Why play live dealer games
Live dealer games are the closest it gets to the real thing without visiting an actual land-based casino. Thanks to HD streams, clear audio and highly trained dealers, live games bring the thrill of the casino to the comfort of your own home.
You can chat with the dealer during live games just as you would in a bricks and mortar casino. You’ll send messages via a live chat, and the dealer will respond to you by speaking into the camera. Some games allow you to chat to other players, too.
In a bid to stand out from other casinos with live dealer games, sites are beginning to feature more innovative and exciting games as part of their live dealer library. While some games feature unique bonus bets, others have bigger progressive jackpots, adding another dimension to live dealer games.
You’re not limited to one or two options at live dealer casinos – most sites offer a wide variety of games to choose from. From roulette and blackjack to baccarat and poker, you can enjoy your favourite casino games with a live dealer, as well as different variations of each game.
About live dealer casinos
While online casinos have been around since the 90s, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the first live dealer games were launched. This meant that online players were no longer limited to computerised software games, and could now play with a human dealer via video link. This created a more authentic casino experience, and many players felt more comfortable seeing a dealer run the game rather than computer software. Unfortunately, limited technologies meant that the games weren’t of the best quality, with unreliable streams and poor graphics common. There was also little variety when it came to the games on offer.
Fast forward to today and live dealer games are far more advanced, truly bridging the gap between online and land-based casinos. Fast, HD streams, high functionality, quality games and improved interaction now mean you can enjoy a truly immersive casino experience without leaving the house.
What games can I play live?
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to live dealer games. Of course, each online casino will have its own selection, but these are the games you can expect to find in most live dealer games libraries.
Blackjack was one of the first live dealer games, and remains one of the most popular today. You’ll find it at pretty much every online live casino, and lots of sites have high and low variations to suit different budgets, as well as multihand games. Live dealer blackjack games often have plenty of side bet options, including bet behind, perfect pairs and 21+3 bets.
Along with blackjack, roulette was played at the earliest live dealer casinos. As well as classic roulette games, you’ll find a huge range of unique live roulette variations across the top online casinos. Evolution Gaming’s Lightning Roulette is one of the most popular, which is a game-show style variant where Lucky Numbers are struck by lightning in each round and can result in larger payouts.
You can enjoy most popular poker variations at live dealer casinos. Casino Hold’em is the most common, but many sites also offer the likes of Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud and Three Card Poker. Some live dealer poker games even feature progressive jackpots, so there’s the chance to win big if your luck’s in.
Baccarat is another popular game among live dealer players. As well as the traditional variant, there’s speed baccarat for fans of fast-paced games, as well as mini baccarat for those who prefer low stakes. Players who enjoy the ‘ritual of the squeeze’ can also play live squeeze baccarat.
Live dealer Sic bo isn’t available at all online casinos, but the best sites offer at least one live variation of this ancient Chinese gambling game. You’ll be able to place the same bets, whether you want to play on the safe side with even money, or take a risk with high variance.
How do live dealer games work?
Live casino games are run by human dealers via video link. The games are streamed in real-time, usually from purpose built studios that look and feel like real land-based casinos. The software developers that make live dealer games broadcast them using high quality cameras, meaning players can enjoy HD streams. The streams are only one way and the dealer can’t see you, so you don’t have to worry about getting dressed up!
All games are played against the dealer, but there will often be several players playing at each table. You can interact with your dealer and often other players via a live chat. Players will also use the chat to respond, while the dealer will respond verbally. Once you’re seated at the table, you basically play as you would an animated game, making your bets using the online interface.
How are live dealer games different to animated games?
There are a few factors that set live dealer games apart from animated computer games. Here’s how they differ:
The outcome of all animated casino games is determined by random number generator (RNG) software. In live casinos on the other hand, it’s the dealer shuffling and dealing cards and spinning the roulette wheel. This difference doesn’t have any effect on the outcome of the game- both RNG and live games are all completely random and fair at licensed casinos.
