🇨🇦 Free Bet Blackjack in Canada - Where?
In the late 1990s and 2000s, developers began noticing that the internet has become a true necessity for making our everyday lives easier. Thus, bringing blackjack to the comfort of players’ homes became a realistic idea.
At first, mostly crude versions of the main game and a few haphazardly executed variations were the only chances of people to play their favorite card game outside of a casino.
Even though computing power was growing exponentially, game designers were still busy coming up with new variants that would spice up the land-based world, as well. One such designer was Geoff Hall.
Already known for the immensely popular Blackjack Switch, a variant where you can exchange cards between hands whilst occupying two spots at the table, Hall was adamant to advance the game even further.
His background, after all, was in advising players on advantage play, so all the experience he acquired pointed him right towards the key problems that plague the average player. One of the foremost complaints he encountered were related to doubling down and splitting.
Both of these actions are tempting to a player because of opportunities that may increase your winnings significantly. However, hesitation precedes any such instance, as you’re required to up your wager. Geoff Hall wanted to do something about it, and, just like that, Free Bet Blackjack was born in 2012.
After its debut at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, NV, Hall, and co. soon realized that the game has too much potential for it to be limited to the Strip. Evolution Gaming was somehow able to convince Geoff to allow them to turn his iconic work into a live dealer masterpiece and the highly anticipated title finally reached casino sites in 2019.
In the following sections, we’ll closely analyze the advantages and disadvantages of Free Bet Blackjack. Afterward, we’ll discuss the specific of the game’s set of rules, as well as how they influence the outcome for both players and dealers.
Our intention is also to check how does this live dealer game compared to other popular blackjack titles. With all that an more, you’ll know exactly what to expect from a game that hasn’t stopped turning heads for almost eight years.
🇨🇦 🤵 Our Favourite Free Bet Blackjack Sites in Canada
North American players have developed a preference towards high RTP rates, which makes the popularity of Free Bet Blackjack surprising to a certain extent.
Due to the presence of the 22-bust rule (more on it a bit later), the RTP is lower when compared to traditional blackjack and even most other variants.
While the number of high rollers is noticeably smaller than with other versions of the game, the overall player count has been on a steady rise these last few months.
This begs the question – why are players interested in Free Bet Blackjack even if it statistically gives them a lesser chance of winning?
The answer lies in the dynamic nature of the game, as the two free bets and four side ones greatly increase the number of things that you can do over the course of a single hand.
While these elements and 22-but join forces to lower the RTP down a little, Free Bet Blackjack is visibly more exciting than the original version, giving you much more to think about.
In this case, we don’t intend to use ‘think’ in a burdening sense.
Instead, Free Bet Blackjack helps you think more strategically and cover more options with a single move.
Due to the undeniable excitement, Canadian live casino sites were quick to adopt the game as it became publicly available. Evolution Gaming is one of the biggest names in the world of live dealer game development, so nobody hesitated to pick up their newest creation.
While the abundance of options is enticing at first, the sheer number of active online casinos can confuse even the most experienced bettor.
That’s why our team at Lion Casinos decided to test them all. Over the course of five months, we observed the introduction of Free Bet Blackjack to 30+ Canadian sites.
Once the game went live, we tested each site with the same, multi-faceted approach we always use.
Even though the competition was fierce and even the most surefire live casino sites were at risk of being overshadowed, our top five became clear with two weeks left in our final testing phase.
Each of the following casinos has its own unique set of advantages and perks, allowing you to easily find your ideal fit and finally try your hand at Free Bet Blackjack:
Good & Bad
A Good Free Bet Blackjack Casino Has...
While we do receive this question about every live dealer game we review, things are a little bit different from Free Bet Blackjack. Even though it’s one of the most popular titles right now, most players are generally skeptical when it comes to looking for a casino solely for the purpose of playing a variant of a popular game.
Taking the road less traveled might be unnerving at times, but it’s not that hard to discern whether a Free Bet Blackjack casino is good or bad.
For casino sites in general, the first thing you have to look for is the license. Is the casino legally allowed to operate in your region? If not, you may not get in trouble with the authorities, but you won’t be legally protected against any malicious moves the casino might make.
While playing games within the boundaries of the law is important, there are also other things such as UI quality, ease of registration, loading speed, and much more.
