Why are Live Casinos so Popular?
For many players, trust is a big factor in the rise in popularity of Live Casinos. Players instinctively trust that which they can see with their own eyes. The random number generators employed to institute an algorithm, allowing it to enact the mechanics of card distribution or other procedures in virtual casino games, is abstract and difficult to comprehend, and so some players feel that it is less likely to be operating honestly than a real person, with a real deck of cards, dealing and shuffling them before their very eyes, with nothing functioning behind the scenes. This is why so many players ask "Are online casinos rigged?" Watching a live dealer drop the “pill” or roulette ball into the spinning roulette wheel seems tamperproof in comparison to a computer-generated wheel, spinning in cyberspace, operated by a seemingly ghostly presence.
Not only do players assume that human being controlled games are more reliable – they also feel inherently more authentic. Watching the cards being shuffled and hand dealt is part of the ritual that players associate with visiting land-based casinos and recreating this process faithfully makes the entire experience infinitely more satisfying to take part in.
Why Might I want to Play at a Live Casino?
Many players are dedicated slots players or sportsbook fanatics and perhaps they have never considered live casino games as an alternative. The vast number of players that do engage with live games suggests that there is something incredibly appealing about them that perhaps is worth exploring. One thing is for sure – their popularity never diminishes – it increases if anything – so why?
For many fans of live casino games there may well be an element of challenge, and the satisfaction that comes from overcoming a challenge, involved in their popularity. For games such as blackjack and poker there are very definite strategies involved that can optimize the playing conditions for players. For blackjack playing perfect basic strategy – and we mean perfect - can reduce the house edge to around 0.5% depending on the specific rule variants in use. This is an advantage that players cannot tap into when playing slots games. There is nothing a player can do to affect the outcome of a spin on a slots game. Players looking to develop a new skill might find learning basic strategy and deploying it during a real game really enhances their live play experience. Think of being able to judge the silly decisions players not using basic strategy make and being able to take pride in new skills you possess. Though in blackjack all players are playing against the dealer rather than each other, there is still a competitive element in that at the end of a session you want your bankroll to have grown and you want to have beaten the house. There is an argument to say that players of live casino games feel they have more impact on their outcome than those that play the RNG-controlled variants.
The element of convenience may also make playing at a live casino an attractive proposition for players that have not yet tried this. Playing in a bricks-and-mortar casino requires travel and preparation. It is unlikely that players will want to go out to play looking less than their best. To access the same thrill of live games from the privacy of your own home means that much less preparation is required. You can be sitting at home in your pyjamas and the other players at the table will have no idea. There is no need to worry about how you will travel to and from a land-based property either – it can be accessed from wherever you are. If you have 30 mins to fill before dinner, then that is perfectly doable with a live online casino. In this way, live casinos offer far more versatility than their real physical counterparts. Similarly, specialist live casinos are often able to offer a larger range of live games than their bricks-and-mortar cousins, since space is not an issue in the number of tables they can fit in as the games are not all hosted in the same location. All land-based casinos offer roulette and blackjack games but often not much more than this; live online casinos regularly offer more unusual games like Caribbean stud, sic bo, the big six wheel and even some gameshow format games, so for players looking for novelty value, live online casinos may be the answer to their prayers.
Live Casino Bonuses
More live casinos than ever are cottoning on to the fact that bonuses are central to player experience and casino profitability. There has never been a better time to be a live games player in terms of bonus availability.
Live Casino Welcome Bonuses
Besides the social aspect of live online casinos being a draw for players looking for those human interactions and personal quirks that come with the presence of real croupiers, bonuses can also be a good reason for giving live games a whirl. Many of the best live casinos are well aware of how beloved their games are to players and they also know that regular Welcome Bonuses are not particularly appealing to players of this type. They very often construct bonuses dedicated only to live games as part of their player acquisition techniques. In the dynamic live casino sector operators know that they must offer competitive bonuses in order to attract new custom, to convert prospective players to actual players and to retain them beyond their initial signup bonus session. This all bodes well for new players looking for a new live casino to signup and play at because many places offer live casino bonuses that are optimized for the live casino games category.
Live Casino Cashback Bonuses
Players often view cashback bonuses as incidental – they are playing anyway - if they are able to recoup some losses or gain a cash reward associated with the level of their wagering then they are happy enough. Cashback bonuses for slots players can seem fairly inconsequential in terms of reward since wagers on slots can tend to be on the smaller side meaning that it can take a long time before any significant reward is accrued via the cashback bonus route. When playing live games, suddenly cashback bonuses can become more attractive. Wagers on live games tend to be larger than their equivalents on slots play and so cashback can be built up at greater speed. Generally, cashback bonuses are wagering requirement free, particularly if they are directly linked to losses incurred.
Live Casino Bonuses and Wagering Requirements
Though live casino bonuses may seem very attractive we always recommend that players do their homework before accepting any bonus at all. Reading the associated bonus terms and conditions is absolutely non-negotiable – how can you tell if you really are happy accepting a bonus unless you know all of the conditions that apply to it? One of the biggest factors to take into account before claiming any live casino bonus is the wagering requirements applicable to it. Wagering requirements can make or break a bonus for many players. If you have not heard of wagering requirements before they are simply the number of times a player must wager the amount of the bonus they received, or the bonus they received plus their initial deposit amount, before any winnings accrued can be eligible for withdrawal. Wagering requirements can vary considerably – from as little as 1xB to 35x(D+B) or more. As you can imagine this can have a massive impact on how much a bonus is worth to a player in real money value. You can access hundreds of Bonus Reports here at ThePOGG that categorically lay out the worth of a bonus to players.
Live Casino Bonuses and Games Contributions Percentages
It is important to make clear that when it comes to contributing to wagering requirements, not all games contribute equally to the amount of wagering requirement left to complete after a period of play. Where casinos may offer a general welcome bonus that can be played on most games that they offer – including live casino games – some games will contribute more to the wagering requirements than others. It is most unusual that all categories of games will contribute 100% to the wagering requirement – if you cannot see games contributions percentages in the bonus terms and conditions then please take the time to check the general terms and conditions too – often they are found there instead. If all else fails and you cannot locate these percentage elsewhere, please take the time to ask live support for the information you require before you go ahead and begin playing with the bonus on your account.
By and large, most slots games will contribute 100% to the wagering requirements – some games may be excluded from wagering or contribute less than 100% but these will normally be in the minority. Live casino games generally contribute significantly less than slots to the wagering requirements stipulated in the bonus terms and conditions, often between 5 and 15% is how their contribution to wagering compares to the 100% linked to most slots. In real terms this means that if a live casino assigns a wagering requirement weighting value of 10% to live games contributions and 100% to slots games contributions, for every £10 wagered – the entire £10 would be counted towards the wagering if played on slots but only £1 would count towards the wagering of played on live games. This is quite a considerable difference, so you can see why we urge players to do their due diligence and check out all of the conditions linked to the bonus they are considering claiming. This also highlights why live casino focused bonuses are likely to be worth seeking out instead of just general welcome bonuses that allow live games play.
Live Casinos and Mobile Compatibility
The live casino industry has moved on considerably in recent years due to the increasing demands players have regarding accessibility. If a live casino is to secure and retain players, it must provide the best experience to those players. The massive rise in the use of mobile devices to access live casinos in recent years has meant that these casinos have been forced to move with the times. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission do good work in researching trends and statistics relating to gambling habits in the UK and in this market alone they have tracked a rise from 33% of people having accessed an online casino via a mobile device in 2015 to 43% in 2016, 51% in 2017 and in the most recent published figures – in 2018 – this had risen to 55%. As it stands, all live casinos are absolutely mobile compatible in 2021. Most live casinos offer a downloadable app option or players have the option of playing via their mobile browser. It should be noted that for players accessing live casinos via a capped data package, live games can burn through this very quickly, using wi-fi facilities is a far more cost-friendly option.
