The introduction of live dealer casinos is viewed by many as one of the biggest innovations the online gambling industry has seen in the last twenty years or so, alongside virtual reality gaming. Thanks to live casinos, gambling in the comfort of your home will never be the same. It is no wonder live casinos have become a preferred gambling platform for millions of players since they successfully replicate the ambiance of brick-and-mortar venues.
Indeed, this type of casino gambling is so much better than its virtual counterpart that once you try it, you are highly unlikely to go back to playing RNG-based casino games. Of course, before you get there, it is important for you to get familiarized with how live casinos work, what games do they offer, and which the best providers of live gambling software in the world are. We suggest you start by checking this 100bestcasinos’ short guide. Here you can find succinct information on all aspects of live casino gambling to prep up for your first live betting sesh and take on your competition at the live-dealer tables.
Live Casinos – How Do They Work?
Live casinos are inherently different from their virtual brethren. The biggest distinction that can be made between the two lies in how the outcome of players’ bets is determined. Virtual casino games operate on Random Number Generators, which are pieces of software producing strings of random numbers whose length is rather humbling, to say the least.
Meanwhile, live casinos rely on the human element to govern the games and ensure randomness at the tables. There are actual dealers who operate the tables, shuffle and deal the cards, or toss the ball onto the roulette wheels. These games take place in the professional studios of live-casino software suppliers where the atmosphere is just like the one in landbased gambling establishments. The interiors are decorated in such a way so as to mimic an actual card room or casino floor. Often the light would be dimmed out which creates a greater sense of intimacy and makes players feel right at home.
The gameplay is brought to your computer screen by high-quality streaming so you can see how the dealers man their tables. Some live casinos would offer a highly immersive experience by situating several high-definition cameras around the tables. It is often possible to switch from one camera angle to another for a detailed view of the cards or the spinning ball on the roulette wheels, which brings customers shockingly close to the gambling action. Enabling the full-screen feature is also a possibility.
There is a betting interface similar to the ones used for the randomly-generated games where you can modify the size of your bets and place your chips in the corresponding betting boxes or circles. The window with the live stream is positioned directly above the betting interface so you can see the dealers handling the tables. In practice, the live dealers are only there to host the games in real time but the payouts and the bets are settled by a piece of software.
The most prominent suppliers would offer multi-lingual and multi-currency software to the benefit of players from different countries. Typically, the settings would allow you to adjust the quality of the screen in accordance with your bandwidth which prevents you from suffering undesirable lags.
One of the most distinctive features of live casino gaming has to do with speed. There are waiting times between coups. Players are normally given roughly half a minute to make their bets. When the time runs out, the dealer would proclaim no more wagers are accepted and those who have not placed bets will have to wait for the next coup to commence. Those who are used to playing virtual games may find live games more sluggish but despite that, the action is still fast-paced enough to suit the needs of most table games fans.
Many recreational players believe social interaction to be one of the coolest aspects of gambling. When you are a playing an RNG-run casino game, you are practically always on your own – there is no one there to relate to your frustration when you go into a tailspin losing bet after bet or cheer you on when you are on a hot roll and win big.
This is not so when you take a seat at a live casino table. At the very moment this happens, you immediately get a sense of being part of something larger, of a community whose members are all taking on a mutual enemy – the house and its dealers. Not only can you strike up a conversation with your dealer, but you can also chit chat with other players, exchange advice, and congratulate them on their wins – all thanks to the chat features incorporated into the live casino interface.
You may or may not know that giving tips is a way of expressing content with the courteous and efficient service you receive at a given casino table. Tipping is in good form and not only at landbased tables. Some software providers have added a tipping feature to their live table games so that players can give gratuities to their dealers when on a winning streak.
Major Suppliers of Live Casino Software
Before you become part of a live casino community, you need to check what live-casino software is in use at the gambling website you are interested in. There are many software suppliers out there but some of them shine particularly brightly when it comes to providing live casino streaming services. But we will not bother wasting your time, let’s jump right on it and introduce you to the top 5 suppliers of live-dealer software solutions.
Evolution Gaming has been crowned the absolute leader in live casino software solutions and this title is entirely deserved considering the quality of its live dealer products. Let’s leave facts to do the talking, though. Did you know Evolution Gaming boasts a record of winning the Live Casino Supplier of the Year accolade at the annual EGR Awards for eight consecutive years, from 2010 to 2017?
