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 favorite 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!
In a Nutshell
Live Dealer Casinos Explained
As someone interested in playing live dealer games, you may well wonder how they actually work. Let’s have a quick overview of the elements that go into bringing authentic, immersive gaming experiences to live casino sites.
The presence of an online live dealer is obviously what sets these games apart from their RNG equivalents. As well as always looking stylish and impeccable, live dealers are rigorously trained so they know the games inside-out and can provide the kind of professional service you’d expect from dealers and croupiers in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Many live dealers are also multi-lingual, which isn’t surprising when you consider that Evolution alone offers live dealer games in over 15 languages.
Shufflers and Shoes
As the likes of live blackjack and live baccarat use real cards, just like in a land-based casino, shuffling is an important component of every game. Software providers operating the studios have dedicated shufflers whose job it is to manage the decks and place them in the transparent shoes, ready for the game.
It’s obviously crucial that every development in a live dealer game is accurately captured. This is why casino tables have in-built sensors that ‘read’ cards as they’re dealt, instantly digitising the results so they can be brought up on the game interface on your screen. It’s known as optical character recognition (OCR) technology, and it’s a far cry from the days when cards were embedded with microchips so they could be scanned as they were dealt. Today’s OCR sensors are so advanced that special cards aren’t necessary, and regular decks can simply be used. Needless to say, sensors also track where the ball lands on the roulette wheel, with everything happening in real-time so gameplay is as seamless as you could want.
Game Control Unit
Each live dealer table is equipped with a Game Control Unit, or GCU. This constitutes the electronic brains behind the operation, gathering information from the OCR scanners and encoding the live video stream so the whole game is smoothly relayed to your desktop or mobile.
A live game just wouldn’t be possible without cameras. Some table games that require more elaborate decision-making, like live blackjack Caribbean Stud Poker, tend to settle on one camera angle for the sake of clarity. Simpler games of pure chance, like roulette, often use ever-changing angles from multiple cameras to provide close-ups and really ramp up the suspense and excitement.
While some live dealer games are actually beamed from real casino floors, the vast majority unfold in custom-made studios run by the software providers themselves. Some studios are pretty low-key and designed to mimic the look of land-based casinos, while others are more lavish and use blue screen technology to conjure up fantastical backdrops. Studios operate all over the world, with Evolution currently streaming from locations including Malta, Lithuania and the USA, and Pragmatic Play bringing the action from Romania.
The best live casinos ensure a top-notch playing experience with crystal-clear, high-definition streams. So, providing you have a solid internet connection, you don’t have to worry about fuzzy picture quality and glitchy videos, and can just settle into playing live casino games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat and Caribbean Stud Poker.
Quick Five-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 to operate in Canada and each offers an exceptional range of tables operated by some of the industry’s top software developers. Once you’ve pinpointed your favorite, 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, 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 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 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!
Why Live Dealer Casinos are So Popular
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.
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 chatbox, but the dealer will respond verbally. This human interaction adds to the appeal of these live casino games.
Compared to Virtual Game
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 skeptical. 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 the 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.
New to roulette? Check out our how to play roulette guide to help you get started!
Live Dealer Blackjack
One of the all-time favorites. Live dealer blackjack games include: classic, perfect pairs, surrender, switch and blackjack party. Most tables seat up to seven players, with minimum staking limits starting as low as 50 cents 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 to 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.
Live Dealer Craps
Craps brings to mind excited crowds cheering and high-fiving each other in a land-based casino. Taking this famously social game online was therefore a tough ask, but Evolution Gaming has done it in style. While you don’t get the whooping and clapping, this online casino version has atmosphere in spades thanks to its 1920s speakeasy-style studio. The iconic red dice are thrown by a mechanical arm to ensure fairness, and there’s even an Easy Mode which streamlines the betting options – ideal for new players who may be daunted by the huge array of ways to wager on craps.
Live Dealer Dragon Tiger
It may have a fearsome-sounding name, but Dragon Tiger is one of the most straightforward casino games out there. Popular in Asia, it’s effectively a two-card take on baccarat. The cards are dubbed ‘Dragon’ and ‘Tiger’ respectively, and you simply bet on which one will be higher in each round. Evolution’s take on the game, which is widely available at live dealer online casinos, also allows you to place side bets on whether there’ll be a tie or a suited tie.
