How Does Bet Behind Work in Blackjack? Should You Care?

By in Casino & Gaming on
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Blackjack Ace Jack

For the longest time, blackjack was only available in two formats: land-based and online casinos.

The latter have provided another variation of the game called live dealer blackjack. This type blends the best of land-based and online blackjack into one.

It brings a live blackjack experience to your smartphone or tablet. Live dealer gaming also presents a unique option called “bet behind.” I’ll discuss bet behind more in depth along with if it’s bothering with.

How Does Live Blackjack Normally Work?

Again, live dealer blackjack combines the best elements of the land-based and online experience. It runs through an online casino but presents itself like brick-and-mortar style gambling.

Here are the key elements of this game:

  • Human dealer
  • Real table
  • Real cards
  • Virtual chips (make bets through virtual options)
  • Chat function (communicate with the dealer)
  • Tipping (many live dealer outfits offer this option)
  • Available on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs

If you wanted to play real money online blackjack previously, you could only do it through software-generated tables. Although still fun, these games don’t offer the same human element as live casinos.

Now, you can essentially carry around a brick-and-mortar casino in your pocket. No travel is involved when you want to enjoy live blackjack. Instead, you simply pull out your smartphone, find a table, and take a seat.

The Problem with Live Dealer Blackjack

The live version of blackjack offers a happy medium between land-based and online (software-generated) play. However, it still shares a crucial problem with brick-and-mortar casinos—seats are limited.

Blackjack tables fill up quickly in land-based venues on busy nights. This scenario is especially true of low-stakes games.

The same thing happens with the live dealer variation. Live casinos must employ real dealers and can only offer so many tables as a result.

When this happens, you can exercise one of a few options:

  • Don’t play
  • Visit another live dealer gaming site
  • Wait for a seat to open up
  • Use bet behind

Of these, going to another live casino seems like the best choice. When you log on to play this game, you aren’t doing so to wait around like you’re at a brick-and-mortar casino. As I’ll discuss next, though, bet behind gives you yet another way to handle this situation.

Bet Behind Lets You Play No Matter What

Bet behind refers to an option where you gamble on other players’ hands. It’s especially popular when most/all tables are full, but it’s available no matter if you’re seated or not.

Live casinos aren’t the first ones to think of this idea. Land-based gambling establishments have allowed “back betting,” as they call it, for decades.

Many gamblers still don’t realize, though, that they can wager on other players’ action. In contrast, live dealer blackjack sites do a great job of clearly indicating that bet behind is available.

To recap, here’s an example of when you might use this option:

  1. You visit a live casino.
  2. Your favorite blackjack dealer’s table is full.
  3. You select the bet behind option under a seated player.
  4. You wager $25 on their hand.
  5. Your $25 rides on whether the player wins or loses.

Pros of Bet Behind

Bet behind is popular for a few different reasons. Here are the main perks to wagering on other blackjack players.

You Don’t Need to Worry About Finding a Seat

Finding a live blackjack seat can be a headache—especially during peak hours. Bet behind ensures that you don’t need to fret over finding an open table.

You can jump right into the action regardless of if there’s an available seat or not. Again, you can continue making this wager even if you’re already playing.

Always Sit at Your Favorite Dealer’s Table

If you play live casino games enough, you’ll eventually develop a favorite dealer or two. And while it never hurts to try a new croupier once and a while, you’ll want to play with your favorite most of the time.

Of course, this same croupier may be popular with other gamblers for one or more reasons. Assuming they’re particularly popular, then you’ll experience more trouble finding a seat.

Bet behind solves this problem by letting you visit and bet at a dealer’s table regardless of if any seats are available. You can join the chat, place wagers, and feel a part of the game.

Get Double the Action

When you use bet behind while already seated, you can get more action at once. Your money will be split between your own play and another gambler’s performance.

This betting strategy may sound pointless. After all, you could merely raise your own stakes or open two separate tables.

However, this strategy also lets you better focus on your own play. If you’ve scouted out the other player and believe they have skills, then you’re making two good bets in one round.

Cons of Bet Behind

I think that bet behind is largely a cool idea. As the following drawbacks show, though, it’s not totally perfect.

You Don’t Get to Make Strategy Decisions

Strategy is a major part of blackjack. Every decision that you make—hit, stand, split, double down—impacts the house edge to a degree.

You’ve chosen to play blackjack because you want this challenge. Bet behind, however, takes away from this concept.

Sure, you can observe players and use your blackjack strategy knowledge to pick a good horse. But they ultimately make all of the playing decisions.

You’re at the Mercy of the Player

You can choose a player to bet on through one of two means:

  • Careful observation
  • Taking a wild guess

The first option gives you the better chance to win. Again, you can watch somebody play and get a feel for if they know the game.

The second method is a pure gamble. You might as well play slot machines if you’re just going to wildly guess.

In either case, though, you’re still relying on the gambler to come through. Even if you think that you’ve chosen a good player, they could suddenly start making bad decisions and prove you wrong.

Little Point in Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most-strategic games in the casino. If you’re well-versed in strategy, you can work the house edge down to 0.5%—rules permitting.

Bet behind takes away from this dynamic, though. In a way, it feels like the casino version of horse or sports betting.

I’ve used bet behind for fun, but I like testing my own skills more than anything. That said, I’ll never rely exclusively on this betting option.

Is This Feature Right for You?

Bet behind has hung around live casinos for years now. Therefore, it’s proven to have staying power in the online gambling world.

Whether or not you fall in love with it, though, depends upon your personality. Assuming you play blackjack to challenge yourself and use stimulating strategy, then you may think that bet behind is completely stupid.

In contrast, you might find that this option presents a fun new element. It lets you wager on the game when no seats are available or simply make a side bet while you’re playing.


Personally, I don’t think that bet behind should’ve become the gamechanger that it is today. On the other hand, it definitely serves a purpose by helping you enjoy action in situations where you’d otherwise just be waiting.

Additionally, I like trying bet behind to spice up the action. This option is especially appealing if I notice another good player at my table and want to capitalize on their skills.

In summary, I suggest that you try bet behind at least once. Maybe you won’t fall in love with it, but you’ll get a new experience out of the deal.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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