The Benefits of Live Casinos
To summarise – here are the clear benefits player report that live casinos offer:
♠ Human Connection and Dialogue
Many live casinos offer an in-game chat feature allowing players to converse with each other and also with the croupier working that shift. People are not solitary creatures, and such interactions are very appealing to our social sides – this may account for some of the rise in popularity of this sector of gaming. It should be noted that there is an expectation of the same level of respect and courtesy towards staff and other players being shown in this virtual live casino as is required in a regular land-based casino. Operators will not tolerate anti-social behaviour, racist or abusive comments towards the croupier or other customers, and anyone conducting themselves in this way will be exited and barred.
♥ High Level of Engagement
It can be difficult for human beings to feel connected to and absorbed by a computer-generated RNG version of a table game. Players like the ritual of certain games, the rhythm that develops during live play is more authentic – some players even find it fairly relaxing - and this can be wholly more satisfactory than the fast-paced, computer regulated RNG-controlled games that have swamped the market.
♣ Safe and Trustworthy Gaming
Many players feel that live casinos and the games they offer are entirely transparent. Everything connected to the game takes place right there in the open in front of players. If cards are to be dealt, they are dealt by hand from a pile that can be clearly seen. If cards are to be shuffled, they are shuffled by hand right there in front of your very eyes. If the roulette wheel is to be spun, the dealer spins it in plain sight of all players. All actions take place in real-time and are transmitted using HD quality images that are unlikely to be tampered with. Players like to feel that there is nothing going on behind the scenes that may be less than fair, and they feel that live games afford them the opportunity of negating this unseen factor.
♦ Authenticity of Playing Experience
Many players who cannot, for whatever reason, make it to the bricks-and-mortar venues they favour playing in, find solace in the live casinos now operated by many online providers. Many players feel that there is equivalency of playing experience when engaged in these live games and that they are far more authentic than their RNG counterparts in terms of atmosphere and playing mechanics.
New Live Casino Games Releases
Live casino games have grown so much in popularity in recent years that software developers are working tirelessly to push developments and advancements so that players receive the very best of experiences when playing their games in the hope that this will keep them coming back. As a research article in the 2017 winter edition of the MIT Sloan Management Review Magazine so insightfully points out:
Profits flow to video game app developers not when their apps are downloaded for free, but when users decide to keep playing and spend money to upgrade the app or make in-app purchases. Yet in many cases, the notion of generating revenue is no more than a pipe dream: According to one estimate, less than 40% of video game players return to a free-to-play game after the first session;3 another analysis found that, on average, three-quarters of people who download apps stop using those apps within 90 days.
Now more than ever, live casino games developers understand this principle and look to build return customers by making their experience of their games an incomparable one. One of the most significant live software developers in the industry today, Evolution Gaming, has been busy developing and launching a trio of brand new live online casino games in an attempt to engage and retain new customers but whether it is the comfort of tradition or something new and groundbreaking – live casinos can fulfill all of your playing needs. The three new games featuring in the Evolution Gaming portfolio are: Crazy Time, Mega Ball and Instant Roulette – more on these follows.
Crazy Time is the live game release by Evolution that has made the biggest waves in the industry recently – it is award winning having swiped the Innovation in Casino Entertainment Award at the end of year SBC Awards. Evolution’s Chief Product Officer, Todd Haushalter was jubilant about the recognition of the company’s hard work, saying:
We are thrilled to have won this award for Crazy Time. Our team worked tirelessly to create our most ambitious game to date, integrating multiple cutting-edge technologies in one game[…]
With the addition of Crazy Time to their portfolio, Evolution Gaming now have a trio of games based on the concept of the money wheel that was initiated by the Dream Catcher money wheel game, all of which are trusted and loved by players. Improved interactivity and technological innovations have elevated Crazy Time to new heights. The addition of further multipliers in two out of 4 bonus games – up to 25,000 times to be exact – mean this game is thrilling to play. The four bonus games featured in this game show style game are: Crazy Time, Pachinko, Coin Flip and Cash Hunt and the comprehensive nature of the game means it is accessible to even the newest and least experienced live casino players. The simple choice players must make is what to bet on – the numbers 1, 2, 5 and 10 and/or the four bonus games previously mentioned.
Crazy Time – the eponymous component - is a simple bonus game in that players hop through the tempting red doorway, to be greeted by an absolutely ginormous money wheel, then they must choose the colour of their flapper before play commences. Their choices are: yellow, blue or green. The friendly presenter then depresses the red button to set the wheel spinning before it comes to rest where the flapper indicates. Multipliers are set and enacted according to if the flapper lands on either the DOUBLE or TRIPLE values inscribed on the wheel and then off it spins again. Players who chose the incorrect flapper are excluded from taking part in this round and so it continues with the qualifying players until the allowed multiplier maxes out at 20,000 times.
Crazy Time is a great entry level game for players looking to try out the live casino concept and it all takes place in a bright, vibrant studio which enhances its authenticity and the quality of the playing experience it provides.
Cash Hunt is also simply designed and easy to comprehend; it relies on a shooting gallery style format. Players view a massive monitor that is home to 108 random multipliers which are concealed by a variety of symbols, these are thoroughly shuffled before the contestant is allowed to take aim as the timer begins. Aiming for where they hope the biggest multiplier is concealed, the cannon then blasts away the symbol to reveal which multiplier has been activated once the allocated time has lapsed. Since each player is playing independently and each takes aim independently it is likely that they will all activate different multipliers.
Coin Flip is as basic as it sounds – the multiplier awarded depends on the flip of a coin with one face blue and the other red. At the point where the coin toss is activated 2 multipliers will be revealed – one corresponding to the red face of the coin, the other to the blue face. The colour that faces up when the coin lands activates the corresponding multiplier.
Pachinko – the final of the four bonus games – features an oversized Pachinko board with many pegs. The gameshow host has possession of a puck which is then released to land on a multiplier spot – this multiplier is then extended to the players taking part. Should the puck make its way to a DOUBLE spot, it will be released again and so it will continue until an actual multiplier is won. The maximum allowed multiplier in this bonus game is 10,000 times.
Another groundbreaking and innovative game by Evolution Gaming, as with Crazy Time this game show style game takes place in a stimulating and fun studio environment. Evolutions’s bespoke bingo ball machine is home to 51 numbered bingo balls in a variety of colours. The game itself is easy to understand and take part in – there are few rules or processes - so again this is a very nice entry level game for players new to live casinos.
Thrilling at all times and played at a break-neck pace, Mega Ball is engaging above all things. Competitors choose how much they would like to have as the value of their cards and then all they need do is buy the number that they feel will be lucky for them – this is capped at a level of 200 per single game round. The excitement rises until the ball selection begins and matches are made to corresponding numbers on the player cards, lines can form, and money can be made. Easy!
The Mega Ball Draw sees 20 balls being selected in quick succession from Evolution’s bespoke machine. As the draw proceeds any numbers that have been successfully selected will be marked on the players’ cards for them. At this point a reshuffle of cards takes place and that which is most likely to win at this point is moved to the top. Numbers still required to complete the win will be shown at the top together with the win amount that can be expected should a win take place. As the draw is completed a multiplier is created – this is known as the Mega Ball Multiplier – it will be of an amount ranging from 5 times to as much as 100 times. Simultaneously the studio is transformed with changes made to the lighting set-up alongside the interface shown to the player which will display the necessary numbers for a win to be completed. This all feeds into the thrill for the player and it is part of this game’s universal appeal. If the much-anticipated Mega Ball is the one that makes a line another multiplier comes into play – as much as one million, 1,000,000, times winnings! Normally this is where the thrill peaks, but on occasion a very infrequent and highly elusive “Second Mega Ball” can make an appearance adding a secondary opportunity of another multiplier altering winnings.
