Blackjack is a fairly simple game with a straightforward goal and some basic rules. You wouldn’t think that much could be done with it, yet there are hundreds of different variants out there, each offering a range of different features, odds, side bets, and more. In recent years one of the biggest changes in online blackjack has been the introduction of multi-player games.
Multi-player is all the rage these days, as players want the immersive, community experience that only these games can bring. But how does this translate to the game of blackjack, and is it an experience worth having for fans of this classic card game?
What is Multi-Player Blackjack?
Simply put, multi-player blackjack is a variant of online blackjack contested by multiple players seated at the same table. The goal of the developers was to create a game that offered the speed and simplicity of virtual blackjack, but had the sort of community element that you typically only get from offline blackjack and live dealer blackjack.
At the time of writing it is still somewhat rare, but most major developers have their own version of it, with Playtech and Microgaming seemingly leading the way. These two gaming giants have been at the forefront of interactive gaming innovation for many years. They are the ones that players and other developers look to when it comes time to introduce something new, and they have not disappointed here.
Even diehard online blackjack fans who have seen and played every possible variant will get a kick out of playing these new games.
What Makes Multi-Player Blackjack Different?
Multi-player blackjack has a few unique features that you may find on some virtual and live dealer games, but never in one single package:
- Multiple Players: The most obvious unique feature is the fact that several players can be seated at the same table. It’s the same story with live dealer games, as mentioned already, but this is the only time you will see this happen in an entirely virtual setting. Some slots have tried something similar in the past, the most notable of which was Playboy Multiplayer, but we haven’t seen this executed very well on table games until now.
- Speed: The speed at which the game flowed was always going to be an issue. On the one hand, virtual games allow players all the time in the world and they are the only ones, whereas live dealer games give them a extended time limit. Multi-player blackjack has taken a middle ground, giving all players a time limit but making it short (often just 15 seconds a move) to ensure it moves quickly.
- Back to Basics: Multi-player blackjack games have gone back to basics with regards to the payouts and game options in order to attract top blackjack players. There is a 3:2 payout (none of this 6:5 nonsense) dealers typically stand on 17, and you can double and split. There are also minimal side bets and some versions will let you surrender.
- Experience: This is not so much a feature in itself, but rather it is a side effect of the multiple players feature. There are many casual blackjack players out there losing a lot of money because they simply don’t know how to play properly and believe that the moves they are making are correct, even though a professional player might look at them in disbelief. In games of multi-player blackjack novice players get a chance to sit next to more experienced players and to learn from them, seeing what moves they make, the results that come from them, and then potentially replicating those same moves themselves later on.
Can You Count Cards on Multi-Player Blackjack?
No, you can not. It is still a virtual game, and like all virtual games of blackjack the cards are shuffled after each hand. However, we would still recommend card counting and think that this game can actually prove invaluable to players looking to learn this technique.
It’s easy to count cards at home or even to do it on a virtual game where you have all the time in the world and are the only player, but that’s nothing like the real thing so it’s practice that will likely never pay off. In games of multi-player blackjack you have the added pressure of the time-limit and the extra players.
That means that you need to act fast and include many extra cards into the equation, just like you would when counting cards in a real casino or in a live dealer casino. You still don’t have to worry about being found out, so there is an element of safety that can make it easier, but if you are looking for the ultimate card counting practice tool you cannot get much better than multi-player blackjack.
Where to Find Multi-Player Blackjack
You can find games of multi-player blackjack on most Microgaming and Playtech casinos. Just take a look at our recommended casinos and at the graphics at the top of this page to find the best one right now. But before you rush to signup and play, there are a few important things you need to consider, a checklist of casino essentials, if you will:
- Welcome Bonuses: All casinos offer them, but some hide them. You may need to use codes or follow specific hyperlinks, and you may also need to abide by certain terms and conditions before they are released. The links we have on this site are guaranteed to always point to the latest bonus and we are upfront about the Ts & Cs, so be sure to check our recommendations out.
- Loyalty Bonuses: An essential feature for any blackjack player. This is a game for grinders, a game of small margins. You could play thousands of games and only be up a small amount. Loyalty bonuses will help to make all of that play worthwhile.
- Banking Options: Check that your chosen method is available for withdrawal before you deposit, as some methods can be used for one and not the other, leaving you in limbo if you don’t have the luxury of choice.
- Big Names: if you want games of multi-player blackjack and you want complete security and fairness when you play, focus on Microgaming, Playtech, NetEnt and BetSoft casinos. Some developers, Realtime Gaming included, allow their payouts to be set by casinos, which is a massive concern.