However, our goal was to find out what makes a great Free Bet Blackjack casino. During our testing phase, we collected more than 200 pages of impressions, comments, and suggestions about all the sites we felt displayed quality.
After a significant amount of debate and reorganizing our notes, we came to the conclusion that every proper Free Bet Blackjack site needs to be highly rated in the following categories:
High Withdrawal Limits
We’ve already mentioned that Free Bet Blackjack is not the ideal choice for high rollers. If you’re looking to win a lot of money in a short amount of time, you will be disappointed.
The RTP of 98.45% is significantly lower compared to the 99.28% we commonly see at Evolution Gaming’s Live Blackjack tables.
Nevertheless, this still means that Free Bet Blackjack can be considered fertile soil for big bankroll boosts, but only if you’re willing to test and implement several strategies before you find what works and what doesn’t. This means that big wins can happen, but they’re also rare and take more time to build up.
A big factor in this category is the presence of four side bets, which have their own respective RTPs, which range from 94.12% to 96.30%. While we’ll cover them much more extensively, later on, it’s important to know that these side bets play a major role in returning your stake and thereby extending your time at the table.
If you choose to place a wager on all four of these bets at the same time, there’s a high chance that you will be able to return your wager almost every hand. Because side bets in Free Bet Blackjack have different payouts depending on the conditions, you could very easily find yourself with a reinvigorated account balance.
For this reason, we believe that every great Free Bet Blackjack casino should have very high withdrawal limits. While high rollers are definitely a minority when it comes to players immersed in this Evolution Gaming title, it’s still awesome to see that there are casino sites that acknowledge the need to transfer large sums of money all at once.
If a casino doesn’t allow high withdrawals or if they have a ‘negotiable threshold’, stay away from them. Either they’re a fraud or they’re aware that they have faulty security measures and that larger transactions are an unnecessary risk.
Promotions & Raffles
Whenever a new live casino game is launched, the sites themselves carry a large chunk of the so-called ‘promotional burden.’
This term refers to the notion that casinos themselves advertise the game instead of the developers, whose main tasks involve selling the title to individual casinos and providing advice on performance optimization.
With Free Bet Blackjack, the situation was slightly different because of the mystique surrounding Evolution Games and all their excellent projects.
In the early stage of the game’s release, scores of casinos offered promotions and bonuses targeting Free Bet Blackjack players. They most certainly helped build up the hype and it still hasn’t subsided to this day.
While you won’t be able to find mind-bogglingly lucrative bonuses anymore, many casinos offer bonuses that are designed to reward live casino players.
Depending on the time of the year and the current interest at each site, you might be able to find a limited-time offer for Free Bet Blackjack. If you do stumble upon such a promotion, make sure you read the terms and conditions thoroughly.
Too many casinos have a tendency of writing wagering requirements and other conditions in fine print, so make sure you don’t miss anything. Basically, you should look for a Free Bet Blackjack bonus that doesn’t require you to wager your bonus more than 20x times.
Aside from wagering requirements, you can also target bonuses with a flexible deadline, just to give you enough room to get used to the game.
Even though this is certainly not the hotspot for all bonuses, you can still get some free money and a noticeable boost to the RTP.
Since Free Bet Blackjack has a noticeably lower RTP than the traditional version, you’re going to need every penny in order to sway the odds in your favor.
Free Bet Blackjack Bonus Contribution
Ever since live casinos became popular, table game players have always been at a disadvantage. Because you have much more control over the outcome than when playing slots, blackjack is never allowed to have a bonus contribution of more than 15%, which most experts consider to be the highest limit that makes the game at least a little bit feasible.
While this is indeed a shame if you’re looking to play Free Bet Blackjack, the strategy makes sense. If blackjack variants had the same contribution as slots, you would be seeing casino sites filing for bankruptcy on a daily basis.
Since Free Bet Blackjack won’t provide you with a fast way to claim your bonus, it’s essential that you find a casino that imposes a rational bonus contribution rate. When it comes to Canadian casinos, the numbers are usually all over the place, but we believe that you shouldn’t settle for anything less than 10-12%.
Keep in mind that a 15% bonus contribution doesn’t necessarily mean you should take the bonus and never look back. On the contrary, most sites that impose high contributions for blackjack variants have worthless bonuses in their rosters.
To get the best bang for your buck, try to find the ideal balance between bonus contribution and the conditions of the bonus itself. Since you’re already at a disadvantage, you’re going to have to work a little harder to maximize the impact of each hand you play.