Live Dealer Andar Bahar
A super-popular card game in India, Andar Bahar is gaining more and more online casino fans in Canada. The baccarat-like gameplay sees an initial card dealt, which is known as the ‘joker’. Further cards are then dealt, alternating between the ‘Andar’ and ‘Bahar’ sides of the live table. Players wager on whether a card of the same rank as the joker will be dealt on the Andar or Bahar side first. You can also place side bets on how many cards you predict will be dealt before the match takes place.
Best New Live Dealer Titles
The number of live games has shot up in recent years, reflecting the growing popularity of this alternative to the brick-and-mortar casino experience. Let’s take a look at some of the best live casino table games and game shows to have emerged since 2020.
Evolution has boldly declared Crazy Time to be ‘the most fun casino game ever created’. Whether or not that’s true, there’s no denying this new variation on the Dream Catcher money wheel game brings a lot of excitement. It goes all-in on the game show atmosphere, with a vibrant studio set and a giant pair of slot reels that can multiply winnings. Four bonus rounds provide plenty of action – these include the Cash Hunt shooting gallery game, and the eponymous Crazy Wheel round featuring a vast virtual money wheel.
Evolution has long been known for its superb live roulette games, and recently took things up a notch with Instant Roulette. This intriguing variant features not just one wheel, or even a handful, but 12 individual roulette wheels which are set to automatically spin in sequential order. When you decide to play, your bet will apply to the outcome of the next wheel that’s set to complete its spin. The seamless, constant flow of action means you can dip in and place bets at your own pace, rather like you can with RNG roulette games.
Pragmatic Play has firmly established itself as a leading name in live dealer online games. A recent addition to its portfolio of table games is Mega Roulette, which takes the classic, single-zero variant and loads it up with randomly-assigned multipliers that can reach up to 500x your stake. You can also place ‘Mega Bets’ on several selections in one go, while the subdued studio lighting gives the whole game a sultry, glamorous feel.
If you play live dealer games, you may already have come across Evolution’s Mega Ball. It’s part of the company’s celebrated game show portfolio, and is essentially a blinged-up version of bingo. Balls are drawn and numbers marked off on cards, with players hoping to score winning lines, bingo-style. The key difference is that some balls activate multipliers, the values of which are determined by a giant selection wheel. This can substantially boost the real money payouts.
Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt Live
Innovative as always, Evolution has brought slots-style gameplay to the live dealer sphere with Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt. Based on NetEnt’s hugely popular Gonzo’s Quest slot, it features prizes hiding behind a wall of stones. Players must pick which stones to look behind, and may benefit from bonus Prize Drops during each game. The studio provides a ‘Incan’ vibe, while Gonzo himself springs to life and interacts with the host thanks to augmented reality technology.
First Person Games
Many of the best live casino sites now also include the First Person series from Evolution. The studio has launched First Person Craps, First Person Dragon Tiger, and a number of other titles in recent years. Each of these is actually an RNG game that replicates the feel of a live dealer game through the use of life-like, 3D rendering. Each also has a ‘Go Live’ button which will whisk you straight to the true live dealer game in an instant.
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 skepticism 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.
Compare & Bet
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 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.
Your Questions Answered
Can I play demo games in the live casino?
Unfortunately not. There are no free live games offered at the moment. Whilst understandable due to the operational costs, it would still be nice to have a try-out before playing for real money.
Are live casinos offered on mobile devices?
Yes, they certainly are. The live casino is a guaranteed feature at any mobile casino. Some operators have also developed specific native apps solely for their live casino product. This means you can play your favorite live casino games absolutely anywhere.
Do live casinos work on slow internet connections?
Yes, but not very well. You will encounter a lot of buffering which detracts from the experience. We’d advise that only medium to fast connections should be used, which is quite standard these days.
Can I get any live dealer casino bonuses?
Yes, more and more of these are cropping up nowadays. They range from specific welcome bonuses that can only be used on live games to cash-back bonuses for playing live roulette at the weekends.
What are Asian live dealer games?
Certain games, such as sic bo, originate from Asia. Therefore, several online casinos use professional Asian croupiers to host the games. Whilst it makes no difference to your luck at the table, it definitely helps make the whole experience even more authentic.
Do I need a large bankroll to play live dealer games?
No, not at all. Many casinos offer tables, mainly roulette and blackjack, with limits as low as 50 cents a game. That means if you play with a good strategy you should be able to get a good evening’s play for very cost. Of course, there are also VIP tables for the high rollers, too. Basically, there is a table for everyone.
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