Realtime Gaming (RTG) marched into the online gaming market in 1999 with a plan to be a leader in the industry, as everyone else seemed to lack a clear vision of where they were going. Software developers were all creating closed, proprietary systems that would lock online casinos into the company’s platform, but down in Atlanta, Georgia the folks at RTG had other ideas.
With their open source strategy RTG allowed a licensee to buy its gaming software and mold it into any conceivable system that they wanted, (similar to the old VHS vs. Beta war in the 1980s). Payout percentages could be adjusted on individual games and they could be changed day-to-day or hour-to-hour as the operator saw fit. This turned into a “license to steal” for some rogue online casinos and RTG piled up stacks and stacks of player complaints – far more than its competitors.
Meanwhile the United States Congress was trying to shut down online gambling as they were receiving boat-loads of cash from Las Vegas lobbyists to do so. In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed that sent almost every software developer fleeing from the American market, demanding that operators purged all of the United States accounts in their systems. However, Realtime Gaming had been dealing with these sorts of crises all along and were well-positioned for the transition.
Rather than issue self-protection dictates to its licensees, RTG saw the conflagration of United States online gambling as a marketing opportunity. The company not only continued to service the American market but they actually encouraged new clients to come on board. There were necessary tweaks made to the operation, of course, and the RTG team was dispatched to Costa Rica with the company became part of Hastings International, based in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.
Customer problems were also turned over to the mediators at Central Disputes System (CDS) Corporation. When all of the smoke cleared, Realtime Gaming is still offering its technology on an open source platform and there are more RTG-powered casinos open to American players than the next two software providers combined. Now that’s a lot to choose from.
Realtime Gaming clients may be able to tinker with the mathematics and rules of the games but there is no compromising the look of their products. Their video slots are shooting for a level beyond cartoony and the table games aim for deeper colors and sharper graphics, (see the woodgrain, feel the cushions). An RTG game looks sharp and plays fast in every corner of the United States.
With more than twenty years of experience, RTG has built a catalog of over 250 games with a heavy emphasis on slots and video poker. There is a smattering of classic slot games and at least one option for the entire range of products with solid offerings of SicBo, Keno, Craps, War, virtual scratch tickets and much more.
Since casino partners can alter the settings on both bonuses and payout percentages, an RTG gaming experience can be very unpredictable, which can lead to fun excitement or a devastating experience – therefore, it’s obviously best to stick to reputable operators that come trusted. Their other claim to fame is that they were one of the first developers to institute multi-player poker and linked progressive jackpots across its platform.
Realtime Gaming Blackjack
As you can now easily imagine, RTG enables their partners to configure a number of things with their blackjack product. Firstly, the number of decks can be edited with most places choosing six to deal from. There’s also an option to surrender and forfeit half of the original stake, but most RTG websites have chosen not to add it to their games.
- Blackjack: The standard rules of an RTG hand include the dealer hitting on a Soft 17 (Ace and six). The player is able to double on any two cards, double after a split, and split twice except with Aces.
- European Blackjack: Players sitting in on this RTG variation will find the dealer receiving no hole card so every bet may be lost to a subsequent surprise blackjack. The dealer disadvantage comes from standing on a Soft 17. Doubling is allowed on hard 9s, 10s, and 11s only.
- Blackjack with Perfect Pairs: This is RTG‘s standard game of 21 with a side bet on the first two player cards matching. The House Edge for the side bet in a six-deck game is 6.11%.
- Pontoon: This is the British game of 21 with the “pontoon” standing in for blackjack. The other top hand in the game is a 5 card hand that automatically pays 2 to 1 regardless of the dealer hand.
- Match Play 21: RTG wraps its game of Spanish 21, played with no ten-pip cards in a 48-card deck, into a variant that pays a bonus of 40 to 1 if the player receives three suited 7s without doubling or splitting, and the dealer displaying a 7 as well. It all adds up to a nice player return of 99.19%.
- Face Up 21: This is what RTG calls what most others in the industry refer to as “Double Exposure Blackjack”. The dealer hits Soft 17s to compensate for the perfect knowledge afforded the player and the House will only pay blackjacks at even money. The edge for the operator is 0.85%.
- Super 21: Super 21 gives players the smallest odds in the RTG suite of blackjack games but the House Edge is still less than 1.50%, depending on the number of decks in play. It pays automatically for multi-card 21s and a bonus for a blackjack with diamonds. The giveback to the House is that naturals only pay even money.
Live Dealer Blackjack
There is no live dealer blackjack currently offer on the RTG platform, but one would assume that his will change in the very near future due to the high demand for live casino games both in the U.S. and all over the world.
Practice Blackjack at Realtime Gaming Casinos
Since the final version of an RTG game is never quite decided until after the casino massages it to a final form, testing cannot be done except at the individual websites that use their software. Most will require you to give them personal information before giving you access so have a burner email address ready to give them.