The increased availability of broadband internet connections, new advances in security, encryption, and streaming technology have made it possible to enjoy a real live casino experience from the comfort of your own home.
Despite the stringent gambling regulations that UK online casinos must comply with, some players will always feel that a human touch instead of machine algorithms can provide more of an edge to the player.
Others simply prefer the personal interaction of watching a real human dealer rather than an on-screen graphic.Continue reading..
Whatever your reason for preferring it, live dealer casinos are now commonplace, and in the UK they are becoming very popular. For people who find real casinos too intimidating, or for those who simply don’t have the time to visit a traditional casino, live online casino games offer a true casino experience with none of the drawbacks.
At GamblingInformation.com we want to give you all the inside knowledge you need on how live casinos operate, as well as highlighting our top picks for the best live casino experiences you can enjoy here in the UK.
How Live Casinos Work
Live online casino gambling has only become possible in the UK thanks to secure, live streaming technology. In order for the Gambling Commission to regulate live online casinos they have to be certain that the games are happening in real time, and that players are able to register their stakes and receive their winnings accurately and in a timely manner.
Because of the wide availability of fast internet and the development of secure streaming, live casino games can now be enjoyed by UK players.
It’s worth noting that the live dealer view isn’t required to play the game, as stakes and winnings are paid exactly as with a purely electronic version. The outcome of the game is simply being generated by a human dealer rather than a computer programme.
Needless to say, if you want this human touch then you need to make sure your internet service meets the requirements of the site to enjoy the live dealer view. If you like to gamble over your mobile phone, then you need to be aware of the amount of data that might be being used and whether this will incur additional data charges from your mobile provider.
Other than the technology involved, games in a live online casino work in exactly the same way as those in a traditional casino, or in the electronic online version of the game.
The most popular live games are the traditional casino games like roulette, baccarat, or blackjack. Players can see the hands being dealt or the numbers being landed are the result of a human dealer touching the cards or the wheel. For many, this gives a reassurance that the odds are fair. Some professional gamblers even feel that the human element may give a very slight extra edge to the players – although there’s no scientific reason this should be the case!
In live casino games the results of hand-drawn cards or hand-made spins are fed into the casino system, and player accounts are then automatically credited with the appropriate amount of any win they have enjoyed.
Another huge growth area is live online casino poker, using streaming technology. Again, by being able to see the cards dealt in real time it assures all players of a totally neutral deck, and gives serious players confidence in playing high stakes poker in an online environment.
Specialist poker sites have grown up to service the demand, but live online casinos have used their streaming technology to bring “Casino Held ‘Em” to the public, and this is now a popular live casino game enjoyed by UK gamblers.
To help with immersion and create a more “real experience”, some online casinos are moving away from streaming their live tables from a TV studio towards using an actual casino. Having this authentic setting can really enhance the feeling that you’re playing at a “proper” casino.
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The Different Live Casino Games
Online casinos differ slightly in how their live games are presented, but all of them follow the same principles.
Some casinos are more sociable than others. Whilst some offer text box chatting with the dealer, others have the option of full 2 way voice communication. Some even allow you to chat to your fellow gamblers, further enhancing the “real casino” ambience.
One thing all live casino games have in common, though, is that abusive words or behaviour are never allowed, whether directed to another player or the dealer. If you misbehave you can expect to be kicked from the table immediately. Some casino rules state that you will even forfeit winnings, while others operate a policy of banning you from further live gaming, even for a first offence. Be warned, and remember – it’s meant to be fun for everyone involved, so be nice.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the most popular games work in a live UK online casino.
Live Casino Blackjack
Most live casino blackjack games have “seats” for up to seven players at a time. Because the streaming technology used is 2-way, you will usually be greeted in person by the dealer when you take your seat at the table.
Most live blackjack system feature a video feed of the dealer at the casino table, with your computer interface over the top. This is very similar to the non-live electronic versions of blackjack available.
Once you are ready to join the game you will place a bet via your interface. The dealer will be notified that you’re in for that hand and deal accordingly. Most systems have a time limit within which you have to place a bet to be included in a hand. If you don’t bet for a certain amount of hands you may be asked to leave your seat to give someone else a chance – or you may be automatically removed!
