Realtime Gaming Blackjack

Blackjack Software Realtime Gaming

Realtime Gaming (aka) RTG blackjack is known for being one of the fastest games on the Internet. If you're interested in getting in a lot of hands per hour, then RTG software is going to make you quite happy. They offer both instant play and downloadable versions of all their games.

The differences between the no download and downloadable versions of their casino games are negligible. We've seen some reviewers claim that the downloaded software offers better graphics and sound effects, but we can't really see much of a difference.

Realtime Gaming is known for being one of the most USA friendly software providers. When software companies like Microgaming and Playtech were abandoning ship after UIGEA, RTG "double down" and continued to power USA friendly online casinos.

We provide a bit of information about Realtime Gaming immediately below. The rest of this page compares the games available at Realtime Gaming casinos. It also provides some recommended RTG casinos at which to play and some strategy advice for players with real money accounts at these casinos.

About RTG

From an operator's perspective, Realtime Gaming has a lot to offer. The cost of leasing their software is significantly less than that of leasing Microgaming or Playtech. They also offer operators the opportunity to "configure" their games.

Here's what that means:

With most casino software providers, the payout percentage and the rules are the same at all the casinos powered by their software. But at Realtime Gaming, the casinos can change the settings. For example, one RTG casino might have their blackjack game set to use 8 decks, while another might have the same game set to use only 4 decks.

It's unrelated to the software, but most Realtime Gaming casino operators offer large signup bonuses. Unfortunately for blackjack players, these deals always have strict restrictions about how much wagering must be done before you can cash out. At most (if not all) of these casinos, blackjack doesn't even count toward fulfilling these requirements.

Here's why:

The house edge on blackjack is so low that a smart player could figure out a way to get an edge over the casino. Let's say you sign up at an RTG casino which offers a 200% matching bonus of up to $2000. You deposit $1000, and you now have a bankroll of $3000.

Let's suppose this casino requires you to wager 45 times your deposit plus bonus before being able to cash out. That means you have to place $135,000 in wagers before cashing out.

If you're playing the best possible game at RTG with the best possible strategy, you're facing a house edge of 0.34%. So your expected loss on $135,000 in wagers is only $459.

Standard deviation will mean that your results will vary a bit, but you'd still be almost able to guarantee yourself a profit. $3000 - $459 is $2541, which is a profit of $1541 on your initial deposit of $1000.

If you can find an online casino which counts blackjack toward your wagering requirement, chances are good that they'll only count 10% of your blackjack wagers toward meeting those wagering requirements. Suddenly that expected loss of $459 becomes an expected loss of $4590, which means that mathematically, the casino expects a profit.

Sure, you could defy the odds. Players win every day. But the casino makes its money by making sure that their mathematical expectation says they'll win in the long run.

Games Available

Realtime Gaming offers the following blackjack games:

  • Blackjack
  • Face Up 21
  • Match Play 21
  • Perfect Pairs
  • Pontoon
  • Super 21
Blackjack

Their standard blackjack game (#1 on the list) has the following rules: The dealer hits a soft 17. You're allowed to double down on any 2 first cards, and you're allowed to double after splitting. You're allowed to split twice, so you can have up to 3 hands in play. You're not allowed to re-split aces, though. You only lose your original bet if the dealer has a natural. Some RTG casinos offer late surrender, but most don't.

The house edge for this game varies based on how many decks are in play. Here are the house edge figures based on the various configurations:

If Surrender Is Allowed:

Amount of Decks Percentage
2 Decks 0.34%
4 Decks 0.49%
6 Decks 0.54%

If Surrender Is Not Allowed:

Amount of Decks Percentage
2 Decks 0.40%
4 Decks 0.58%
6 Decks 0.63%
Face Up 21

Face Up 21 has the following rules:

  • A natural only pays eve money.
  • The dealer hits on a soft 17.
  • You can only double down on a total of 9, 10, or 11
  • You cannot re-split aces.
  • Surrender is not an option.
  • The house edge is 0.75%.

Face Up 21 is also sometimes called "Double Exposure Blackjack". The main rules variation is that both of the dealer's cards are exposed instead of just one.

Match Play 21

Match Play 21 has the following rules:

  • The dealer hits a soft 17.
  • You can double down on any 2 cards.
  • Re-splitting aces and surrendering are both allowed.

