Live Casino Games
Live casinos are a relatively new addition to the online casino world. Not to be confused with brick and mortar casinos, they nevertheless operate in a very similar way.
Live casinos feature table games, and these are all operated by real dealers rather than the computer algorithm that governs the virtual table games. The dealer is placed in a room or studio, which is dressed to look exactly like a casino.
As with a land-based casino, the dealer can deal the cards or spin the wheel. Players are not physically present, but instead sit in the comfort of their own home viewing the proceedings through a series of high quality live camera feeds.
As in a real casino, players have the ability to fully communicate with their dealer, though instead of speaking face to face, communication takes place via a live chat function.
This is one of the easier games to transition to the online casino. As with the version in land based casinos, there is a wheel and a pay table. Depending on the casino, there may just be one version of roulette available or there may be a couple of variants.
European or American roulette?
Players are advised to check which version is on offer, particularly whether it is European or American roulette as the rule differences and extra pockets for American roulette will naturally be in play in the live casino as well.
Once the game has been chosen, players need to place their bets. Bets can be taken as inside or outside bets and for other rules such as En Prison or La Partage players are advised to read through the description of the specific game prior to joining to see if these are actually options.
The dealer will announce the time period within which all bets must be placed and after the time is up they will spin the wheel and drop the ball. When the ball comes to rest, all bets will be paid out as usual.
Winnings will be automatically added to the player’s virtual account and can be accessed when checking the account balance online.
Blackjack is a relatively simple game to get to grips with, and in a live casino it is no different. Gameplay is exactly the same, with the dealer dealing out two cards to the player and to themselves. Players are only betting and playing against the dealer.
Casinos have different versions
Depending on the style of the live blackjack version offered by the casino, there can be multiple players betting on the same hand or hands. Or there will only be a specific number of seats available.
To select a seat and join the game, the player simply needs to click on it. Players can place their own bets using their own virtual screen in the same way that bets are placed in the virtual games.
The dealer is connected to the screens and can see what bets are being made and what actions are being taken by the players. Player and dealer can also communicate with each other via a live chat function.
When it comes to Live Baccarat there are a plethora of options. As with all games, there is a basic option on offer along with multiple other variants. These differences usually come in the form of the speed of play or squeezing cards.
In some instances it is also possible to have the option of either playing alone or with groups of people at a particular table.
Live Baccarat rules
As with any other version of baccarat, the live version follows the same standard rules of trying to predict which of two hands will come closer to the value of nine. Players can choose the option of player or banker in each round to indicate their choice.
Cards are given the same values as in any baccarat game, with aces at one, cards from 2 to 9 worth their face value, and tens and face cards worth zero. The total is created by adding the sum of the two cards together, and if it comes to a double digit then the second digit is the number that is used.
Depending on the supplier that has produced the game, there are a number of different options available to players. Firstly there is often the choice between picking a six deck or eight deck game. Naturally, the higher number of decks the harder it will be to count cards.
Single player, multi seat, baccarat squeeze, speed baccarat and even a progressive baccarat are all options available at a number of casinos.
Live Casino Hold’em
Casino Hold’em live games are usually able to accommodate an unlimited number of players. Played with just one deck of cards, each player must place an ante bet in order to take part in the game.
On the first deal, two cards are dealt face up, with three community cards placed face up in the centre of the table. The player can then either fold or call.
The remaining cards will be drawn, and if the player’s hand is stronger than the dealer’s hand, the player will win.
To even qualify for the call bet, the dealer must have at least a pair of fours in their hand. If the dealer does not, then the player will automatically win.
Rules and payouts
Payouts get higher as the hand strength increases, with even money paid out to hand of a straight or lower, and stronger hands potentially getting paid out at 100 to 1.
These live games will also support bonus side bets that can offer decent payouts as well. Players need to bear in mind that some of these rules and payouts may vary slightly depending on the software provider.
Live Three Card Poker
Three card poker is one of the most popular specialty table games. Great for both new and experienced players, three card poker provides an exciting gaming opportunity.
This is a fast paced poker game that is based, as the name suggests, on just three cards. The game offers players the chance to beat the dealer in numerous ways, which is part of its charm.
The dealer must have a Queen high in order to be able to play, and all the players will compete against him or her.
In addition to players being able to win by beating the dealer, there is an option for an Ante bonus if a player holds a straight or more, as well six card bonus bets and pair plus, which offer the potential of allowing the player to win payouts of up to 1000 to 1.
Live Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud has a simple objective; the player simply needs to be dealt a stronger hand than the dealer. This hand comprises of just five cards and is mainly a luck based game, though a small amount of strategy will come into play when players decide whether to raise or fold.
This is done based solely on one single upturned card from the dealer – all five of the players cards are dealt face up whilst only the last of the dealers five is upturned for viewing.
Already a potentially lucrative game, some versions of Caribbean Stud Poker also offer a progressive jackpot.
At this time Caribbean Stud poker is one of the newest games to the live casino platform. In fact, the only provider to offer this game is currently Evolution Gaming, so players need to find a casino running on this software if they wish to play it live.
Offering a fast paced game style, unlimited player seats and an impressive progressive jackpot side bet, this game is guaranteed to pay out some big wins.
An optional 5 +1 bonus bet allows players to make the best hand they can with all upturned cards including the dealer’s single card. This can pay out at 1000 to 1.
The Popularity of Live Casinos
Live casinos are quickly becoming a highly popular option. For many games such as roulette or blackjack, the live option offers players the chance to play a game whenever and wherever they feel like it.
Land based casinos only have a limited number of seats for specific games, but with the online games there is no such issue.
Of course the poker games will still have a limit, but with so many tables and games on offer, it doesn’t take long at all for a seat to become empty, or for a player to simply check out another table.