Roulette is perennially popular, so Evolution Gaming are wise to keep developing new variants to keep players satisfied. Instant Roulette is a hybrid type live casino game – there is no croupier present in this variant in order to make it “instant”, but it still utilises live roulette wheels to maintain the authentic land-based casino feel that players value so highly. What distinguishes Instant Roulette from other variants on the market is the number of roulette wheels it features – 12 in total! The reasoning behind this choice? To make the game play a quickly as possible once players have decided that they are ready to place a bet. With 12 wheels being spun continuously there is always one ball just about to drop into a pocket. The effect of this multi-wheel approach is to place all control for the speed at which they are playing in the hands of the player. They can take as long as they feel they’d like to make their decision about what to bet on but then once that decision has been made they will find out if their choice has been successful pretty much immediately and all with the benefit of the live environment atmosphere. Chief Officer for Evolution Gaming, Todd Haushalter described the benefits of the game thus:
With Instant Roulette we really wanted to allow the player to control the pace of the game, similar to the RNG experience but with the trustworthiness of live. Each and every player can take as much time as they like setting up their bets. Then, when they are ready, they push the ‘Play Now’ button and boom, they are right there playing on the next available wheel!
The Best Live Casino Games
The skill live casinos possess in creating incredibly realistic playing atmospheres is what has given rise to their incredible popularity with customers. Live casinos are flourishing and in turn the quantity and scope of the games on the market is extensive. There are hundreds of games already on the market and dozens of thrilling new releases in development, soon to be enjoyed. Below you will find a guide to the best live casino games currently available to players.
Live Dealer Roulette
A massive number of roulette variants appear in live casinos – the very best of these are described below to give you a flavour of them.
Blaze Live Roulette
Much of the charm of Blaze Live Roulette comes from the setting – the live studio has been masterfully designed to create maximum atmosphere and impact. The velvety black background is peppered with jewel bright led lights in a variety of configurations and colours, making them stand out even more than usual. The effect is highly impressive. Beautiful high sheen roulette tables catch the reflections of the studio lights and the overall effect is of a high-end casino interior elevated to new levels of glamour.
Like all of Authentic Gaming’s products Blaze Live Roulette is fully mobile-compatible so that it is very adaptable and accessible by players with different needs. It is also broadcast infinitely, so no matter what time of day a player is looking for action on this game, they will find it. The 35 second playing interval between rounds means that the pace of play is fairly rapid, consequentially players are kept interested and stimulated by the experience.
Live Lightning Roulette
Another award-winning game from the Evolution stable, Lightning Roulette is a very singular game. It is a composite of sorts in that elements of the traditional table style format are blended with some effects that are more typically associated with slots and RNG mechanics. The classic colour scheme implemented makes this game visually very pleasing – black, gold, green and red speak of luxury and quality, hinting at a gentleman’s club of the 20’s or 30’s style set up. The graphics are very effective. Glowing lightning bolts strike and then frame the numbers selected. All of the typical roulette features are available with the addition of some new and interesting ones to boot, Lucky Payouts and Lucky Numbers to be specific. Lucky Numbers provide the opportunities for multipliers of 50x, 100x, 200x, 300x, 400x or 500x to kick in, tantalizing players even more. Payouts on those bets not subject to a multiplier are 30x and all other payouts remain the norm.
Live Speed Roulette
They say it’s all in a name and that is certainly true in this case! Live Speed Roulette is fast and furious and lives up to its title in every way. Whirling away at double the speed of Evolution’s regular Live Roulette, this version of the game has only 25 tiny seconds between live dealer spins. The bespoke roulette wheel designed by TCSJOHNHUXLEY is safely situated in Evolution’s Riga Studio complex. This variant of the game is a God send for the impatient player who likes to fit in as much play as possible whilst cutting out the down time regular live roulette has. It is estimated that in a hour of real time play, the player will experience an extra 50 game rounds when playing Speed Roulette than when playing regular live roulette. Every other aspect of play remains true to the conventional roulette format so there are no new rules for players to engage with before play can be undertaken.
Live Immersive Roulette
Yet another in the catalogue of award-winning live casino games by Evolution Gaming, Immersive Roulette has been a major draw for players since it arrived on the scene in 2014 – the fact that it is still so popular today is testament to Evolution’s exceptional record of producing live games. Incorporating a dynamic up-close silver-screen approach to Roulette is key to the absorbing nature of this game. Multiple high-definition cameras keep players up close and personal to every detail of the game with 200 frames per second of live wheel action being broadcast and slow-motion recaps help to keep everyone up to speed with any details they may have missed. Helen Hedgeland, UK Managing Director of the game creator noted that:
Immersive Roulette is a standout, premium-quality game unlike any Live Casino game available. As the world’s most advanced online Live Roulette game it has proved to be both a top revenue-earner in its own right and a powerful acquisition, retention and cross-selling tool.
Live Double Ball Roulette
No points for guessing how this game varies from the regular version! The name says it all. Double Ball Roulette gives double the opportunity to win on a single spin of the wheel via – you’ve guessed it – the introduction of a second ball. Available only from Evolution Gaming who developed and created this game in partnership with Games Marketing, Double Ball Roulette pays out with greater frequency than regular roulette and at a rate of up to 1300 to 1. Players find the extra opportunity to win per spin format very engaging and this game has proven to be incredibly popular as a result of this simple but genius enhancement.
American Live Roulette
Another offering by Evolution Gaming who are always mindful of the fact that players love choice. American Roulette is very often less appealing to live casino patrons as a result of the not insignificant increase in house edge over that assigned to European Roulette. That being said, players are able to take advantage of lower betting limits in the American variant of the game, so it is not all bad news! The excitement factor is ramped up by the presence of a double-zero feature in the layout (and wheel) in this version of the game. There is also the addition of a 5-bet option which keeps things interesting for those individuals looking for a new angle on a familiar game format.
Live Casino Blackjack
Live Casino versions of blackjack also proliferate in the online market – another hugely popular game, blackjack is one of the mainstays of casinos - both online and land-based – players just love the social aspect of the game and the fact that they are all playing against the house and not each other. The very best live casino blackjack games are lined up for you below.
Perfect Blackjack was launched in 2019 by NetEnt in conjunction with Rank Group’s Grosvenor properties. The idea behind the word “perfect” in the name is connected to basic strategy and the fact that this game claims to educate players on how to follow its rules perfectly by always playing basic strategy absolutely correctly. From observing live play, we believe that it is unlikely that the average player is going to learn anything about basic strategy from playing this game, because it moves on too quickly. Having taught numerous people basic strategy, we have found that watching others play does not allow students of the game to learn basic strategy by osmosis. They must learn the rules by rote and deploy them themselves repeatedly, with immediate errors being pointed out by their teacher, understanding the reasons why their decisions are being made and why they are correct or incorrect, in order to allow the strategy to become embedded in their heads, and thus second nature.
The software developers state that this game offers a reduction in house edge to a mere 0.5%, but it is important to point out that this is only true if the player opts in to the automatic split and double feature offered, because only then will the live dealer play perfect strategy on their behalf. Anything other than the perfect strategy will increase the house edge beyond the advertised 0.5%. The Perfect Pair side bet feature is also available to those wishing to avail themselves of it. Director of NetEnt Live, Andres Rengifo highlights that:
Launching Perfect Blackjack onto the full NetEnt Live customer network means that players with all our live casino partners will be able to be introduced to and enjoy the benefits of the optimal strategy. Beyond that, this is an innovative game that brings something truly different to the live casino market[…]
Live Common Draw Blackjack
Another popular release from NetEnt, Common Draw Blackjack helped to earn the company the coveted, Innovator of the Year award at the IGA Awards, 2014. It is HD quality live-streamed like the other offerings from this developer. It has many unique features that help to make it an appealing option for live casino fans, though it does not include a chat option as many of the other live games do. For one thing there is no such thing as a full table when it comes to Live Common Draw Blackjack – any number of players can join in at any time. It is a really perfect filler game if you are waiting space at another table particularly because the table minimum is extremely low at £1. Of course there is still the opportunity to play hands of up to £200 a time too if your tastes run to the higher end. All of the rules and strategies pertaining to regular blackjack apply to Live Common Draw Blackjack too – all information relating to hand values and game statistics ae clearly displayed on the screen for ease of use.
