Live-dealer gambling is better than virtual gambling in every way…period. Of course, this doesn’t mean that virtual gambling in the conventional sense is without its charms. Far from it, as it’s entirely down to personal preferences and what you’re in the mood for at the time.

If pitting your wits against computer algorithms wasn’t surprisingly exciting, the entire online casino industry wouldn’t exist.

Still, there’s really no denying the appeal of switching out computer algorithms for real human beings. A simple adjustment which nonetheless transforms everything about the game you’re playing. 

Blackjack in particular is a perfect encapsulation of how and why live-dealer gaming works. There’s a skilled dealer taking charge of the show, there’s real-time interaction and there’s a far more ‘real’ feel to the whole thing. It’s pretty much as close as it gets to real-life casino gambling, with the added bonus of 24/7 access via any connected device.

Hence, it’s easy to see why live-dealer blackjack is considered the gold standard for online casino gaming. But how about the fabled Holy Grail of playing live-dealer blackjack for free?

You can play most conventional online casino games for free, so is there a way of playing the live-dealer version without putting a penny on the line?

The answer is…albeit ambiguous…yes and no. 

Why Live-Dealer Blackjack Isn’t Available for Free

There’s a simple and relatively obvious reason why playing live-dealer blackjack for free is off the cards (pun intended). 

When browsing an online casino, you’ll come across hundreds or even thousands of games you can play for free. In all instances, they’re machine powered and based on complex algorithms. Consequently, they require no human intervention and can be played by an infinite number of people at the same time.

With live-dealer gaming, it’s not quite as simple. First of all, there’s limited room at the table. Even if you have a good handful of live-dealer games taking place, a casino can still only accommodate a few dozen players at the same time.  For obvious reasons, paying players take precedence over those looking for a free ride.

More specifically, paying players are the only players allowed to fill the limited seats available, and understandably so. 

In addition, there’s also the small matter of paying the dealers at the tables for doing their jobs. Working as a professional blackjack dealer isn’t easy. It’s a high-pressure role that takes extensive knowledge, skill and experience to master. You don’t train to become a blackjack dealer with minimum wage in mind, or with the intent of providing your services for free. 

If a casino was to offer live-dealer blackjack for free, they’d be staring down the barrel of financial loss. No money coming in as the punters are playing for free, but money going out to pay the dealer. Hardly a sensible business model, which is why it doesn’t happen. 

A Case of Common Sense

Once a high-end virtual casino game has been launched online, it’s more or less self-sustaining. It does its thing automatically on a 24/7 basis, with no direct supervision or input required. As a result, it doesn’t cost to the casino a penny for hundreds, thousands or even millions of people to play it to their heart’s content, using virtual currency.

This is something that could never happen in a real-life casino, due to the overheads involved in running the business. With live-dealer gaming, it’s exactly the same – there are overheads the provider needs to factor in. Paying the dealer, the equipment needed for the game and so on – outgoings that need to be compensated for.

Realistically, you wouldn’t expect to walk into a real-life casino and be allowed to play the games for free. You can’t walk up to the cashier’s desk, request a stack of ‘virtual’ tokens can spend the next few hours taking advantage of what’s on offer. You need to be ready to spend your own money at a traditional casino, and the same applies with live-dealer gaming. 

The One Exception to the Rule…

At the risk of contradicting all of the above, there is in fact one exception. Play your cards right (pun intended again) and you can indeed play live-dealer blackjack for free. Quite a lot of it, and with the potential to take home a prize or two.

This is where introductory bonuses and incentives come into the mix. Shop around for long enough and you’ll find a whole bunch of welcome bonus offers for new customers. Bonus offers which in some instances relate exclusively to live-dealer gaming. 

Generosity varies significantly from one incentive to the next, and there will always be wagering requirements to factor in. Introductory bonuses are never to be interpreted as ‘free money’ as there’s no such thing. It’s more a form of bonus credit to try the games on offer, rather than a handout of hard cash. 

In any case, it’s often possible to use this bonus credit in a casino’s live-dealer section. There may be strict limitations on how much you can win (if anything), but you can still at least take part. Best of all, you may occasionally happen across a no-deposit bonus offer of a casino’s live-dealer section. If so, you can claim a token amount of bonus credit to spend as you like, without having to pay a penny into your account.

A Price Worth Paying

Truth is, the whole debate regarding free live-dealer casino gaming is largely nonsensical. The reason being that the costs involved really are a small price to pay for what you get in return.

Frankly, expecting to be able to sit at a casino table (virtually or otherwise) with a skilled dealer and not pay a penny for the experience is unrealistic. It also removes the vast majority of the enjoyment and excitement from the whole thing.

Long story short, paying for live-dealer blackjack is something you really have to do. Even if there are technically ways of bagging a seat at the table for free, it’s far from the most enjoyable way to experience live-dealer blackjack.

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