Classic Blackjack offers fantastic return rates, but it can get old. Usually, game developers try to shake it up with side bets. However, these supplementary wagers always come with a higher house edge and don’t change the game’s core aspects.
If you’re looking for a variant that can reignite your passion for the table classic, live Free Bet Blackjack could be the thing you need. This Evolution Gaming hit won’t charge you for splits and doubles on certain conditions. Read on to see how its rules work, what payouts to expect, and which casinos offer this version.
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Here’s How the Free Bet Blackjack Rules Work
To understand how this variant works, it’s best to compare it to the classic Vegas Strip version. Fortunately, the similarities are numerous, so you won’t need that much time to adapt to Free Bet Blackjack. Evolution Gaming croupiers deal from a shoe of 8 decks (52 cards each), stand on any 17, and peek when their up-card is an Ace. Your goal remains the same — get a higher score than the dealer or make them go bust while avoiding going over 21 yourself.
It’s also worth mentioning that this an “all-to-many” or “Infinite“ live game. This means that one hand is dealt on the side of the players, and all participants play with it. The key is that the choice to hit, stand, split, or double is yours to make. Now, let’s cover the free bets:
- Double Down — You may double your wager before drawing a third card. Usually, this move requires you to make your initial wager twice as large, but here’s where live dealer Free Bet Blackjack makes things interesting. If your two cards form a hard 9, 10, or 11 (there’s no Ace in the hand), you can double down for free.
- Split — Any two cards of equal point value can be split. If the pair doesn’t consist of 10-value cards (10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings), it can be divided free of charge. You can only split once and are not allowed to double following it.
So, what’s the catch? If the dealer gets a score of 22, the result will be a push instead of you winning. This noticeably increases the house edge, but the Free Bet Blackjack rules about splits/doubles counteract it to a certain extent. Also, the “Six-Card Charlie” rule is in effect, meaning that you’ll win against anything but a dealer natural if your hand reaches six cards without busting. This Evolution Gaming product also comes with four side bets, which we’ll discuss right away.
The Side Bets Explained
After placing the main wager, you can put chips on any of the four available side bets. They are entirely voluntary and come with higher payouts but lower overall return rates. Here’s how each bet works:
Any Pair – It resembles the popular “Perfect Pairs” wager but has different payouts. In live Free Bet Blackjack, Any Pair pays 8:1 when your first two cards are of the same rank and any suit (e.g., 4s of Spades and Hearts) and 25:1 when they are identical (e.g., two 4s of Spades). The RTP is 95.90%.
21+3 – This one is present on nearly every Blackjack game we’ve seen. It comes with a 96.30% RTP and pays when your first two cards and the dealer’s up-card form the following combinations:
- Flush (all are of the same color) — 5:1
- Straight (three cards of sequential rank, e.g., 4, 5, 6) — 10:1
- Three of a kind — 30:1
- Straight Flush — 40:1
- Suited three of a kind — 100:1
Hot 3 – This live dealer Free Bet Blackjack wager has a 94.60% RTP and works the same way as 21+3, but pays on different conditions:
- When the three cards total any 19 — 1:1
- Any 20 — 2:1
- Any unsuited 21 — 4:1
- A suited 21 — 20:1
- Three 7s — 100:1
Bust it! — We advise against using this bet, as it comes with a house edge of nearly 6%. In a nutshell, it awards you with increasing payouts if the croupier goes over 21 with three cards or more. The top reward is 250:1 for a bust with 8+ cards.
The Beginner’s Guide to Live Dealer Free Bet Blackjack
There’s one big downside to Free Bet Blackjack. Evolution Gaming — and any other live dealer studio out there — doesn’t have demo modes for its games. Thus, if you’re a new player, practicing for free isn’t that easy. Still, there is a workaround. You can utilize the no-deposit deals of 777casino and 888casino to obtain free funds that you can then use to learn the ropes. Once you’re set, follow the steps outlined below:
- After registering at one of our approved casinos and funding your account, head over to the “Live Casino” tab and click on any of the thumbnails. You’ll be redirected to the EG lobby. Select “Blackjack” from the top bar and locate Evolution’s “Free Bet Blackjack”. Review your surroundings. You might have wait for the next game if a round is ongoing.
- Once it’s time to bet, you will see a big widget appear in the middle of the screen. It’s best to bet small amounts until you become adept, so select the smallest available chip and place it on the largest of the five circles at the bottom.
- Cards will be dealt, and the widget will appear again. From left to right, your options will be to double, hit, stand, or split. This is where knowing the right move according to main strategy is crucial. Search Google Images with the term “live Free Bet Blackjack strategy”. Download and use the chart at your convenience.
Compare the Payouts and RTP to the Regular Game of 21
Beating the house yields the exact same payoffs as in classic Blackjacks. You get 1:1 for all regular wins and 3:2 on every victory with a natural 21. Still, the Return to Player rate is lower compared to traditional versions.
If you use a basic strategy with a regular variant, you can expect to return around 99.50% of your bankroll over the long run. In comparison, you’ll get 98.45% when playing Free Bet Blackjack. Evolution Gaming’s French Roulette has a higher RTP at 98.65%, so this fact might be a deal-breaker if you’re conscious about the price of entertainment.
Don’t Forget about the Special Features
As the world leader in live dealer gaming, EG offers a feature-rich virtual overlay in all of its streams. Its buttons are situated at the four corners of the screen. They are quite useful, and there’s a lot of overlap between the different games, so it’s a good idea to know what they do:
- Top-left — You have the “X” icon to exit the stream sitting to the left of the title & betting limits. The chat window is right below them.
- Top-right — The most important area of live Free Bet Blackjack. You can see the full chat log, contract the video feed to reduce any stuttering, change the volume levels, see your betting history, and access the “Help” section.
- Bottom-left — You can see your total bankroll and the size of your current bet.
- Bottom-right — Click on “Lobby” to browse other rooms without leaving this one. “+ Table” is awesome, as you can split your screen and play two games at once.
To sum up, this game favors an aggressive approach, making it highly volatile and fun to play. Is live dealer Free Bet Blackjack the top dog in terms of return rates? No, as the traditional iterations beat it by offering an extra 1%. Still, Free Bet’s house edge is lower than those of European & American Roulette and most Slots.
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