Brought to the market by Playtech, Ultimate Blackjack places no limits on the number of spots available to players at its table, unlike regular blackjack which generally caps players per table at 7. Ultimate Blackjack uses 8 decks during play and is subject to all of the regular rules of the game.
This innovative development in the game of blackjack was brought to the casino floor by Evolution Gaming in 2018 – its originality comes from the infinite number of players that it can host at its tables. As a game it is entirely accessible to players using all types of devices including mobiles. Las Vegas rules apply alongside 4 options for side bets.
Infinite Blackjack sees a blend of both actual cards and virtual cards dealt by a live dealer and streamed in real time. Infinite players can receive the original pair of cards then each player acts as an individual making singular choices as to which actions they will take so that the final hands vary. Unlike Ultimate Blackjack – Infinite Blackjack does allow in game chat between player and dealer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as its name suggests, Blackjack Party is a vibrant and energy filled variant of the standard game supplied by Evolution Gaming – a software developer always ahead of the curve. The live dealers – note the use of the plural here – there are often two or three compared to the single host format that players may be more familiar with in this game and they take up more of a presenting role since they are part of the entertainment. They are directed to be front and center rather than just part of the mechanics of the game. Chosen for their upbeat personalities and ability to create an atmosphere more akin to a Saturday night house party than a gaming floor, these dealers are encouraged to engage with customers. The atmosphere is altogether lighter in this variant, punctuated by music and effusive chat exchanges – this game offers an undoubtedly good night in.
Played with 8 decks and offering a couple of side bet options – namely 21+3 and Perfect Pairs – Blackjack Party looks set to maintain its popularity with live casino players for years to come.
In direct contrast Blackjack Party with its riotous atmosphere, we have a considerably more sober offering from Evolution Gaming in Silent Blackjack. No prizes for guessing the unique spin on the old classic in this variant! For those players seeking a haven of calm, Silent Backjack could be just the thing. Designed to facilitate an altogether more quiet and restful style of gameplay, Silent Blackjack is surprisingly popular. Even the live dealers speak only when they have to, in soothing tones, to allow the mechanics of the game to function smoothly. Like Blackjack Party the Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side bets are on offer for those contemplative players seeking just a little more of a thrill for their money. All other rules associated with this variant remain the same as for standard blackjack.
One Blackjack is delivered to the live casino market by innovative software developers, Pragmatic Play – it is brand new for March 2021 and it has hit the ground running. One Blackjack, like many of the other variants available to players, can be played by a limitless number of players. The original aspect of this particular variant is the large number of side bets on offer compared to other types. Pragmatic Play have introduced an entirely new side bet for this game so that players can choose from: Crazy 7, Bust Bonus, Perfect Pairs and 21+3. Six Card Charlie is also automatically instituted in this game – if any player continues to draw to include a sixth card without busting their hand - they are named a winner. Pragmatic Play have spared no expense in developing a custom-made studio with original sound effects and graphics – utterly appealing to players.
Live Casino Baccarat
Live Casino Baccarat completes the trilogy of hallowed live casino essential games. Players have cherished baccarat as a game for centuries, the live casino version is just the latest incarnation of a very old friend and software developers have done all they can to maintain the atmosphere that players love whilst giving them new twists to keep them tantalized. All of the best live baccarat variants are explored below. If you feel like engaging your inner James Bond then Live Casino Baccarat is the game for you!
Adding to their Prestige series, Playtech launched Prestige Baccarat to enhance the playing experience of VIP players. Multi camara action allows players to feel even closer to the action – a total of 5 cameras cover every conceivable angle of the play zone, couple with live action replays, players cannot help but feel fully absorbed in proceedings. The entire experience is geared towards imitating the actual feel of a bricks-and-mortar baccarat play with the benefit of a more intimate setting and beautiful neon lighting effects. Playtech have drawn heavily on Chinese inspiration for their set design for Prestige Baccarat – a bespoke tablecloth in shades of deep burgundy sits before a red and orange backdrop featuring the Chinese luck symbol. Playtech have provided tailored dealers too so that players can select a dealer that is fluent in their own native tongue. Kevin Kilminster, Head of Innovation, for Playtech Live, summed it up perfectly when he said:
A great deal of research, development and close co-operation with licensees has gone into what we are confident is the best live Baccarat product on the market. The newly refined live game contains the classic squeeze variations as well as the squeeze logic associated with one of the most popular casino games in the world. The feedback has been very positive so far and we’re sure it will go from strength-to-strength.
Live Mini Baccarat
Also created by the inimitable Playtech, Mini Baccarat is a live casino game perfectly constructed to allow life to continue around it. The diminutive screen means that other activities can be undertaken on whatever device the player has opted to access live play via. If you have forgotten to place a bet on the sportsbook side of the casino – that is no problem if you are playing Mini Baccarat – you can do this easily. The same high quality graphics, top drawer live dealers and all-round great playing experience are part of this turbo-charged mini variant of the classic game.
Live Speed Baccarat
Evolution Gaming have created Speed Baccarat Live for those daring players out there that love their live casino games fast and furious but do not want to compromise on quality of experience. To speed things up the live dealer deals all cards face up, cutting down the time it would take to turn them over, meaning that a round of play can be completed in around 27 seconds – a whopping 21 seconds less than the standard baccarat time per round of 48 seconds. This increase in rapidity means that players are able to take advantage of increased betting opportunities and thus further thrilling experiences.
No Commission Baccarat Live
Evolution Gaming’s Live Baccarat offerings are getting more and more extensive with this being their fifth creation in that line. As the name suggests the 5% commission fee associated with successful banker bets is waived in this version of the game – the only deviation from this rule is if the banker attains a 6 – in cases such as these players are paid only 50% of their original stake. Side bets are always popular with players and this game allows them to play several – the Super 6 insurance bet being incredibly popular with players – it sees players paid out at a rate of 15:1 should their bet on the banker 6 succeed.
Live Baccarat Squeeze
Yet another classy and dynamic offering from Evolution Gaming who have so many iterations of baccarat that it is easy to lose count! For many baccarat players it is all about the squeeze – the slow and gradual tilting and bending of the cards that allows them to be revealed in all of their glory millimeter by millimeter. Evolution cater directly to squeeze aficionados in this variant of the classic game, using 15 high definition cameras to capture every miniscule detail in cinematographic sharpness. The action still unfolds apace and players report satisfyingly high action live gaming experiences.
Live Dragon Tiger
Dragon Tiger is often compared to Baccarat, though it deals only a pair of cards comprising a dragon and a tiger, to the player. Players need only decide on whether the cards will tie or if they think one will be higher value than the other. Dragon Tiger has been incredibly popular in Asia for many years already and now its popularity is growing in the rest of the world – hence the creation of live casino versions.
Live Dealer Poker
Practically every live casino player will have played some variant of online poker at some time or other – it is hugely popular in all circles. The number of variations now on the market means there is a twist for every taste.
Live Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Evolution Gaming and Scientific Games partnered to produce Live Ultimate Texas Hold'em, a spectacular incarnation of Texas Hold’em and live casino players are very glad they did! Dealer and player play against each other, the objective being to create the best 5 card hand from the 2 dealt to you and 3 from the quintet of communal cards available to all. Initially an ante and blind are placed, and a trips bonus option is also made available to those that wish to avail themselves of it. All in all, a trio of opportunities are extended to players who wish to increase their stakes. An early play bet results in the ability to raise their ante 3 or even 4 times but should they hold off and wait until post flop or river to raise then they are only permitted to raise once or twice. Only a single raise is permitted per game and as such the earlier the risk taken, the greater the reward received.
Live Casino Hold’em
As one of the most basic and comprehensive versions of live poker available, Live Casino Hold’em is very appealing to novices looking to dip their toe into the pool of live play. Playtech’s interpretation of this game will not disappoint in terms of speed or excitement as it riffs on the conventional 5 card poker set-up. Playtech’s version comes with the added bonus of a second croupier whose only assigned task is to hand shuffle the cards at the culmination of each round whilst the live dealer gets on with the business of enacting the choices made by players at the table.
2 Hand Casino Hold’em
Considered by many to be the supreme variation of five-card poker, Evolution Gaming’s quirky 2 Hand Casino Hold ‘em allows players to have twice the fun. Two hands per round of play can be pitted against the house, alongside an additional bonus bet to increase the thrill even further. Players do not have to play both hands if they prefer not to – the added choice and flexibility is part of the appeal of this variant of the classic.
Side Bet City
This is surely one of the most singular approaches to a poker variant out there today! Another from the wonderful world of Evolution Gaming, Side Bet City is right back there in the 80s with day glow colours and ra-ra skirts, so if you fancy a bit of kitschy time travel this could well be the game for you. This game is very easy to take part in, so it is great for players new to live casino action. The action unfolds at pace as ever and the studio set up is Vegas bright with neons in magenta and cyan. The live dealers are kitted out in outfits that hark back to the 1980s and the entire effect is really good fun. The playing decisions to be made are few, bet on a winning 3 card, 5 card or 7 card hand. Not feeling good 80s vibes from your hands? Then select the “all lose” option – or if a bit of combination action is in order, mix it up and choose what you will, flexibility is the key. Have a fabulous time reveling in the psychedelic effects this game offers and remember that gambling is for fun and entertainment – if it stops being either or both of these things for you – stop!
Live Three Card Poker
Arguably the classic of classics when it comes to casino poker, Three Card Poker has never diminished in popularity – if anything players find it more satisfying than ever. Part of this games timeless appeal is the fact that players with all levels of playing experience can enjoy taking part. Another live casino game designed by Evolution Gaming in partnership with Scientific Games, this game is exceptionally high quality in terms of visual experience. Nothing of the thrill and anticipation is lost in this 3-card version of poker if anything they are increased as a result of the increase in pace brought about by the need to deal fewer cards. There are several possible options for beating the house and in order to qualify for play the dealer must have queen high, and all players compete against the house. Should a player attain a straight or better than a straight, an ante bonus is open to them regardless of the hand possessed by the dealer. Beyond that, there is the option to engage with the Six Card Bonus bet or the Pair Plus bet which, if successful, can result in payouts of up to 1000 to 1, again regardless of the hand achieved by the dealer. These extra bets are independently assessed at the completion of each game, affording players other individual chances to win.
Live Caribbean Stud Poker
Live Caribbean Stud Poker is a rare beast indeed – this unicorn was produced by Evolution Gaming and Games Marketing – it is the only version of this massively played poker game. Players love Caribbean Stud and now that it is available in live casinos it is even more appealing. The live version of this games is just as rapid as the regular version and it is packed with additional bonuses and an opt in jackpot side bet which paves the way for players to have a chance at winning a progressive jackpot or smaller fixed jackpot prizes.
As with most variants of poker – Caribbean Stud sees each player dealt a quintet of cards to their hand which they then pit against the dealer’s hand. The dealer is obliged to play only if they have ace king or better. The decision to fold one’s hand or raise must be made before the live dealer divulges what they are in possession of. There is an opt in 5+1 bonus bet allowing the player to make an alternative best 5-card hand by mixing their own 5 cards and the initial face-up card the dealer has in his/her hand.
Gameshow Live Casino Games
Live Gameshow casino games are like nothing else. They shy away from the conventional formats that players associate with the old-style bricks and mortar casino games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker. They are more akin to the television show games format we are familiar with where players compete for prizes. There is little in the way of strategizing or skill building needed to be successful at this sort of game, instead they are cultivated to focus on pleasure and amusement, to create a vivid atmosphere of enjoyment, no skills required! The most interesting examples of live casino games in this format are explored below.
Winner of the Digital Product of the Year at the 2017 Global Gaming Awards, Evolution Gaming’s Dream Catcher is a visual delight. With neon vibrants and a clean, design players find Dream Catcher thrilling. Chief Product Officer, Todd Haushalter referenced the game’s great appeal, saying:
Creating a 24/7 live game show is something completely new, and we believe fresh concepts like this are a must if we want to expand Live Casino to a wider audience. Attention spans are growing shorter, and the desire to be entertained is greater so we wanted to do something that would be relevant to a YouTube watching audience because in many ways that is our competition for player’s time.
With its over-sized vertical money wheel and game show style broadcast format complete with live game show host, Dream Catcher operates every hour of the day and every day of the week to meet the needs of all those interested in live games. The game itself is incredibly easy to play making it suitable for all players. It is not dissimilar to roulette in its objectives – the wheel displays the numbers: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 40 and players bet on the outcome. Multipliers are also displayed on the wheel, x2 and x7, and these can lead to massive payouts. The main thing to remember is that the maximum payout that can ever be achieved is £500,000 or the currency equivalent.
Another Evolution original and fresh to the market in 2019, Monopoly Live is groundbreaking – it takes the old-fashioned board game form of Monopoly and throws it out of the window – this new variant is an all singing all dancing live game show edition the like of which has never been seen before.
Another big wheel style game – this one has an over-sized spinning wheel that is operated by a live game show host – as normal the player selects the segment of the wheel that the pointer will stop on. Mr. Monopoly – the spirit of the game recreated as a virtual man waits patiently for his opportunity to act. The wheel displays segments (54 in total) containing the numbers: 1, 2, 5 and 10. Further segments displaying “chance”, “2 rolls” and “4 rolls” also feature on the wheel – the former grants a player a chance card the two latter are gateways to the exciting alternative reality that Mr. Monopoly revels in – these bonus games are activated when the pointers stop on these particular areas of the wheels. The 3-dimensional virtual Monopoly board that Mr. Monopoly moves around is beautifully rendered – striking colours and supreme quality graphics make it a real delight to witness. Of course, you can still go straight to jail! It’s always a risk!
The maximum win that can be claimed by players is £500,000 or currency equivalent and this game is available in Italian and German alongside English.
Evolution Gaming seem to possess a never-ending supply of exciting new live casino games to tantalise the online gaming community. Lightning Dice is the latest offering in what is now a very long line of vibrant live casino games. It is the same line as Lighting Roulette hence the name! Chief Product Officer for Evolution Gaming, Todd Haushalter commented:
Everyone loves dice, plays with dice growing up, and understands how they work, yet there are no fun dice games in the online gaming world. We decided to change that by launching two dice games this year. The first was Super Sic Bo, which has been a runaway success, and now the ‘little sister’ of Lightning Roulette is here, and that is Lightning Dice.
The studio setup for Lightning Dice is incredibly sophisticated by comparison with other gameshow style games. A very decadent colour scheme of gold and black are coupled with a 1920s Art Deco theme. The setting is very luxurious and beautiful to look at. The game itself is not difficult to comprehend – it can be played by limitless numbers of players who must bet on the result of the three die. A stunning and bespoke container known as the “lightning Tower” is the vessel for play – the live host puts the trio of die into the see thru tower as players look on. The tower is then subject to the eponymous lightning strikes which add multipliers to the final result if a player has placed money on the number affected. There is a total of 16 possible betting spots to choose from – players can bet on anything from 1 to all 16.
Live Football Studio
There is a rapidly expanding market for live casino games connected with virtual sports and football is one of the most in demand. No surprises that it would be the enterprising team at Evolution Gaming that would harness this and drive it forward. Live Football Studio is the result. The game blends all of the elements of live casino play and football as a sport that people love making it an instant hit. Live commentary is in place – football matches being synonymous with this voiceover input from experts. All of the premium football fixtures are represented and this is all mixed with a quirky little playing card element too to add to the excitement. Players place wagers on which of a pair of cards will be higher value – or indeed if the two values will tie. This game delivers something for every player’s needs so it is no surprise that it has been an enormous success.
Deal or No Deal Live
This game is every Deal or No Deal gameshow fan’s dream since it runs 24 hours a day – every day! Evolution Gaming in partnership with Endemol Shine have created this endlessly thrilling live game show version of the classis television show.
The initial stage of the setup is the spinning of an RNG generated triple-reeled bank vault which is a round that must be played in order to qualify for the next stage. Each spin determines the cash value of the highest value case – this could be a multiplier from 75x to 500x. Once successfully qualified, participants (there is no limit on the number) go through to the top-up round which serves as a means of multiplying the cash value of the prizes in one or several of the remaining suitcases by between 5x and 50x.
Now the very familiar concept of the Deal or No Deal gameshow kicks in with the live gameshow host taking control of proceedings. This live casino version loses none of the tense edge of the original format and the focus remains unchanging: guess if the value of the suitcase is higher than the value of the offer the dreaded banker will make. Make it through all 16 to outwit the man. Simple but terrifying!
Super Sic Bo
Launched by Evolution Gaming in 2019, Super Sic Bo
takes the original game format known and beloved by all and raises it to a whole new level. The game is a blend of live action and RNG tailored to produce the ultimate in playing experience for players. An additional feature is a random multiplier which could be anything up to 1000x.
The format of the game remains as simple as the original so all players can feel confident in joining the fun. As ever, a trio of die are cast and if you have wagered on the outcome being what it is when they stop rolling then you are a winner! Some strategy does come into play and players must make their decisions based on how much of a risk they are willing to take. Super Sic Bo is already very popular in the live casino market and the subtle oriental touches in the studio setup mean that it is incredibly pretty too.
First Person Live Gaming
First Person Gaming is revolutionary in the live casino sector – no surprises that Evolution Gaming have been at the forefront of the charge to bring this unique experience to players. A vast selection of games are now available in the first person format bringing players so close to the action that they are in amongst it. The unique combination of live casino and RNG allows players to move through the games as they unfold to deliver immersion like no other. First person versions of Lightning Roulette, baccarat, blackjack, Dream Catcher, Mega Ball, Dragon Tiger, Craps and Football Studio – there is something to meet the needs of every live casino player.
Virtual Reality VR Live Casino
VR Live Casinos are the next stage of development for live casinos and Net Ent are pushing hard to develop their product at speed. They are at the forefront of this area of live gaming. Currently the cost of associated paraphernalia required to take part in VR games, such as VR goggles, is somewhat prohibitive, but as with all technology, as the price decreases the product becomes available to more people and then VR casinos can capitalize on this. Net Ent in conjunction with Bethard have named their VR Casino Next Level Live and they tantalise players by stating:
Next Level isn’t just a fancy slogan for something that has been done so many times before. This is really next level. How would you describe playing VR Blackjack in space? Or VR Roulette on the edge of a flamethrowing volcano? Or what about experiencing Live Casino gaming in the deep blue sea? Too good to be true? Definitively not.
This is live casino gaming as never before – we cannot wait to see where it takes live casino players next.
Casino Live Streams
How Live Dealer Streams Operate
Live Dealer Streams allow for a hybrid experience whereby offline players and online players can come together and sit at a single table, allowing an entirely unique atmosphere to be established. The very best bricks and mortar casinos become accessible to players the world over – distance is no limiter – the gambling world becomes rather small, and players can be in some of the best casinos at just a moment’s notice. The list of casinos offering Live Streams is growing rapidly and the majority of live streams are provided by Pragmatic Play, Evolution Gaming and Play ‘N Go.
Can I Win if I Play at a Live Casino?
It is always possible that you will win when playing at any casino – live or not – but it is more likely that you will lose. That is the stark truth of it. Casinos are in operation because they are profitable business enterprises which means that more players lose more than they win over their lifetime of play at an operator. Games have a set house edge that always favour the house - no matter how small they may be.
There are steps that players can take to minimise the amount they are likely to lose – play games that have optimum strategies – like blackjack’s Basic Strategy – and always play them perfectly. Only play the games that have the most favourable rules – for example European Roulette wheels with a single zero and the En Prison rule in play are more favourable for players than other versions. The house edge can never be eliminated altogether, but by doing your research and playing intelligently, you can pay as little for your entertainment as possible. Our Game Guides are excellent places to start out – they contain all the information you require to help minimise the edge the house has.
The Difference between RNG and Live Casinos
As a rule, live dealer games take place in real-time right before the players, as a result many players believe these games to be more trustworthy since there is no mechanical input. RNG games are by contrast controlled by an algorithm which has been designed to randomize the outcomes of the games. Often players feel that because the mechanics are hidden, the game is less trustworthy. Some games require an element of both formats combined to allow them to function. If it is imperative for a player to play only human controlled games, then they should check out the mechanics of the game they are looking to play before proceeding – some games of a choice between RNG or live dealer and some cannot exist without the presence of both.
How Live Casino Games Compare to RNG Games
♠ Live casino games are often felt to be more social since they require human-to-human interaction in order to proceed. Players can feel more isolated when taking part in RNG versions of a game also offered in live format – largely because they play alone against a faceless house.
♥ Some players have the notion that games involving a live dealer or live croupier have higher levels of fairness and trustworthiness since all takes place out in the open. RNG games require a hidden element to allow them to function – players feel that this can allow more underhanded tactics to be employed. Since testing labs are required to carry out audits on RNG it is extremely unlikely that any of these games, in well-regulated jurisdictions, operate unfairly.
♣ For players with limited data allowance allocate to their device it may be preferable to use RNG games because they eat data at a far slower rate than the live streamed games which use more than animated graphics to entertain patrons.
♦ Often live casino games allow players to play with bigger stakes than RNG games and so for high or super high rollers live games may meet their needs more fully. Higher stakes; higher thrills.
Live Casino Game Providers
There are a fair number of live casino games providers operating in the market now and competition between them to continue pushing the boundaries of gaming experience is fierce. All want to offer a premium product to engender loyalty for their brand in the lucrative sector that is live play. The provision of live games is more labour intensive for the software provider, so it figures that they want to maximise their returns for their efforts. Unlike RNG games which are pretty much design and marketed, live casino games providers must establish the studios their games will be hosted in whilst also recruiting, and training salaried hosts to present and run them. The maintaining of a quality live stream is also the onus of the software developer so live games are a far costlier business to bring to the market than RNG ones. Some of the most innovative and high quality providers are headlined for you below.
Evolution Gaming was established in 2006 meaning that they have in excess of 15 years of experience in games development. They have grown to such a size that they now have in the region of 4,000 employees and offices across the world with their company headquarters being situated in Latvia.
You will already have a feel for just how much of a giant Evolution Gaming are in the live games sector from the number of their offerings appearing previously in this article. They are constantly pushing the boundaries and challenging their development teams to come up with something new and satisfying for players. What makes Evolution Gaming unique is the fact that they made the decision from the outset to place all their attention on live games – they have other sister companies that can take care of other styles of gaming products. This live games focus has undoubtedly led them to develop high quality live games that are broad in scope and high in number. Players have very positive experiences to report when playing games from Evolution Gaming.
The positive attitudes players have towards Evolution Gaming products is reflected in the high standing the company have in an increasingly competitive industry. Evolution are constantly the recipients of some of the biggest accolades in gaming industry awards lists. It recently won the coveted award for Live Casino Supplier of the Year in July 2020s EGR B2B Awards ceremony, meaning it has now won this title for an unparalleled 11 consecutive years!
Net Entertainment was founded in 1996 by Pontus Lindwall and went on to change their name to NetEnt in 2015. NetEnt’s headquarters remain in Sweden where they have been found since the company’s inception. The name NetEnt is synonymous with quality and the company have a formidable reputation for excellence in igaming product realms. Their big success is really their ability to produce graphically supreme slots games which players love.
NetEnt have been forced to diversify into live dealer games in the competitive industry of which they are part. They are garnering a reputation for offering excellent live games with many of them being customizable, allowing casinos that wish to offer them greater flexibility. Their live studio setups are housed in Malta and NetEnt are known for allowing bigger table limits than the majority of other live games providers. They won the 2019, Leading Provider of Live Casino Award as presented by Live Casino Kings.
Established in 1994, Microgaming are one of the most popular igaming software providers on the market today. Their stunning headquarters, Sixty Two Building was purpose built for them and is architecturally stunning – set on the Isle of Man. Microgaming are renowned for their development of progressive jackpot games and they have the largest progressive network in the industry. Microgaming have developed such an immense number of slots games – over 800 to date – that they can perhaps be forgiven for being late to the party when it comes to live games development and provision. Six years ago Microgaming and Evolution Gaming struck up what is referred to as a “European Partnership” meaning Microgaming providers can stock Evolution Gaming’s live offerings.
Like Microgaming, Pragmatic Play were slow to turn their attention to live casino games and in order to try and redress this balance they decided to try and buy over an already established live games producer, rather than starting their own from the ground up. This led to them purchasing one of Novomatic’s subsidiaries – namely Extreme Live Gaming, a company in the Evolution mould, in that they focus only on the live sector.
LiveBox is the streaming service that Extreme Live Gaming offer – live dealers and hosts carry out their jobs in purpose-built studios and the action is beamed to players in HD quality. The drawback with ELG is that their services are not as widely available to players as the bigger names in the live gaming business. We expect this to change as the company matures and diversifies its portfolio.
Established by Teddy Sagi in Tartu, Estonia in 1999, PlayTech is a name synonymous with innovation in the igaming industry. With a headquarters situated in London and offices globally, boasting in excess of 5,000 employees and well over 600 casino games, there is no question that Playtech are an industry giant.
Playtech bring all of the innovation they are renowned for to the live products they offer. Live streams are brought to players from studios in: Latvia, Belgium, Philippines, Spain and Romania. They offer a smaller selection of live games than Evolution but their reputation for excellence means that they are still very popular with the largest operators in the sector and so they are fairly readily available.
Where do Live Games Providers Stream From?
Live games are streamed in real-time which means that they must be housed in a custom space that allows for 24/7 uninterrupted gaming. All of the large live games producers have dedicated spaces in areas of the world that legally allow such activities to take place and ordinarily ones that are considered tax friendly too. Malta and the Isle of Man alongside other places are beloved of the igaming industry.
Operating a Live Casino
A lot goes into operating a live casino – the costs of providing the live games are a burden to the software developers rather than the casinos offering the games and so it is vital that the games are as enticing as possible to players. No live games developer wants to be paying live hosts to turn up when the players don’t!
Live Croupiers and Dealers
Players are attracted to live games for a reason – mainly the social aspect that they deliver. Much of the sociable atmosphere is created by a talented dealer or croupier who is able to bring the energy and vibrancy that such a situation demands whilst simultaneously delivering a high-quality playing experience precisely and deploying the rules perfectly. This is no mean feat. It requires meticulous training and live game experience. Many of the dealers and croupiers selected for these positions have had several years of experience on the casino floor before moving to the live studio setup.
Many of the live hosts are not just bilingual, but multilingual, which adds another layer of pressure to an already complex situation. They may be conversing with players in several different languages simultaneously. These positions demand respect, hence why the rules about table etiquette are so stringent – these live hosts are expensive assets and their respected developers want to protect their assets after investing so much time and money in their training.
Some live games have a dedicated shuffler whose job it is to deal with the spent cards which are housed in a shoe and stacked in a discard tray for reshuffling at the end of the game. The shuffler is responsible for ensuring that cards are shuffled as per the rules stipulated for the particular game in question. They should be on hand to ensure that there is no great break in the play.
A hidden expense associated with live casino games is the cost of providing cameras and recording equipment in order to ensure that the HD quality players expect is maintained and that live streams are constant and fluent. Some games have several cameras – as many as 15 – so that all angles of the table can be covered, and replays can be provided when required. There are even games that allow the player to select which camera pov they prefer to have in place whilst they play. This equipment is not cheap and so this is another large investment on the part of the software provider that is not borne by the casinos offering these live games.
Scanners and Sensors
Much of the appeal of live casino play is the fact that it allows human to human interaction in a way that RNG games do not – however – there is still an element of technology required to help maintain a pace that allows excitement and atmosphere to remain undiminished. Barcode scanners are employed to enable the recognition of playing cards dealt instantaneously so that this information can be displayed on screen immediately for the convenience of all players taking part.
Sensors are required for games such as roulette where an object is moving and lands in a particular location that needs to be tracked and then conveyed to the game control unit which then aggregates all the collected data and then transmits it to the player interface so that subsequent playing decisions can be made seamlessly.
The player interface is the aspect of design that players will be most familiar with since it is the actual screen that is displayed to them as they play. It allows them to follow the action, control their bets and make playing decisions. Many player interfaces also display live statistics that are continually updated so that players can utilitse this information to aid betting decisions if they so wish. Some player interfaces are customizable so that a range of tastes and needs can be met.
How to Signup and Play at a Live Casino
If you are familiar with the signup processes instituted by regular online casinos, then you will find signing up at a live casino very easy. The process is pretty much the same and the casino in question will guide you through the process if you require help. Just ask! In general the steps are:
- Find the Sign Up/Register/Join Now/Play or Join Here button – most often found in the top right corner of the player interface.
- Select the username and password that you wish to have associated with your account.
- Normally operators now require email address verification at this point to confirm ownership of said email account.
- Claim a Welcome Bonus eligible for the live game you wish you take part in.
- Make your deposit – remember to only gamble to a limit that does not stretch you beyond your means.
Live Casinos FAQs
♠ Is there a difference between live online casinos and regular casinos?
Yes – but there are similarities too. Both require you to signup and verify your account; both offer Welcome Bonuses and both should be considered for entertainment only. No surprise – live online casinos offer only live games – the major difference between live and regular online casinos. Live online casinos offer games that facilitate human to human contact and an atmosphere uncannily like that found in land-based casinos that can be visited in person. Live casinos can be accessed from pretty much any device and any location making them much more convenient to engage with than land-based casinos that require travel to visit.
♥ What are live casino games exactly?
Live casino games are those that are accessed and played in real-time – that is – the action occurs exactly as the player sees it on their player interface. Live HD quality video streams are used to bring the action unfolding in the dedicated studio directly to the player as it happens. Players are still able to access these games remotely via their personal device be that a mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. All the land-based casino games feature in the providers catalogues, live versions of: Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and Baccarat are present but there are also new style game show format games to keep the market fresh – games such as Monopoly, Dream Catcher and Deal or No Deal. There is something for every taste.
♣ How do I play live casino games?
