Sands Bethlehem has made a major announcement for fans of both online and live blackjack. The Pennsylvania casino announced on August 7, 2017 that it would be introducing something known as live dealer blackjack stadium gaming in its physical casino. For many blackjack players, this hybrid variation of the game which combines both live and online elements may be unfamiliar. Here’s a look at what stadium blackjack is and how it is played.
What is Stadium Blackjack?
In Live Dealer Stadium Blackjack, a touchscreen is used to connect two live blackjack tables. The touchscreen functions just like a blackjack game on your phone or tablet. Players can sit down and play two games at the same time. The minimum bet at Sands Bethlehem is $5 per hand.
Players can observe the games in real time and a live dealer is used. But there is no need to interact with anything other than the touchscreen. The operation of the game is simple. Players only need to tap Hit, Stand, Double, or other options to act on their hand. This makes it a great option for newcomers who might be playing their very first hand of blackjack.
Stadium blackjack is something of a hybrid. It mixes elements of live and online blackjack and is played in a “stadium” setting which can accommodate many players at once. It is similar to the stadium style keno games one will find in Las Vegas. Players can sit in comfort and wager on their own blackjack games without the distractions provided by other players.
All of the standard options one would find in an online blackjack game are also present in stadium blackjack. Players can act on their hands in a variety of ways. They can hit, stand, or split pairs. Doubling down is allowed. Insurance is also offered. Dealers are also subjected to the same rules as they are in a live casino. They must hit 16 and stand on 17.
One interesting facet of the game that may appeal to card counters is that stadium blackjack games use a live dealer. In many online games, a random number generator is used and the deck is virtually “shuffled” after each hand. This makes card counting practically impossible. In a live dealer game, a shoe is typically used and managed the same way it is in a live casino. Card counters could, in theory, maintain a count and benefit from it.
Sands Bethlehem and Stadium Blackjack
The Sands Bethlehem opened its live casino in 2009. It is about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. More than 3,000 slot machines and over 200 table games can be found in this luxury casino that occupies the property which once belonged to Bethlehem Steel.
While the casino has enjoyed much success, gaming operators in many areas of the country are struggling to keep pace with the prevalence of online gambling. Online casinos are now legal in Nevada and New Jersey with more states pursuing legalization. This can affect visits to live casinos.
The introduction of Stadium Blackjack by Sands Bethlehem could be an effort to capitalize on the popularity of online gaming. Other casinos have done this with the introduction of craps and roulette games which use a touchscreen and do not require a dealer or pit bosses.
But is it enough to entice online players to the live casino? Some players like the convenience of being able to play blackjack at home without having to incur travel costs and other expenses. It would seem that one big advantage of playing online blackjack in a live casino is that receiving winnings can be accomplished immediately. Online casinos also offer fast withdrawal options, but the process can take a couple of days depending on which method of withdrawal the player chooses.
Practice Blackjack Online
You might be wanting to give online blackjack a try before you attempt this hybrid variation in the Sands Bethlehem Casino. Or perhaps you live too far away from Pennsylvania to play live. A solution to this is creating an account with an online casino. You’ll find some recommended by Counting Edge which accept U.S. players, and there is usually a large welcome bonus waiting for you when you make your first deposit.
By playing blackjack online you will be able to familiarize yourself with all of the various options available to the player. If you happen to be using a phone or tablet to play, you’ll also learn how to navigate a touchscreen like the one used in Stadium Blackjack. Finally, you’ll be able to practice and hone your card counting skills for a small amount of money. The minimum bet at many online blackjack tables is just $1.