An introduction to live online casino gambling (Part 1)
If you are new to live casino gaming, set out below is a précis
which you may find useful. It includes a number of links to internal
pages offering more detailed insights into various aspects of live casino
gambling you may wish to explore a little further.
A live casino may be thought of as a hybrid sitting somewhere
between traditional (RNG - random number generator) online casinos and (even
more traditional) terrestrial or 'bricks and mortar' casinos. It combines
the tangible aspects of
real dealers, cards, die and roulette wheels found in terrestrial casinos
with the internet as a delivery mechanism serving the game
remotely to players' PCs.
the concept is simple. Somewhere, in either a purpose built studio
or a terrestrial casino, a croupier deals a game in front of a video camera.
That camera streams live vision of the deal (or spin as the case may be) to a
linked interface that allows players sitting at their PC to view the game
as it is being conducted and place bets accordingly.
In order to play a live casino game you will need to find an online casino offering live games
and register a playing account. But as depicted in the above diagram,
often the video stream and associated bet interface are not developed and
managed by the casino, but rather licensed from a third party provider.
There are a number of
live casino platform providers
out there selling their services to online casinos. Some are well known
RNG casino software developers who have expanded their offering to include live
dealer studios and streaming, like Microgaming and Playtech. Others are
'pure plays' like Evolution Gaming, CWC Gaming, Vuetec and Entertasia that have emerged in the last three or four years as
live casino industry has developed.
This varies slightly between platform provider and casino
(branding tweaks), but in the main there is a typical look and feel that is
commonly employed. Set out below is a screen grab of a typical interface,
with the webcast inset top and centre and surrounded by all your betting
instructions and information. Links to help and house rules are all
provided as well as a full history of bets placed and outcomes.
Some providers offer the chat functionality, so you can chat
to the dealer and other players. Some also offer the ability to enlarge
(or enlarge and detach) the video stream to full screen view. Some also
offer the ability to view all bets placed by other players on the roulette table
during the time afforded to place bets (Smart Live Casino).
Broadly speaking live casinos may be categorized as one of
Vision streamed from a purpose built dealer studio:
Probably the most common type of live casino offering is where the games are
streamed from a purpose built dealer studio. Here the dealer
environment (lighting, camera views, zoom, orientation etc) streaming
technology and interface functionality (dealer interaction, view
customization etc) are all able to be optimized for online play.
Vision streamed from an actual casino:
Some online casinos offer games streamed from actual bricks and mortar
casinos. You are able to watch other players inside the casino place
their bets at the same table you are playing at on your PC. You also
have the novelty of playing a game being conducted by a casino employed
Television broadcast casino games:
A number of casinos offer live games that are both cast over the web and telecast over
cable TV channels. The games are broadcast from television studios by
presenters and are more akin to game shows in which you are able to
participate from your PC or TV.
Each of the above
three flavours of live casino
offer strong points as well as shortcomings.
In case you were wondering where the
major live dealer studios
are located, you can view details here
Live casinos generally offer
blackjack, roulette and
A few also offer the Asian dice game Sicbo.
Compared with RNG games range, which number up to 400 at some online casinos,
live game range is still small.
The limited game range is probably symptomatic of the fact
that live gaming is still a developing niche and one that is relatively labor
intensive compared with RNG games and therefore provided at a higher marginal
cost. As player participation increases over time game range will no doubt
One variation to the above games that has emerged is Vuetec's
Basic Strategy Blackjack with
Early Payout™ payout which is streamed from the Fitzwilliam Card Club
and Casino in Dublin, Ireland.
Which is the best live casino? This is a very
subjective question and any website trying to give a definitive answer on this
one is kidding themselves. Claiming a certain live casino as 'the best',
is much is like claiming your favorite film as the best film. It all
depends on your preferences.
There are a myriad of different attributes offered by the
live casinos (and their platform provider) you will find on the web, that may be considered in choosing
what is best for you. Do you want to be able to chat to the dealer and
other players during play? Would you prefer a fast game or one where
plenty of time is afforded between deals/spins? Are you looking for
games with low limits or
are you a high roller looking for high
maximum bet limits? Are you particular about the look and feel of the
game interface and the ambience of the dealer studio? Are you looking for
a casino brand that you know and trust? What game are you wanting to play
- blackjack, baccarat, roulette or sicbo? Would you like to be able to
play in free-play mode before playing with real money?
The list is endless and you want a casino that ticks most of
the boxes you have. Try our live casino
attributes page as a starting point.