Having left his family’s Vienna butcher shop in 1974, where he was
apprenticing in expectation of taking over one day, 28 year old Johann Graf
struck out on his own.
Graf set to work building a small enterprise specializing in imported Belgian
pinball machines, and over the next six years he expanded into electronic slot
In 1980, recognizing that electronic gaming would be the wave of the future,
Novomatic Automatenhandels AG. The company soon stamped its reputation
within the world of casino gaming with the release of its Admiral line of slot
Today, the Novomatic Group is recognized worldwide as a leading designer,
manufacturer, and distributor of cutting edge casino gambling equipment. With
offices in 43 countries, and even several brick and mortar casinos in Chile and
Germany, the Novomatic Group has grown into a multibillion dollar gaming empire.
As a result, Graf has gone from living in a one room flat with his parents to
a current net worth of $7.8 billion, according to the latest World’s
Billionaire’s List by Forbes magazine.
Along the way, Graf’s company has remained at the forefront of industry
innovation, acquiring a small online casino software firm known as
Greentube in 2009 to expand its
Novomatic Interactive division.
Originally founded as Durrschmid&Reisinger OEG, Greentube was one of the
forerunners in terms of providing software services for online casino platforms.
With the acquisition, Novomatic Interactive became a major iGaming industry
player, absorbing a Greentube portfolio built on more than 400 online casino
games. Those products were integrated with the existing Novomatic Remote Gaming
System (NRGS) to create one of the largest libraries of virtual slot machines,
table games, and casino specialties on the planet.
Today, the combined resources of Novomatic Interactive and Greentube – which
we’ll refer to as Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) from here on out – power
several dozen online casino platforms worldwide. From some of the most well
established sites in the United Kingdom (Ladbrokes Casino and William Hill
Casino), to smaller boutique venues serving niche markets, Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) has become a recognized name for millions of online casino
The company’s clear focus has been virtual slot development, as evidenced by
a menu boasting over 360 unique titles, but they’ve also designed a decent
selection of classic table games like blackjack.
This page was put together with twenty one players in mind, so we’ll be
reviewing the Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) lineup of basic blackjack games
and related variants. Below you’ll find a detailed breakdown of all the need to
know information, including where to find the company’s software, all the
blackjack titles available at this time, a walkthrough of the gameplay and
graphics, and essentials like house rules and the house edge.
So read on to learn all about the Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) blackjack
Affiliated Online Casinos
The following online casino brands incorporate Novomatic Interactive
77 Jackpot Casino
Bell Fruit Casino
Bet DNA Casino
Bet Victor Casino
Fortune Jack Casino
Game Twist Casino
Money Storm Casino
Mr. Ringo Casino
My Bet Casino
Quasar Gaming Casino
Sky Vegas Casino
Stan James Casino
Star Games Casino
VIP Stakes Casino
William Hill Casino
One word of warning: while all of these casinos do use the company’s
software, not all of them do so with blackjack in mind.
The modern iGaming industry is defined by collaboration, so while you may see
a site listed above running Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) slot machines,
they’re just as likely to use a larger firm’s blackjack titles. We did our best
to search through the Table Games menu found each of these sites, but on many
occasions the tight restrictions placed on American players left us on the
outside looking in.
Speaking of American players, among the more than three dozen client casinos
shown above, a handful are reportedly serving the US market at this time.
Unfortunately for us though, Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) appears to
enforce a blanket ban on American players for its entire online casino game
library. Having tried to access no less than 10 different Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) powered platforms, we were always rebuffed with the same message,
“Residents of the US may not play games due to legal issues.”
This isn’t out of the ordinary by any means, as most of the major European
iGaming industry leaders have made the strategic decision to honor the Unlawful
Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. That’s the federal law
banning online gambling based business transactions in the US, and while
progress is being made on the state level to legalize iGaming, major providers
like Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) simply have too much to lose by defying
For now, if you’re living stateside and want to try the Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) online blackjack offerings, you’re essentially stuck with a 15
facing a face card.
In other words, you’re on your own.
List of Basic Blackjack Games
Of the more than 400 casino games produced by Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) since the provider’s 2009 merger, only three are based on blackjack:
Royal Crown Blackjack
Despite offering different visual layouts and branding, each of these games
follows the same basic rules and structure.
The classic Blackjack title is simply ordinary twenty one played according to
the less player friendly American style rules.
And although the name Royal Crown Blackjack would suggest the use of the more
liberal European rule set, this is simply a rebranded version of the first game.
The felt goes from green to blue, a few graphics are updated – but from a
gameplay perspective, these two titles are identical.
Finally, the Live Blackjack game is simply Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube)’s take on the Live Dealer online casino concept.
Live Dealer games remove the artificiality of video game like graphics and
animations, connecting players directly to a living, breathing dealer instead.
