All the Thrills of the Casino Live in Your Home!
Signing On Is Easy
For most people, the excitement of the casino used to be something that could only be enjoyed on special occasions. Well, not any more. Nowadays, you can participate in a live game without even needing to go out of the house! In fact, you can play directly from the comfort of your sofa and it’ll be much the same as if you were there in person. You’ll place your bets and then watch the cards being dealt, or the roulette wheel being spun. And best of all, you’re dealing with a real human, so you’ll be able to engage in a bit of chat.
Three Different Types
The live casinos all use video streaming to bring the action to you, but there are some differences in the way that they go about this. They differ in terms of location, too. The types you’ll come across can be split into three categories.
- The bespoke studios. These are designed to look authentic, and feature proper tables and authentic playing equipment.
- Land-based. These are broadcast to you from a genuine venue. You’ll be placing your bets alongside the punters who are actually in the building itself.
- TV. These feature games on dedicated channels. You’ll place your bets with your mobile device and then watch on your television screen.
How a Live Casino Works
It’s no mean feat to bring all the live action of a casino into your home. In truth, it’s quite an involved process. The average studio has to have a full camera crew, consisting of a director, camera operators, sound engineers, and lighting technicians. There also has to be an IT manager on hand to deal with any technical issues, as well as a pit boss who can be called upon to resolve any disputes. And of course, every venue needs a team of professional dealers and croupiers, too. After all, you can’t play anything without them!
Top 3 Live Dealer Casinos
When You’re Ready to Join a Table
You’ll be pleased to learn that it’s very easy to join in. Once you’ve decided what to play, you’ll be taken straight into the heart of the live casino. You’ll be struck by the atmosphere immediately. There’s a general hubbub in the room that really helps to set the scene. The tables all have different wagering limits, so you can choose one that suits your budget. Usually, you can select one that has the language that you prefer to use, too. You’ll place your bets via your computer screen, just as usual, but you’ll actually watch as the cards are dealt or as the ball spins round the roulette wheel. You’ll also be able to change the camera angle or zoom in whenever you want.
When you first join in, the dealer will welcome you by name, and the chat facility allows this friendly interaction to continue throughout your gaming session. Most of the games allow for an unlimited number of seats, but blackjack only has seven. Even if the table is full, you can still play, though. When there aren’t any places available, you’ll be offered the bet behind option. In this situation, you’ll be betting on another player’s hand, and following how it unfolds. It’s a good way to get involved, particular for new players.
The Tables Just For You!
Some of the bigger online casinos reserve tables in the live venues that are exclusively for their customers. This allows them to add some promotional features or to throw in a few one-off prizes. It’s always worth taking advantage of this option if it’s available, as you’re bound to get some extra perks as you play. You’ll also notice that some games are solely for VIP players. These tend to be the ones with higher betting limits, and they are predominantly aimed at the high rollers. Again, this is done so that the companies can reward their loyal clients with a few additional treats.
Who Provides the Live Casinos?
There are, perhaps, four software providers who are at the head of the field in the way of live casinos. On the surface of it, their games selection is much the same. They also all provide 3D streaming, as well as high quality graphics and audio, so it can be hard to know which would be the best one for you. When you look a bit closer though, there are some subtle differences between them, and recognising these may help you to make your choice.
European Blackjack Gold
Min bet £1
Max Bet £200
Dealer stands On all 17
The Award-winning Evolution Gaming
Evolution Gaming is, without doubt, leading the way. Since it first came onto the scene in 2006, it has been consistently at the forefront of innovation, and it continues to push at the boundaries. The company’s strength lies in the fact that it only offers live casino games, which allows it to focus all of its efforts on that one aspect. Consequently, it provides the full works – products for land-based venues, for dedicated studios and for TV. There are also mobile options available. The company already has studios in Latvia, Malta, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Belgium, and will be launching a brand new, purpose-built facility in Canada in early 2018.
Microgaming’s Bunny Girls
Microgaming brought us the first online casino, and has been providing live games for over seven years. The company provides more than twenty operational tables, and has studios in locations as far flung as Canada, the Philippines, and Argentina. There is also a multi-play facility, so you can participate in several variants at the same time. But Microgaming’s real unique selling point is its collaboration with Playboy. The two companies joined forces in 2013 to provide the exclusive Playboy experience, complete with genuine bunny girl dealers. Somewhat unsurprisingly, these tables are proving to be very popular!
Playtech’s Superior Features
Playtech has studios that cater for both the European and the Asian market. The cutting edge Omni-channel software used in these provides the fastest streaming out of all the providers. For players who want to place higher stakes, the company offers an exclusive VIP area, called the Ruby Room. Earlier this year, Playtech opened the world’s biggest live casino in Latvia. This is a state-of-the art facility, which hosts the industry’s largest video wall. The company is currently developing some augmented reality games, which will, it claims, take gaming to a whole new dimension.
