Live dealer gaming brings the live casino to you. Whether you’re playing at home on your laptop or on the go using your mobile, live games have obliterated the gap between playing online and real casino gambling.
The best gaming developers around the world – Evolution (Microgaming), NetEnt, Playtech and more – have already turned their attention to live dealer technology, and these days just about every top online casino in the world has a live section.
The world of live dealer games is still young too, with advances in technology and gaming innovations arriving all the time. The live dealer landscape is an exciting mixture of classic casino games and exciting new editions created especially for live streaming technology.
On this page, we’ve got an overview of everything you need to know about live dealer games, including:
- How do live dealer games work?
- What type of games are available?
- Live dealer bonuses, mobile gaming and more.
There’s plenty more besides. Our aim is to clear up any doubts or questions you might have about playing live dealer games.
Playing casino games hosted by real professional dealers, with other real people, is just about the most exciting way to gamble online right now.
Live dealer games are the future of online casino gaming, but they’re also the present. Everything you need to start playing today is right here.
How Does Live Dealer Technology Work?
Live dealer games combine traditional virtual betting software with a live video, which lets you play a real game in real-time. Although the technology changes a little depending on what type of live dealer game you’re playing, the idea is largely the same.
Through the video feed, you’ll be able to watch the real dealer and the game unfold. You can make choices and place bets using the virtual interface – similar to the one you’d find on traditional online casino games.
Your bets are processed and visible to the dealer in real-time. For example, if you’re playing live blackjack, the dealer can see whether you’ve chosen to hit or stand and will deal with your cards accordingly.
If you win, your bets are paid out immediately.
Most of the time live, dealer games are broadcast directly from real casinos. This is one of the things that make the games so appealing – the real ambient noises, the glimpse of other tables and players in the background, the swish of the cards or clicking of the ball.
Virtual casino games have done a good job of re-creating the spirit of the casino, but this is the real thing.
Some live dealer games – generally the non-traditional type games we’ll talk about in the next sections – don’t come from real casinos but instead from purpose-built sets. These games have something more like a game show or show business feel – a whole new dimension to online gambling,.
Usually, you can chat to other players and the dealer using a chatbox, meaning live casino games are a generally more sociable experience. Having the dealer congratulate you after a big win or offering friendly encouragement to other players is a great addition to the experience.
Live casino game dealers are professional hosts, dealers or croupiers – exactly the same as you would find in a physical casino. They tend to be polite, friendly, and professional and run their tables expertly.
Usually, they can see the players’ live chat and are happy to chat and interact with players.
Just like in a real casino, players can get superstitious with their favorite dealers and always join their tables. You can even develop cordial and respectful relationships with certain dealers – something that’s impossible with traditional virtual games.
Live Dealer Games
In this section, we’re taking you through a brief rundown of all the most common live dealer games out there. Some of them, like roulette and blackjack, you’ll be sure to find at every live dealer casino. Others are more niche, and may only be found at specific sites.
For all the top games, we’ve also got full guide pages. Just click on the link in any of the sections to discover everything you need to know about that particular game.
Live dealer technology has meant software developers are able to totally rethink classic casino games, and come up with brand new variations and twists. As you’ll see, there are tons of options, as well as multiple versions of lots of the games below.
All the better for us – live dealer games are an amazing way to gamble online and there is a lot to discover.
Roulette and blackjack are probably the big two when it comes to online casino games, and their transformation with live dealer technology has been one of the stories of the community in the 2010s.
Live dealer roulette works in exactly the same way as it does in a real casino. The wheel, the ball and the dealer are all real. The dealer gives the players at home time to make their bets, spins the wheel and everyone waits to see where the ball settles.
Players can place bets using the virtual interface, which replicates a real roulette table – exactly the same as virtual roulette. You simply click on the section of the table to place a bet, and if you win your winnings appear in your account immediately.
Live roulette also generally provides users with live statistics, showing which numbers have come up in recent rounds, and things like the frequency of bets during your session. There is also usually an auto-play option, which lets you set up your favorite bets, choose how many rounds you want to bet on, sit back and watch.
Although not always, live roulette is typically broadcast directly from a real casino. This means the ambient sights and sounds – blurry figures in the dimly lit background, the chatter of voices, the clink of glasses – are genuine. Not only is the casino atmosphere real, but you get to be a participant in it.
In audio terms, roulette is probably the game that most improves from the live experience. There is something about the click of the ball as it skips around the wheels that can’t fail to create excitement – and live roulette does that much more than a virtual reproduction.
