Recommended Live Dealer Casinos 2021
One of the major trends in online casino gaming over the past decade has been the rise of live dealer casinos – streamed table games, like roulette, blackjack and baccarat, where you get to interact with a real dealer. Almost every online casino worth its salt offers a variety of live dealer games these days. The best of them go further, with a standalone live casino lobby available across a range of platforms, a variety of games, lots of tables, and exclusive live dealer bonus offers. We’ve put together our pick of the top live casino sites in the table below.
Live Casino: What Can I Play and Where?
The big live casino games you’ll find at pretty much every decent site are live roulette and live blackjack. After all, they’re the two big table games for most casino fans. You’ll usually find multiple tables laid on at most land-based casinos, and dozens of different virtual varieties at the biggest online casinos.
Less popular table games, like baccarat, casino hold’em and three-card poker are also increasingly common. They fit the live format well, offer a decent return-to-player, and a nice change from “the big two”.
The games themselves don’t differ much from regular online casino games other than the fact they are dealt by live dealers at real casinos and broadcast via webcams. You interact with the game using a virtual interface that functions in the same way as any online casino game.
Roulette is the staple choice for live gaming, and probably one of the most suited casino games to the format, alongside blackjack. Roulette is a highly visual game, and the difference between a live casino version and a regular roulette game is marked. One downside is that you have to wait for the ball to come to rest with each spin, so the game takes longer. But this is easily offset by playing multiple games at a time.
Genting has by far the biggest selection of live roulette games on offer, with 10 – it’s the runaway winner. There are all manner of variations, including European, American, and even the much less common Arabic roulette, from a number of different providers – you can even play roulette live from the floor of a real live Genting’s casino.
|Casino||No. of Live Tables||Limits|
|Dunder||14||£0.10 - 10000|
|Hippodrome||20||£0.10 - 10000|
|Paddy Power||20||£0.10 - 200|
|Casumo||19||£0.10 - 10000|
|888||27||£0.50 - 10000|
|Pokerstars||18||£1 - 10000|
|Genting||13||£0.10 - 1000|
|Casino of Dreams||9||£0.10 - 2000|
Another popular game in the live casino environment, blackjack players benefit from the tension and excitement of hanging on every card. You can see the card as it’s revealed in real time, giving you an experience that’s hard to rival outside of a land-based casino. There aren’t usually as many versions of blackjack supported in live casinos, as you can see from the table above.
|Casino||No of Live Tables||Limits|
|Dunder||32||£0.50 - 5000|
|Hippodrome||39||£0.50 - 10000|
|Paddy Power||33||£1 - 2500|
|Casumo||30||£0.50 - 5000|
|888||43||£0.50 - 15000|
|Pokerstars||41||$0.50 - 15000|
|Genting||32||£0.50 - 500|
|Casino of Dreams||28||£5 - 2500|
Baccarat is commonly played in land-based casinos worldwide, as one of a handful of table games that dominate casino floors. This games not as widely played as roulette or blackjack. But if you want in, there’s still room – Paddy Power Casino does well here, because the number of tables and user interface are so good, but you could equally try out Genting and have just as much fun with their baccarat offering.
|Brand||No. of Live Tables||Limits|
|Dunder||7||£1 - 1000|
|Hippodrome||7||£1 - 10000|
|Paddy Power||23||£5 - 500|
|Casumo||7||£1 - 15000|
|888||9||£1 - 25000|
|Pokerstars||7||$1 - 15000|
|Genting||8||£5 - 500|
|Casino of Dreams||8||£1 - 5000|
Live Casino Hold’em
Casino Hold’em is an adapted form of Texas Hold’em poker, devised around the year 2000. It’s like Texas Hold’em, but instead of playing against other players, you’re playing against the house. It’s become popular at online casinos, especially in the live environment, with most live casinos now supporting at least 1 version of the game.
Check out PokerStars Casino here – they’re the specialists in poker, after all. While most sites only offer 1 Casino Hold’em game, it makes sense to play at a site more geared towards poker play if that’s what you’re looking for. And with good bonuses and promotions, and some heavily trafficked games, PokerStars casino is probably your best bet if you’re signing up to play Casino Hold’em.
|Casino||No. of Live Tables||Limits|
|Dunder||1||£5 - 500|
|Hippodrome||1||£1 - 3000|
|Paddy Power||2||£1 - 50|
|Casumo||1||£1 - 3000|
|888||1||£1 - 3000|
|Pokerstars||2||$1 - 1250|
|Genting||1||£1 - 50|
|Casino of Dreams||1||£0.50 - 1000|
Live Three Card Poker
Casino of Dreams or Hippodrome are good options for Three Card Poker, although this is another game that’s represented across the board, in virtually all of the live casinos we recommend. Most only offer one version of the game, but there’s enough enjoyment here to keep you going if you’re looking for some fast-paced poker action. Multiple windows at the same time is a good idea here, too.
