Live Dealer Games
Playing at an online casino offers several advantages over playing in land based venues. It's far more convenient for one thing, as you can play whenever you want without having to leave your home. You also generally have a better choice of games, and can get lots of added value via the bonuses and rewards that most online casinos offer. These are just a few examples; there are plenty more too.
Despite all the advantages of playing online, there are still a couple of reasons why some people are put off by the idea. Concerns about the true randomness of computer generated games are quite common, while many find that playing online simply doesn't offer the same experience of playing in a "real" casino.
The introduction of live dealer games to online casinos has helped to negate these issues though. They make playing online much closer to the experience of playing at a live casino, and there is no need to worry about fairness or randomness as they feature real life action at real tables. They are also very exciting and provide great entertainment.
In this article we explain how live dealer casino games work. We also look at the advantages and disadvantages they offer, and answer a selection of frequently asked questions relating to these games.
The Mechanics of Live Dealer Casino Games
Live dealer casino games work in an entirely different way to the standard online games. Rather than using computerized graphics to simulate what happens in a real casino, they actually feature real dealers operating on real tables. Each gaming table is set up in just the same way as it would be in a land based casino, and each dealer runs their table just as they would if they were working in such a venue.
These dealers don't have players on the other side of the tables though – they have cameras. These cameras are constantly filming the action as it takes place, and broadcasting it in real time over the web. By logging into your online casino account and joining a table, you can take a virtual seat and enter the game.
You get to watch the action on your computer screen, and then effectively just play remotely. You choose how much to stake and, where relevant, what you want to bet on and what actions you want to take. For example, in live roulette you choose which numbers you want to bet on and how many chips you want to put on each selection. The dealers will act according to your instructions where necessary. For example, in live blackjack they will deal you another card when you choose to hit.
Your online balance will be adjusted according to the results, and that is really all there is to it.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Live Dealer Games
Live dealer games have proved to be very popular. They've only been around for a few years but they are already firm favorites with a lot of players. It's no great surprise really, as they are a lot of fun and offer some advantages over the standard casino games.
The biggest advantage of live dealer games is simply that they provide an excellent overall gaming experience. They are much closer to the real life casino experience, and you could almost imagine that you are actually sitting in a land based venue. They are also a great option if you have any concerns about the fairness of online games, as you actually get to watch the action taking place for real in front of your eyes.
There are a couple of disadvantages too though. Firstly, live dealer games are a fair bit slower than the standard online games. You have to wait for the dealers to physically deal the cards, or spin the roulette wheel, and this obviously takes a bit longer than generating some graphics. This is only really an issue if you like to play as quickly as possible of course.
Secondly, there is always a possibility that you may not be able to play when you want. Online casinos only have a certain number of tables, with a certain number of seats available at each one, and they can get busy at peak times. If all the tables are full, then you'll have to wait for a space to open up before you can start to play.
In our view, these disadvantages are fairly minor. We think live dealer games are great, and definitely worth trying out. They are not necessarily for everyone though, and you may well prefer sticking to the standard online games.
Live Dealer Games FAQ
Which casinos offer live dealer games?
Lots of them do. They don't all offer a great selection, but most of them have at least a few games available. If you are looking for somewhere to play this type of game, we'd suggest looking at our recommended live dealer casinos. These are, in our opinion, the best options.
Which games can I play?
This varies from one casino to the next, but blackjack and roulette are the most widely available. Other games such as baccarat, casino hold'em and Sic Bo are also available at some places.
Do I need to download any software?
Not necessarily, no. At most casinos you'll be able to play the live dealer games directly through your web browser, without having to download anything.
Can I play live dealer games for free?
Most online casinos allow you to play their standard games for free, but you usually have to play for real money if you're playing at the live dealer tables. This is probably because they have a limited number of tables available, and they want to keep the spaces for those playing for real.
Can I chat to the dealers and other players?
Most casinos have this option. Please be aware, though, that there are usually rules in place about what you can and can't say. There will certainly be no tolerance for abuse of the dealers or other players, and you're typically not allowed to talk in a foreign language either.
Can I tip the dealers? Should I?
Some online casinos allow you to tip the dealers - whether you do or not is entirely up to you. It might be considered good form to leave a small tip if you've won a significant amount, but you are in no way obligated to do so.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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