If you ever walked into a brick & mortar casino and placed a few chips on a Roulette or Blackjack table, you will have felt the buzz of sitting opposite a real live dealer. It is a completely different atmosphere compared to pressing a button on a slot machine or hitting spin on an online game. Casino operators saw early on the potential of launching Live Casinos and stream real dealers into the homes of online players. They set up dedicated studios which are equipped with a number of tables and dozens of cameras that are streaming the action on the table live onto a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet.
The early days of online casinos were filled with three and five reel video and classic slots as well as computerized table games such as Roulette, Baccarat, Sicbo. The first providers setting up live studios to stream table games onto a computer were Microgaming and Playtech. Later on, today’s market leaders NetEnt and Evolution Gaming joined the growing demand alongside smaller providers such as Authentic Gaming, Extreme Live Gaming (now Pragmatic Live Gaming) or Ezugi. The latest developments are separate studios that are dubbed Salon Privé or Club Privé which are exclusive to a single casino or a casino group. These rooms have dedicated tables with colours and branding of the respective casino, offering a more personalized experience for Live Casino enthusiasts.
What makes Live Casinos so exciting is that the games are run in real-time by a human dealer and players are enabled to take part via a console on their computer or mobile device. The most common games are to this day Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and a few Poker variants. Some providers have developed speciality games such as Lightning Roulette or Monopoly Live from Evolution Gaming, which promise an immersive live experience with a surprising twist.
In general, an online casino will list only a handful of live dealer tables as it is much more expensive to host such games and thus you will usually find only the most popular live casino games such as Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat. In comparison, it is the norm for an online casino to list hundreds if not thousands of slots and computerizes table games. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular live casino games (all images courtesy of Evolution Gaming.
1. Live Roulette
The worlds most played table game originally first appeared in France, Roulette meaning as much as a little wheel. It dates back as far as the 18th century with the initial concept thought to have come from Frenchman Blaise Pascal in the 17th century. It involves a circular wheel with 37 numbered segments from 0 to 36. Players can bet on single numbers, rows, columns, odd or even, black or red, split numbers and more. The croupier will then get the wheel turning and spin a small white ball in the opposite direction. The ball will slow down over time before coming to a stop on one of the number segments, e.g. 11 Black as in the image below. The size of winnings are paid according to the odds of each outcome, ranging from 1:1 to 36:1.
Given its popularity, it comes as no surprise to see Roulette becoming one of the most popular table games at online casinos too. Various standard variants are offered including European, American and French Roulette as well as new creations such as Lightning Roulette, Immersive Roulette and Speed Roulette.
2. Live Blackjack
Surprisingly, Blackjack is the name that stuck to a card game that traces back to 17th century Spain and France but was known as ‘veintiuna’ and ‘vingt-et-un’ respectively, which translates to 21. However, the origins are not very clear. Miquel de Cervantes, the famous author of Don Quixote and avid gambler himself, mentioned it in 1602 in one of his tales about two professional card cheaters but the rest of the history has not been clearly confirmed. Yet, Blackjack has withstood the test of time and kept its popularity in land-based and online casinos.
What we do know is that when the game arrived in the US, gambling houses promoted it with bonus payouts for hitting specific card combinations. One of those was a hand with an Ace of Spades and a black jack of either suit. They called the hand Blackjack and the name has stuck ever since.
Blackjack is played with one to eight decks of 52 cards with each player aiming to beat the dealer. Cards from 10 to K count as 10, Ace counts as 1 or 11 and all others at their face value. A hand with an Ace is called soft because of the two values for the Ace as players and dealers can decide on which to use. The aim is to get a count of 21 or as close as possible with two or more cards without going over but still being higher than the dealer’s total hand.
3. Crazy Time – Evolution Gaming
With the advance in technology and the spread in popularity of online live casino games, the providers started looking for alternatives that go well past the standard live dealer games. Evolution Gaming has been one of the front runners in the industry, bringing a host of entertaining games to casino lobbies that often look more like a TV show than a casino game. Titles include Dream Catcher, Mega Ball, Deal or No Deal, Football Studio, Monopoly Live and one of the latest additions, Crazy Time.
Crazy Time is played on a giant wheel filled with bet multiplier and a range of side games – Cash Hunt, Pachinko, Coin Flip and Crazy Time – making it a true game show that’s both fun to play and watch. Players can place bets on either bet multipliers or the side games before a slot at the top of the wheel will spin once to generate one random win multiplier for one random bet spot – either a number or a bonus game. The host will then turn the wheel that will stop on one of the prizes. The maximum win potential peeks at a staggering 25,000 times your bet.
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- 1. Can I play live casino games in demo or fun mode?
- 2. Can I chat with the live dealers?
- 3. Are live casino games fair?