Live dealer games tend to have higher minimum bet limits than animated ones, covering the increased costs of running a live dealer casino game in comparison to a computerised variation. Unfortunately, this does mean that live dealer games aren’t suitable for all budgets. On the plus side, however, the best UK casinos have both high stakes and low stakes live dealer casino games. This means that, while you won’t find penny stakes live games, there are live dealer roulette games where you can play for just 50p per round.
While the moves in RNG games are pretty much instant, live dealer games are a little slower- just as in a real casino. This is perfect for players who like to take their time while enjoying the game, and it also gives you a chance to chat to the dealer and other players between moves. However, the best live casino sites also cater to those who prefer faster gameplay. Evolution Gaming’s Speed Baccarat and Playtech’s Prestige Roulette Lite are both designed for quick-fire gambling. These won’t quite match the speed of animated games, but you certainly won’t be twiddling your thumbs.
Live dealer casino software
Pretty much all of the live dealer games you can play online are created by independent software developers. The software used by a live casino can give you a good idea of what to expect from the games. Let’s take a look at what the best live dealer casino software developers have to offer.
Playtech was the first developer to launch online live casino software way back in 2003, and remains at the forefront of live dealer casino technology today. This software house offers everything from live poker to sic bo, and its state-of-the-art studio in Latvia is the world’s largest. Playtech was also one of the pioneers of omni-channel technology, and its live games were among the first to be made available on mobile as well as desktop.
Unlike other developers, Evolution focuses solely on live casino games and has been awarded Live Casino Supplier of the Year at the EGR B2B Awards for nine years running. It has one of the most extensive collections of live dealer titles, featuring the likes of Dragon Tiger and Dream Catcher as well as the traditional favourites. One of its most popular titles is Immersive Roulette, where multiple cameras give you close ups as the ball travels around the wheel, as well as slow motion replays when you strike it lucky.
While NetEnt doesn’t offer the same large range of live casino games, it certainly makes up for this in quality. This software house focuses mainly on roulette and blackjack, but the live dealer Common Draw Blackjack is one of the quickest on the market- unlimited players can bet on a single hand, so you’ll never have to wait for a seat at the table.
Live dealer casino bonuses
How about boosting your live dealer bankroll with a casino bonus? These are some of the bonuses you’ll find at live dealer casinos:
Casino welcome bonuses aren’t just restricted to RNG casino games – you can often use them to enjoy live games, too. The most common welcome bonus for live dealer games are matched deposits, where the casino rewards players with a percentage of their initial deposit as bonus funds. So if the offer is ‘100% up to £100’, you can deposit £100 to get a £100 bonus, giving you £200 to play with in total.
You can also use bonus funds from regular casino promotions and VIP programmes to play live dealer games. Whether these bonuses are a one-off promotional offer, or from your loyalty points, you’re usually free to play live dealer games with them. In fact, some casino sites offer bonuses exclusive to live dealer games- perfect if you’re a fan of a more immersive gambling experience.
Some software developers add in-game bonus features to make them more exciting and offer more betting opportunities to their players. Evolution’s Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker is a good example of this, featuring a bonus bet that pays up to 1000:1 and an uncapped progressive jackpot. Both the bets are optional and separate from the main game, meaning there’s extra chances to win regardless of your hand.
Bonus terms and conditions
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as selecting the live dealer bonus with the biggest numbers. There are a number of factors you should consider before you claim the bonus- it might not be the great deal you first thought.
Wagering requirements stipulate how much you’ll need to wager before you can withdraw any winnings, and can vary between different casino bonuses. Some wagering requirements are so high that the average casino player simply wouldn’t be able to complete them in the specified time limits, which means any associated winnings would expire. While some sites give players up to 30 days to complete bonus wagering requirements, others allow just a handful of days.
However, even if you’re a high roller and have no problem meeting wagering requirements, these bonuses aren’t just a free pass to the jackpot. Online casino bonuses usually have maximum winnings caps that limit how much players can win using their bonus funds. These limits will vary between casinos— ranging from £50 to a few hundred— and mean that, even if you were to hit the jackpot, you could only win a specified amount of that prize.