Going Mobile with NetEnt
NetEnt has adopted a mobile-first approach to gaming, and the result of this is a live casino platform that has a very modern feel to it. The company uses Chroma Key technology and has developed a complete range of games that are completely suitable for mobile play. All of these can be played in either landscape or portrait mode, and have perfectly synchronised audio and video. NetEnt developed its complete portfolio in collaboration with players, and has based the selection largely upon their feedback. The idea behind this was to provide a truly immersive experience, and nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than in their studios.
Choosing a Live Casino Game
You might have expected to have a limited selection in the live casinos, but on the whole, you’ll find that there’s a decent range in most of them. You’ll have a variety of different card games to choose from, or you could opt for one of the versions of roulette. There are also several more unusual options for you to consider, and you’ll probably want to check out everything that’s on offer before you make a definitive choice.
The Most Popular Card Games
Blackjack is a staple at most of the live casinos. It tends to be the classic version that’s available, and it’s a similar case with Baccarat. You’ll usually find the standard game being offered. There are a few interesting variants though, which you might want to consider:
- Party Blackjack. You’ll probably come across this if you hunt around a bit. It’s popular because it’s low stake, and an unlimited number of punters can bet behind the main seven players. The idea is to create a fun atmosphere, in which the players all interact with one another. The whole experience is hosted by a team comprising of a professional dealer and a TV-trained presenter, so you’ll get a full commentary as you participate.
- You may like to try Mini Baccarat. The simplified format is great for those learning the ropes. Another favourite is Baccarat Squeeze. This involves a ritual in which the cards are gradually shown, and you’ll enjoy the tension being ramped up as you watch the cards being slowly revealed!
Other Card Games to Try
You might feel like exploring a few of the other live card games. In Playtech’s Hi-Lo, the objective is to predict whether the next card will be higher or lower than the last. Another from this provider is 3 card brag, in which you aim to beat the dealer’s hand. If neither of those appeal to you, there’s always Poker. The sites mostly feature the three card version, but Evolution Gaming has some quirky alternative side bets. The other variety that comes under this banner is Texas Hold ‘Em. This one involves a lot of strategy, and again, you’ll have some interesting betting options open to you.
A Few Alternative Live Games
There are seemingly endless choices when it comes to live roulette. You can choose between French or European rules, go for the scaled-down Mini version, or opt for one of the speed rounds. You’ll also find Double Balls being used, as well as Duel Play, which involves land-based casinos linking up with the online members. This variant brings people from around the world together, allowing them all to participate at the same time.
The ancient Chinese game of Sic-Bo is more familiar in the Asian countries, and Playtech offers this for players in those regions. On a basic level, it involves three dice and you bet on the result of the roll. The rules are fairly simple to follow, but the odds fluctuate wildly on certain number combinations, so you should check that before you decide to play.
The Incredible Dream Catcher!
It’s impossible to talk about live casinos without mentioning Evolution Gaming’s newest offering. This is the innovative Dream Catcher – a giant money wheel that is spun by the dealer in the studio. The objective of the game is to wager on where the wheel will stop, and you can choose a single number or bet on one of the multiplier segments. Seeing the wheel being spun is mesmerising, and as with all of the games, there is an interactive element to the play, which will keep you fully entertained.
Jackpot Side Bets
You’ll often be offered side bets in the live casinos, and in certain cases, the amount you win isn’t fixed. These are known as progressives, as the winning sum of money continues to grow. Evolution Gaming has two games with this special feature. Hold ‘Em has the Jumbo 7 option. This has an uncapped jackpot, and the prize grows in value with every game until someone finally gets lucky. This is much the same in Caribbean Stud Poker, which is won on a royal flush. There are payouts on a number of other hands, as well.
Some Final Tips
If you’re thinking about getting involved, you’ll find a wide range of options open to you. There are a few additional points, however, that will help you to get the most out of the experience.
- Look for a welcome bonus, as you may receive an incentive when you first participate. It’s good to take advantage of this if you can, but read the wagering terms and conditions before you agree to anything.
- On the same note, be wary of side bets. These additional wagers are always optional, and you should treat them with a degree of caution. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re playing!
- Remember that you can just watch when you enter the venues. You don’t have to take part in anything until you feel ready.
There’s nothing quite like a live casino. You can soak up the atmosphere, interact with the dealer and your fellow players, and track your game in real time. For most players, once they’ve experienced it, there’s no going back!