XPRO Gaming Live Blackjack
XPRO Gaming, or XPG, might sound like a Call of Duty team from 2009, but in fact they are a well-respected live casino developer. Founded in 2005, they are based out Bratislava in Slovakia but also have offices in Moldova and Bulgaria.
Their main market for many years was the Asian arena, but recently they have diverged into the European market and mainly target the Turkish speaking players here. This means they feature a lot of games such as sic-bo, dragon tiger and other Asian inspired casino titles.
When it comes to their blackjack offering, how do they stand up? Well XPG does a few unique things but is mostly lacking when compared with the top tier offerings.
For example, they offer unique side-bets you might not find at other developer’s tables, as well as the ability for one player to sit at multiple seats of the table. Their studio looks good and is well lit, but the user interface could definitely do with improvement – especially on mobile.
Live Blackjack Features
There are only two types of tables here – the XPRO standard blackjack and unlimited blackjack. Most of their tables are of the standard variety, which is seven-seat tables with a six-deck shoe.
Unlimited blackjack is the same but allows multiple players to sit in the same seat and control their own hand.
We had to start with the most important thing that stands out at XPRO blackjack tables – the stream quality was poor, even with a good connection. The user interface was functional, but also dated. The stats and other boxes took up too much room on the screen and the whole thing looked like it needed a UX update.
It’s a shame that some of the live casino basics are a little neglected by XPG, because there were some interesting features to be seen. Hosting truly unlimited blackjack, and not just a bet behind feature, is a great start and may be useful to many players and live casinos.
The side bets on offer are also uniquely interesting. Don’t be expecting the full package of your usual 21+3 or Perfect Pair side bets here – no, XPRO Live Blackjack runs with bet-behind and hi-lo. Bet-behind we have already covered and hi-lo is extremely simple.
Just bet on whether your first card will be higher or lower than the dealers. Even values mean the bet is pushed, and wins pay out at 2:1. In a six-deck table, the house has 6.83% edge on these bets.
One of the most unique things about XPRO Gaming’s Live Blackjack tables is the ability of anyone player to sit at multiple seats at once. This essentially means that a whole table could be filled with one singe player at every seat – which is not something you will see at any other developer’s tables as far as we know.
This could be an excellent boon for strategic players. However, it might annoy casual players if they can’t find seats and are forced to bet behind or visit the unlimited table.
Lastly, there were two minorly annoying features of XPRO’s blackjack tables we had to point out. Number one was the extremely fast betting time of eight seconds. This could easily be too fast for many players and may lead to missed actions or bets.
The second is the demotion of a player’s blackjack to a 1: pay-out, if the dealer pulls an ace on their first card. We haven’t seen this at many other developers’ tables and, in our opinion, this is a little unfair on the player.
Because they don’t have many varieties of blackjack table, the house rules are consistent between all XPG tables. These are:
- Seven seats, with a six-deck shoe
- 8 second betting time
- Double on any card
- Dealer stands on any 17
- Dealer must hit on a 16
- Blackjack pays 3:2
- Insurance offered on dealer ace – pays out 2:1
- If the dealer pulls an ace on a player blackjack, the player hand only pays out 1:1.
Lastly, you can’t actually see any of these rules in the game window – except for the insurance and blackjack pay-outs which are printed on the felt as standard. For the rest, you have to visit XPG’s website using an external link. Which ruins the immersion somewhat!
If you thought XPG’s blackjack interface was a little clunky on desktop? Well, it gets worse on mobile. It is extremely easy to be negative when reviewing online but, in this case, we just want them to improve their service in this area.
We would go as far as to say XPRO’s blackjack tables were borderline unplayable on smaller screens. The experience was just about passable on a tablet, but when we tried on an older smartphone model we were sorely disappointed.
For one, they force you to play in landscape mode. Although personally we prefer this, many users don’t. The interface is not changed at all from desktop mode, meaning the live video feed is squashed between boxes even more.
The eight second betting time is just not enough on small and fiddly screens and forget trying to make a hi-lo side bet on anything smaller than five-inch screens – which is a fair chunk of the market.
XPRO Gaming Blackjack tables are nominally available for both Android and iOS, although it took us a few attempts to get the tables to load on Chrome Mobile. Maybe if your chosen host casino has a downloadable app, things might be a bit easier.
Native & Private Tables
XPG offers a few blackjack tables with Turkish speaking live dealers, which is a nice gap in the market for them to go for. These tables always seemed fairly busy when we checked during the course of our review. U
nfortunately, this reviewer doesn’t speak Turkish, so I can’t comment on the quality of their hosting. They certainly looked and sounded professional at any rate.
When it comes to private tables, XPRO have yet to jump on this technology although they may do so in the future.
XPG should be lauded for attempting some different things with their live blackjack tables, as well as offering an unlimited service.
Being able to take up more than one seat as an individual player was certainly unique and actually very enjoyable. The hi-lo side bets were also interesting.
However, this did not make up for the below-average quality of their stream, the dated user interface and (we can’t stress this enough) the extremely poor mobile experience.
Definitely not challenging Evolution or NetEnt at the top of the game just yet then – but maybe worth checking out (on desktop) if you’re a blackjack pro who can handle playing several hands at once!