If you’re a poker fan, you don’t have to organize a gathering to play your favorite game. Instead, you can find various variants on the internet and play them in real time. A live game of poker online can be rather dynamic, so stay tuned.
Live dealer games online are quite a hit. That’s not surprising, given their nature. Namely, they combine the excitement of land-based gaming and the convenience of playing from home. Since they’re hosted by real-life dealers (hence the name) housed in casino-like studios, they simulate the atmosphere of brick-and-mortar venues.
A casino’s selection of live dealer games depends on the software providers. The most common are Blackjack and Roulette. However, poker and Baccarat follow closely behind. Many casinos offer numerous variants of each of these games.
What Is Live Casino Poker?
Live casino poker is somewhat of an umbrella term. All live dealer variants of the game you can play online are live casino poker games. They may be more or less numerous, depending on the casino and the software providers catering to it. The best of all is Evolution Gaming — their offer features both quantity and quality.
Live poker online differs from the traditional form of the game in two aspects. Firstly (and more obviously), you’re not in the same room with other players. Secondly, instead of playing against them, you play against the house.
The first poker variant to go online is now known as Casino Hold’em. It was developed in 2000 by Stephen Au-Yeung, who was teaching his wife how to play Texas Hold’em.
At the time, Casino Hold’em was unique for being a single-hand poker game. Nowadays, there are other such variants, but this one remains the most popular one.
How to Play Live Dealer Casino Poker Games
If you want to play a live dealer game of poker, you should know which variant interests you. Not every live casino has all the variants, so you’ll need to find the one that offers the game you want to play.
In that process, you should pay attention to the casinos’ business practices. You can consult other players online and read reviews on trustworthy watchdog portals. Moreover, the casino where you’ll engage in real-money gaming has to be legitimate. Namely, it should have high security and fairness standards. Most such casinos use encryption to protect the players’ privacy and have their games monitored by reputable third-party testing agencies.
Lastly, when you make a selection, check every casino’s banking page. Although it’s generally a dynamic experience, live casino gaming can become tedious if you have to wait for your withdrawals to be processed.
Live Casino Poker Games
The reason not every casino has all the poker variants is in the fact that different providers develop different games. Evolution Gaming has the most extensive selection. The company holds exclusive rights to Three Card Poker, Texas Hold’em, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Additionally, they have Casino Hold’em, Sibe Bet City, and Caribbean Stud Poker. Lastly, Evolution Gaming is the only provider to offer progressive poker jackpots.
Other developers that have live poker games are Playtech (Casino Hold’em and Three Card Brag), Ezugi (Casino Hold’em), Vivo Gaming (Five Seat Caribbean Stud Poker), and Xpro Gaming (Five Seat Caribbean Stud Poker and Casino Hold’em).
Live Casino Hold’em
Casino Hold’em was the first live poker variant to go online. The goal is to form a higher-ranking five-card hand than the dealer out of your two cards and five community cards.
Before the first dealing round, the player has to place an ante bet. Optionally, they can place a bonus bet too. The dealer then delivers two face-up cards to the player and two-face down cards to themselves. They then place the first three community cards (the flop) on the table. The player then gets to choose whether to double the ante or fold. Afterward, the dealer places the river and turn on the table.
When all the community cards are on the table, the dealer reveals their two cards. Then, both the player and the dealer form the best card combination they can. The one with a higher-ranking hand wins.
Two-Hand Live Casino Hold’em
This is a variation of Casino Hold’em. The rules are the same, but this variant features two player hands. You can play both or choose one. The bonus side bet is available on both hands.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Along with Casino Hold’em, Ultimate Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant. Before the dealing round, both the ante and the blind bet are placed. There’s also the option of placing a trips side bet (it pays out on three of a kind and higher-ranking hands).
Then, the dealer delivers two cards to themselves and the player. The player has the option to place a bet three or four times the ante or check. After the flop is dealt, the player can bet up to two times the ante (if they haven’t bet already) or check. The dealer then places the river and turn on the table. At this point, the player can place a bet equal to the ante or fold.
Finally, the dealer shows their cards and the hand that ranks higher wins.
Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
In this variant, instead of quadrupling the ante, the player merely has to play (match the ante) or fold. In every following betting round, the player chooses whether to bet or check. Additionally, in this variant, the bonus side bet pays out for pairs and high card combinations.
Three Card Poker
This variant, along with Three Card Brag, is the simplest live dealer poker game. It features two side bets — pairs plus and six card bonus. When they place the ante, the player can also place a side bet.
When the cards are dealt, the player chooses whether to match the ante or fold. Afterward, the dealer reveals their cards and the higher-ranking hand wins.
Three Card Brag
Three Card Brag is almost the same as Three Card Poker. There are only two differences. In this variant, the highest-ranking hand is three of a kind. It pays 40:1, while in Three Card Poker, it’s a straight flush that has that payout. Additionally, this variant features only the pairs plus side bet.
Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker is similar to Three Card Poker. The difference is in the number of cards. Instead of three, this variant features five cards.
The player’s cards are dealt face-up, while the dealer gets one face-up and four face-down cards. The player then decides whether to bet or fold. If they play, the dealer reveals their four face-down cards in the showdown.
Side Bet City
This is an alternative poker game. No cards are dealt to the player or the dealer, but the results are poker hands.
There are seven face-up cards on the table. The player can bet on the first three, the first five, or all the cards.
Live Dealer Poker vs. Virtual Poker vs. Land-Based Poker
An online game of poker, whether it’s live or virtual, gives you privacy. When you go to a land-based casino, you don’t have that luxury. The same goes for convenience — instead of traveling to a casino, you can have it come to you. Additionally, online casinos offer bonuses. Whether you’ll claim them or not is up to you. But the fact is they’re there.
There’s something all three versions of the game have in common — high table limits. However, only virtual poker games have low table limits as well.
Both live dealer poker and land-based poker involve interaction. In fact, such games of poker may come as social events. They’re also more realistic than virtual poker, which is RNG-based.
Lastly, online casinos offer many more payment options. In addition to credit cards and bank transfer, you may be able to use e-wallets and even cryptocurrencies.
Benefits of Live Dealer Poker
- High table limits;
- Various payment options.
Instead of choosing between going to a brick-and-mortar venue and playing virtual poker, you can have the best of both worlds. You can stay at home and play online, all the while feeling like a pro player making millions. Depending on the casino, you’ll be able to play several different variants. Whether you want to play poker for fun or you have greater ambitions, you’ll be happy with live dealer poker. It’s a social event that offers you the chance to make money.
Frequently Asked Questions
That depends on your preferences. Unlike virtual games, live games aren’t controlled by an RNG. Instead, they involve real-life dealers and croupiers. Although they’re played online, they’re much more similar to land-based games than virtual games.
There are many online casinos that offer live games. However, you should only play at legitimate ones. You can check a casino’s reputation on watchdog portals and forums. Additionally, you should check its security and fairness standards as well as financial information.
The absolute house advantage on the ante bet is about 2.19%. However, during the game, you’ll place additional bets. When you take the blind bet and other bets into account, the house edge lowers to about 0.53%.
Evolution Gaming is the only software provider to offer progressive poker jackpots. Currently, there are three jackpots (Casino Hold’em Jackpot, Texas Hold’em Bonus Jackpot, and Caribbean Stud Poker Jackpot). The player wins the jackpot when they have a royal flush.
These two variants are quite similar. However, there are two differences. While the highest hand in Three Card Poker is a straight flush, in Three Card Brag, it’s three of a kind. Additionally, Three Card Poker features two side bets (pairs plus and six card bonus). Three Card Brag features only the pairs plus side bet.