This unprecedented success is no surprise. Evolution has been concentrating its efforts on providing high-end live casino solutions ever since it first emerged in 2006. Its portfolio comprises an unmatched variety of iconic casino games, including different variations of casino poker, baccarat, roulette, and blackjack. The HD stream comes from the supplier’s innovative and elegant studios located in Malta, Canada, and Latvia.
You would be amazed by the number of live tables Evolution Gaming operates, 300 to be exact! These are manned by more than 3,000 skilled dealers and croupiers in a variety of languages including French, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Greek, Turkish, and Danish, so if English is not a language you consider yourself fluent in, do yourself a favour and join a live casino operating on Evolution’s software.
Playtech is a veteran in the field of online gambling, and one that has gone through many trials and tribulations in this constantly evolving industry. The software supplier delivers a high-level gambling experience directly to players’ personal computers or mobile devices. The high-quality stream comes directly from Playtech’s dedicated studios in the Philippines, Belgium, Spain, and Latvia.
The Riga studios are the latest addition to Playtech’s live casino offering and are located in the Latvian capital’s Old Town district. The action from the live tables is streamed with hundreds of cameras which allows for a wholesome and incredibly realistic experience. The table personnel is trained in Playtech’s dealer training campus so players can expect nothing short of professional treatment at the tables.
The range of games is also quite extensive as you have a choice from bespoke games like 7-Seat Baccarat, Speed Roulette, Baccarat Squeeze, Ultimate Blackjack, Casino Hold’em, and Mini Baccarat. Players get to enjoy the additional flexibility that comes with the option to gamble in their native language, be it English, Spanish, Mandarin, Romania, Italian, Russian, and more.
One key advantage Microgaming holds over the competition is longevity – this supplier was there at the dawn of interactive gambling and many consider it responsible for launching the first online casino in the world over twenty years ago. It is exactly this extensive experience that enables Microgaming to tailor a premium live dealer product that is used by more than 100 of the best gambling operators in the industry.
The software combines live stream of the tables’ action with a virtual betting interface that comes with a bevy of cool features, such as multiple-table play, stats, easy access to the games’ rules and auto play.
Microgaming is also the only supplier so far to launch a branded live offering, so if you fancy having your cards dealt by scantily clad dealers in Playboy bunny costumes, go ahead, visit a Microgaming-powered casino. Microgaming is one of the few software providers to feature the dice game Sic Bo on its live platform, along with variations of blackjack, European roulette, casino hold’em, and baccarat.
Ezugi may be one of the lesser known software development brands out there but this is soon to change. This is one of the most promising live software providers at the current moment, with studios located in Belgium, Costa Rica, and Cambodia. Ezugi may have only five years of experience behind its back, being founded in 2013 but it quickly succeeded in catching up with its rivals.
Ezugi’s major claim to fame is its less conventional portfolio of live games. Besides the usual roulette, casino hold’em and blackjack variations, Ezugi offers you a choice from more interesting games like Knockout Baccarat, Hybrid Blackjack, Live Keno, Dragon Tiger, and the lottery-style game aptly called Bet on Numbers. The live casino interface is equipped with the chat feature but what is more important, the entire selection of games is cross-compatible so you can play on your mobile or tablet as well as on your PC and Mac.
NetEnt is another world leader in the field of online gambling solutions, which launched its live casino platform in 2013 with the ambition to compete with giant Evolution Gaming. These ambitions were initially thwarted due to the fact NetEnt utilized the blue screen technologies for its live tables which enabled gambling operators to superimpose their brands’ logos on the background. In comparison, Evolution Gaming offered distinct physical backgrounds with casino décors that feature unique carpeting, wall coverings, and curtains, just like those in landbased venues.
This issue thankfully got fixed and NetEnt’s live dealer offering quickly gained traction among gambling operators and players alike. Today, NetEnt has transcended the confines of brick-and-mortar casino walls by providing gamblers with an immersive experience like no other at its live roulette and blackjack tables. What to expect from this supplier’s live casino product? The answer is an intuitive interface, a seamless stream, 25 different languages and currencies, and cool features like the ability to smoothly transition from landscape to portrait mode.
Available Live Casino Games
There are four basic types of games you can count on finding in most live dealer casinos. These include mainstays like roulette alongside card games like casino poker, baccarat, and blackjack. Some live games are even attached to progressive networks which means slots are no longer the only way to try and win a gargantuan progressive prize. We elaborate on the most common live casino games in the sections below.
