If you’ve spent any time at all on online casino sites, you will have likely noticed that most sites have a section called ‘live casino’. These sections are dedicated to live dealer games that seek to recreate the experience of a ‘real’, brick-and-mortar casino, while combining it with the sheer convenience of online casino games.
When you play online live casino games such as roulette, blackjack or baccarat, you’ll get to interact with often highly attractive female dealers or sharp-suited men and immerse yourself in an atmosphere not unlike that of a genuine casino, but without the need to don a tuxedo yourself.
Below, we’ve compiled the complete live casino guide to help you get started.
What Is ‘Live Casino’ and How Does It Work?
If you have played standard online casino games before, when you switch to a live casino game, you will immediately notice certain differences beyond the presence of a nattily-dressed dealer.
For one thing, these games really are live, streaming footage from what appears to be an actual casino, rather than the simplistic graphics that you might be used to from non-live games. It is important to acknowledge that there’s still a level of artifice here: most live dealer games that you’ll find online are shot on a custom-built set instead of an actual gambling venue.
Such ‘fakery’ is partly the case because of sheer necessity – given all of the cameras that are needed to give gamblers the best view of both the dealer and cards, it would probably be quite disruptive to players who are at the casino ‘in person’ if the attempt was made to film in a real venue.
Nonetheless, today’s live casino technology otherwise enables these games to operate in a fairly realistic way. The dealer shuffles the packs and serves out the cards, much as is the case in a genuine casino, so there’s no need for the Random Number Generator (RNG) technology that non-live games use to determine gaming outcomes.
The Lowdown on Live Casino Technology
Live dealer games are a great example of how the best of both technology and the ‘real life’ human experience can be brought together to create a gaming experience that is both realistic and convenient.
The level of interaction that such games enable you to have with the dealers, for example, is continually evolving, and differs depending on the live casino software provider. In some live dealer games, the dealer may mainly act as a host for the live action, whereas in others, there may be a chat window in which you type and send a message to which the dealer responds verbally.
One of the things that it is most vital to understand about live casino technology is that it is not the actual casino site on which you are playing – such as Betway Casino or Royal Panda – that provides the software. That is instead the job of whatever third-party software supplier the site is using.
As you will soon discover once you’ve spent time on more than a few casino sites, there’s a relatively small number of live casino technology providers out there, powering a huge and continually expanding range of sites that have a live casino section. This means that if you fancy a change from one site’s live casino experience and therefore decide to switch to a new site, you may find yourself using the same software, seeing the same dealers and having much the same experience.
So, if you really do want to have a different live casino experience to that provided by your current choice of casino site, you should check what software provider they’re using first. Evolution Gaming is an especially ubiquitous provider of software for live dealer games these days, but the likes of Microgaming and Playtech have also been known to cater to gamblers in this area.
A Guide to The Different Types of Live Dealer Games
The gaming types that lend themselves best to live dealer games tend to be those with the fastest game flow and simplest betting decisions. Below are some of the games that you are most likely to see offered in the ‘live casino’ section of your favourite casino site.
- Blackjack, which is probably the perfect game to be played ‘live’ in this way, thanks to its combination of generally simple decisions and fast-paced action. Live dealer blackjack tends to be quite smooth, although such games tend to be a bit slower than non-live games due to there being up to seven players in each one, as is needed to pay for the greater overheads like the dealer and venue. Bets usually start at a higher price for the same reason.
- Roulette, the standard version of which for British players is the European one, which has a single zero providing a lower house edge than the US ‘double zero’ variation. Some sites offer French Roulette, which uses the same European wheel, but with even money bets being returned at 50% when the ball lands on zero. This further lowers the house edge.
- Baccarat, which is another game that is well-suited to the live casino format, particularly in its faster punto-banco version that is often used by live casino technology providers. High rollers from both online and brick-and-mortar casinos tend to love it, and while there are quite complicated dealing rules, you don’t need to know every detail of them to enjoy this form of online live gambling.
- Poker, which tends to be based on casino hold’em, this in itself a variant of Texas hold’em. It features a flop, turn and river but it is player against house, rather than player against multiple other players. As with other live casino games, you can expect minimum bets to be higher than in the non-live games.
Are Live Dealer Games The Future or Just a Trend?
Live casino games have already been around for too long and enjoyed too much sustained popularity to be seen as a mere ‘passing craze’, and indeed, they look set to continue evolving to help make players feel closer to a realistic experience.
Touchscreen technology could be a big thing in the live dealer games of the future, while many of the leading online casino portals also now offer live casino sections in their smartphone and tablet apps, meaning that the above games can be enjoyed even ‘on the go’. Increasingly fast Internet connections should also help to make the live casino experience a more convenient one for more and more people with the passing years.
Compare the most popular providers of live dealer games with Top 10 Casinos, and you could be enjoying an extremely realistic and immersive ‘live’ experience much sooner than you think!
Gavin writes on a wide range of subjects, including articles and reviews about online casinos, slots, bingo, poker, and sportsbooks. He has considerable expertise in the games, customer service, and other aspects of today’s leading gambling and betting portals.