Overview of Live Dealer Blackjack

Overview of Live Dealer Blackjack Header Image

Online blackjack with live dealers has become increasingly popular since the legalization of online casinos in a handful of states over the last few years.

But how exactly does it work? Can a live dealer really deal to the dozens or hundreds of people who want to play at the same time?

Well, no.

There are two main types of live dealer blackjack:

  • Unlimited: With unlimited blackjack (as it's titled at FanDuel Casino), an infinite number of people play the same hand. Once you "stand" the hand is over for you, but the dealer continues dealing until the last person stands (or busts). So the hand will continue even if you've stopped.
  • Real table: With a real table, you take a seat next to all the other "players" and the dealer deals everyone their own cards, just like they would in a casino. The limits will typically be higher, like $25, since it's not as efficient a game for the tech provider.

Let's dive deeper.


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Unlimited Blackjack

Unlimited or Infinite Blackjack is when every player plays the same hand, and every player has the option to "hit" or "stand" at any time.

Once you stand, the hand will continue for other plays who have hit, but not for you. It ends there. So, there's no collective playing with other players, even though you all have the same hand.

The same goes for splitting and doubling down. The dealers are dealing a real card, which is digitized and applied to your hand depending on what you've chosen to do.

Let's dive into an example.

Say we're all dealt 8-8 and the dealer is showing a 7. Optimal blackjack strategy says you should split the 8's against a 7, but some people may choose to hold or just hit.

For those who stand, the hand is over.

OK, so now I've split the 8's, and a 2 comes up on the first card so I have 10. Against a 7, I want to double down. But some people may choose to just hit.

A 4 comes up. Because I doubled down, I can't hit again. You decide to hit again, and it comes up 5 to get to 19, where you stand.

  • Me: 8, 2, 4 (14)
  • You: 8, 2, 4, 5 (19)

But remember, since I doubled down and couldn't hit again, that 5 you got becomes part of my next 8 that I split originally. I'm now at 13 on that hand, while the next card will become the first card of your next 8.

It's a 10. I bust at 23, you win at 18.

  • Me: 8, 5, 10 (23, bust)
  • You: 8, 10 (18)

While our hands played out very differently, the dealer was dealing the same cards the entire time.

Real Table Blackjack

With real table blackjack, it mirrors a real casino. Each player takes a seat at the table and gets dealt their own hands.

The dealer then goes around the table and

The limits for these types of games are typically much higher, usually around $25, because they're inefficient for the tech providers since they can only cater to a few players at once with a single dealer.

Live Online Dealer Blackjack FAQs
How do operators have all these live dealers?

They don't. American sportsbooks/casino operators leverage third-party technology providers that run and manage these live games.

Are they dealing real cards?

Yes, they're dealing real cards which are digitized onto your screen. The cards go into a card dealer in front of the dealer, which allows the tech provider to translate the physical card into a digital version.

What's the minimum for live dealer blackjack?

For unlimited or infinite, the limit will be $1 (DraftKings) or $5 (FanDuel), typically. For live tables, it's around $25.

How does shuffling work?

Like in a real casino, the shuffling patterns depend on the place you're playing and table you're playing at. The shuffling rules will be outlined in the help section during the same.

Here's what the DraftKings Unlimited Blackjack shuffling rules say:

Game-play continues until the cut card is dealt. Subsequently, the cards are shuffled by a dealer or a shuffler.

If a shuffle table is available, then two shoes with two sets of playing cards are used at the table. In this case, the dealer swaps the shoes, and the shuffle is performed by a shuffler at the shuffling table while the dealer continues to host the game round.