The game of 21 is a must at landbased and live online casinos alike which makes sense considering the great level of interaction it offers with the dealers and fellow players. The rules are relatively simple although not as simple as those of games of chance like roulette, which renders blackjack a fitting option for players looking to excel and master various strategies against the house.
One of the biggest peculiarities of live casino blackjack has to do with the cards and their size in particular. When you join a live blackjack table, you surely would notice the game is played with much larger than standard cards. This is done to prevent confusion although the details on your hand and the dealer’s cards are also displayed on the screen.
This card game is so popular that sometimes there are no vacant seats at the live tables. This is not to say you will have to wait idle-handed (no pun intended) while waiting for a seat to open. Many live tables allow players to bet behind until a free seat gets available, which basically means you can make a punt on someone else’s hand, if they are comfortable with that.
It would have been laughable if live casinos failed to add one of the oldest casino games to their portfolios. Indeed, all respected operators hosting live games would feature at least several live roulette variations on their websites. The most popular options like the French, European, and American varieties are an absolute must.
Live roulette is all the more exciting because it gives you the chance to observe every single aspect of the gameplay in real time, from the instant the croupier releases the tiny ball onto the spinning wheel to the moment of truth when it settles in a pocket. The cool thing about many live roulette variants is that they further customisation, with players having a choice from different camera angles focusing either on the dealer or on the spinning wheel. The slow-motion replay of the ball coming to rest adds a nice dramatic touch to the gameplay.
Baccarat is one of those games that immediately sparks off associations with a lifestyle that many crave but few get to enjoy. This is said to be the game of choice of Ian Fleming’s James Bond but the Crown’s top secret agent is hardly the only person captivated by baccarat. Millions of people take advantage of the opportunity to play live baccarat without having to leave the comfort of their homes.
The multi-camera view brings you the closest to the betting action you can hope to get without visiting an actual casino. Live variations like Baccarat Squeeze further increase the excitement and the sense of suspense – here the cards are dealt facing down but the dealer would give you a hint of their value with rubbing and bending motions that partially reveal the pips.
Roulette and baccarat are not everyone’s cup of tea, largely because they are based on chance, which puts some players off. Neither is everyone keen on blackjack where one usually needs to resort to advanced techniques like card counting to extract positive value from the game. Because of this, live casinos strive to cater to the demands of a larger crowd by hosting different variations of the skill game of poker.
Note that here you are playing live against the dealer instead of taking on fellow poker sharks. One of the most common variations you can play live is casino hold’em which borrows its rules and hand rankings from Texas Hold’em. One of the key differences is that the dealers are forced to follow fixed rules, similarly to what their colleagues at the blackjack tables do, only here the dealer qualifies with pairs of fours or higher. Other popular options you may come across at live casinos are Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud.
Live Games with Progressive Jackpots
As we hinted in brief, casino fans now have the option to play classic progressive jackpot games against live dealers. One of the options that come at the top of our heads is Age of Gods Live Roulette. This is one of Playtech’s most sophisticated creations to date which allows you to win a mouth-dropping prize with a very small contribution.
This version of live roulette plays in accordance with the standard rules of the game, but is linked to a four-level jackpot. As is the case with progressive games, a tiny percentage of every bet contributes to the escalating jackpots. The prizes are awarded randomly irrespective of the amount you bet.
Live Casino Games for Portable Devices
One of the biggest strengths of live casinos is that they enable you to have a great time competing against real dealers as you go. Some of the most respected suppliers of live dealer solutions like Playtech and Evolution Gaming have optimised their most popular live games for play on hand-held devices. Playing live-streamed casino games was considered unheard of some time ago but with the introduction of the 4G and the HTML5 coding, this is no longer the case.
Many online casinos offering you live-streamed options would support in-browser play where you can load the games without having to install extra software. This would work on all portable devices no matter the operating system they run on. However, if you shoot for optimal playability on the go without freezes and other frustrating glitches, we suggest you look for a live casino that offers a native application for you to download. Such apps are normally developed for iOS and Android and installing them is said to enhance one’s experience.
Beginners’ Step-by-Step Guide to Playing at Live Casinos
Playing live dealer games is no different than playing at a landbased casino as the rules and the gameplay largely coincide. However, if this is a first-time experience with a live casino for you, things might get a bit overwhelming in the beginning until you catch on. If you are a rookie, we encourage you to go through the brief step-by-step beginner guide below.
