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
Net Ent 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
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
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
 PLAY AT
BetVictor






Leo Vegas
Intercasino
32red





Energy
 PLAY AT
mybet
Leo Vegas
BetVictor
Energy
 PLAY AT
Codeta Live Casino

Leo Vegas
 PLAY AT
Leo Vegas Live Casino
Codeta Live Casino
Jet Bull Live Casino

 PLAY AT  PLAY AT


Intercasino
Codeta

 PLAY AT
Bet365
Paddy

Betfair
 PLAY AT


 PLAY AT

Each of the features that the live casinos employ have 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 you’re able to calculate the odds much better and they favour the house the least.

You’ll find that the live casinos reviewed on Live Casino Comparer will normally be using 6 to 8 decks, with 8 becoming the defacto standard from the bigger software providers.

You’ll see that there are some 6 deck games about and they are listed above.

Shuffle / Deal

Manual is where the cards are shuffled by a machine or person and then the cards are cut and placed in a manual dealing shoe. The shoe is re-shuffled at about half way through. Automatic, is where a mechanical dealing shoe is being used and the discarded cards are placed back into the shoe before each new hand, effectively having a brand new shoe for each hand.

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.

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 only draws his second after all players have completed their hands. The significance of this for me is that in a two handed deal insurance & any dealer Blackjacks are dealt with before players play their hand.

If the dealer has Blackjack, you lose, but only your initial stake. If he doesn’t then you know you’re not playing against a blackjack for that hand.

When the dealer only has one card, you might have split cards, doubled your bet and increased your hand value only to lose it all if the dealer then draws Blackjack. This 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 to be performed and is better for player RTP.

Dealer Peeks for Blackjack

In Vegas Rules, before any players have 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.

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 drawn on a soft 17 then 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. You are sometimes restricted to only being able to double if you have a two card hand value of 9/10/11. This is obviously more restrictive.

Splitting

This is where you are able to split a pair into two separate hands. You have to replicate your bet of the first hand on the second and then you play both hands as independent hands.

Split after a Split

If you have already split and then draw another card the same as the first two you are able to split this out into an additional hand to play. You may find that the number of times you can split is limited to 4.

Double on a split

Where you’re able to double on the first two cards of a split hand.

Split Aces

Special rules normally apply to splitting Aces. In most cases only one extra card is allowed. If this is a 10 the hand value is 21 not Blackjack. This would lose against a dealer 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 then 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).