There’s nothing more frustrating than loading up your favourite live blackjack game only to find that all of the available seats are taken.
You’re left with two choices: wait around for a seat to become available, or simply go on your way and spend your time doing something else.
Happily, help is at hand in this scenario, thanks to the concept of “betting behind”.
Popular online casinos like ours here at Bitcasino will regularly feature full tables, but this doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the action while you wait to be seated.
Betting behind allows you to bet on each player’s hand, should you wish, while you wait for a free space.
This unique feature makes it possible to play blackjack while you wait for a seat at the table, and there are a myriad of advantages to doing exactly that.
Many of our blackjack titles here at Bitcasino feature the bet behind option, so if you are having to wait for a seat, why not take the opportunity to “play the back line” and make some profits while you wait!
The basics of betting behind
Most live blackjack tables have seven seats available, with players from around the world desperate to claim theirs.
If you’re the unlucky one that misses out, then not to worry – betting behind gets you in the game.
You can bet behind any of the players at the table, and can enjoy being involved in the game vicariously.
Unfortunately, you can’t influence their decision, so if they do something crazy such as splitting tens, then sadly you are stuck with their choice!
However, if you bet behind a skilful player, it really can be a profitable avenue for you to enjoy.
How do I bet behind at Bitcasino?
The blackjack table is represented graphically on your screen, and next to it you will note a selection of boxes.
These are the wagering boxes, where the bet of the main players – and those betting behind – are collected.
All you have to do is decide which player you want to follow – remember, not all players have the bet behind option selected on their account, so bear this in mind – and how much you wish to stake.
Up to three people can back bet on any one player, and the respective wagers are displayed on screen.
Remember, the seated player makes all the decisions, from splitting and doubling down to surrendering. Therefore, it pays to follow a player who knows blackjack strategy inside and out!
The outcome of your wager is decided by the player “in front”, so the tip is to be patient and open-minded, as you may learn some new strategy points that you had never considered before.
Do I get to choose whether to split, double down or surrender?
As already mentioned, your betting life is in the hands of the player you are backing!
This is an area of confusion for some, so it is important to make it crystal clear: you have no input into what happens at the table in terms of the betting decisions.
All of those key calls, from hit and stand to split and surrender, are at the autonomy of the seated player.
There are, however, a couple of exceptions to note.
When the seated player splits or double downs, the reality is that the back bettor might not have the bankroll to follow suit.
When the seated player decides to double down – whether you think it’s the right call or not – you have two options: play along and add your extra wager to the kitty, or opt out. At this point, your original wager remains active, but the side hand is played out without any financial commitment from yourself – and so you can win or lose as normal.
A similar concept follows when the seated player is dealt a pair of cards worth the same value. Again, you have the option to copy the actions of the player, adding a new wager to reflect the split, or you can choose to play just one of the hands at your original stake.
As normal, your decision does not affect the action at the table: the seated player will carry on with their split hands regardless.
Splitting and doubling down is one area that turns some blackjack players off back betting – many of us have our own thoughts on when to do this and when not to. Whether you’re a classical strategist or a bit of a maverick, unfortunately you cannot make any decisions for your fellow player.
The good news is that back bettors can make decisions on surrendering, and those are made independently of the front player.
You have a couple of options:
· If the seated player surrenders, you can still play their hand as normal
· You can surrender even if the seated player stays in the hand
In both cases, the surrendering party does not have any further input into the round, and doesn’t have to stump up any further cash regardless of what their fellow player gets up to.
If you choose to surrender, you will only lose 50% of your pot regardless of whether the seated player busts or clears up.
Surrendering should be used in the normal circumstances, and also when you believe that the player you are following is prone to making a hash of certain hands and scenarios.
What are the pay-outs when betting behind?
The pay-outs when betting behind remain the same as they are in standard blackjack play.
If you hit upon a winning hand, you will be paid at the 1 to 1 ratio as normal. When the player you are backing hits a straight blackjack, you are rewarded with 3 to 2 terms.
In many variants of live blackjack, you can place a catalogue of side bets, and many of these are available to anyone betting behind.
You can earn 5 to 1 for a flush, 10 to 1 for a straight, and 30 to 1 for three of a kind.
The rewards get even bigger when you back the straight flush (40 to 1) and the suited three of a kind (100 to 1).
There’s also the Perfect Pairs option. Have a wager on this and you can earn 5 to 1 on a mixed pair – i.e. a pair made up of different-coloured cards (so the ace of spades and ace of diamonds, for instance).
A coloured pair is two cards of the same value and colour, naturally. This pays at 10 to 1.
Finally, there’s the perfect pair itself. This is two of the same card – possible when the game uses multiple decks – and pays a handsome 30 to 1.
The advantages of betting behind
Why would you want to bet behind?
The truth is that in most cases, nobody really does want to do this!
However, when the tables are full at your favourite game, betting behind is one way to get a feel for the action prior to taking your seat a bit later on.
That’s the first advantage: you never have to wait to play blackjack ever again!
Remember, you can bet behind any other player, unless they have the option of being “followed” turned off in their settings.
If you are new to blackjack, or simply want to follow the strategies of a more experienced player, then betting behind is a fantastic learning tool for blackjack players of all abilities.
Don’t forget, even if you have a seat at the table, you can still bet behind your fellow players!
Two things that are particularly appealing for those wishing to bet behind are that the opportunity is limitless – you can play the back line for as long as you wish.
And you can bet lower stakes at the back than you can seated at the front, so this is a good option for anyone on a smaller budget who still wants to enjoy the thrills of live blackjack.
There are some blackjack players who want to enjoy as many betting opportunities as possible. The multiplayer option of betting behind can be added to your portfolio of main game and side bets to scale up your profit potential.
The more value-led wagers you place, the greater your profit in the long run!
Top tips for successful betting behind
To be honest, there aren’t really any golden tips for successfully betting behind: it’s mostly just the application of common sense.
· Follow the right players
It goes without saying, doesn’t it?! If you bet behind a newcomer to blackjack, or somebody who displays rather questionable tactics, then things are unlikely to go the way you want them to go.
You can see how well a player is doing by checking out their individual stats, which will help you to see if they are “hot” or not.
· Show some restraint
Really, your staking plan when betting behind should mirror that of your standard play at the table.
If you bet too much on a player and they go and do something crazy, then your bankroll will be depleted and in an unnecessary fashion.
· Similarly, many are tempted to bet smaller when playing the back line. That’s fair enough if you don’t trust the player you are following, but don’t forget that value bets are there to be made whether you’re in the hotseat or not!
Do you fancy trying your hand at betting behind? Here at Bitcasino, we offer a number of different blackjack variants, so why not register for an account today and see what you can achieve?
Words: Sean McNulty