For years online casinos have been searching for new and innovative ways to recreate the authentic sights, sounds and features of a land-based casino. Top of the range graphics from the world’s best software providers have gone some way to bridge the gap, but the advent of live dealer casino has blown everything else out of the water. You no longer have to choose between virtual games and a trip to your local casino – live dealer casino brings you the best of both worlds. Before you pick out a favourite from our shortlist of top live dealer casino sites, let us take you everything you need to know about the most realistic casino experience available online today!
Quick 5-step guide to playing live dealer games
- Pick a top live dealer casino
You want the best live dealer experience possible and that’s what Compare.bet strive to offer you. We’ve put together an awesome line up of casinos pushing the envelope in the live dealer arena. All of our featured casinos are licensed by the UKGC and each offers an exceptional range of tables operated by top names such as Evolution Gaming, NetEnt and Extreme Gaming. Once you’ve pinpointed your favourite, simply sign up.
- Deposit and claim bonus
Funding your account is made easy by the great range of payment options available at our featured online casinos. From debit and credit cards to e-wallets, virtual cards and prepaid vouchers, there’s a method for all players. Once you’ve made your first deposit at the cashier, your welcome bonus should be credited to your account almost immediately.
- Choose your game
You’ll usually find a quick link to the live casino. This means that your next live game is never more than a few clicks away. Simply browse the collection and pick out a title. Whether you fancy a game of baccarat, 007 style, or a simply spin of the roulette wheel, our featured casinos have got you covered.
- Take a seat
Once you’re at your table, you’ll be given a seat. However, some games like blackjack and casino poker have limited availability and can reach maximum capacity during peak hours. If this happens, you can wait until a seat is available or choose an alternative. If you do decide to wait, you are able to ‘bet behind’ on certain games which gets you involved in the action without being at the table.
Unfortunately, there are no free demo versions available for live casino games, so you’ll have to learn on the fly if you’re green behind the ears. If you don’t have the hot hand, be wary of chasing your losses. Remember to have fun and never bet more than you can afford to lose!
Beginner’s guide to live dealer casinos
As the name suggests, these are casino games which are operated using live dealers, also known as live croupiers, over a live stream. They bring the atmosphere and human touch of a real-life casino game direct to your device – whether you’re at home or playing on the go.
High quality streams
The crystal clear high definition streams are sometimes broadcast from real brick-and-mortar casinos, while other live dealers operate the tables at a purpose built studio that’s designed to look just like a real land-based casino.
The gameplay and its controls remain largely the same, however there are a few obvious differences. Where traditional online roulette is basically a computer game, you’re pitted against the dealer and sometimes other online casino players in live dealer games. Plus, with the game being run by a live dealer, the pace of the game is out of your hands. Live dealer games run at a slower pace than traditional online casino games, giving time for other players to place their bets and for croupiers to manually operate equipment.
Live dealer games offer a chat feature so you can communicate with the dealer at your table. You’ll be able to communicate using a text-based chat box, but the dealer will respond verbally. This human interaction adds to the appeal of these live casino games.
Live dealer games vs virtual casino games
Even just a quick glance at each type of game will instantly reveal a few differences between the two, but which version comes out on top, live dealer games or traditional online casino games? While the standard online casino games still rank among the most popular, we think live dealer games are undoubtedly your best option.
Top software providers like NetEnt bring the best HD graphics and crystal clear sound effects to the table in traditional online casino games like sic bo and roulette. Before live dealer games came around, these games were considered as pretty realistic. However, live casino has raised the bar by providing what is widely regarded as the most authentic casino experience available online. Nothing compares to the sights and sounds of cards shuffling, roulette balls spinning and a live croupier talking to you – providing thrilling visuals and an exciting soundtrack to your casino gameplay.
While the aim of the game for most players is to land a big win, many play casino games for their entertainment value. We think it’s no contest in this department. With friendly, entertaining live croupiers, a live chat box to interact with your dealer and real casino equipment, live dealer casino games are by far the superior option.
Any licensed casino is required to use Random Number Generator software to guarantee fair results on table games like roulette, blackjack and baccarat. This software is put through frequent, rigorous tests to ensure it’s up to scratch. Yet, there are players that remain sceptical. Some players prefer to put their trust in a live dealer that they can see operating the equipment before their own eyes, whether they’re shuffling a pack of cards or spinning the iconic roulette wheel.