|Casino||No. of Live Tables||Limits|
|Dunder||1||£1 - 5000|
|Hippodrome||1||£1 - 3000|
|Paddy Power||1||£5 - 500|
|Casumo||1||£1 - 2500|
|888||1||£1 - 5000|
|Pokerstars||1||$1 - 3000|
|Genting||2||£1 - 250|
|Casino of Dreams||1||£1 - 1000|
Live Casino Software
Evolution: The market leader, both in terms of quality and presence, Evolution was founded back in 2006. Since then, they’ve gone on to consistently raise the bar, offering a quality of experience that other providers struggle to match. They’re well represented across our recommended casinos, from Dunder to Casumo to Paddy Power, providing the widest range of tables and game variations of any of their contemporaries.
Playtech: Playtech is one of the leading names in gambling software. Their live casino software is a more recent addition to their lineup, and it’s quickly becoming popular with casino operators, both for the range and quality of games available. In 2017, they upped their game still further, by setting up a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Riga, Latvia. They also employ dealers in the UK, Romania and Italy.
Microgaming: Famous primarily for their slots games, Microgaming has also branched out into live casino software. Available since 2013, Microgaming have been known to employ some of the most talented live dealers, which gives their games an edge over some other providers. They also run Playboy-branded live dealer games.
NetEnt: Another crossover from the slots environment, NetEnt edge out Microgaming in terms of quality and capacity, and are fast chasing the bigger players for market share. NetEnt only offers 2 games at the moment, blackjack and roulette, but this is expected to increase in future as live gaming becomes ever more popular.
How Does Live Casino Work
So how does this all actually work? When you’re playing a live casino game, you’re connecting to a studio via a live stream, which usually resembles a casino floor. You’ll be connected to a particular gaming table, where a trained, human dealer runs the game in real time – virtually identically to the way they would run it if they were working in a land-based casino. The key difference being, of course, that none of the players are actually in site.
Strategically placed cameras capture the action in real time. So for example, if you’re playing roulette, there are usually 3 cameras in operation – showing the wheel, an overhead position and picture-in-picture. The stream is controlled in the Analyst Room, which determines what you get to see while you’re playing – sort of like an editing suite for live TV.
The video streams are then fed through the central game control unit, which encodes the stream for live broadcast. From there, real-time images of the game in progress, along with updating digital displays of your bets, results and other info, are fed through to players across the world, to deliver the live casino experience.
If you’re finding a game running too slowly, it’s possible that your technical setup isn’t robust enough to cope with the demands of live streaming. In this instance, you can often opt for a lower resolution stream, which should help the game run more smoothly.
Betting limits tend to be higher for live casinos vs regular casino games, but the actual process of placing your bet is virtually identical. There may be some additional processing time because you’re dealing with a live feed and real-time human interactions online, which can mean the system takes a fraction longer to reflect your actions than it would if you were playing a software-based casino game.
These issues can all be solved by making sure you’re playing on your best device – whether that’s your laptop, or your smartphone (connected to WiFi, of course). As long as your device is capable of streaming live TV or movies without too much delay or lagging, you should be able to experience a similar level of experience betting on live casino games.
4 Live Dealer Tips
Obviously, in many ways playing live casino games isn’t too different to playing regular online casino games. That said, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Make sure your internet connection is working well if you intend to play live casino online.
- Ease into the games. Don’t start off betting big and risking your money before getting acquainted with the feel of the live game.
- Take advantage of side bets
- Chat and interact with the live dealer. They were chosen for their personalities and you chose live dealer games for the interaction so make the most of the social aspect
Live Mobile Casino
The live dealer casino experience on mobile is in many cases just as good as on desktop. It’s always recommended that you play when you’re connected to WiFi for a more stable connection, better connection speeds, and a lower data bill. The same applies to tablets, as with any smart device – if you can connect to the internet, you can theoretically enjoy live casino gaming, whatever device you’re using.
The difficulty comes on the technical side – the fact is, live casino gaming is slower than regular casino games. That’s a product of the fact you need to stream video, and interact in real time, which requires more system resources and introduces a degree of lag. Not all live tables are available to mobile players, and this varies from casino to casino, but it’s getting better all the time. Our pick for mobile live dealer games would be casinos running Netent’s live casino games as they offer a top notch mobile product with seamless navigation from portrait to landscape and excellent streaming.
So there’s no need to worry about whether you’re going to forfeit your bet – the only thing you’ll miss out on is the result of your bet in real-time, and thanks to the betting history, you’ll be able to see whether you won or lost when you get your connection back.