Step 1 – Go on a hunt for a reputable live casino. Finding a reliable live casino operator is not a rocket science since the key things to look for are its licensing, the security measures in place, and the speed of the payouts. You can check the rating of your chosen operator or go through the reviews, published by 100bestcasinos.co.uk.
Step 2 – Sign Up with a real-money account. Unfortunately, the live dealer games are not available for free play so the only way to join would be to register a real-money account. Some casinos would allow you to access the live lobby and observe the other players betting at the tables, though.
The registration process is rather straightforward and all personal information you input in the form is kept private and protected by the best SSL encryptions. You may have to activate your account by clicking on a link sent by email or via the code sent to you as a mobile text message.
Step 3 – Top up your new live casino account. Some of the best live casinos would offer you an extensive enough list of banking methods so do not worry about lacking options. There are all kinds of ways to transfer money into your account, from cards, bank transfers and digital wallets to prepaid solutions like Paysafecard and Entropay, both of which can be used by UK players. Just visit the cashier page, click on your selected method, and follow the instructions.
Step 4 – Opt in for your Sign-Up Bonus. The best live casinos out there would offer you a dedicated bonus for live dealer play. But even if one such bonus is not available, you can always take advantage of the standard welcome package which consists of a percentage match of your first deposit. This would prolong the amount of time (and fun) you get to enjoy at the live tables but do not forget to read the conditions that come with your bonus.
Step 5 – Find a table that works for you. And we do not mean using the dealers’ looks as your only criteria when choosing. Banter aside, you need to look for a table that corresponds to your budget. Some of the live games cater to high rollers specifically, so the minimum bets start at higher amounts you may not be able to afford. However, many of the games give you the freedom and flexibility to bet as little as $1 or $5 to a couple of thousand, so it will not be long before you find a live table to take a seat at.
Step 6 – This is not so much of an instruction as it is a piece of friendly advice. Have fun at the live dealer tables but do not forget to gamble responsibly, to stay on budget, and to be mindful with the bets you make so can you squeeze out more value for your money.
Tips for Optimizing Your Live Dealer Experience
- Check the speed of your internet connection in advance to make sure it is fast enough to ensure a seamless gameplay in real time.
- Be respectful to others and do not ever use insults or any vulgar language towards the dealers or fellow players in the chat. This would only cause you to get banned from using the chat feature. In blackjack, do not bet behind other players without asking for permission first – this is considered poor table etiquette.
- Tip the dealers once in a while when you are on a hot streak. While giving the dealers gratuities is hardly obligatory, it is considered a gesture of courtesy and we assure you it would be greatly appreciated by the receiving party.
- If you are playing live blackjack, learn advanced techniques like card counting as this would greatly improve your odds of beating the house. Unlike RNG games, in live-streamed games a burn card is inserted in the shoe and cards are not reshuffled after every hand – something you can use to your advantage. Roulette and baccarat players should feel free to experiment with different systems when playing live.
- Do not attempt to recoup your losses by betting higher and higher amounts when on a tailspin. With some things in life, it is important to know when to quit, and gambling is one of those.
Sadly, live casino games are available for real-money play only. However, some online casinos would allow registered customers to access the live tables and observe others play for real money. This is a great way to get started as it gives you an idea of how things work and what to expect when you are ready to commit with a deposit.
As a matter of fact, no, being a fluent English speaker is not necessarily a requirement. Some of the top providers of live-casino software like Evolution Gaming and NetEnt have developed multi-lingual platforms that support a dozen languages. The interface will be in your native language but some of the studios would also use Asian dealers capable of communicating with players in Mandarin, for instance.
Yes, most card games that are hosted in real time would utilize oversized cards so that players can easily evaluate their hands’ totals and make the correct moves. Additionally, each time the dealer draws a card from the deck or shoe, they would swipe it over a special card reader built into the table. The software would then display the card values on the playing interface for you to see.
The answer is again affirmative. However, if you want to benefit from a transparent and secure live casino environment, you must choose your gambling operator carefully and ensure their operations are overseen by a respected regulator like the UK Gambling Commission, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, or the Gibraltar Gambling Commission. Under no circumstances should you sign up and deposit at an unlicensed live casino.