Online Blackjack can be an ideal environment to improve one’s game. Mobile blackjack apps or sites could be also, if you prefer your handheld device and can find a suitable place to concentrate. But a computer or laptop allows you to refer to extra windows of information while playing.
Stepping Up to the Challenge
Once you have the skill and confidence to play well against the computer (which means that chance and the dealer’s role are simulated by an RNG, or random number generator), you can try your hand at online live dealers. To get the most out of this experience, use the following guidance.
Five Best Practices
1. Choose a Good Table
Even when playing online, you will have the power to choose your virtual table, where the dealer is videoed for your live feed as you play. What this means is looking for a few key characteristics:
- some online live blackjack is videoed onsite in an actual casino, and others are shot inside a studio — choose whichever is less distracting to you
- find an online live game with the best odds, including the rule that the dealer stands on a ‘soft 17’ (Ace + 6), and where you’re paid 3:2 (or three pounds for every 2 pounds wagered in the game)
- don’t waste energy worrying about which table and dealer seems ‘hot’ or ‘cold’, since the cards aren’t haunted at any table (and meanwhile closely monitored dealers and shuffling machines really can’t cheat you)
- avoid one-deck games (just in case of fraud) as well as 68 decks, since those are the most unfavourable odds; 5 decks is a fair amount of cards
2. Take the Best ‘Seat’
Some top players may tell you that it does not matter where you sit at a table in terms of the odds of being dealt good cards. Other players will point out that if you sit farthest from the dealer you can see what cards are dealt to others before yours arrive.
Even if you are not using a card-counting strategy, we think it can be valuable to watch the other players receive hands, as long as it isn’t too distracting.
Otherwise, you should pick a position at table that makes you feel strongest, and this will be an individual, subtle decision for each player. Even online, you will have a sense of your positioning despite occupying your own private space.
3. Set Your Budget
By all means, seek to remove any form of distracting doubt or worry from your game, and specifically you can do this with respect to your bankroll during a session. In short, never go into a game without a clearly defined budget, which is just as important online, too.
It is common with disciplined players, for example, to compare a table’s minimum bet with your session budget in such a way that you don’t have to bet more than 5% of your cash on each hand.
4. Make Use of Help
When seated at a physical table in a landbased casino you are prohibited from using any references or charts while you play. That is why top Blackjack players memorise the basic strategy charts: this way they do not have to think too much about each decision and minimize the house edge (down to as low as .5%).
When you play online, however, you are free to have whatever extra materials, charts, notes or helper applications at your disposal. This is especially useful while you learn strategy and to help you memorise the known charts for best practices. This is a distinct advantage of playing online live dealers.
5. The Always and the Nevers
There are a few fundamental truths about Blackjack strategy that you basically won’t have to think about during games, and they are easily memorised:
- split when you get 8s and Aces
- double down when you get 11
- hit on a soft 17 (Ace + 6)
- stand when you get a hard 17 or more
- takes regular breaks to sip water or stretch
- allow yourself to believe you’re on a ‘streak’
- drink alcohol while playing online blackjack
- stand when you get 1216 if the dealer has a 7+
- split 10s and 5s
- make an insurance bet
Be Smart when Playing Online Live Games
Remember, that when you play a dealer online, the game is structured to mimic a real table experience at a casino. But there are many aspects of online gameplay (outlined above) that you can use to your advantage, which are not possible at landbased tables.
To ignore those differences is to forfeit a basic edge that can help you improve, as well as to win.