Pragmatic Play Live Blackjack
Pragmatic Play was founded in 2015, originally focusing primarily on slots. They moved into the live casino market in early 2018 when they purchased well known developer Extreme Live Gaming.
Previously owned by the Novomatic Group, Extreme Live operate their studior out of London, UK. This is where Pragmatic Play continue to host the studio, except with their new name.
This arrangement allowed Pragmatic can also take advantage of Extreme’s pre-existing UK licence, meaning they will have no trouble providing games to the UK market. In fact, having their studios based in London ensures many of the live dealers here are less heavily accented and speak more fluent English than some other live casino providers.
Live Blackjack Features
Pragmatic Play offers one variety of blackjack, standardised over three tables. At some casinos you will find a VIP version with higher limits and a differently decorated table, but the gameplay remains otherwise the same.
All Pragmatic Play blackjack tables come with seven seats and use eight decks. Fear not though – should those seven seats be taken they all also feature a bet-behind option. This allows you to bet on the hand of a player already seated, although you have no control over their decisions during the game.
The live hosts at Pragmatic Play blackjack tables were, in general, more enthusiastic than those from many online developers we could mention. This somewhat made up for the lower stream quality on offer here, which is definitely not on par with that of Evolution for example.
The betting interface is more than adequate. It takes up minimal space without being fiddly to use. Being able to decide on your action before your turn was also a useful option to have, allowing play to move on quickly. Which is something Pragmatic Play seems to focus on, with turns only lasting 11 seconds – relatively short by live online blackjack standards.
Pragmatic Play Tables
Aside from betting behind, there are two other side bets available at PP blackjack tables. These are the standard 21+3 and perfect pairs.
Perfect Pairs is a bet on kind of pair appearing in your first two cards, either a perfect match of suit colour and pair or some other combination. At PP tables it pays out:
- Perfect – 25:1
- Coloured Pair – 12:1
- Mixed Pair – 6:1
21+3 bets on the likelihood of a poker hand being formed from yours and the dealer’s hand. At PP blackjack tables it pays out the following:
- Suited Trips – 100:1
- Straight Flush – 40:1
- Three of a Kind – 30:1
- Straight – 10:1
- Flush – 5:1
Since Pragmatic Play standardises their tables, the house rules are the same across them all. These are:
- Vegas Rules – Dealers pulls two cards and peeks for blackjack
- Double down but not on splits
- Split pairs only
- Split aces can hit once only
- Dealer stands on all 17s
- Insurance is offered on dealer’s ace, paying 2:1
- Blackjack pays a standard 3:2
Top Sites for Pragmatic Blackjack
Obviously, a lot of the mobile experience when playing live blackjack depends on the host casino. However, once you’re in the game the developer must do as much as they can to keep their end of the operation running smoothly.
Pragmatic’s live blackjack gameplay on mobile is certainly solid but falls into some of the same pitfalls as other providers. The option to play in landscape or portrait is great. Most of the time this purely comes down to personal preference – do you prefer a smaller live feed but a larger and clearer betting interface, or vice versa?
Being able to satisfy both kinds of players is certainly a cool feature of Pragmatic’s mobile experience. However, in both modes, opening the chat window brings up a keyboard that covers most of the betting window. This is common to many live blackjack providers, and we hope the industry finds an innovative solution that developers can roll out across the board.
Either way, the betting interface at PP blackjack tables is otherwise top-tier. Although the stream quality definitely suffers a little, players can still see all their cards clearly thanks to the digital display.
The big buttons when betting in full-screen video mode make even side-betting a breeze, which is something some providers could definitely learn from.
PP live blackjack tables are available for both iOS and Android devices, from older smartphones to the most modern tablets.
Native & Private Tables
Pragmatic Play does not offer any private blackjack tables. This is an emergingly popular service wherein the host casino and developer work together to create custom branded tables for their client, sometimes with exclusive offers for players at that specific casino.
PP does not offer this as of yet, although they only recently purchased Extreme Live Gaming to be their live casino division – so they may be working on it.
In regard to live dealers speaking languages other than English, Pragmatic Play does not offer dedicated tables in any particular languages. However, many of their live dealers are multi-lingual. Such dealers will be specified with a little flag picture in the game preview box before you enter the table.
At some casinos you might see this information in the casino lobby, but you may have to enter the table and return to the PP lobby to see it in others.
Despite having a questionable name (sorry, not sorry) Pragmatic Play’s purchase of Extreme Live Gaming to provide their in-house live casino division is a statement of intent.
With a top foundation to build on, how could they go wrong? Pragmatic’s live blackjack offerings may not be the most diverse or exciting tables in the business – but they give a solid experience on mobile or desktop that should be enough for most online blackjack fans.
Their stream quality is not up to the very top-tier standard of Evolution, and their collection of games could definitely do with some expansion. However, for now, they have a solid base on which to build out from.