High definition cameras and dedicated live streaming ensures that players can
watch every card hit the felt in real time, and well trained dealers run the
game with a smile. Even better, Live Dealer games allow you to communicate with
the dealer and fellow players, turning the often solitary experience of online
gambling into a more social affair.
We’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of this Live Blackjack offering later in
the page, but once again, Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) has opted to follow
Graphics and Animations
With three uniquely branded titles on tap, we’ll cover the unique graphics
and animations found in each separately.
This game is designed just like you’d expect any online blackjack table to
look, complete with striking green felt, rectangular outlines where your cards
sit, a multicolored chip trey on the dealer’s side, and even a shoe graphic
which dispenses the cards.
Those cards aren’t the best we’ve seen, however, and they may actually be
some of the worst.
Playing cards are differentiated in two ways: ordinal number (2, 3 10, etc.)
and “pips.” A pip is simply the little image depicting the card’s rank and suit,
so think a pair of hearts on the 2h, nine spades on the 9s, and so on.
With so many cards flashing across the felt in short succession, players use
these pips to quickly scan the table and determine their current total – and
even “count” cards. Sufficed to say, pips and playing cards go together like
peanut butter and jelly: you really can’t have one without the other.
For some reason though, the Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) design team
opted to scale back their playing card graphics. Instead of the iconic pip
alignment all card players know by heart, the company simply added one pip to
each corner of the card. And while that may work for the 4c, 4d, 4h, and 4s – it
doesn’t work at all for the deck’s other 36 cards.
Just imagine looking down to see the 6c, but instead of the usual 3 + 3 pip
alignment, you see four club symbols instead. This can be downright confusing,
and for all intents and purposes, every non face card (J, Q, K) in the deck
seems to look like a 4 at first glance.
We’re not sure why Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) skimped on their playing
card images, but this oversight is inherent to all of their table games.
Other than that though, the basic Blackjack game produced by the company
includes brightly colored graphics, and a nice ambience reminiscent of an actual
gaming table. Small touches like the key house rules emblazoned on the felt, and
a cool black spade logo, help to overcome the unfortunate pip shortcoming.
In terms of animations, we feel the speed could be dialed back just a tad.
When you’re playing several spots at once, your cards seem to be dealt out
all at once, rather than one by one. We’re sure their still randomized properly
and all that, but it’s still jarring to click the “Deal” button and see six
cards land face up seemingly before one second has elapsed.
Part of blackjack’s fundamental appeal is the game’s ability to create
suspense and drama. Seeing an ace hit your side of the felt causes the heart to
skip a beat, as you know the sight of any 10 value hitting that spot next
produces an instant 3 to 2 blackjack payout.
But with the Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) animation scripts, that first
ace is followed immediately by the next card, without even the briefest of
moments to sweat the action.
Hopefully, the fully functional version of the game available to
international players offers some sort of speed control, but we wouldn’t hold
Royal Crown Blackjack
First things first: this blackjack game includes the same basic table layout
and pip reduced card faces, so we’ll skip over what you already know.
In terms of differences from the base game, Royal Crown Blackjack is defined
by its garishly bright blue felt. We’re big fans of creative adjustments, and a
few oddly colored felts have caught our eye over the years – Bovada’s red felt
was always a favorite – but this design doesn’t pass muster.
The blue is just distracting for whatever reason, and it seems to subdue the
black and red shades of the playing cards, leaving a grey muddle instead. That
might just be the failing eyes of an older man, but we suspect other players
will levy similar complaints after putting in a long session on the blue tinted
Aside from that, the visual divergences are made seemingly at random.
Those rectangular card spaces are removed in favor of a generic white circle.
The printing which displays key House Rules is also swapped out, going from a
nice serif font to a blocky, generic all caps text.
Overall, the Royal Crown version of Novomatic Interactive (Greentube)
blackjack feels like a pale knockoff of the original.
It’s not really fair to describe the graphics and animations of this game,
because those have been ditched almost entirely for the real deal.
Live Dealer online casino games broadcast footage from a specialized studio
directly to your screen, so instead of pixels and images, you see a smiling
woman standing behind an actual blackjack table.
She has a real shoe to her left, from which oversized playing cards are
slipped out and laid on the felt – which is colored blood red in this case.
These elements are all real on the physical level, and along with high
definition cameras, you’ll be seeing everything in crystal clear color and high
The only “old school” graphics and animations you’ll find on Live Blackjack
concern your side of the table. You’ll see an array of chips laid out and
stacked neatly along your rail, with basic controls (Hit, Stand, Double, Split)
alongside. By using your mouse cursor just like any other online casino game,
you can point and click to move your chips around, and to act on your hand.