A generous bonus to which Free Bet Blackjack contributes upwards of 10% will certainly extend your playing sessions, help you win more money, and allow you to have more fun with each passing hand.
Flexible Betting Limits
Believe it or not, banking options shouldn’t be the foremost thing to be looking for in a Free Bet Blackjack site.
Of course, being able to make transactions on a platform that you’re used to is a big bonus, but don’t consider the absence of Interac or PayPal the end of the world.
Instead, you should always be open to changing your payment provider if a casino offers flexible betting limits.
When it comes to live casinos, the presence of flexibility when it comes to putting a cap on wager is the sign of a site that cares about its customers.
Even though high rollers are not that abundant at Free Bet Blackjack tables, it’s essential that these heavy hitters have enough room to accomplish their gaming goals.
Thus, you should be looking for a Canadian casino site that has a low minimum bet and a high maximum bet.
If one or both of these features is not present at any given moment, you will be forced to adapt your strategy or desires to the site, which is a big no-no.
Even though gambling is and always will be an activity with a negative expected value, you should be free to act as you wish.
Once this is possible, who knows? You might have some surplus money from a hot streak and you want to increase your starting bet while you’re waiting for the dealer to hit you with the next card.
Moves like this can be life-changing and it’s the duty of every casino to let you go both as low and as high as possible if you wish to implement such a strategy.
Whether or not you should prioritize this quality over the other four is up for debate.
Some players will find their ideal betting limits much easier than others, mostly because their strategies are much more common.
There are options for both casual players and hardcore rollers, so the only thing you need to do is stay informed and be willing to do research.
A little bit of effort can go a long way in Free Bet Blackjack, especially if you’re still in your preparatory phase.
Now that we’ve deconstructed the inner workings of the hypothetical ideal Free Bet Blackjack casino, it’s time to focus on the game itself.
In the following few sub-sections, we’ll cover this exciting blackjack variant from top to bottom. We’ll also mention the things we like, while also pointing out flaws that may or may not lead you to a different version of blackjack.
To give you the best possible Free Bet Blackjack review, we gathered a group of 30 people. 15 of them have already played Evolution’s Live Blackjack extensively, while the other 15 had no experience with live casino games whatsoever. We’ve recorded their input and opinions, all while playing for a bit ourselves.
Free Bet Blackjack is also shaped by the existence of side bets. We found them very useful, as they were able to return our wager on a number of different occasions. That’s why our advice would be to maintain a small, but nevertheless functional wager on all four, at all times. Here’s what you can choose from:
- Any Pair. The basic side bet, Any Pair pays if the player’s first two cards are a pair. Mixed pairs pay 8:1, while suited ones pay 25:1. We believe that you should always maintain a small wager on this pair, as it can give you a great return, especially if you’re in the midst of cold streak.Remember not to go too crazy, as Any Pair can also be an unnecessary burden if you choose to rely on it too much.
- 21+3. This is where things can get a little crazy. Two of your initial up cards and the dealer’s first combine to form a 3-card poker hand. If that hand is suited Triples, the payout is 100:1.If it’s a Straight Flush, 40:1. Regular Trips pay 30:1, while a Straight and a Flush give you a tenfold or fivefold amount, respectively. 21+3 is considered to be on the riskier side of side bets in Free Bet Blackjack, so proceed with caution.
- Hot3. Another side bet that combines your two-up cards with the dealer’s one, Hot3 only pays if the cumulative number of those cards is 19, 20, 21 or three sevens. 19 gets you your wager back, 20 pays 2:1, a regular 21 pays 4:1, while a suited one is much more lucrative, at 20:1.However, the biggest ‘jackpot’ of Hot3 outcomes is the three sevens scenario. If you have two up sevens and the dealer has one, you will get a 100:1 payout. Believe it or not, 19, 20, and 21 are seen a lot, so you should definitely take a chance and breathe some life into your bankroll.
- BustIt. Serving as the antithesis to the Push 22 rule, the BustIt side bet lets you earn some extra cash whenever the dealer busts out. If they bust out with three cards, you get your wager back.Four cards pay 2:1, five cards 9:1, and six cards net you your wager times 50. Now, you can also break the bank if the dealer busts out with seven (100:1) or eight (250:1) cards.
