Live dealer online casinos allow you to play on real table games from home. You can decide whether to hit, stand or ‘play’ (depending on the game), and have cash added directly to your account if you win. The social element and real gaming experience have seen live dealer casinos grow in popularity – overtaking the old player-vs-software games found at online casino sites.
This page has everything you need to get started with live dealer online casinos. Below you will find detailed information on how live dealer rooms operate – followed by specifics for the most popular games. Live dealer casinos on different devices, pros and cons and the newest games including live dealer slots are also covered.
Live dealer online casino games each have their own rules based on the game type. You play them through the same casino / lottery account (depending on your province) that you use to enjoy online slots and software-based games.
The lobby of a live dealer casino will show the games available. The most popular games are blackjack and roulette – with a choice of games for each. Casino poker variations, baccarat, craps, and slots are also available.
Some games are played one-to-many. This means everyone plays the same hand, deciding on their action (for example fold / play in casino poker) independently. Blackjack requires strategy decisions and is played at 7-seat tables.
To join a game, click on the graphic in the lobby, you will then see the live stream in action. If the game is already underway, you will need to wait for the next spin / hand. A timer, along with chips, then appears over the table – you simply drag and drop the chips on to the felt to place a bet.
Betting and decision points vary by game. There are some significant differences between live dealer casino games and software-based games. Here is what you need to consider:
Blackjack is the most popular table game at casinos around Canada. It offers a balance of luck and strategy – and has a casino low house edge compared to other games.
Live dealer casinos have multiple online blackjack games to choose from. The need to make decisions on whether to hit, stand or double means that every player has their own hand. You will sit at 7-seater tables – mimicking the setup in brick-and-mortar casinos.
There is a wide choice of stakes – starting minimums of $5 are common. Live dealer blackjack uses 8 decks, re-shuffling regularly to prevent card counters getting an advantage. There may be rule variations between casinos, and between games at different stake levels. US rules are the standard, with the dealer peeking at her down-card when an ace or 10-value card shows.
Side bets on live dealer blackjack games include Perfect Pairs (and others). These wagers are optional, giving you a chance at a big win, though having a higher house edge.
Blackjack games at live dealer casinos are slower than other games. The requirement for every player to act before the dealer completed her hand will slow things down. With a fast and friendly table, you could find yourself in a new hand every couple of minutes. Exclusive VIP tables are reserved for higher stakes players.
Roulette is an easy game to learn – and has big rewards if your lucky number hits. Live dealer casinos are perfect for roulette. You drag and drop chips onto a ‘virtual’ felt, then watch the ball spin and drop from a live studio. Your bets are automatically settled by the online casino – and betting is as easy as clicking a button to repeat your favourite layout.
Keep in mind that unlike software-based online roulette games, the wheel will spin without you if you time out. You will get a choice of even money bets, single numbers, or combinations. Playing for lower stakes than in live casinos gives you the perfect opportunity to try out different roulette betting strategies.
If you are given a choice, pick live dealer casinos with European roulette wheels. The single green zero gives you better odds compared to the two zeros of the US wheel.
Variations of roulette in live dealer casinos include those wheels, French rules (for the best possible odds), auto roulette (a wheel only, without a dealer), lightning roulette, and ‘Immersive’ roulette – which features slow motion replays and special effects.
Baccarat works well in live dealer casino game format. The strategy is simple, and many players can enjoy a single table. This game has a low house edge for the main bets. The dealers handle the complex drawing of cards – leaving you to choose to bet on ‘player’, ‘banker’ or tie.
The main form of baccarat played online follows the Punto Banco or ‘Mini Baccarat’ rules. This allows for quick games, with the timer only in use between hands.
Many live dealer baccarat games have side bets, which offer big multiples of your bet for pairs and other combinations. Keep in mind that both side bets and ‘tie’ bets have a large house edge compared to the main game.
It is the low house edge for the main bets that makes baccarat popular for high rollers. You will find some live dealer online baccarat games where bets in $1000+ units are possible. Most casinos have wagers starting at $5.
There are multiple variations of casino poker games available at live dealer online casinos in Canada. What they have in common is that poker hand rankings are used – giving you the opportunity for big wins from a single bet.
These games are played one hand to many players. This means the hand will continue to the end, even if you have folded. This allows players with different strategies to participate. Keep in mind that if you time out before deciding to raise or fold, your hand will be folded. This also applies if you disconnect at the wrong moment.
Here are the most popular live dealer casino poker games:
Traditional casino poker games including Caribbean Stud are available at selected live dealer casinos.
Casinos are always innovating, and two games which were not previously available are can now be found at selected live dealer casinos.
Slots have been put into a social format, adding a host, and allowing players to enjoy the same game in parallel. Examples include the Buffalo Blitz slot at PlayTech live dealer casinos. Here the game shows prizes in multiples instead of dollars – allowing for players to bet different stakes and still enjoy the action.
Craps is a new addition to the live dealer line up. You can learn about the different betting rounds – and enjoy multiple side bets based on the roll of two dice.
Both software-based and live dealer casinos give you multiple ways to access the slots and table games. You can enjoy them from desktops, or on your mobile devices. On a desktop, casinos are accessed via your browser – this works for Windows, Mac, and Chromebook systems.
Many casinos have apps, which ensure that the games are optimized for mobile devices and for touch-screen inputs. If your iPhone or Android smartphone has a smaller screen, it can be worth viewing the games before you play. This will ensure you can see the betting surfaces and follow the action well enough before you play for real money.
In addition to the dedicated apps, you can access live dealer games via your web browser on your mobile devices. Keep in mind that a stable network connection is required. This will ensure you don’t disconnect when it is your turn to act – which would result in your hand being folded.
In some cases, you can enjoy live casino gaming offered by provincial gaming organisations. A good example is offered by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Sign up to an account at their site and as well as being able to play the lottery, online slots and more, you can also enjoy live casino gaming. The games include blackjack, baccarat, baccarat eSqueeze, live roulette and auto roulette. You will also find live dealer casino games in QC – these are available via the espacejeux portal from Loto Québec.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of playing live dealer casinos over standard online virtual casinos:
Overall, live dealer games are hugely popular. The experience is as close to a real casino as you will find online – and for most players, a lot more fun than simply playing against computer software.
Whenever you sign up to a casino that offers live dealer games, you will get a bonus or promotional offer. Some casinos offer free chips without a deposit, giving you a chance to check out the games. The biggest bonuses come when you make a deposit.
Make sure your casino has a wide selection of ongoing promotions and rewards. If you enjoy the live dealer games at a casino – you will want to make sure they top up your bankroll on a regular basis.
Here are some of the best casino bonuses to look out for at Canadian online casinos:
There are big differences between casinos in the number of standing and one-off promotions on offer. Some brands will encourage you to check out their live dealer games by having promotions targeted at those tables.
When you try out live dealer casino games, it quickly becomes obvious why they are becoming more popular than the traditional software-based equivalents. You get to gamble on real games, streamed from a studio in real time. Betting is as easy as dragging and dropping chips onto the felt on your desktop or mobile device.
There are new games, side bets and variations appearing all the time. Live dealer casino staples include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and casino poker games. Social slots and craps are the latest additions.
For many players, the ability to interact with the dealers and other players makes these games into a social experience. Even if you don’t interact, winning alongside players from all over Canada will make for an entertaining experience.