Online casinos have revolutionised classic gaming by bringing punter favourites out of brick-and-mortar establishments and giving players the chance to participate anytime, anywhere.
Now, with real-time online games including the likes of roulette and blackjack, punters can experience the exciting atmosphere and intensity of live play by taking a seat at the table, without ever having to step foot inside a real casino.
These games cater for players seeking the authentic real-life experience. The tables and dealers are broadcast in real time from a studio dressed as a casino – or from actual working casinos around the world.
Players see the table from an immersive first-person perspective, bringing them as close as possible to the game as it progresses. They can also chat with the dealer, just as they would if they had visited the venue in person.
Most online live-dealer casino offerings cover the three standard casino table games: roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. The more sophisticated live broadcasts will offer multiple tables with these games, as well as the different variants and betting limits.
Some of the most common live-dealer poker variants include Texas Hold'em and Omaha, while many live-dealer offerings will let punters choose between playing at an American or European roulette table. The dealers will give you an overview of the rules if you're unfamiliar with a particular variant.
The level of interaction players have with live dealers is continually evolving, and the chat options on offer vary depending on the specific operator. With some providers, the dealer mainly acts as a host for the live broadcast. In most, participants interact directly with the dealer, usually through a chat window where players type and the dealer replies verbally.
More recently, Live Casinos have integrated real-time conversations through voice chat, replicating the format of online multiplayer video games. This means there's no longer any need for an on-screen chat window, and the game tends to run quickly and efficiently as dealers no longer have to read messages on a screen.
Even though the broadcast is going out live, the short delay in receiving the signal can mean that the game is set at a more gentle speed than found in automated games or an actual casino.
Dealers will also occasionally have to move on if a player has been disconnected or experiences technical problems, in the same way an automated game may hurry them along if they cannot make a decision.
Depending on which game players choose, live-dealer streams are often placed front and centre on the screen, with some additional player information – such as winnings, game limits and length of time playing – dotted around the dealer.
Other games, such as roulette, may offer a larger, in-screen view of the wheel, or a computer-generated betting board on the lower half of the screen.
These digital platforms make placing bets faster and easier, contributing to a slicker live experience. Many of these live broadcasts now reach players in full HD, offering a crisp, sharp image so players can get an immediate picture of which cards have been drawn or where the roulette ball has landed.
Most Live Casinos can be accessed on a full range of static and mobile devices, but gameplay experience can vary depending on individual broadband connection speeds and browser type. To try and unify the playing experience, some online Live Casinos also offer a dedicated programme to download that synchronises seamlessly with other players in the game.
With the increase in smartphone and tablet use, many Live Casinos have developed free apps for players to download on either iOS or Android. These apps mean that players can continue to enjoy the live experience wherever they are.
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