4 Casino Blackjack Formats – Which is Best For You?

These days, casinos usually offer four blackjack formats in the casino. 4 Casino Blackjack Formats – Which is Best For You? Let’s look at all four


It used to be simple – one real-live dealer and cards we could feel. But as game rules and payouts changed, other ways to play appeared.

The game became hugely popular before the 1800s in France. Casino owners offered amazing bonuses. For a hand with the Jack and Ace of Spades, the player received a 10 to 1 payout, thus the origin of Blackjack’s name. – Related Post – Roll The Bones By Dr. Schwartz

Blackjack Table
Blackjack Table

There are four formats to play blackjack in casinos:

  1. the traditional live table game with live dealer
  2. stadium gameplay, with a live dealer, but played with community cards by many players
  3. electronic blackjack, played by up to six players around a blackjack table with a video dealer
  4. video blackjack on a solitary machine, usually the same terminal with video poker, keno, and a few slots.
4 Casino Blackjack Formats
IGT video blackjack

Is it better to play video blackjack at a video poker terminal or shimmy up to the table and play the game the way it was meant to be played? For either blackjack format, it really depends on what you are looking for in your blackjack experience. There are some players out there that refuse to play a video blackjack game. Some players feel video blackjack can’t be trusted. But, there ARE reasons to play video blackjack?  Let’s compare:


  • LOWER MINIMUMS – Video blackjack machines often have a lower minimum bet of as little as $1. Even $5 seems low compared to traditional tables, especially on weekends where limits can start as high as $15 – $25.
  • BETTER RULES – Video blackjack games can have better rules than any live blackjack game found in the same casino. Check the rules, and you may find standing on all 17’s, offering surrender, doubling after the split, and split up to 3 hands.
  • BETTER COMPS – Comps, the free perks casinos give to players, are calculated higher for machine players. Playing live tables under $25 makes it difficult to earn comps.
  • More Into Single Player machines? – Many of us have played at those serious “No Fun Blackjack” tables.  The dealer might be grumpy, the players are antagonistic, and heaven helps you play the wrong way (according to basic strategy).  Some players can be very intimidating, if not downright nasty.


4 Casino Blackjack Formats

This a hybrid that crosses all lines. First, for solitary players, being social at the machine isn’t necessary. You still have a live dealer, so it’s slower than video BJ but still faster due to automatic payouts.  Having other games, such as Baccarat, gives more variety and no pressure to play every hand. Skipping hands or socializing with friends is a less-stress situation and more fun. Besides blackjack, baccarat and roulette are also usually provided. Most New England casinos have stadium gambling.


Points accrued at a standard table game is basically earned according to the the following:

  • Amount of Wager per hand
  • Time spent at the table
  • Table game house edge being played
  • Average hands played per hour.

But any video format, including stadium gaming, is more like slots and video poker, where the casino software decides your play and your points.


John Grochowski - the Casino Answer Man
John Grochowski – the Casino Answer Man

CHECK THE PAYOFFS –  “Given basic strategy for a single-deck game, the house edge is about 2.5 percent. If you got the full 3-2 payoff on blackjacks, it would be a 0.24 percent game, but even-money pays on two-card 21s add 2.27 percent to the house edge. That’s equivalent to a slot payback percentage of 97.5 percent, so yes, it’s a higher payback than on penny slots. Returns vary from game to game, casino to casino, and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but penny slot paybacks almost always are less than 90 percent.

FASTER PLAY – A word of caution: video blackjack plays a lot faster than table blackjack. The video game doesn’t need time for dealing cards with other players, settling bets, stacking chips in trays, buy-ins, and cash-outs of multiple players, shuffles, or cuts. As a video player, you can play just as fast as you can make decisions and hit the buttons. At a full table, you might play only 50 to 60 hands per hour. If you’re betting $10 a hand, you’re risking $500 to $600. At your video blackjack game, it’s easy to get in 500 hands per hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

Your hourly wager total is right up there with the $10 table players, and you’re playing against a house edge that probably is much higher than the table edge. For example, on a six-deck game where the dealer hit soft 17, you may double on any first two cards, including after splits, may split any pair up to three times and blackjacks pay 3-2. The house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.62 percent. If your budget extends only to $1 bets and you’re going to set a low loss limit, then you can have some fun at the blackjack machines. But for extended play, the table usually is the better play.


4 Casino Blackjack Formats

The machines that can be played advantageously are multi-seat machines where blackjack pays 3 to 2. 4 In this type of Casino Blackjack Formats, some video poker machines such as Game Kings and Game Makers, made by IGT, have a heads up blackjack game on them. But, unfortunately, these games typically pay even money on blackjack. And do not allow doubling after the split either. So it is best to avoid these games.

One more word of caution concerns IGT Multigame machines.  Usually, this blackjack format earns the comps depends on the game with the tightest house edge. That includes the rest of the games on that machine-including the rest of VP, Keno, Slots, and yes, Blackjack. Find video blackjack on machines with poorer VP paytables to ensure the highest amount of earning comps.


4 Casino Blackjack Formats
A fun time was had by all!


BETTER COMPS FOR HIGHER ROLLERS – If you average $25 or more a bet, you will get noticed in the pit and are likely to get better comps.

COUNTING CARDS – If you are going to count cards, it will be much easier to do so at the table games. It is impossible to count cards on some blackjack machines. A full table game of blackjack will likely be faster than a video blackjack game because novice players are more likely to be on the machines.

SOCIAL – Table blackjack games also tend to be more social than video blackjack machines. No, it’s not the group fun of the craps table, but it can bring a bit of “the players vs. the casino” excitement with the right people.

Related Post – Blackjack Not a Team Game


There are advantages to playing both live and video blackjack formats. Each player has their own goal of what they would like to get out of a blackjack game. Blackjack can be fun; whether it is a video blackjack game or a live blackjack game, it is up to the player to decide which they enjoy more. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

RELATED POST – 12 Blackjack Tips For Beginners


Binbin and NETimeGambling.com

Miguel, Binbin, and Bert – The NETG Staff

Robin Aubin (AKA Binbin at NETimeGambling) has been a guest on Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast, The Bettor Life Podcast, The Art in the Game Podcast Springfield, Massachusetts, as well as ZorkCast with Michael Trager. In 2013, he created NETimeGambling com. The mission was to provide a resource for recreational gamblers visiting New England’s expanding casino market events. We offer trip reports, gambling tips, casino promotions, entertainment, and more for those visiting our nine casinos. NETG also provides general gambling tips for those recreational gamblers inside and outside the northeast.

He is now retired from teaching middle school music for 41 years and performing professionally for over 50 years. Robin has performed at Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, Foxwoods’ Atrium Lounge, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Bar & Lounge.

Follow us on Twitter at @NETimeGambling, and on Facebook at NETimegambling. And subscribe to our new podcast – The New England Casino and Gambling Podcast.

Join the New England Casinos Facebook Group and chat about your gambling experiences.