
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Visionary iGaming Casinos
 Go To
Portomaso Casinos
EvolutionPragmatic PlayEzugiBetConstructLuckyStreakLiveG24Micro
Gaming
PlaytechVisionary iGamingWirex

Other things to consider

You’ll notice there are several live blackjack games such as Live Quantum Blackjack that offer something beyond the classic game of blackjack, such as win multipliers.

These games are best avoided if you’re looking for a game that has the lowest house edge and a favourable set of rules,

The same goes for blackjack side bets, which have a very high house edge.

Sometimes, the main thing that determines where and what game you play will be the stake size.

Maybe you want to play low limit live blackjack to test your strategy or you’re a high roller who wants to play high stakes blackjack.

Live Blackjack Rules Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between European and American blackjack?

In American blackjack, or blackjack with Vegas rules, the dealer receives both cards right away, one face-up and one face-down.

If the face-up card is an Ace, the dealer will peek at the other card to check if he has Blackjack. If he does, the hand ends.

The dealer only receives one card in European blackjack before the players get their two cards, which means the dealer can’t check for Blackjack.

What are the most favourable blackjack rules?

Being able to resplit hand, resplit Aces, and draw to split Aces are very favourable for the player. So is the Surrender rule that lets you give up half of your bet if you see you aren’t likely to win it.

How is blackjack house edge calculated?

House edge of any specific blackjack table is a combination of its rules, each giving a more minor or more significant advantage to the player or the dealer.

What is the RTP for blackjack?

Generally, theoretical RTP on a good blackjack table will be at or above 99.50%, which would mean the house edge is 0.50% or less.

GREATEST BLACKJACK SELECTION

  • Dedicated tables. On table promotions.
  • Multiple Suppliers, 50+ Tables.
  • English, Danish & Italian Dealers.

5 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

Up to €300 in Live Casino Welcome Bonus Offers

Terms and Conditions Apply.

BEST MULTI LANGUAGE BLACKJACK

  • Dedicated Evolution studios.
  • Native Language Dealers.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

For Welcome Bonus Information Click Here.

BEST PLAYTECH BLACKJACK CASINO

  • European & Vegas Rules.
  • Select Dedicated Tables.
  • Welcoming Dealers.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

For Welcome Bonus Information Click Here.

BEST BLACKJACK PROMOTIONS

  • Evolution & Playtech Blackjack.
  • New Dedicated Studio Tables.
  • Weekly on table promotions.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

100% deposit bonus up to €100

18+. Play Safe. Opt-in required. Only first deposit qualifies. 100% deposit bonus up to €100, with 70x wagering on Roulette tables only. Min. deposit €10. Max. bonus €100. Bonus expires 7 days from issue. Player, country, currency, game restrictions and terms apply.

BEST FOR VIP’s

  • Dedicated Studios.
  • Ongoing Rewards.
  • Tailored Experience.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

Welcome Package up to €500 and 300 Free Spins

18+