This is the same game as Spanish 21, only with a different name. You get a bonus payout of 40 to 1 if you get 3 suited 7s against a dealer 7. One of the main differences between this game and a standard game is the configuration of the deck—the 10s are removed. (Not the face cards, which are also worth 10, just the actual 10s.)

The game offers several bonus payouts. For example, a 5 card 21 pays 3 to 2, but a 6 card 21 pays 2 to 1. A 7 card 21 pays 3 to 1. These bonuses are not available after doubling down or splitting.

A 678 or 777 of different suits also pays off at 3 to 2, just like a traditional natural. If they're of the same suit, the payout improves to 2 to 1, and if that suit is spades, it improves further to 3 to 1.

It's a fun game, but the house edge is about 0.8%, which makes it inferior to the standard blackjack game, at least mathematically.

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs has the same rules as the standard blackjack game. The only difference is the optional side bet. The house edge on that side bet is way too high to make it a realistic bet, but if you decide to go for it, you should know that the house edge on that bet varies from 4.1% to 22.3%.

The side bet is a bet on whether or not you'll get 2 cards of the same rank. Payouts vary based on whether or not they're of the same color or suit. You can read more about Perfect Pairs Blackjack on our page devoted entirely to that variation.

Pontoon

Pontoon pays out 2 to 1 on a blackjack. The dealer hits a soft 17, and the player is allowed to double down on any 2 cards and is also allowed to re-split aces. Surrender is not an option. The house edge is 0.65% on this game.

The game has a large number of rules that are different from standard blackjack. Instead of referring to a blackjack as a blackjack or a natural, it's called a "pontoon", although it's really the same thing. The 2nd best hand in the game is a 5 card trick, which is any 5 card hand that hasn't busted. All 5 card tricks are considered the same in value regardless of the point value of the hand. (This is a major difference.) the 3rd best hand is any hand of 4 cards or fewer that hasn't busted. Points matter in these hands—the more points, the better. And of course, any hand with 22 points or more is considered a bust.

The game has other rules variations, too. You can find more details about those variations on our page devoted to Pontoon.

Super 21

Super 21 is the same thing that the land-based casinos called "Super Fun 21". It's popular in Las Vegas, but the game has a high house edge compared to all the other blackjack games available at Realtime Gaming, 1.42%.

Blackjack only pays even money, and the dealer hits on soft 17. You can double down on any 2 cards, but you cannot re-split aces. Surrender is available. In land-based casinos, you can find Super Fun 21 played with 2 decks, but at RTG casinos, it seems like 6 decks is the best you can do. Of course, the house edge would be lower with only 2 decks in play.

If you get a hand of 20 or less with 6 cards or more, you automatically win. A 5 card hand with a total of exactly 21 is also an automatic winner and pays out at 2 to 1. Player blackjacks always win, even if the dealer has a blackjack. And if you get a blackjack where both cards are diamonds, you get a 2 to 1 payout.

The big drawback to this game is that regular blackjacks only pay even money. This might seem minor, but it's devastating to your mathematical expectation on the game.

RTG Casinos

At least 70 different online casinos use Realtime Gaming software to power their games. Not all of these casinos are on the up and up, though. RTG doesn't provide a lot of oversight to its licensees in the way that Microgaming or Playtech do.

But many of the properties using Realtime Gaming are excellent. We've included some recommended properties below:

Bovada Casino Logo Bovada Casino

Bovada Casino is our top choice for Realtime Gaming powered casinos. They offer the full selection of RTG games, but they supplement those games with games from other providers, so they offer a broader selection than many. They also have a generous signup bonus offer where you can get up to $4250 for free. United States players are welcome, and they also offer poker and sports betting.

Read Bovada Review

Slots.lv Casino Logo Slots.lv

Slots.lv also uses Realtime Gaming but has other games from other providers, too. You can get up to $5000 free with their 200% signup bonus, but you can't use that bonus money to play blackjack. One might think, because of the casino's name, that it's nothing but slot machines. But they do offer a full variety of casino games, including table games like blackjack.

Las Vegas USA Casino Logo Las Vegas USA

Las Vegas USA is another USA friendly casino using RTG software that includes blackjack as part of their offerings. It's one of the "Main Street" family of casinos. They're licensed in Panama. They don't offer the variety of Bovada Casino or Slots.lv, but they're still worth considering, especially if you're having problems getting your deposit accepted at those other options.