While live dealer casino trumps the traditional online alternative in most departments, it’s not quite a clean sweep. When it comes down to total number of variants, traditional casino games are untouchable. Many sites offer over 15 roulette games, as many as 10 different blackjack titles and numerous versions of baccarat.
In regards to table limits, you’ll find games starting at lower limits over in the traditional library – this is understandable due to the low running costs. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the highest limits at live casino tables – in some cases you’ll be able to stake up to £50,000 on a round of VIP roulette and blackjack.
Live dealer casino games
Today, players are treated to a substantial collection of live dealer tables spanning a range of table limits. Let’s take a closer look at the games on offer
Live dealer roulette
The founding-father of gambling games, roulette still ranks among the most popular games at any online casino. Live roulette games include French, European and American variants of this classic game. There’s also double-ball roulette, mini roulette and dual-play which is played along with real players at the casino where the feed is streamed from.
Live dealer blackjack
One of the all-time favourites. Live dealer blackjack games include: classic, perfect pairs, surrender, switch and blackjack party. Most tables seat up to 7 players, with minimum staking limits starting as low as 50p and maximum limits for a hand reaching four figures. To keep the flow of the game going when playing at a live dealer casino, players are able to ‘pre-decision’ bet to save time.
Live dealer baccarat
Players across the world enjoy the thrills of baccarat and it transfers to the live dealer casino in remarkable fashion. From classic baccarat and punto banco to squeeze and speed baccarat, the top live dealer casinos have the lot. Live baccarat also offers ample opportunities for plenty of side bets. Though not advised due the high house edge, these wagers do make the game even more entertaining.
Live dealer poker
3-card poker, casino hold’em, Caribbean stud, ultimate Texas hold’em and Texas hold’em bonus poker are the big five in this category. A mixture of skill and chance, these live poker games give you a chance to use strategy to defeat the dealer.
Fans of dice games can get their fix at the live casino tables by playing sic bo and craps. Unlike roulette and blackjack, these games aren’t widely offered so you’ll find your options limited when searching for a live dealer casino.
This is a money wheel game which is powered by the award-winning Evolution Gaming. There are six numbers to choose from and players bet on which one they think the wheel will stop on. It also has a series of multipliers which can boost your winnings by a whopping seven times!
Live dealer casino bonuses
Whilst the benefits of playing live dealer casino games are pretty obvious, the bonuses available for these titles still fall short in comparison to those on offer for traditional online casino classics. Fortunately, a few of the top live dealer casinos are making up ground in this department, giving live casino players a big bankroll boost!
Many operators offer enticing new customer bonus offers purely for live dealer games. These usually come in the form of a matched deposit, while other casinos offer more player-friendly no deposit bonuses, which essentially gives you free money!
Of course, there’s always a bit of scepticism when free money is mentioned and rightly so in this case. You’ll usually have to meet wagering requirements before you can actually get your hands on any bonus winnings – no wagering casinos are few and far between. This simply means you’ll have to wager your bonus winnings a certain number of times before you can cash out. Wagering requirements aren’t exclusive to new player bonuses either – you’ll find them attached to most bonus offers.
Also known as rebate bonuses, these are a very popular live dealer promotion. The most common offer was 10% back on aggregated losses over a set period, such as the weekend. Now you’ll find that casinos also payout out for aggregated wins. This gives your winnings a boost and a consolation prize for a bad day at the office – not bad, right?
These aren’t widely available, but some casinos offer enhanced payouts for hitting blackjack on the live dealer tables. You can’t go wrong with a boost on your blackjack winnings!
These are essentially matched deposit offers for existing players. You’re unlikely to get the 100% bonuses offered to new players, but these are still a great way to top up your kitty and play at the tables longer, for less money.
Ready to play?
You now know the essentials of a live casino set-up, so all that’s left is for you to try one. Use our list to assist you in comparing the UK’s very best live dealer casinos. You can check out the bonuses and variety of games. Then choose the one which matches your tastes, sign up, collect your live casino bonus and immerse yourself in the best online experience possible.