Blackjack Features Compared

The playing options for Blackjack are not the same at every game. It’s important to know what the playing options are as they have a direct impact on the return to player odds and therefore on your ability to make a profit.

These variations in Live Blackjack depend on the software being used and also how the casino has implemented them.

Every player has their own particular preferences of these “blackjack features” or “house rules”, so I’ve reviewed all of the software providers and produced the summary grid below.

You can compare each of them against each other. An explanation of the terms appears below the grid.

Live Blackjack features by software provider

Feature Evolution Gaming Extreme Live
Gaming
Ezugi LuckyStreak Media Live Micro
Gaming
Net Ent Playtech Visionary iGaming Wirex
Evolution Extreme Live Gaming Ezugi LuckyStreak Media Live Micro
Gaming
NetEnt Playtech Visionary iGaming Wirex
Number of Decks 8 8 8 8 8 8 6 8 6 8
Shuffle / Deal Manual Manual Manual Manual Manual Manual Manual & Auto Manual & Auto Manual Manual
Burn Cards on Shuffle No No No Yes No Multiple No No No No
Burn Cards before hand No No No No No No No No No No
European Rules (No Hole Card) No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Vegas Rules (Two Cards) Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No
Dealer Stands on Soft 17 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Dealer Peeks for BJ Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No
Surrender Hand when dealer showing Ace No No No No No No No No Yes No
Double on any card Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Double on 9/10/11 only No No No No No Yes No No No No
Double Bet Returned after Dealer BJ with 10 Showing. No No No No No No No Yes No No
Split Pairs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Split after a Split No No No No No No Yes No No Yes
Double on a split No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Split Aces Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cards on split Aces One One One One One Yes One One One One
Split Bets returned on Dealer BJ No No Yes No No No No No No No
Half Stake returned on double if Dealer BJ with 10 showing No No No No No No No Yes No No
6 Card Charlie Yes No No No No No No No No No
Blackjack Pays 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2
Insurance Pays 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1 2:1
Even money for Player BJ if dealer showing Ace No No No No No No Yes No No No
Side Bets Bet Behind
Perfect Pair
21-3 Rummy
Bust It
Hot 3
Bet Behind
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Perfect Pairs
21-3 Rummy
Bet Behind
No Bet Behind No Bet Behind
Perfect Pair
21-3 (Rummy)
Bet Behind
Perfect Pair
21-3 (Rummy)
No
Multi Hand Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No
Multi Table Yes No No No No Yes No No No No
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Evolution Casinos
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Extreme Casinos
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Ezugi Casinos
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LuckyStreak Casinos
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MediaLive Casinos
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Microgaming Casinos
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NetEnt Casinos
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Playtech Blackjack Casinos
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Visionary iGaming Casinos
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Portomaso Casinos

Each feature the live casinos employ has an impact on the house edge. The more restrictive the feature, the better for the house it is.

For example on Doubling, you may be able to double on any card (this is good for the player), or you may be restricted to only doubling on 9/10/11 (this is better for the house).

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 will be using 6 or 8 decks. 8 Deck Blackjack has become the standard at most of the bigger software providers. However there are some 6 deck games, which you’ll find listed in the table.

Shuffle / Deal

If cards are shuffled by a machine or by a person we refer to this as manual Shuffling. 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, effectively giving a brand new shoe for each game round.

Burn cards on shuffle

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

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

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 no hole card

Sometimes called European Rules, the dealer gives himself one card and draws his second after all players have completed their hands.

This type of dealing prevents the dealer from Peeking for Blackjack, which is a favourable feature for players. If the Dealer has a Blackjack the game round is ended, meaning players are not building their hands only to end up losing.

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

No Hole card has a negative effect on player return of 0.11%, (courtesy of wizardofodds).

Vegas Rules

The dealer takes two cards with the rest of the players. This enables an early peek for Blackjack and give a better Return to Player percentage.

Dealer Peeks for Blackjack

In Vegas Rules, before any player has played their hand, if the dealers up card is an Ace he will offer the table Insurance and then look at the down card to see if it is a Blackjack.

If the dealer has Blackjack the hand is over and all players lose their initial stakes, unless the player also has a Blackjack then the result is a push.

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.

Dealer stands on Soft 17 or Stands on all 17’s

Either way, if the dealer draws 17 either with a soft (where ace is 1 or 11) or hard hand, he must stop.

This benefits the player as he is not allowed to improve his hand anymore.

If he was allowed to draw another card on a soft 17 he has more opportunity to make a better hand.

Doubling

Where you are allowed to double your bet when taking one extra card.

You’d do this when the dealer is showing a 2-6 on his up card and you have a 2 card total of 11 or less in yours.

See the basic strategy for further details. Sometimes there are restrictions on the value of the two carded hand you can double on.

This is generally 9/10/11. This is obviously more restrictive, so play at a casino that doesn’t have this rule in place.

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 after a Split

If you’ve already split and then draw another card of the same value as the first two you’re able to split this out into an additional hand to play.

The number of times you can split a split is restricted by supplier.

Double on a split

This is the ability to place a Double bet on the first two cards of a split hand. A rare thing to find but a great rule is you can play it.

Split Aces

Special rules normally apply to splitting Aces.

In most cases only one extra card is allowed on each hand.

A hand value of 21 is not treated as a Blackjack, it is 21 and will lose to a dealers Blackjack.

Cards on Split Aces

Where you’re able to take more than one card on split Aces.

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.

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.

Side Bets

Side bets are additional bets that can be placed alongside the main Blackjack bet. These include Bet Behind (betting on someones else’s hand), Perfect Pairs (betting that your hand or the dealers hand is a pair) & 21-3 or Rummy (where you bet that your two cards and the dealers up card forms a poker hand).

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

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.

Even money for Player BJ if dealer 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).