When you want your gaming to have a human touch, live casinos are hard to beat. However, you don't always need to visit a land-based venue to play games operated by flesh-and-blood croupiers and dealers. These days you can play live casino games online.
On this page, we'll explain how online live casinos work, the type of games that are being offered and how to choose a venue that gives you the best possible experience.
Top Live Casinos in Canada 2023
How Does a Live Casino Work?
A live casino game differs from a regular online casino game because it is operated by a real human dealer rather than a software program. The game itself takes place in a purpose-built casino video studio, and the action is streamed live to players at participating online casino websites. Players can then bet on the game just as they would if they were physically present at the gaming table or wheel, and their bets win or lose according to how the game unfolds.
Because live casino games are hosted by professional dealers and use real gaming equipment, they are far more realistic than their automated cousins. In fact, playing a live casino game online is the closest you'll get to playing in person at a brick-and-mortar venue.
Evolution and Pragmatic Play are two of the biggest developers of live casino games, and the range of titles that you can play is extensive. At the traditional end of the spectrum, you'll find timeless table games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat. At the modern end, you'll find just as many titles that are designed to put you, the player, in the middle of a virtual "game show" experience. Examples include Live Caribbean Stud Poker, Dragon Tiger, Deal or No Deal and Crazy Time.
How to Play at a Live Casino
Setting yourself up to play at a live casino isn't at all difficult. You will need to join a casino as a member, just as you would when playing at a land-based venue, but this isn't at all complicated. In fact, online casinos make it possible to go through the whole sign-up process in a minute or two. Here's how it works:
When you have completed the four steps detailed above, your online casino account will be ready to use. All that remains for you to do is to log in, make a deposit so that you have some money to play with, and then select the game that you want to play. At most casinos, you'll find that there is a separate Live Casino area which makes it easy to see what games are available.
Best Live Casino Games to Try
All of us have different tastes, preferences and expectations, so there is no one "best game" that will suit absolutely everyone. Having said that, there are several games that are always at the top of the popularity charts, so if you are looking for guidance about what games you should try first, you might want to consider starting with the following:
Live Casino Software Providers
Creating live casino games is quite different from creating an automated virtual game. A live casino game needs a studio, and that studio needs to be dressed in a particular way to create a suitable sense of atmosphere. Physical equipment also needs to be sourced, and dealers need to be hired and trained to present the game to the players. These are just a few of the tasks involved, and we haven't even touched on the technical aspects, such as the video camera work or live streaming of the game.
The demanding nature of putting a successful live casino game together means that most developers don't bother. Some companies, however, actually like to specialize in this genre, or at least dedicate as much time to live casino titles as they do to automated games. Three of the best are as follows:
This is the biggest and best of all live casino game providers. Evolution (formally Evolution Gaming) was founded in 2006 and it focuses exclusively on live casino game development and provision. Some of its landmark titles include Lightning Roulette, Dream Catcher, Gonzo's Treasure Hunt, Cash or Crash, Lightning Blackjack and Crazy Coin Flip.
Founded in 1999, Playtech is an old hand in the world of online casino gaming. This is a company that primarily produces automated games, but also has a range of live casino games that has grown steadily over the last few years. Notable titles include Ultimate Blackjack and Casino Hold'em.
This is another company that has added live casino games to its portfolio of automated titles in recent years. Founded in 2015, Pragmatic Play has been around for less than a decade, but it's already a leading player, and a couple of its most popular live casino games are Adventures Beyond Wonderland Live and Mega Fire Blaze Blackjack.
"Plenty of other companies provide live casino titles, but the three just mentioned are the best-known and their games are highly recommended."
Live Dealer Games
Because they are operated by human dealers, live casino games are also referred to as live dealer games. There are many different types of live dealer games that can be played, from the most classic table games to the most modern titles that have a game show format. Different genres will obviously appeal to different players, but here is a selection of the most popular titles that you might want to begin with:
Pros and Cons of Live Dealer Games
Live dealer games have both advantages and disadvantages when compared with regular games that are driven by software. Here are some of the main ones:
How to Choose a Live Casino
Choosing casinos with live dealers isn't at all complicated. Follow the simple guidelines below and you'll be playing at a reliable venue in no time:
When you have looked into all of the above, you should find it quite easy to choose a venue based on its relative merits. Of course, you are perfectly free to join more than one casino if you find two or more that appeal to you equally.
Although it's perfectly possible to simply turn up at a live online casino and start playing, you could get even more out of your gaming if you adhere to a few simple principles. Four of the most important ones are as follows:
Instead of just spending however much you feel like spending at the time, consider setting a gaming budget and sticking to it. This is one of the keys to staying in control of your gambling and it will help you to reduce the risk of your gambling getting out of hand.
Before you sit down to play a game, take a few minutes to make sure you understand the rules. Even if you are familiar with a game, you should check that the rules, wagering requirements, exclusions, and payouts at your chosen casino are as you expect so that you don't get any nasty surprises.
Especially in the beginning, you should keep your bets small. This will help ensure that you don't lose much if you make a beginner's mistake, and it will also help your money to last longer at the tables. For example, betting $1 a hand at the blackjack table will give you a lot more gaming for your money than if you were to bet $10 or $20 a hand.
If you set a gaming budget and stick to it then this shouldn't be a problem, but this principle is so important that it bears stating on its own: never chase losses. Live casinos thrive because the house always wins, and that means players always lose money over the long term, even if they get lucky from time to time. You should therefore view losing money as the price of participating in this hobby, and avoid the rookie mistake of trying to win losses back. Chase losses and the chances are high that you'll just end up losing even more.
How We Test Live Casinos in Canada
One of our main jobs here at TheCasinoGuide is to take online live casinos for a spin or two around the block and see how they perform in several key areas. We then share our experiences in our online casino reviews so that you and other players can be fully informed about what to expect should you choose to get involved.
The seven key areas that we are careful to consider are as follows: