Live Dealer

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How to Play Live Dealer Casino Games Online

Since the internet became widely available in the 1990s, it has revolutionized the way we work, live, and entertain ourselves. The online world has taken many things that we, as a society, have done in our “real” lives and made them available to us 24/7/365 in the comfort of our own homes. Not surprisingly, online casino gaming is one of the biggest successes of the internet age. Any games that you once did illicitly or traveled to Las Vegas or Monte Carlo to enjoy, along with those locales’ exotic ambiance, is now available in all its glory in online casinos. 

While online casinos can’t offer amazing surroundings, they do provide a superior gaming experience. They began with simple video game-like versions of popular casino games that could be played for real money. These games were very popular but many gamblers missed the excitement of live action provided by land-based casinos. Enter live dealer casino games. These versions of popular casino games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker combine the global access of online casinos with the live person experience. They give gamblers the best of both worlds and, as a result, are incredibly popular. 

While these games are among the most popular in online casinos, most casinos offer a limited selection. This is because these games are much more expensive and complicated for online casinos to produce and host than standard video casino games. When you do find a great live dealer game, it will greatly enhance your online casino experience. Here we’ll discuss everything you need to know about live dealer casino games online, including how they work, how they differ from other online casino games, the pros and cons of playing, and some helpful tips, tricks, and advice on finding the best ones. 

How Do Live Dealer Games Work?

History of Live Dealer Games

The history of gambling online goes back to 1995 when the International Lottery of Liechtenstein decided to open up its lottery to an international audience and started selling lottery tickets through a website. Just two years later, the first-ever online casino, InterCasino, opened for business.

For the rest of the decade, online casinos grew at an incredibly fast pace. The market grew from that first online casino in 1996 to over 200 casinos by the end of 1997. When this industry was just starting, it only had the technology to offer one-player video casino games. As the market and the technology matured, online casinos began to offer multiplayer online gaming. The technology for this was fully realized in 1999, and soon after online poker rooms and casinos began hosting games that felt more like those players experienced in land-based casinos. 

As multi-player online games became a reality in the early 2000s, the demand for the look and feel of an in-person casino experience ramped up. To meet this demand, multiple software providers started creating live dealer platforms: players could use the same technology they used in an online casino but it was combined with a video feed of a real table and dealer. Playtech launched its first live dealer platform in 2003 and companies like Microgaming and Evolution followed suit in 2006.

Basic Rules

The basic rules of playing live dealer casino games online are almost the same as playing anywhere else. Like all other casino gaming instances, the specific house rules for a given game vary by casino and are unique to that specific game and casino. For example, depending on where you play, a live dealer blackjack game may payout 6 to 5 or 3 to 2. It all depends on the specific house rules. 

But one rule distinguishing online live dealer games from in-person casino play is that the former almost always require players to sign up and register with the site they are playing on. While casinos do reserve the right to check your ID at any time to verify age, you could conceivably sit down at a table and play with no one questioning you. At online casinos, you must register first and possibly prove your age, residence, or physical location before you begin playing.

Another distinction between online games compared to in-person live dealer games is the chat function. Most live dealer games allow players to use some sort of chat feature to interact with the dealer and other players at the table. Each casino will have its own set of rules, regulations, and guidelines as to what is acceptable and what is not in the chat.

Outside of these small differences, the basic rules of live dealer games are the same as any other blackjack, baccarat, or roulette game. This is one of the biggest appeals of live dealer games. If you know how to play the game in the casino, you will know how to play it at a live dealer table.  

How Do Live Dealer Games Differ from Other Online Casino Games?

While live dealer games are part of the collection of games that online casinos offer, they are definitely in a category all their own. In fact, while you can break up online casino games into many different categories, you can also separate them simply into two camps, live dealer games and all the rest. Here are the main differences between live dealer games and others.

Graphics vs Live Feed

The biggest difference you will notice between live dealer games and all other online casino games is how they look. Most online casino games are presented using digital graphics. They are programmed to show what looks like a real table, real cards or dice, and sometimes even real people. These games look like video games, and although video game graphics have become incredibly lifelike as we enter the 2020s, you can still distinguish between these graphics and a live person.

Live dealer games, on the other hand, look like a TV show. They are live feeds of real people at real tables with real cards or dice in a real casino or in a studio made to look like a real casino. This offers players a far more realistic and immersive experience than playing a digitally created version of a game. 

Playing AI vs. Real Players

In video casino games, you are playing against the Artificial Intelligence (AI) of the game. The game is preprogrammed to play a certain way and deliver a certain set of outcomes when you play against it. There are pros and cons to playing against AI, but the main takeaway is that it is very different from playing against a real person. It is a very standardized experience. 

Playing with and against real people is completely different. Like the AI experience, there are pros and cons as well, but it is an experience that we are usually much more familiar with. It also offers more in the way of the unknown. Playing with human beings, you never truly know what is going to happen because there is not a set of data that dictates the outcome.

RNG vs Manual Probability

The outcomes in video online casino games are created by random number generators (RNGs). These are computer programs that are set to create outcomes in a completely random way based on different probabilities and percentages. While it is a precise way to create the odds and house advantage that most casino games normally have, it takes the human element completely out of the situation.