On the whole, the Live Blackjack version presents the most polished look at
what the Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) design team can do. That’s a function
of the top notch camera technology, true, but even the chip graphics and
controls seem more well-crafted than the standard online offerings.
Unfortunately, due to the company’s strict ban on American players, we were
unable to fire up an actual game table to try the gameplay interface out for
Based on a few YouTube clips, however, the functionality appears to be
passable but quite basic.
You’ll use your mouse to click on betting chips and slide them over to the
wagering area. Clicking on the “Deal” button causes the game to get underway, at
which point the standard player action controls appear:
You can use these controls to act on your current hand, which will be
identified by the spinning chip underneath the cards. Once you’ve completed that
hand, the next hand will start its chip spinning, and so on down the line.
The actual control graphics aren’t anything special, just basic boxes with
corresponding labels. Many software providers have a little fun with their
player action controls, featuring an upturned human hand to signify Stand (like
the motion you’d make toward the dealer at a live table), or a “2x” graphic for
Of course, the playable game may feature a more intricate interface, but
we couldn’t tell you because we’re boxed out entirely.
We’re sorry we can’t say more, but if we had to guess based on what we do
know, Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) likely went with a barebones interface
and control scheme that matches their lackluster visuals.
Like we said before, this company specializes in virtual slot design, so its
Table Games menu seems to be just an afterthought.
Rules and Gameplay Conditions
Even though the company has three blackjack titles under its umbrella,
Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) has opted to utilize a single set of House
This is actually refreshing in a way, because most online casino software
developers like to lend their libraries the illusion of diversity by spreading
several slightly different rule setups.
Adjusting the number of “re splits” allowed, or moving the dealer from hit to
stand on soft 17s, these minor tweaks to the standard rules are usually enough
for many providers to label them an entirely new game. This is why you’ll see
regional titles like Las Vegas Strip Blackjack, Downtown Vegas Blackjack,
Atlantic City Blackjack, and so on appear on competing software suites.
And while we can appreciate the focus on offering different versions of
blackjack based on local interpretations of the rules, this trend can make for
an inordinately crowded online blackjack market. Just think, some software
providers literally host dozens upon dozens of blackjack variants, offshoots,
and hybrids. Diversity is always a good thing, don’t get us wrong there, but we
suspect many companies are trying to “goose” their numbers with these subtle
modifications to the rules.
It’d be just as easy to offer a single blackjack game built with configurable
rules. That way, players could tinker with the provisions as they see fit,
without cluttering a Table Games menu with seven different takes on the same
Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) doesn’t resort to those quasi deceptive
tactics, and instead, the company installed a standardized set of House Rules to
govern each of its blackjack titles.
You can review those rules dictating player and dealer action, payouts, and
deck construction below:
Blackjack House Rules
Dealer must stand and draw no further cards when holding a soft 17 total
Dealer must “peek” at hole card and check for blackjack whenever their
up card is an ace or 10 value card (10, J, Q, K)
Dealer blackjack ends the hand immediately
Players have no Surrender option available
Players can only double down on the first two cards of a hand
Players can double down on any two cards
Players can double down after splitting
Players can only split an exact pair
Players can split two aces, but subsequent hands receive only one card
After splitting two aces, any blackjacks made on the next card are
deemed to be regular 21s, and thus will lose to dealer blackjack and push to
After splitting, and receiving another paired hand, no additional “re
splits” are permitted
Players are offered “Insurance” whenever dealer’s up card is an ace
Insurance costs one half of the current bet for each live hand
When dealer turns over blackjack on an Insurance hand, player’s side bet
is paid out at 2 to 1
All blackjacks are paid out at 3 to 2
Blackjack Deck Construction
The game uses a four deck shoe
That shoe shall be re shuffled after each hand and each round
As the company’s marketing literature states several times, these particular
rules align with the American style of play. In other words, they aren’t the
most liberal you’ll find, what with restrictions on re splits, the lack of a
surrender option, and so on.
Even so, the American rule system is widely used around the world, and for
good reason. Rather than sacrifice their precious equity by offering player
friendly rules, casino operators can keep things close to the vest while still
providing players with a fair game in terms of house edge.
House Edge Rate
Using the specific set of rules outlined above, the Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) blackjack games run a house edge rate of 0.40 percent.
That’s fairly standard within the industry, as are the chosen House Rules, so
we have no surprises here.
In fact, the average house edge encountered by players who are adept at basic
strategy stands at 0.50 percent – so Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) tables
are actually a better bet over the long run.
And just in case you’re familiar with the metric known as expected return,
rather than the house edge, let’s run through a quick tutorial on the two terms.
Casino gamblers evaluate every game, and even every wager, by comparing their
overall probability of winning. Or, put more accurately, their overall
probability of not losing.
