Once upon a time when online casinos were first introduced less than a generation ago and perhaps even as recently as only 2 or 3 years ago, online players were welcomed into their chosen online casino attracted simply by attractive welcome sign-up bonuses to play superbly-crafted, yet one-dimensional-only online casino games. The games were great and we still enjoy retro slots and ‘old-school’ online table games even to this day. With the magic of 20-20 hindsight, you could not help but feel at the time that the game developers were just waiting a little for better technology to appear.
Fast forward to the present day. With the technological development of internet communications, better mobile devices, faster network speeds and quicker computer systems, it has become possible for online players to enjoy Live Dealer Casino games. Over the last few years, Live Dealer Casino games have advanced to the stage whereby even professional gamblers consider these games worthy rivals of those in land-based casinos.
Beforehand, the largest obstacle that faced online casinos was that they could not offer the same kinds of social experiences provided by brick-and-mortar casinos. The astonishingly speedy progress of technology, as well as the convenience, and excellent variety of games and special offers has arguably pushed online casinos to the become the number one choice of leisure, part-time and professional players alike.
What is a Live Dealer Casino?
Put quite simply, a Live Dealer Casino game is conducted by a live human dealer running a game by video link. Players still play their part online, however, through a live video stream of the game. They place their wagers through the software interface, interact with the live game unfolding before them on screen, and get paid out by the human dealer conducting the game. In many ways, it’s precisely like visiting a land-based casino. In fact, this is exactly why many players are so passionate about their favourite Live Dealer Games.
There are a number of advantages for the players themselves. Firstly, there’s nothing quite like the physical, face-to-face interaction of Live Dealer Casinos. Instead of playing what is essentially an odds-based video game, you will actually play with real, physical cards, or play on a real-life roulette wheel. It’s just more realistic, which makes for a better atmosphere. Without leaving the comfort of your own lounge chair or play on the bus on your way to/from work and interact with real dealers in real-time with video-streaming technology. The next best thing to being in Vegas, Macau or Monte Carlo!
Additionally, you can often chat happily to the dealer and sometimes even to other players too. Consequently, it can be a much more social alternative to the other online casino games you may be used to playing.
There’s another main advantage that many players don’t consider. With Live Dealer games, you can forget the random number generators or the software element of the usual online video casino games. Instead, with Live Dealer games, you can physically see the roulette wheel spin or the cards being dealt. As a result, you can be absolutely certain you’re playing a fair, non-rigged game. More often than not, Live Dealer Casino games are more inclined to be games of skill rather than games of chance and usually have a lower ‘house edge’.
Live Dealer Casino Atmosphere
If you choose to play at a leading Live Dealer Casino, you should feel as if you have literally stepped onto the pit of a real live bricks-and-mortar casino. The energy and thrilling experience of playing has been perfected for you without any need for you to leave the comfort of your own home or incurring any of additional travel and accommodation costs.
As there is an actual, real live dealer conducting the games and who is also able to interact with the players during the game, you will hear and see real cards being flipped, dice being rolled and wheels being spun rather than computer generated images and repetitive false electronic noises. Naturally, all of this takes place in real time.
Types of Live Dealer Games
Not all games are suited to the Live Dealer online casino format. To begin with below, we’ll provide you with a detailed overview of the games you can expect to be offered as live dealer options and the pros and cons of playing them with a live dealer.
Table games that involve simple betting decisions and a fast game flow are the best suited as live dealer games. Favourites include Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat (punto-banco) and Live Video Poker.
Live Dealer Blackjack
For good reason, Blackjack is one of the favourite games of Live Dealer Casino players. One of the most popular games in all casinos, land-based and online, Blackjack is also a favourite amongst high rollers. Sometimes the attraction to high rollers is more about ego and power. They enjoy having sway and influence over the gameplay, and as a game of skill (more so than chance), Blackjack is the perfect recipe for a little power-play.
In Live Dealer Blackjack, a hand of Blackjack begins with a player making an initial bet before receiving their cards from the Live Dealer. Then you click Deal, and you will be dealt two cards, face up, for the players and then two cards for the dealer, one face up and on face down (the dealers face down card is often referred to as a ‘hole’ card).
Once the cards are on the table, the player opts to either hit or stay depending on how close the value of their cards are to 21. Very important, so we will repeat it again: the player who goes over 21, busts and automatically lose the hand and the bet. For a more in-depth study of Blackjack rules, terminology and strategy, we highly recommend you take a look at our Guide to Online Blackjack page.
Live Dealer Blackjack often opens up a number of interesting opportunities, such as multi-hand games where players can bet on several hands at the same time, or public side-bets on the hands in play. These are fun to experiment with, in addition to the core game itself.