As even five-card busts are relatively common, you should always place a wager on this side bet, as it serves the role of insurance in case the Push 22 rule starts messing your mojo up.
When it comes to software, Evolution Gaming did a masterful job with the simple interior and the seamless fusion of real-time camera action and computer-generated windows and pop-ups. You definitely get that iconic casino feel, without too many tradeoffs in terms of smoothness, speed, or flux.
The only problem that we encountered was when we entered mix mode. It’s advertised as an alternative for players with lower connection speeds, but it usually ends up crashing or freezing. We tried it on several laptops, tablets, and phones that are 5+ years old and the result was pretty much the same in every case.
Deposit Bonuses For Free Bet Blackjack
Due to the game not being new anymore, you’ll have a hard time finding Canadian casino sites offering a deposit bonus catered specifically at players interested in Free Bet Blackjack.
However, you will find many casinos that have a permanently active live casino bonus.
Such a promotion can help you whilst you’re taking baby steps and learning the rules of the game.
Before you take the plunge and choose a deposit bonus, make sure you know everything about the terms and conditions of the bonus, especially the wagering requirements.
Doing a bit of homework before playing can improve the overall quality of your experience, all while preventing any disappointments or other unpleasant occurrences.
It’s up to you to ensure the smoothness of your time playing Free Bet Blackjack.
FAQ About Free Bet Blackjack
While Free Bet Blackjack retains most of the original game’s rules, the difference between them lies in these three changes that Hall made:
- All players at the table receive a free bet on two-card hands that amount to a hard 9, 10, or 11. Ten-value cards don’t qualify for this wager. If you are eligible for the free bet, you will be notified by a pop.
The free bet functions as a chip that gives you a second hand, which has the same wager as the initial one. Unlike in classic blackjack, the dealer ‘finances’ this second bet, basically giving you a risk-averse approach if you have a feeling that you’ll win.
- If you have any pair of cards, except ten-value ones, you can split them for free. Classic blackjack requires you to wager more money to perform a split and create a second hand. You get a free chip that’s placed on the new hand.
If it wins, you will be getting a winning chip that’s equal to your initial wager. In Free Bet Blackjack, you can play both hands separately and make any decisions you deem fit at the moment.
- If there wasn’t a third rule, Free Bet Blackjack would be a financial disaster for casino sites. With players being able to effectively sidestep bets that appear frequently, the house needs a way to break even.
That’s why Geoff Hall introduced the infamous Push 22 rule, which allows dealers to push if their hand is 22. Even if you score a blackjack, the entire hand is void and everyone gets their wagers back.
Initially, we loved the idea of essentially getting rid of two of blackjack’s foremost ‘obstacles’.
However, after we busted a couple of times, it became evident that it’s not wise to always double down and split.
While entertaining and very enticing, this approach may take classic blackjack fans off guard. If you already have a strategy that works, it will probably take 2-3 weeks to get used to this different dynamic.
We also witnessed the frustrating effects of the Push 22 rule first hand.
Several of our team members have 15+ years of experience playing blackjack, but nobody realized how often dealers bust at 22 until we played Free Bet Blackjack.
Our first instances of playing resulted in the dealer getting a 22 a mind-boggling four times in ten minutes.
Indeed, this is yet another detail you should pay attention to, but it doesn’t quite negative the benefits of a free double down or split.
In most cases, you will find that new variants of existing games are created due to a need for diversity.
For this reason, developers are coming up with new twists on existing rules, just to give players more opportunities to have fun and experience something completely new. With Free Bet Blackjack, things are a bit different.
Geoff Hall, the creator of the game, is known for his practical approach to gaming. If you look at Blackjack Switch, Zombie Blackjack, or even Zappit, you’ll know that all of these titles are the result of a flaw or flaws in existing rules.
Free Bet Blackjack is no different. Throughout his career in casino gaming, Hall repeatedly noticed that blackjack players fail at two stages of the game – when doubling down or splitting.
More specifically, the financial requirements of these two actions cause players to have massive brain farts and completely fall apart.
Thus, this experienced game inventor concluded that the original game can be played even without these risky bets.
While they can provide players with ample opportunities to increase their winnings, most people are consumed by their own to win and instead see these two points in the game as risks they’d rather not take.
With Free Bet Blackjack, these changes and Evolution did a nice job centering their entire software around this detail.