Live Dealer Casinos
Though not as popular as mobile gaming, live dealer casinos fill a niche in the online casino industry. There are only a few software providers and a few games available, but many players wouldn’t play online any other way. The majority of live dealer online casino games are aimed at the male population as the dealers tend to be beautiful young women.
Continue reading below for an explanation of how live dealer casino games work, an overview of the individual games available and a quick look at the providers of the software and live game play.
How Live Dealer Casino Games Work
Live dealer casino games combine the land based casino game feature of having a real person dealing the cards or spinning the roulette wheel and the advantages of online play. Operated with cameras and video streaming across the Internet, you can sit in the comfort of your own home and still enjoy live dealer play. A camera is set up showing the dealer and playing area and this image is sent to you where you can see it on your computer.
You use the same type of interface on your computer to make playing decisions as you would in the non live dealer games. Once you make your playing decisions they are displayed on a monitor of some sort for the live dealer to see and act on. Here is a step by step example from a live dealer blackjack game.
You click on the chips to place a $25 bet at the live dealer blackjack table. The dealer deals two cards to you and two cards to herself. You have a jack and an eight for a total of 18. The dealer shows a seven. You hit the stand button and the dealer sees your action on her monitor. She turns up a queen for a total of 17. You win the hand and she inputs the win on her end and you are credited with a $25 win.
Live dealer roulette games work much the same way except usually you only see the person spinning the wheel and the wheel. The betting surface or table layout is usually digital, just like when you play at the online casino without a live dealer.
Live Dealer Casino Games
The only games offered by live dealer online casinos are those that are popular enough to warrant having dealers and those that are live dealer friendly. The perfect example of a live dealer friendly game is roulette, where the casino can take multiple wagers and only have to spin the wheel once.
Here is an overview of the most popular live dealer games. While these might not be the only games you can find, they cover well over 95% of all the live dealer games available online.
Blackjack is the most popular live dealer game played online today. It is a little more labor intensive for the casino than baccarat and roulette, but the larger player base makes it worth offering.
Each player places his or her bet and then the dealer gives each player two cards as well as taking two cards herself. Each player decides whether to hit, stand, double, split or surrender (where available) and the dealer completes the action. After all players have acted the dealer flips over her second card and completes her hand.
Live dealer blackjack plays just like it does in land based casinos but it can be a bit slower overall as the dealer has to wait for all of the players to act. Of course they have to wait for all of the players to act in land based casinos as well, but as they are insulated by the Internet some players take longer in online live dealer play than they would in land based action.
Roulette is one of those games that are well known just about anywhere you go in the world. Even if you don’t play you are probably familiar with the spinning of an ivory ball within a roulette wheel. Players can place bets on a wide range of possible outcomes including black, red even or odd which pay even money all the way up to bets on a single number that pay 35 to 1.
Roulette wheels are available in double zero wheels, usually called American roulette, and single zero wheels called European or French roulette. The single zero wheels offer a lower house edge than the double zero wheels. Most live dealer casinos offer single zero wheels, so they are the ones you should play on if you have a choice.
When you play live dealer roulette you pick how much you want to bet and what you want to bet on. For example, if you want to wager $20 on black you click on the chips to select $20 and then click on the roulette layout to place your bet on the black area. The dealer then spins the roulette wheel and drops the ball in the wheel. As the ball lands the bets are paid out and then the bets for the next spin are placed.
Baccarat tends to play well as a live dealer game because the dealer performs all of the game actions after the player places their wager. This is another game like roulette where the casino can take just about any number of wagers without it changing the current hand or slowing things down.
Players place their bets on tie, banker or player and then the dealer deals out two hands of two cards each. There are set rules that must be followed and each hand either stays or receives an additional card. Then the winning wagers are paid and the bets for the next round are placed.
3 Card Poker
3 Card Poker is only available at a few live dealer casinos but it is quite popular in regular casinos and in online casinos. You play a three card poker hand against the dealer and when you win the payout based on the strength of your hand.
Sic Bo is a dice game that is very popular in Asian markets. Offered by a few live dealer casinos, you place bets on what you think the outcome of the roll of the dice will be. Once all wagers are placed the dice are revealed and you are paid out based on the bets you placed. Different combinations pay different amounts based on the odds of them landing.
This version of poker is not the same as Texas holdem that you can often see on television. Though it is based on Texas holdem it is a table game designed for single person play against a dealer. There are a few different variations of this game available in live dealer casinos, and it is not available everywhere.
The player makes an ante wager and the player and dealer receive two hole cards. The dealer turns over the three community cards called the flop. The player then may fold or make an additional bet to finish the hand. If the player makes the extra wager the last two community cards, the turn and river, are turned face up and then the winner is determined.
Payouts are determined by the strength of your winning hand. In different variations the bet sizing is different.
Live Dealer Software Providers
There aren’t that many live dealer online software solutions, but the main ones offer a superior gaming experience.
The main three companies are Evolution Gaming, Playtech and Microgaming. One of the newer entries into the market is Global Gaming Labs.
See below for quick overviews of each platform that includes the games they offer to their players. Just to be clear, these are the companies that provide the backend working environment for the online casinos that offer the live dealer games. You don’t play these games at the sites owned by the companies below; you play at the online casino’s websites who lease these solutions.
Evolution gaming is the most popular live dealer software and video solutions company in the online gambling world. The games offered by Evolution Gaming backed online casinos include blackjack, Holdem poker, roulette and baccarat. They also offer 3 Card Poker at some of their live dealer casinos.
Playtech has been offering online casino software solutions for years and now offer a live dealer solution as well. They are one of the only places you can find live dealer Sic Bo. They also provide blackjack, roulette, baccarat and Holdem poker.
Microgaming is the large online casino software provider that is used by hundreds of casinos around the world. They also offer a live dealer option that includes blackjack, roulette and baccarat. Backed by such a large and successful software provider like Microgaming you know you can trust them to deliver a quality and stable product.
Currently the only live dealer software platforms available for United States players, Global Gaming Labs powered casinos include blackjack, roulette and baccarat. The software package is appealing and professional, but not offered on a very wide basis at this time.
If you enjoy live casino game play but can’t find the time to get to your nearest casino, live dealer online play may be just what you’re looking for. With great games like blackjack, roulette and baccarat and multiple live dealer providers there are plenty of options for your selection.
If you’re able to check out more than one live dealer casino (only certain ones are available depending on where you live) you should definitely do so. There are different games available on different platforms and you may find that you enjoy one casino better than another.