Live Dealer Roulette
The game of Roulette, either played online or in a land based casino is built upon the same principles. Depending on where you are playing, Roulette is played on a wheel which features either 37 or 38 slots and it also features a small, usually white or silver ball. This ball must land in one of these slots once the wheel is spun by the croupier. The croupier, (the live dealer), who represents the house, takes your bets and pays should you happen to have predicted the correct outcome. Simply put, correctly guessing where the ball will finally land means that you are the winner of that round. It could not be any simpler than that!
Perhaps it is the simplicity of the game then which makes it so popular at both online and land-based casinos to this day. When the rules are as basic as this, everyone has an opportunity to get in on the winning action.
How to Play Online Roulette
Bets are placed on the table in Online Roulette, identically to a land-based casino. You can choose how much you want to bet on the spin by clicking on the different domination chips in the window, and then clicking on the bet you choose to make. Bets can range anywhere between a dollar to several hundred dollars.
Once you have placed your bet, the Live Dealer will spin the wheel. The Roulette wheel will begin to spin and after a few seconds the virtual ball will fall onto the wheel. Where and when the ball stops will determine if your wager has won or lost.
For a more in-depth study of Online Roulette rules, terminology and strategy, we highly recommend you take a look at our Guide to Online Roulette page.
Live Dealer Baccarat
The Live Dealer version of Baccarat is quite usually the ‘punto banco’ (faster version) of Baccarat. You can expect a high betting limit, with CAD$5 or even CAD$10 being the starting point. This game is perfectly suited to the live dealer environment, and is a favourite among online high-rollers.
The dealing rules are a little complicated. However, you do not need to be an expert to enjoy this Live Dealer game. Simply avoiding the bad odds of the tie bet should keep you on the right track and on the path to winning more often than you lose.
Much like Roulette, this card game does not require much from its players. Just take your pick of your card and cross your fingers. As a player, you will have to choose between three outcomes:
- Whether the dealer wins
- Whether the player wins; or
- If it’s going to be a tie.
The winner is the one who has 8 or 9 card points first; if none of them do, then it’s a tie. With a 33.3% chance of winning, anticipation definitely runs high in this online game. A favourite in Europe and a favourite of James Bond 007, Live Dealer Baccarat is quickly becoming a favourite of many online players too.
Live Dealer Poker
Live Dealer Poker is usually based on Casino Hold’em, which is an interesting variation of Texas Hold’em and feature a flop, turn and river. If those terms don’t mean anything to you, perhaps your best first stop is to check out our Guide to Video Poker for all things Poker including game variations, rules, terminology and strategy.
Live Dealer Poker (Casino Hold’em) games differ from the games you’ll find in your typical online poker room in two key respects:
- You are playing against the house NOT other players
- The deal is real, not simulated.
An Ante bet buys you a couple of pocket cards and a look at a Flop. A Call bet gets you a look at the Turn, River and the Live Dealer’s cards. Winning payouts vary depending on the quality of your winning poker hand. Payouts of up to 100:1 may be offered on your Ante bet.
Live Dealer Casino Tips
Finally, before you sit down to enjoy playing at your Favourite Live Dealer Casino, there are several things you need to consider:
- Check your internet bandwidth – For all live games, it’s important that to have a reliable broadband internet connection to have the best possible experience as you play. Nothing is worse than logging into a Live Dealer Casino and getting a bad stream or even worse, your connection drops out. However, don’t panic. If you do happen to lose your connection in a Live Dealer Casino, your bet won’t be accepted and no money will leave your account. Even better, if your hand is a winning one, your winnings will still be paid out.
- Only bet what you can afford – This should go without saying. Don’t begin playing with next month’s rent money.
- Don’t chase losses – A Live Dealer Casino is no different in that it is important to play smart. Chasing losses is a slippery and dangerous slope with only one possible outcome and it’s a bad one. You won’t win every hand or spin, so you need to be able to be strong and walk away when it’s not your day.
- Be aware of Live Dealer Casino Etiquette – Just like in a land-based casino, abuse and disruption in a Live Dealer Casino will not be tolerated. Keep it nice.
- Play in a reputable Live Dealer Casino – Try out reputable, licensed and trusted Live Dealer Casino options like those at some of the experienced online casinos like Betway, Jackpot City, William Hill, Spin Palace, Royal Vegas, Ruby Fortune, 888 Casino and All Slots Casino.
- Have fun – The most important thing to remember is that everyone is playing in a Live Dealer Casino to have some fun. Enjoy it, savour it and Good luck!