Play live dealer games on your mobile
You don’t have to be sat at home on a desktop to enjoy live casino games – you can play on mobiles and tablets, too. This is thanks software developers optimising their games for mobile play, by using HTML5 technology to create omnichannel software that allows players to enjoy live dealer games seamlessly across devices.
As well as playing through a mobile-friendly web browser, the UK’s best live dealer casinos have native mobile apps for Android and iPhone users, making mobile casino even smoother. All you need is a stable internet connection to play your favourite live dealer games when you’re out and about.
How to choose live dealer casinos
You can count on Casino Genius to bring you the best of live dealer casinos. We won’t feature just any live dealer on our list of recommendations— only the very best make the grade— but we’ve made a checklist of what you should consider when choosing your live dealer casino:
First and foremost, we only consider casinos that are fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The UKGC regulates gambling sites to ensure that your safety and wellbeing is protected. This not only means that your personal and financial details will be secure, but also that any games you’re playing— live dealer or RNG— are fair.
Games are pretty much the bottom line of online casinos, whether you’re after live dealer or computerised games. It’s important that a casino site’s games library meets your needs and expectations, be it in range of games or betting limits.
Pretty much every online casino accepts debit card payments, but more and more players are looking to make deposits with e-wallets like Neteller, Skrill and PayPal. In fact, some players even want to use Bitcoin to fund their online casino accounts. The deposit options vary from site to site, and they aren’t all included in the bonus offer, so take time to check the banking options if you have a particular payment method in mind.
Friendly withdrawal terms
What’s the point in signing up to play real money games if withdrawing any potential winnings will be a hassle? Check that the terms suit your playing style and that minimum and maximum withdrawal limits, processing times and withdrawal methods, work for you.
Customer service options
It’s likely that you’ll never need to contact customer service, but it’s good to have a strong support network in case you do ever have any queries or issues. While most casinos offer support via telephone or email, the best UK casinos offer 24 hour support via live chat, email and UK telephone numbers.
Good to go?
Now you’re clued in on live dealer games, you’re probably raring to have a go for yourself. Whether you’re looking for a particular casino game, the best bonuses or a native app, we’re certain there’s something for you in our genius list. All you need to do is compare site and pick out a favourite to sign up and start playing today.
Are live dealer games are fair?
Yes, as long as you’re playing at licensed online casinos. Casinos licensed by the UKGC are heavily regulated, so you can rest assured the games are fair and your information is safe. Of course, live dealer games don’t use RNG like animated games, but you can rest assured that they’re held to the same standards when it comes to fair play.
Can I play live dealer games any time?
Yes. You can play live dealer casino games 24/7 at the UK’s top casino sites. Some can only accomodate a limited number of players, so you may need to wait for a seat in some circumstances, but software houses are beginning to develop unlimited player games to avoid these waiting times.
Can I play live casino games for free?
No. Live dealer games are almost always exclusive to players betting with real money stakes. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on online casino games if you want to play for free- pretty much every online casino has animated free demos for players enjoy without playing with real money.
Do live dealer casinos have other games?
Yes. Pretty much all casinos that have live dealer games also feature a wide range of animated titles for players to enjoy, from slots to poker and everything in between. So if you fancy mixing it up a bit and playing some computerised games, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Do I have to download software to play live dealer games?
No. The live dealer games at most online casinos are instant-play, which means you can simply sign up and start playing without having to worry about making any downloads. Of course, if you want to play live dealer games with a mobile app, you’ll need to head to your app store and download the app to get started.
Can I use a strategy in live casino games?
Yes, there’s no reason why you can’t use a strategy in live dealer games. Of course, even though live games are played at a slower pace, you still need to be able to keep up. So we would advise trying out new strategies on free demos or low stakes animated games before jumping into live dealer variations. It’s worth mentioning that no strategy will guarantee you a win, so you should never bet more than you can afford to lose simply because your strategy says you are ‘due a win’.