Unlike some other live dealer games, live roulette (at least the standard version) is played in the exact same way as real roulette – the same rules and bets.
Variations of Live Roulette
Roulette is one of the games that benefit from having lots of variations at online casinos, and you can regularly discover more active roulette tables than any other game.
First of all, you can expect to see versions of the big three roulette games: European Roulette, French Roulette and European Roulette.
The three games are very similar with the differences coming in the number of zeroes on the wheel (one in European and French, two in American) and the way some bets are paid out (with slightly better odds on French Roulette).
Next is where things get even more interesting.
Gaming developers like Evolution have figured out that even though live roulette uses a traditional, standard wheel, you can still use technology to add amazing twists to the classic format.
Take Lightning Roulette, which randomly selects a few numbers every spin to be struck by lightning, receiving huge multiplier bonuses in the process. There’s Immersive Roulette, which uses multiple HD cameras to show you the game from angles you’ve never seen before.
The creative variations on roulette have helped to keep the game fresh and exciting for the new live dealer technology.
Below we’ve listed some of the top live dealer roulette games you can expect to see:
- European Roulette
- French Roulette
- European Roulette
- Lightning Roulette
- Immersive Roulette
- Speed Roulette
- Auto Roulette
- Instant Roulette
- Double Ball Roulette
- Dual Play Roulette
- VIP Roulette
- Mini Live Roulette
The other heavyweight at online live casinos, live dealer blackjack (like roulette) is largely the same as the physical version of the game.
The dealer, the table, and the cards are all real and visible on the live video feed. There are (usually) seven free seats, just like a real table. To join a game, one of these seats must be free.
Once you “sit down”, the dealer will deal with you (and any other players at the table) a hand. The virtual betting interface will appear, which lets you choose whether to hit or stick. The dealer sees your selections in real-time, and deals the cards accordingly.
The game proceeds as normal, and if you win the hand your cash is credited immediately.
Even more so than roulette, blackjack is a game that relies on interaction. While the roulette croupier simply spins the wheel, in blackjack you are effectively playing “against” the dealer.
Plus, with live dealer roulette there could be hundreds of people playing at once. If you’re sitting at a live blackjack table, you have a two-way line directly to the dealer.
This makes the direct contact of the live camera all the more appealing. You can chat to the dealer, just like a regular blackjack table, as well as the other players. You also get to keep an eye on their cards.
Lots or live blackjack tables let players “bet behind”, which means that even if there isn’t a seat free you can still play. Betting behind basically involves betting on a player who is seated at the table, and anyone can do it regardless of whether there is a free seat or not.
Betting behind is a great option to have – although it does mean you’re kind of at the mercy of what the other player decides to do.
Variations of Live Blackjack
Live dealer technology has also been a revelation for imaginative new versions of blackjack.
By its nature, blackjack has a limited number of players – usually 7 – and if there is no seat free you can’t play (although you can still bet behind). Some of the most popular live dealer versions of blackjack have sought to address that.
Infinite Blackjack from Evolution has combined real cards with virtual dealing technology to create a version of live blackjack that a limitless number of people can play together. The dealer deals out just one hand for themselves and one for the players – all the players.
Everyone begins with this same one hand, but they can play it however they want. The dealer takes a note of all the actions, and plays the hand out accordingly. If necessary (diverging decisions from players) virtual software may kick in to provide your cards.
It’s a great way to democratize blackjack, and to get everyone playing together. The live chat is still in operation, and the dealer can chat to all the players.
Other blackjack variations modify the deck (removing 9s and 10s for example) and/or change the betting action (triple or quadruple downs in play). Interesting side bets are another variation. Some have even simpler twists – like Speed Blackjack which lets each player act as soon as they are ready and makes the whole game faster.
Below, we’ve listed the most popular blackjack variations you can find.
- Speed Blackjack
- Infinite Blackjack
- Power Blackjack
- Free Best Blackjack
- Salon Prive
- VIP Blackjack
- Blackjack Party
- Dedicated Blackjacks
Unlike blackjack and roulette, live dealer poker tends to be a bit more of a departure from the traditional game. For one thing, you generally aren’t playing against other players.
Instead, as in video poker, you’re playing against the house. The dealer follows a set pattern for their hand, and you need to hit a certain value of hand to beat them – more like blackjack than traditional poker.
The real dealer will deal out your cards, their own cards and the community cards. You can choose to fold, bet or raise on each street (depending on the variant), and your goal is to make a better hand than the dealer (whose one card you can see).
