Live dealer games at online casinos are all the rage in the world of Internet gaming. Not much attention was paid to the phenomenon a decade ago, but now an increasing number of the leading sites are making this form of gaming available. If you’d like to know more about it, you can increase your knowledge by reading the following text.
What is a Live Online Casino?
Most online casinos are virtual, which means you’ll see nothing but digital representations of playing cards, roulette wheels, etc. At a live online casino, however, you’ll have images of real-life dealers and casino equipment streamed to your computer.
A number of companies specialize in creating these casinos, and they sell their services to a variety of gambling sites. Dealers often work eight-hour shifts, moving from one table to the next at set intervals (20 minutes is standard). If you want to play with a specific dealer, some casinos even post their schedules.
In the early stages, there was no interaction possible between the player and the dealer (other than placing bets). This has changed in recent years, with some software allowing the customer to chat with dealers. Of course, the basic rules of courtesy apply, so anyone who engages in inappropriate behavior may find themselves kicked off.
Not all casino games are available in the live format. For example, you won’t find craps offered, as the players aren’t physically present to roll the dice. A casino employee could perform the task, but that would likely end in accusations of cheating.
No matter which live casino you choose, the following games are the ones most likely to be found. Be sure to check the betting limits before you play, as these amounts can vary wildly from one table to another.
- Casino Hold’em – A version of Texas Hold’em where the player competes against the house.
- Sic-bo – While it’s not found in most European or American live casinos, it’s often available at sites serving the Asian market.
Advantages of Live Dealer Play
If you’re sitting the fence on whether or not to try the live dealer experience, the following is a list of some advantages.
Real People, Not Computers – Some gamblers are still suspicious of results generated by a computer. When you play with a live dealer, you can see a real person turn over cards, spin a wheel, or roll dice. For some, this provides additional assurance when it comes to fairness and reliability.
Sense of Community – Most online casino games pit a single player against a computerized dealer. This can be a lonely experience for some, especially those who long for the thrill of land-based gambling but can’t afford to indulge in it as often as they’d like. That’s not a problem at a live online casino, as you’ll get to sit at a table with multiple real-life gamblers and share a sense of camaraderie.
This also gives you a chance to root for or against fellow players. If an online pal is betting a substantial amount at the roulette table, you can send him a message of encouragement. You can also delight in the failure of Internet rivals, although you’d be wise to keep it to yourself.
No Dress Code – While most land-based casinos are pretty lax when it comes to a dress code, you still can’t walk around in your underwear. That’s never an issue at a live Internet establishment, which means you can gamble in any state of undress that you desire. Fortunately for the dealers, they have no idea what a player is doing on the other side of their computer.
Eye Candy – Let’s be honest: a lot of players choose the live dealer option so they can sit anonymously and look at attractive members of the opposite sex (or the same sex, depending on your orientation). Lovers of Asian and Eastern European women should be especially delighted, although most live casinos also throw in a few male dealers for the sake of equality.
Less Distractions – Live online casinos create the illusion of playing at a land-based establishment, but you don’t have to deal with all the distractions. Nobody is going to blow smoke in your face, and virtual drunks are a lot less threatening (or annoying) than their real-world counterparts. You can turn up your music of choice, strip down to your boxers, and enjoy a gaming experience that you control.
Disadvantages of Live Dealer Play
For those who still haven’t made up your minds, here’s a brief list of some of the possible negatives associated with live dealer play. Keep in mind, however, that these might not be viewed as disadvantages by everyone.
Table Requirements – Before a game begins at a table, there’s often a minimum number of seats that need to be filled. For example, I’ve seen live blackjack tables where the games wouldn’t begin until at least seven players were committed. Of course, there’s also the chance that a table is filled up, requiring you to wait until another becomes available.
Higher Stakes – There’s a lot of overhead when it comes to running a live online casino. Not only do the dealers have to be paid, but there’s also the cost of buying and maintaining the necessary technology to make the experience possible. Because of this expense, expect the table limits at these casinos to be higher. The lowest I’ve seen are usually $5, although some may rise to $10, $25, or even more.
Bandwidth Requirements – Live online casinos require a better Internet connection than their virtual counterparts, and anyone who’s not properly equipped may experience annoying pauses or lost sessions. While the technology should continue to improve over time, this can still be an issue for a large number of potential customers.
Dealing with Other People – This can be a positive or negative, but it all depends on your attitude towards other people. While some gamblers love a community experience, others feel more comfortable when they’re able to do their own thing. If you fall into the latter category, then you may want to stick with virtual gaming.