While the odds and probabilities are generally the same in live casino games, there is a human and a natural factor that you just do not get with RNGs. The way the cards are shuffled, the dice are rolled, or the ball is spun can all be slightly different and lead to different outcomes when there are humans in a natural environment involved. 

The Chat

While some multiplayer video casino games will have chat functions, this is something that is unique to live dealer games. The social aspects of casino games are part of the allure and with live dealer games, you get a real taste of the social aspect in the chat section.

Here you can talk to the dealer or other players and ask questions, get advice, commiserate over wins or losses, or even talk a little trash! It is one of the things that really separates live dealer games from all others.

What Are the Positives and Negatives of a Live Dealer Game?

While there are a lot of great things about live dealer games, there are some negative aspects as well. Live dealer games or video casino games is largely a matter of a player’s preference. The best way to find out which is best for you is to play both. In the meantime though, here are the pros and cons of live dealer games.

Pros of Live Dealer Games

  • Chat with other players – The social aspect of casino gaming is very important to some players. Live dealer games are usually the most social group of games in any online casino. For many people, this is a positive thing. However, this is not true for everyone (see con section below)
  • An Immersive Experience – You will never be able to replicate the exact feeling of standing at a craps table in Vegas or sitting at a baccarat table in Macau. But live dealer games are often so life-like that you will forget you are sitting at your desk and not in a real casino. 
  • Familiar Setting – Some video casino games can have graphics or interfaces that are strange or not user-friendly. They can make it hard to play a game even if you are familiar with it. Live dealer games are just like what you’ll find in a land-based casino, so you should have no problem understanding and playing the game--and no travel and lodging costs!

 

Cons of Live Dealer Games

  • Chat with other players – This showed up in the pros section but it is here in the cons section too. Some people don’t like interacting with others while gambling, especially if a particular player is obnoxious or annoying. If you love the solitude of online gambling, live dealer games might not be the best choice for you.
  • More Variables – Most online casino games, as discussed above are governed by computer programs and RNGs. This means you are getting the truest and most fair outcomes while playing any game. Adding a human element on both the dealer and player sides adds a layer of variability and possibly skill to the games that some players may not like. 
  • Lack of Selection – In most online casinos, you can find hundreds of games to choose from. That is because once a game is developed or purchased by an online casino, it costs next to nothing to host and operate. It is pure profit. Live dealer games come with a lot of expenses. You have to pay for dealers, camera people, pit bosses, and the overall production of the live feed. All this means that most online casinos only offer a handful of their most popular games and only at certain times.

 

What Should I Look for in a Live Dealer Casino?

If you are ready to find and play live dealer games, there are a few things you should look for when deciding on a live dealer game. Here are a few of the top things to keep an eye out for.

Casino Reputation

The first thing you need to look for when picking an online casino for live dealer games, or any other game for that matter, is their reputation. There are many online casinos out there and while most are fair, trustworthy, and fun, some are not. Some casinos do not provide fairness in their games and others make it hard, if not impossible, to get money out after you have put it in.

To make sure you find reputable casinos, read reviews and what players have to say about them. Also, check that they are licensed and make note of what country or countries they are licensed in. Some countries have much stricter standards than others.

Bonuses, Promotions, and Loyalty Schemes

The world of online casinos is very competitive and, because of this, most casinos offer a range of great bonuses, promotions, and loyalty schemes to entice players to play on their site. These bonuses vary greatly from casino to casino, so do your research and find the sites that offer the best deals. These deals might come in the form of bonuses for new users or loyalty rewards for faithful users. Which is better depends on you and your playing style.

Many of these bonuses, promotions, and rewards come with a lot of details as to how you use them and spell out precisely how attractive they are. Make sure you read the fine print to understand when you can use them, what games you can use them on (some bonuses can’t be used on live dealer games), and if and when you can truly convert them to real money. 

Selection of Games

Since the selection of live dealer games is usually limited, you want to do your research and make sure that your preferred game is available in the online casino you are considering. While most online casinos with live dealer games have the most popular games available, such as blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and baccarat, if you are a fan of a specific version of the game, such as European Roulette or Pot-Limit Omaha Poker, you want to make sure the site offer that game.

Also, because live dealer games involve live people and production, they are oftentimes only available during certain hours. These hours are most often related to the main casino-going hours in the time zone the production is located. That means if you are in the UK and want to play a live dealer game based in Las Vegas, the hours might not line up conveniently.

 

Tips and Tricks for Playing Live Dealer Games

Here are a few last pieces of advice to make your live dealer experience as enjoyable and lucrative as possible. 

  • Be social – This is a huge perk of live dealer games; take advantage of it.
  • Find bonuses – Another piece of the online experience that is available and beneficial, so why not use them?
  • Check your connection – If your internet goes out, they are not going to stop the live game. Make sure you have a good connection before you start.
  • Learn the etiquette – Just like real casinos, live dealer games have table etiquette you should follow. Learn it and live it.
  • Know your limits – As with any form of gambling, you can get carried away playing live dealer games. Set your limits and abide by them to have a healthy gambling experience.

 

Conclusion

Since the dawn of online casinos in the mid-90s, providers and gamblers alike have tried to create the most realistic casino experience possible. Today, the live dealer games that are offered by online casinos make you feel like you are actually sitting down at a table and playing your favorite game. It is an amazing technological feat and an experience you have to try to believe.