Variations of Live Poker
Like roulette and blackjack, there are lots of different variations of live dealer poker. Generally, live dealer poker feels a little strategic than regular poker, and more random – almost like a slot game at times.
Some of the variations really lean into this, with things like progressive jackpots, fun side bets and exciting bonuses.
Below you can see some of the different variations.
- Casino (or Live) Hold’em
- 2 Hand Casino Hold’em
- Side Bet City
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Three Card Poker
- Caribbean Stud Poker
- Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
Baccarat translates excellently to live dealer casinos. The gameplay is basically just the same as in a real casino, and since you’re still playing against the house there are no major differences you need to get used to.
Live dealer baccarat is fast and requires concentration, but no more so than regular baccarat. In fact, the live version often contains live statistics and in-game help to make your life even easier.
In addition to the standard live version, there are other variations out there with speeded up gameplay, interesting side bets, imaginative camera angles and more. Some of them are listed below.
- Salon Privé
- Multi-Camera Baccarat
- Live Baccarat Squeeze
- Live Baccarat Control Squeeze
- Speed Baccarat
- Lighting Baccarat
- No Commission Baccarat
- Dual Play Baccarat
- Baccarat Multiplay
Now we’re starting to get into the slightly less commonly available games. In truth, live dealer sic bo is still fairly widespread – just not as much as the likes of roulette or blackjack.
Sic bo is enjoyably simple. If you have concerns about playing overcomplicated games at live dealer casinos – or for players less comfortable with live streaming technology – sic bo is a great option.
There are even some souped-up versions out there with special multiplier bets and bonuses.
Keno works great at live dealer casinos. A big part of the fun of the game is watching the balls whir around before one is drawn out, and waiting to see if you get lucky. Virtual keno games work perfectly, but there is a physicality to the game that makes the live dealer version more satisfying.
The combination of the real balls with your virtual scorecard is really visually impressive too.
Similar to keno, more and more live dealer casinos are introducing other types of bingo games for the same reasons outlined above.
Bingo games are naturally fun and interactive, with less of an emphasis on skill and more on the thrill of getting lucky. The dealers tend to be particularly friendly and talkative too.
Live casino bingo games are laid back alternatives to the slightly more serious business of strategical casino games. Which is absolutely the same for our next category
Gameshow Games / Boardgames / Sports Themed Games
Moving further away from classic casino games, more and more live dealer providers have begun to create games inspired by classic TV gameshows, family-favorite board games, and even sports-style games.
Look out for Wheel of Fortune style wheels that let players spin to determine what their prize is, or the ability to choose secret prizes hidden behind doors or inboxes. Some shows – like Deal or no Deal for example – have even their own special live dealer editions.
There are also twists on board games like Monopoly, and fantasy-football style sports betting games.
The “dealers” in these types of games are in reality more like hosts, and the games, in general, have more of a show feel – perfect for when you want a break from the serious concentration required for some casino games.
Live Casino Bonuses
All online casinos typically have welcome bonuses for new members. It could be a no-deposit bonus (which gives you a small amount of totally free cash) or a deposit bonus (which matches all or part of your first deposit with bonus cash for example.
These days lots of casinos even have special promotions aimed specifically at live dealer games, to encourage users to try them out.
For a full overview of the type of bonuses, you can find at live dealer casinos, head over to our bonuses section.
Live Casino on Mobile
Today, the majority of online gambling is done via mobile, and live dealer games are going in the same direction.
The best live dealer providers design their games especially for both the laptop and the smaller screen, with intelligent technology that adapts to whatever device you are using.
Lots of live casinos have their own mobile apps, or have at least optimized their site for mobile access.
For more a full rundown of mobile live dealer gaming, check out our mobile apps section.
How do I Choose a Live Dealer Casino?
There’s not really any “correct answer” when it comes to choosing a live dealer casino. Each one is a little different and will suit some players more than others.
The first step is to figure out what you’re looking for.
If you already know which live dealer games you’re interested in playing, head to our bonuses section to decide what kind of bonus you should look for. Think about whether mobile gaming is a priority for you. Check out our live casino banking section to see what kind of payment methods work for you.
When you have a set of criteria in your head, we can help.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best live dealer casinos available online. Each one may be unique, but what they have in common is the fact that our experts have personally tested and verified each one.
Check out our reviews and get to know each of our recommended sites, bearing in mind what you’re looking for in a live casino. Whichever one you choose, we’re certain you’re going to have a great time.