That is easy! If you are familiar with the signup procedure for regular online casinos, then you will already know how the whole process works. Find one of our recommended live casinos and hop over to their site – you will find a link on our page. Hop through to their website and locate the SignUp or Play button – the system will automatically guide you through the process from here. There is a personal details form to complete – the usual information is required – full name, date of birth, address, email address, mobile number, country of residence, currency you will deposit in and often a secret question. Verify your email account, make your deposit and claim any pertinent bonuses then play. Remember to stick to your limits – live casinos create such a vibrant and social atmosphere that it is easy to get caught up in the moment. Don’t! If you are planning on playing Blackjack make sure you have a Basic Strategy guide to hand – you will find one in our Blackjack Game Guide.
♦ How do I play Live Roulette?
Roulette is a great entry level game for those starting out in the live casino world. There is not a great deal to strategise over compared to other live games. The only decision that may affect the odds the player plays at is the rules assigned to the particular roulette wheel they elect to play at. If at all possible, to minimise the cost of the game to players, only a single 0 (European) roulette wheel should be played at and if it allows the En Prison rule then that is even better – this rule stipulates that players only wager on even money bets – that is odd/even, black/red or halfs. For more information on the ins and outs of roulette and how different bets work you can make use of our handy Roulette Game Guide which includes all of the information you need to know in an easily understandable format.
♠ Is it possible to win when playing Live Roulette?
Is it possible to win? Yes. Will you win? In the long-run, most likely, no. There are decisions players can make that will bring the cost incurred when playing a live roulette game down, but the house edge and lack of optimum strategy in roulette means that the long game will always favour the house. Live Roulette is played for entertainment so the cost to the player should be thought of as the fee for the entertainment value of the game. To make the best possible decisions (and pay as little as possible for your entertainment) please make use of our Roulette Game Guide – we have done all of the hard work for you.
♥ Is it possible to win when playing in a live casino?
Of course it is possible to win, the more pertinent question is are you likely to win? The answer to this question is a resounding no. Live online casinos and indeed any online casinos are in the business to make money and the reality is that most players over a life-time of play will be losing ones. The best you can hope for as a player is that you employee every strategy or gaming decision available to you to minimise the house edge – more information on house edge and RTP can be found on this site. Casinos offer entertainment, the cost of that entertainment can be reduced but not entirely eliminated.
♣ What are the benefits of playing at a live online casino?
The most obvious benefit of live casino play is the human factor. Live casino hosts are highly trained and selected for their ability to create a convivial atmosphere for players looking to engage with other people. Most live casino games have an in-game chat function that allows players to communicate with the host and often with each other too. Lots of live casino fans also cite the fact that the action unfolds in real time and right in front of the players as a plus. Players can watch the host dealing, rolling, dropping and shuffling right there in the open. Many feel that games can be considered more trustworthy and safer if there is nothing taking place behind the scenes, such as the algorithm employed in RNG versions of games.
♦ Where can I play live casino games?
The highest rated, safest and most secure live casinos can be found right here on our Best Live Casinos page. We will never recommend an operator that we do not trust, and all of our reviews are completely independent and indepth. We will not improve a casino’s status or score because they offer us money to do so like many affiliate sites will. Prime placement cannot be bought at ThePOGG – it can only be earned. Many online casinos have a live games section but for a great number of these operators there will only be a few games to choose from. It is better to select one of our online casinos if you are looking for more choice of live games.
♠ Is it possible to beat live online casinos?
Casinos of every type are run as businesses, meaning their objective is to make a profit for those that own them. Taking this into consideration, it is unlikely that you will be able to beat a live online casino. You can however reduce the amount you are likely to lose by employing the optimum strategies for games that have them (blackjack and poker) and making sensible choices about which rules are most favourable for you in games where there are different variants, such as roulette.
♥ Am I likely to get better odds at a live casino?
The odds for live casino versions of games like blackjack and poker are highly likely to be exactly the same as their RNG counterparts. It is worth noting however, that the house edge for games like these, and other table games, do tend to be a bit lower than slots games or bingo games. This is only true if players are able to deploy the optimum strategies for these games consistently, and so making use of our Games Guides will help players reduce the house edge to the lowest possible.
♣ Are online casinos likely to be rigged?
If you have selected your live casino according to our recommendations, then it will be safe to play there. Our list of live casinos contains only those operators that we know are honest and reliable. Any online casino in possession of one of our top-tier licenses is highly unlikely to be rigged. All top-tier licensed operators are subject to regulations that insist on their games being tested by recognised and approved testing labs. Remember – the house edge is such that in the long-run the house will always come out on top – losing in the long term is expected – games are provided as a form of entertainment and the cost for this service is what you sacrifice to the house edge.
♦ Are live casinos actually real?
Of course! Software developers incur huge costs to employ set designers and provide dedicated studio spaces that allow their live hosts to meet the needs of players all around the world 24/7. Players can watch real human dealers deal real physical cards, roll real physical dice, or release real physical roulette pills all from the comfort of their own home. They can be sure that everything they see is happening as they watch – in real-time. Multiple cameras capture every single aspect of play and some live games even allow players to choose the camera angle they wish to view the game from. There is no smoke and mirrors – what you see is very much what you get. Have a chat with your live host or other players at the table – they are all real and they will be glad to hear from you – after all it is the sociable nature of live casino games that has brought them all together.
♠ Who makes the live casino games available?
Live casino games are expensive to create and host so not every single igaming software provider makes them. The number is increasing though as the popularity of this sector grows with the playing community and innovation is the name of the game to stay ahead of the competition which is a good thing for players! The biggest players on the live gaming stage are Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Playtech and Microgaming – all highly reputed brands synonymous with integrity and quality. Evolution Gaming are the masters of envisioning and then creating new styles of live games that keep players seeking out operators that offer their games. They are multi-award winning and have won Best Live Online Casino Provider for the past 11 years! An unprecedented run!
♥ Can I play live casino games with a welcome bonus?
In most cases, yes you can! It is important to be aware that all games have a weighting assigned according to the contribution they make to reducing the associated wagering requirements - live games can contribute significantly less than their slots counterparts – sometimes as low as 5%. This means that you will have to bet a lot more to complete the bonus wagering requirements before you can withdraw anything you may have won. This is to offset the decreased house edge applicable to many live games. Now more operators are cottoning on to the fact that players love live games, and many are offering welcome bonuses and other bonuses dedicated just to live games and these may be more to your liking. As ever it pays to do your homework. If you would like to know more about bonuses and how they work, you can find information here.
♣ How many gamblers are playing live online games?
This question is pretty much impossible to answer since no real data has been shared publicly. What we can say for sure is that it must be a lot to offset the software developers costs to produce and run the games and still produce a good profit margin. The fact that more games developers are looking to branch out into the live gaming sector also suggests that there is growing demand for these games which is good for players – they can demand and get the very best.
Live Casinos and Responsible Gaming
Live casinos are subject to the same regulatory standards in terms of responsible gaming provision as regular casinos. The best and safest operators – the ones that you will find on our Best Casinos list all take their responsibility to protect vulnerable players extremely seriously. They all offer links to some of the external agencies that offer support to those affected by problem gambling habits and they are obliged to do this by their regulators. No less is required by those providing live games. We would expect them to link to blocking software providers such as BetBlocker – the registered charity and only entirely free to use gambling content blocking software out there today. Other paid for blocking softwares are available including: NetNanny, GamBlock and GamBan - different pricing plans apply according to the number of device licenses required and the duration of the blocking contract users wish to take on. Links to support agencies are also mandatory – these are likely to include a mix of: Gamblers Anonymous, GambleAware, Gambling Therapy, Gordon Moody Association, GamCare and GAMSTOP.
Remember – our top-tier licensed operators will allow players to set limits on their accounts and it is important that if you feel you are vulnerable to problem gambling habits that you are proactive in instituting these. They range from setting deposit and loss limits to taking a time out or setting a definitive period of self-exclusion – you will also have the option of setting reality checks so that you can keep track of how long your session has lasted thus far. When gambling stops being fun and when it negatively impacts your life in any way at all please use these limiters and seek external help.