As you well know, every casino game is set up in such a way as to guarantee
the house a healthy edge over players. You may win a spin on the roulette wheel
here and there, but betting over the course of 100 straight spins is a sure path
to breaking your bankroll. That’s because the house edge on roulette stands at
2.70 percent (for European single zero wheels) and 5.26 percent (on American
double zero wheels).
Think about house edge like this: if you had an infinite bankroll, and bet
$100 over and over again in perpetuity, the house edge reflects the amount of
each bet you’d lose.
Thus, blackjack players who know the game can get away with dropping just
$0.50 per $100 wagered, while roulette fans in America will part ways with a
whopping $5.26 instead.
That’s more than 10 times the loss rate, which is why savvy gamblers compare
the house edge closely before ever placing a bet.
An alternative way to measure a casino game’s viability is known as expected
return, and this one simply flips the script. Rather than measure the house’s
chance to win, expected return gauges how the player can expect to perform.
In the case of Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) blackjack games, that
expected return rate stands at 99.60 percent. Notice anything about that number?
Yep, it’s the house edge figure subtracted from 100. So if you prefer to use
expected return, just take 100 and subtract the listed house edge to arrive at
the right number.
One aspect of blackjack house edge analysis to keep in mind concerns deck
construction, so take a look at the table below:
House Edge Rate by Deck Size
# OF DECKS
As you can see, adding decks to the shoe is a surefire way for the house to
increase its own edge over players. If casinos could get away with it, we’re
positive they’d spread blackjack with a 100 deck shoe.
In our case, the material posted on the Greentube website stated that four
decks are used. That’s why we listed the house edge at 0.40 percent, but
conflicting reports out there show these games can be configured to include more
That’s up to individual online casino operators, and while most will simply
stick to the baseline four deck shoe provided by Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube), a few bad apples will inevitably try to increase their edge by
Always be sure to examine the posted House Rules, or additional “Help” files
when you can find them, to find out how many decks are being used at your table.
That increase of 0.09 percent house edge from four decks to eight may not seem
like a big deal, but sharp blackjack players make their living by exploiting
smaller shifts in equity.
Simply put, you should always be on your guard when it comes to deck
construction. When you locate a nice four deck shoe out there, bookmark the site
and become a regular, because shopping around could cost you valuable percentage
points on your overall expected return.
Blackjack Variants and Hybrids
At this time, Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) doesn’t offer any hybrids on
the basic blackjack model.
When we say hybrids, we don’t mean something like Live Blackjack, as this is
still the same game at its core. We’re talking about creative additions to the
blackjack landscape like Double Exposure, Match Play 21, Pontoon, and the like.
These games take the foundation of blackjack and add new twists and turns to
create something entirely new.
As a result, the gameplay can be much more lively and entertaining than the
conventional format. On the other hand, while the advertised rule changes always
work for the player, designers include a few “poison pills” – such as the
infamous “Push 22” rule, which rewards the dealer with a push rather than a loss
when they bust on exactly 22 – to return the house’s edge.
For that reason, as the company continues to grow and expand its foothold
within the online casino industry, we’d expect Novomatic Interactive (Greentube)
to begin designing blackjack hybrids of its own. Whether it’s a public domain
concept like Double Exposure, which turns both dealer cards face up, or
something imagined from whole cloth, expanding to include higher house edge
games is always in a software developer’s interests.
One of the points of pride trumpeted by Novomatic Interactive (Greentube)
since the 2009 acquisition has been the company’s full-fledged focus on mobile
In fact, when you visit the Greentube website and search for these trio of
blackjack titles, the marketing material pulled up depicts the games being
played on an iPhone instead of a laptop.
Whether you use the iOS, Android, or Windows Phone operating system, the
company’s use of modern HTML 5 software ensures that all Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) games are fully functional. The HTML 5 technology also enables
players to ditch the data hogging app downloads, as your favorite online casino
can be pulled up right in an ordinary web browser.
From tablets and smartphones, and everything in between, the mobile devices
that fuel your on the go lifestyle are fully compatible with Novomatic
Interactive (Greentube) online blackjack.
Overall, the three blackjack games created by Novomatic Interactive
(Greentube) are exactly what they need to be: standard versions of the classic
casino card game, no more and no less.
Of course, we’d be happier to report that players actually have three
separate games to enjoy. The Royal Crown Blackjack branding seems to suggest the
perfect entry point as an alternative using liberal European rules, and we’re
still vexed as to how that title was paired with American rules.
In any case, the presence of a Live Dealer option manages to make up for this
lack of diversity. With many of the smaller software providers still shying away
from Live Dealer production, Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) is embracing the
future today. That’s an encouraging sign, and one which signals, to us anyway,
that an expanded blackjack portfolio will be coming sooner rather than later.
For now, however, the standard and Live Dealer blackjack games developed by
Novomatic Interactive (Greentube) are both admirable efforts.
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