Speed Blackjack Live
Speed Blackjack is a live dealer blackjack game available from Evolution Gaming. It offers a straightforward style of play and a high top payout percentage along with special speed mechanics that aim to make the game go by more quickly with the goal of setting the pace to be as similar to a regular online blackjack game as possible.
Casinos with Speed Blackjack Live
An Introduction to Speed Blackjack
A variety of live dealer blackjack games are available online, and Evolution Gaming is known for being the top provider in that particular space. They’ve held that position for a very long time, and one of the reasons for that is that they know how to cater their games to each individual demographic of players.
With their Speed Blackjack live dealer game, players can get in on the action without having to sit back and wait for unnecessarily long times.
The whole idea here is that you get everything that you’d expect from a live dealer blackjack experience except for the long waits of seeing how long it’ll take other players to make their betting decisions. This title offers a good top payout rate and enough strategic options to make it interesting for strategy-minded players as well. Combine that with the higher number of hands per hour that it gets compared to their usual blackjack offering, and you have a winning combination for many.
Gameplay Procedure and Rules of Speed Blackjack
The rules for Speed Blackjack are mostly within the bounds of what you’d expect from a blackjack game online in general. However, it’s the differences that make it stand out and that give it its own unique flavor.
The Basic Gameplay Procedure
Roughly speaking, the gameplay procedure looks like the following with certain variations that we will explain further down below:
- The player makes a wager on a blackjack hand in addition to wagers on any side bets.
- Two cards are dealt to the player face-up, and two cards are dealt to the dealer with one showing face-down and the other face-up.
- The player gets a variety of betting options to hit, stand, double or split (see explanations below), which can end the action, double the bet size, create new hands from existing ones or simply add cards to the existing hand.
- Card totals are based on shown value. Face cards are 10 points. Aces are worth 1 or 11 points, whichever will give the highest total that is not over 21.
- If the player’s total reaches 22 or higher, his or her hand and wager is forfeit. This is known as busting out.
- Once all of the player hands are clarified, the dealer will hit to receive another card as long as his or her total is 16 or lower. The dealer stands on 17 or higher.
- If the dealer busts by reaching 22 or more, the player wins provided that the player did not also bust out. If both bust, the player loses.
- If the dealer does not bust, then the player wins if his or her total is higher than the dealer’s. Ties are a push, and the player will simply receive the wager back.
The player can have up to four options for betting:
- Stand – Receive no more cards.
- Hit – Receive an additional card with the option to receive more with future hits.
- Double – Double the size of your initial wager and receive exactly one more card and then immediately stand.
- Split – Add an additional wager the same size as your first to split two cards of matching rank apart to form two new blackjack hands, each of which receives one additional card before being played as usual.
This covers the basics of how Speed Blackjack is played, but there’s a bit more to know in terms of special rules that are different from other variations in the genre.
Special Rules and Game Characteristics
A handful of special rules are used in the Speed Blackjack live games, and that includes the following.
- This game is played with eight decks. About four of them are dealt from a shoe before the shoe is replaced.
- Winning blackjack hands (a total of 21 from your first two cards) pay 3:2 instead of 1:1.
- Dealer stands with a soft 17 instead of hitting.
- Players can double with any two starting cards.
- Doubling after splitting cards is allowed.
- There is no surrender option in this game.
- You can only split cards once per hand with no options to split further.
One rule that stands out that we want to point out specifically so that you don’t miss it is how the dealer’s hole card is handled: There is no peeking for blackjack when the dealer is showing a ten, but there is peeking for blackjack when there is an ace showing. This has some serious affects on strategy in certain spots.
In Speed Blackjack, players are not dealt cards in order across the table as usual. Instead, players who want to hit, double or split are given their cards in the order in which they decide how to play their hands. This speeds up the game because you don’t have to wait on a table full of players to make up their minds about how their hands will be played.
Speed Blackjack Side Bets
Evolution Gaming allows for two side bets in their Speed Blackjack game. This includes the Perfect Pairs wager and the 21+3 wager.
Perfect Pairs – The Perfect Pairs side bet is based around your first two cards having the same rank. The result of the rest of your hand is irrelevant to how this side bet works. Note that some casinos and software providers have their own pay tables for a similar side bet in some blackjack games (and even some Baccarat games), but the following is the pay table used in Speed Blackjack.
- Perfect Pair (same suit) – 25x
- Colored Pair (same color) – 12x
- Other Pairs (one red, one black) – 6x
It’s a cool little side bet with a house edge of about 4.1 percent. While it’s not the best side bet out there, it’s also not the worst.
21+3 – The 21+3 side bet uses the player’s first two dealt cards and the dealer’s up card to form a three-card poker hand. It pays based on a really simple rule where if you win the bet, you get a 9x payout, and if you don’t, then you lose.
All poker hands of three of a kind and up pay out for this side bet. In addition, if you have a single pair, and your third card’s suit matches the suit of one of the cards in the pair, then you win as well.
In the eight-deck Speed Blackjack game, this side bet has a house edge of just 2.7 percent, which is one of the best side bet payouts you’ll find in any game ever.
Strategy for Speed Blackjack
A general multi-deck blackjack strategy is more than sufficient for this title except on a handful of particular situations that mostly center around the atypical peek rule.
In general, you’ll want to play normally against a 2-9 or against an ace, but against tens, jacks, queens and kings, you have to play more conservatively.
This rule about ten-point cards is especially true with respect to the way you double and split. The lack of the dealer peeking for blackjack with ten cards does speed the game up a bit, which is within the goal of this variation of live dealer blackjack in the first place, so it makes sense. With that said, it does require some strategic adjustments.
Thankfully, the needed strategic adjustment is very simple: Never double when facing a ten-point card, and do not split anything other than aces when facing a ten-point card. This will have you playing these situations borderline perfectly if you follow this one rule of thumb.
For players who like the idea of live dealer blackjack tables but who don’t really care for how much slower they tend to be compared to ordinary online tables, the Speed Blackjack game from Evolution Gaming is a good compromise.
The strategies are pretty fun, and you even get some limited use of counting cards with a shoe penetration of 50 percent. While a higher penetration on that point would be ideal, you can still end up with certain counts that will increase your payout rate in certain situations.
Overall, it’s a strong offering in the live dealer space that definitely has its place among players who want the game to progress a bit more quickly.
Which online casinos have Speed Blackjack Live?
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