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An Expert Strategy for Live Blackjack and Live Baccarat

There is nothing quite like the thrill of live dealer gaming. It immerses you in an authentic casino atmosphere no matter where you are playing from. There are several options for both Blackjack and Baccarat players with different tables offering different forms of the game. In this guide, we will take you through the different live dealer versions of blackjack and baccarat so that you are fully aware of the differences and how to apply the best strategy for each.

Live Blackjack

If you are an experienced blackjack player then you are no doubt already aware of strategy charts and how they work. The basic live dealer version of blackjack is played with eight decks of cards, the dealer will always stand on 17, and pairs can be split but split Aces get just one card. Furthermore, the dealer will peek for blackjack if their first card in an ace. If you look up a strategy chart for the game and follow it carefully, then the RTP is an impressive 99.29%.

The game offers the Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side bet. Side bets have a very high house edge and should be generally avoided. However, if budgeted for properly, they can be a lot of fun. The other feature to be aware of is Bet Behind, which allows you to bet on one of the main seven players seated at the table if the table is full.

Free Bet Blackjack

This is the most popular form of blackjack found in land casinos. As the name suggests, it offers players a number of free bets. It is possible to Double Down for free on two-card hands with a hard total of 9, 10, or 11 and it is possible to split all pairs for free, expect 10s.

The game is played with 8 decks and the other main difference is that the dealer doesn’t bust with a 22, rather the bets are returned as a push. Because of these rules, the game has an RTP of 98.45%. Once again, this assumes that you are carefully following a strategy chart.

If you are looking to get started without a strategy chart, then there are three basic rules you should remember:

  1. Accept the free split bet on all pairs other than 5s. If you have a pair of 5s, then Double Down
  2. Always stand with a pair of 10s.
  3. If you have a hard 9, 10 or 11, then always take the free Double Down bet.

The above rules are not as effective as following a strategy chart, but they will go a long way towards improving your returns.

Infinite Blackjack

Infinite Blackjack takes its name from the fact that an infinite number of players can play at the same table. It is played with eight decks of cards and the dealer must stand on soft 17. The game introduces the 6-Card Charlie rule, which means that if a player has a hand of 6 cards and has not gone bust, then they will win no matter what the dealer is holding. The game also offers a number of side bets, 21+3, Perfect Pairs, the Hot 3 and The Bust It. These rules are very favourable to players and result in an RTP of 99.47% when the game is played with proper strategy.

It is easy to find a strategy chart for this version of blackjack. The only other rules you need to be aware of is that hands can be split once, there is no draw to split Aces, and there is no Double Down after a split.

Power Blackjack

This is an excellent version of blackjack for those who want the chance of larger returns than the regular game offers. It is played with eight decks that have had the 9s and 10s removed (but picture cards remain). In each round, in addition to Double Down, you will also have the option to Triple Down or Quadruple Down on any two initial cards. These options are also available after a split. The dealer will check for blackjack when showing a Jack, Queen, King or Ace, but insurance is only offered when an Ace shows.

If this game is played with a regular blackjack strategy chart, then it has an RTP of 98.80%. However, this is not actually the optimum way to play the game. There are strategy charts specifically for Power Blackjack and when followed, the RTP will be even higher.

Blackjack Party

This is actually a perfectly ordinary blackjack game. The real difference is that it accepts very low stakes and it has a dealer and a co-presenter who ensure a fun and lively atmosphere at all times. The game uses eight decks of cards, the dealer stands on soft 17, hands can be split only once and double down is offered after the first two cards.

When it comes to strategy for this game, you will be able to use a regular strategy chart to ensure that you are maximising your returns.

Live Baccarat

There are two main versions of Live Baccarat to choose from, the regular game and a no commission game. There are a few different tables, such as Speed Baccarat and Baccarat Squeeze. However, these are played in exactly the same way, so you can use the same strategy at each table.

One of the best things about Baccarat is that the strategy to reduce the house edge and give yourself the best chance of winning is incredibly simple. All you have to do is always bet on the Banker.

The theoretical house edge for betting on the Banker is 1.06%. The house edge on the Player bet is slightly higher at 1.24% while the house edge for a Tie is much higher at 14.36%. Therefore, the Banker is the best bet to place.

Many people will choose to play No Commission Baccarat as they do not want to pay 5% commission on winning Banker bets. However, the house edge on the banker bet is actually higher in No Commission Baccarat, it increases to 1.46%. As such, when playing this version of the game you should always bet on the Player position.

Lightning Baccarat

This game deserves a separate mention. It offers extra-large payouts through the lightning feature. In each game round, up to five Lightning Cards are generated and the cards are assigned a payout multiplier of 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x or 8x. However, in exchange for this, a 20% Lightning Fee is added to the player’s total bet. Furthermore, the payout is reduced to 5:1 for a successful Tie bet and the Pair side bet pays out less than normal, 9:1.

However, there is no special strategy needed for this game. It follows the same rules as regular Baccarat, so once again, the best thing to do is bet on the Banker position with every round.

To Conclude

By fully understanding the different versions of live blackjack available and knowing exactly which rules they follow, you will easily be able to look up strategy charts and ensure that you are always making the best decisions. When it comes to live baccarat, the strategy is much simpler. Just remember, bet on the Banker in the regular game and the Player in the No Commission game.

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