Cards will be dealt from a card shoe, exactly as at a traditional casino. You’ll also find traditional moves such as the first card being discarded (to prevent card counting). Shoes are changed regularly, and dealers shifts usually last no more than an hour.
The games are played in the usual way. As cards as dealt, the dealer passes them over a special camera that reads the card information into a computer, sending the information to your screen as well as appearing on the live table.
As the game progresses the computer keeps track of winnings and wagers, and your account is automatically debited or credited as required.
Live Casino Baccarat
Many live casinos will allow you to observe the live Baccarat table for a while without playing, to get a feel for the table. However at peak times they may limit the time you can observe without playing, or operate a players only rule.
Dealers will see your username and play status, and they may greet you personally. If you join as a player they will interact with you directly.
As with other live casino card games, standard casino procedures apply. Cars are dealt from a casino shoe, and the shoes are changed regularly. First drawn cards are discarded to guard against card counting. Dealers will work in shifts, usually no more than one hour at a time.
As the cards are dealt, they are passed over a specialised card reading camera. This information is then processed by the computer and passed to your on screen betting terminal, which is overlaid on the live feed.
As you place your bets and the game continues, the computer will automatically debit and credit your account as your wagers and winnings are placed and the hands are resolved.
As with all live casino games, the dealers are required to undergo casino croupier training, so mistakes are incredibly rare – just as in a traditional casino.
Live Casino Roulette
Roulette is one of the most popular live casino games. Just as in a real casino the tables are often busy and lively, with sometimes large number of players betting at any time.
For live casino roulette almost all the systems in use show a live feed of only the croupier and the roulette wheel itself. Each player will see a fully electronic version of the table where bets can be placed.
In most roulette games there are so many players that it is rare for the croupier to be able to interact personally with individuals – again, much like at a busy traditional casino. However if you are a high-roller or VIP you may be singled out for some special attention. You might also find that big cash winners or single number winners will get a “shout out”.
After a defined period of betting, the croupier will call “no more bets” at which time the table will close. They will then set the wheel spinning and release the ball in the opposite direction. Once the ball lands, special image recognition software confirms the result and winners will be paid out appropriately automatically.
Live Casino Hold ‘Em
Live online casinos play Casino Hold ‘Em – a single-deck game where you are betting against the “house” in the form of the dealer.
Hand ranks are based on standard poker rules, and most live versions will show you winning hands in order with a pay table.
All “in” players are dealt a hand and must then “ante up”. The dealer will draw a 3 card “flop”, after which you can fold or call. If the dealer’s hand doesn’t have at least a pair or 4s or better, then your ante bet pays according to your hand.
If the dealer’s hand is 4’s or better and you call the bet, 2 more cards get dealt face up.
At this point, if you and the dealer’s hands are equal, all bets are returned and the hand is “pushed”. If your hand is the best, you get paid out on your call bet at 1 to 1.
Live Casino Dealers
Despite what many people think, the dealers and croupiers who work on live casino games are not just easy on the eye! Because live online casinos are regulated just like standard online casinos (or indeed traditional casinos), the dealers must be highly trained to ensure complete fairness and accuracy.
Because of this, mistakes in live casino play are vanishingly rare. Many gamblers prefer to play games of pure chance like roulette with a live croupier because they can then be sure that the games are truly random, and there are no quirks in a computer algorithm that might unintentionally favour the house. Of course in regulated casinos this isn’t the case, but gamblers tend to be a superstitious breed!
Live dealers are often chosen because of their great personalities, and this comes shining through in games like roulette where there is “downtime” between the dealer’s role of spinning the wheel and ball. Jokes, banter and fun trivia facts are often used by dealers to fill these gaps, and some live casinos allow players to request to be placed with particular favourite dealers, or to have special interactions with the on-screen personalities.
Although attractive, personable dealers make for a nice ambience when playing, we don’t use these factors as part of our criteria for becoming a recommended live online casino on GamblingInformation.com. We only recommend live casino sites that offer the best bonuses, the fairest play and the highest quality customer service.