Live Dealer Online Casinos
Why do we like online casinos?
Because they're convenient. You don't have to leave your home – let alone travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars – to play blackjack or slots.
But this comes at a cost – human interaction. Chit-chatting with other players. Flirting with the dealer or cocktail waitress. These were things you simply couldn't do online.
But now you can, thanks to live dealer casinos.
Live dealer casinos host games using real people instead of computers. They record them live and stream them to more than 20 different online casinos.
So now you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can play casino games while socializing with real people, but with the convenience, peace and quiet, and savings that's only possibly by playing online.
We go into more detail about how live dealer casinos work, the types of games you can play, and the pros/cons to live dealer games below.
Before we get to that, though, we want to show you the best live dealer casinos you can join in 2018.
Our Expert Rankings of the Most Legit Live Dealer Casinos for 2018
|Rank||US Online Casino||Sign Up Bonus||Get Started|
|#1||BetOnline Casino||50% up to $2,500||Visit Site|
|#2||SB Casino||100% up to $1,000||Visit Site|
Every casino on this list has been thoroughly vetted to ensure they're licensed, regulated, safe and fair. You can also read our reviews to learn more about their banking options, game selection, software and promotions.
For everyone else, we're now going to dive a little deeper into live dealer casinos, starting with how they work.
A Little About How Live Dealer Casinos Work
Most live dealer casinos come from 3rd party companies who focus exclusively on live gaming. A few examples include: Evolution Gaming, Vuetec, HoGaming and Entertasia. They broadcast their games from locations all over the world, such as:
According to LiveDealer.org, there are 3 types of live dealer casinos:
Vision Streamed (studio)
The most common type. Games are streamed from a dealer studio where everything from lighting to camera angles to zooming to functionality is optimized for online play.
Vision Streamed (casino)
These are games streamed from brick and mortar casinos. You can play next to players who are physically at the casino. These games have the added perk of being hosted by a casino croupier (employed by the casino).
These are live games cast over both the web and over cable (television) channels. These resemble game shows (more or less) between the studio setup and presenters.
These each have their own pros and cons. However, we prefer the vision streamed (studio) option whenever possible. It's nice to have a real casino backdrop and croupier, but we'd rather have games, features and options that are optimized for online play.
That said, your choices may be limited when you consider and choose a casino based on several other factors, including availability, banking, promotions – and most important of all – games and software.
Live Dealer Software & Games
Let's talk about software.
It doesn't matter what you run – Windows, Mac or Linux – so long as you can download their software or access the casino's no download casino (using Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari), you'll be fine.
Many live dealer casinos offer mobile-optimized games, too, though this is hit or miss – especially for American players. But the best way to know for sure is to read our casino reviews.
As for your internet connection, if you can stream movies and TV shows from Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, you shouldn't have any problem streaming live dealer games.
What Games and Stakes Can You Play?
It depends. Every casino works with different 3rd party providers, so each one will have different live dealer games and stakes. But here's an overview of what you can play:
- Sic Bo
- Casino Hold'em
- 3-Card Poker
- Craps Lottery
- Double Ball Roulette
- Bet on Poker
- Ultimate Texas Holdem
- Caribbean Stud Poker
- There are many variations, too. For example:
- Men or women dealers
- Asian, European, American dealers
- No commission
- European, American, French roulette
- Playboy themed/dressed dealers
Availability varies wildly from casino to casino. Most casinos offer only 3-5 live dealer games. You might want accounts at 2-3 casinos if variety is what you're after.
Another thing – unlike computers, humans can't work 24/7/365 without taking a break. So, if there's a particular dealer you like, you'll want to find out what their schedule is (which many casinos post) and adjust yours accordingly.
Stakes + Free Games
Now, let's talk stakes.
Stakes, like games, will vary on where you play. You can expect minimum limits to be .10 to .50 for roulette and as low as $1-$5 for the other table games. Max limits vary wildly – you can expect to find maxes ranging from $500 to as much as $75,000.
The one stake you won't find, though, is FREE.
Most online casinos are happy to let you play their games for free. But that's because it doesn't take up any more of their resources.
However, live dealer games require real people – croupiers, dealers and pit bosses – people who the casinos have to pay – to run their games. Combined with limited seating and it's easy to see why most live dealer casinos don't let you play for free.
That said, some casinos do allow it. Just don't get your hopes up. And most casinos will let you load their games and watch without having to place a bet.
Each casino will have different house rules. They'll have unique rules for their table games, such as when the dealer is supposed to hit or stand, or how many times you can split or double down. Payouts will be different, too.
Most casinos will also have a shuffle policy where they tell the dealer where to insert the cut card. This is for games like blackjack to prevent players from counting cards.
Note: Card counting is prohibited at most live dealer casinos. If caught counting cards, many casinos reserve the right to close your account.
Live Casino Special Features
One of the added benefits of live dealer games are the special features. Features that make live dealer gaming a more exciting and interactive experience.
The more common features you'll come across include:
- Chat – Several platforms give you the ability to chat with the dealer and/or the other players. Many dealers will chat back, make small talk, have fun, etc. Just don't expect them to hold an in-depth conversation with you. After all, they have a job to do.
- Audio Chat – Some casinos offer audio chat over live text chat so you can talk to people in real time using a microphone or headset.
- Video – Many platforms will let you enlarge the video stream to smaller/larger. They may also offer customization options, such as ‘classic' or ‘3D' views.
- View Bets – With this option you can view all the bets placed by other players, as well as see the amounts won by every player, every round.
- Multi-Table – Some casinos will let you play multiple tables (as many as 5) at one time.
- Multiple Angles – For some games, like roulette, the best live dealer casinos will have multiple screens or angles, so that you can see both the dealer/roulette table and the roulette wheel.
- Oversized Cards – Many of the card games use oversized cards so you can clearly see them. They may also be shown using virtual graphics so you can clearly see what they are. This is done using a scanner – the dealer waves the scanner over the cards, which then pop up on your screen.
- Basic Strategy – Some casinos offer basic strategy advice for games like blackjack.
In addition to software features, some live dealer software providers take game requests. Experts say they have seen some studios fulfill requests in as fast as 60 days.
Are Live Dealer Games For You?
Not sure if live dealer games are for you? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
This might be a larger list of cons than you were expecting. But this isn't to suggest live dealer games aren't worth playing. We're not saying that at all.
What we wanted to do is make it clear how different live dealer games are from your traditional computerized online games, especially when it comes to game selection, stakes and speed.
For some people, slower games and game selection is important, which rules out live dealer games altogether. For others, they want the brick and mortar casino experience, so those things are merely the tradeoff.
Only you can know for sure if live dealer games are for you.
If you want a real casino experience, but would rather skip the traveling, hotels, noise and crowds that come with going to a real casino, live dealer casinos are the way to go.
You get nearly all the perks of playing at an online casino site – such as convenience, privacy and deposit bonuses – on top of nearly everything that makes live gaming fun – socializing, higher limits and attractive dealers.
But live dealer casinos are far from perfect. So, you'll want to have an account at 2-3 casinos, if possible, so you can have a wide range of games, variants, stakes and house rules.
The best part is that live dealer casinos are still in their infancy. Which means we'll likely see improvements on all these things, and more, in the near future.