Strategy Advice & Tips for Realtime Gaming Blackjack

A lot of people confuse strategy with tactics. A strategy is an overall approach. Tactics refer more to individual decisions.

Example

A blackjack strategy might be to always find the best game available, use the appropriate basic strategy on every decision, and count cards using the Hi-Lo count. The player's goal might be to earn a certain amount of money per hour, or it might just be to get enough comps to make her blackjack hobby worthwhile.

A blackjack tactic might be to always double down when you have a total of 11. That's PART of basic strategy, but that individual decision is a tactical decision.

This section of the page covers both strategic and tactical considerations for Realtime Gaming customers.

The first piece of strategy advice we offer is the most general, and it applies to other types of gambling besides blackjack. Always have a budget. When you're gambling online, you can't really get an edge over the casino. Since that's the case, you should always assume you're going to lose. You won't always lose, because if that were the case, no one would ever play. But you should always budget your money as if it were a sure thing to lose it. This way, you'll avoid accidentally losing the rent money or something equally dire.

The second piece of advice we have is to set stop loss limits and win goals. Gambling mathematicians sneer at money management techniques like this because a lot of players make the mistaken assumption that money management will improve your chances of winning. That's not the case, and that's not why we're making this recommendation. The reason to set stop loss limits and win goals is to give you a chance of going home a winner. If you have no plan for when to quit, you're likely to keep playing until you've gone broke, every time.

Here's an example:

You have a bankroll of $1000. You decide that you're going to play until you've either lost $500 or won $1000. In either of those events, you're going to quit.

In this particular example, if you want to maximize your chances of winning that $1000, you'll place the highest limit bets you can. Your goal is to take advantage of standard deviation and luck. The longer you play, the more likely it becomes that your results will resemble the mathematical expectation.

In fact, the best chance of turning $1000 into $2000 at the blackjack table is to make a single $1000 bet.

That isn't a lot of fun for most gamblers, but it's mathematically the soundest strategy. You'll have to balance your desire for doubling your money with your need to stay in action.

You should also always play the game with the lowest house edge. In the case of Realtime Gaming, you're looking at the standard blackjack game there, which has a house edge of between 0.34% and 0.54%. There are few good reasons to play games with a higher edge. You'll just lose your money faster.

Finally, always use basic strategy. We've outlined the appropriate decision for the game with the best house edge below. It's organized according to how you should play pairs, hard hands, and soft hands.

Pairs
  • Split 2s, 3s, and 7s if the dealer has a 7 or lower showing. Otherwise hit.
  • Only split 4s if the dealer is showing a 5 or 6. Otherwise hit.
  • Double down on a pair of 5s if the dealer has a 9 or less showing. Otherwise hit.
  • Split 6s if the dealer has a 6 or less showing.
  • Split 8s if the dealer has a 9 or less. Otherwise hit. (Notice that this is different from the standard advice of always splitting 8s. That's because of the rules variations in play.)
  • Split 9s unless the dealer has a 7, 10, or ace. In those cases, stand.
  • Never split 10s. Always stand.
  • Split aces unless the dealer has an ace. In that case, hit.
Soft hands
  • Always hit any soft hand of 17 or less.
  • Stand if you have a soft 18 versus a dealer 8 or less. Otherwise, hit.
  • Always stand if you have a soft 19 or better.
Hard hands
  • Always hit a hard 8 or less.
  • Double down with a hard 9 versus a dealer 3-6. Otherwise, hit.
  • Double down on a hard 10 or 11 unless the dealer has a 10 or an ace. In either of those cases, hit.
  • Stand with a hard 12 if the dealer has a 4, 5, or 6. Otherwise, hit.
  • Stand on any 13, 14, 15, or 16 if the dealer has a 6 or less. Otherwise, hit.
  • If you have a hard 17 or higher, stand.

Basic strategy for Realtime Gaming's standard blackjack game is pretty easy to remember.

Summary

Realtime Gaming offers the fastest and sleekest blackjack online, and it's an especially good choice for real money players from the United States. Their games are configurable, so the house edge varies from casino to casino, but the basic strategy is more or less the same. In almost all cases, you should stick with their basic blackjack variant, as it has the lowest house edge of any of their blackjack games.

Finally, some RTG casinos are less desirable than others. Stick with recommendations from a trustworthy site (like ours).

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