Live Casinos UK 2018 – The real live dealer experience
All the best online casinos have a live casino tab. Indeed, thanks to the magic of live stream technology, live casinos are now in such a wide demand that they’ve almost become a standard service.
What is a Live Casino?
A live casino is a service provided by online casinos. Generally, on your casino’s site, you’ll find a “live casino” tab among their games selection.
After you click on it, you’ll be taken to a selection of classic table games like baccarat, roulette and poker. These will all be hosted by live dealers, and will essentially be streamed live.
This means that the games themselves will be happening in real-time, as they are all filmed in real studios. Provided that you have a good internet connection, the footage is streamed directly to your phone or desktop computer.
There are a lot of benefits that come from playing live games rather than online ones. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from a live casino.
Real Equipment vs. Random Number Generator
As a lot of casino games are based on luck, it’s only natural for gamblers to be superstitious.
Technically, if you’re playing games at a licensed and certified casino, then there will be no difference between the results you’ll get with real equipment or with the RNG.
However, some players believe that real equipment is more trustworthy. This may be because of the appeal of being able to see the cards being dealt from the deck, as well as what your dealer is doing.
Indeed, one of the biggest advantages of the live casino is its authenticity. The dealers will be handling cards on a real playing table, sliding chips across a real green mat, and turning real roulette wheels.
As mentioned above, one of the great factors that allow players to experience a more true-to-life casino experience is the live dealers.
Each live game you click on will be hosted by a dealer. These will be highly trained professionals hosts who are experts at every table game that their studio offers.
According to the quality of the casino, your dealer will sometimes speak more than one language. This will allow the live casino to cater to a wider population.
You will be able to interact with your appointed dealer through a live chat system. Most of the time, the dealers have a screen in front of them that allows them to see your messages. That way, they can respond to you live.
Bonuses and Promotions
Live casinos are known to be what the high rollers look for when signing up to an online casino. Indeed, it’s at live casinos that you’ll find the highest bonuses, promotions and wagering limits.
If you’ve had a lot of experience with online games, but you’d like to take your game to the next level, you should probably graduate to live casino games.
Let’s check out what kind of bonuses you’re in for if you choose live games.
You’ll find a lot of casinos offer free no-deposit bonuses. These are basically incentives to encourage new players to make that first step.
You can claim these bonuses without depositing a single cent into your freshly made casino account. They will usually be quite low, around the $5-20 mark.
The way it works is that casinos will usually give you a bonus code or promotion code to claim, and then the free money will just pop up on your bonus account.
- Free Sign-up Bonus
When you make your first deposit, you will get a ‘deposit match’ on the amount you’ve placed. The way this works is that you’ll get a bonus sum of money equal to a percentage of your first deposit.
So if a casino offers a 50% deposit match up to $100, you will get 50% of your deposit money added on top of your total deposit. For example, if you deposit $50, you’ll get $25 extra! However, as the limit is $100, if you deposit any more than $200, you will still get $100 bonus.
Most of the time, these sign-up bonuses will be usable only on certain online games. You’ll have to check whether or not you can use them on live games.
- Loyalty Bonus
Deposit matches aren’t only limited to the one-time sign-up bonus. You can also get deposit matches as a returning player if you make regular daily or weekly deposits.
These often come with extra bonuses, too. According to what cash games you play, you might get free tournament tickets, free spins, etc.
Deposit matches aren’t bonuses that are always applicable to live casinos, however. Let’s take a look at specific, live-casino-oriented bonuses.
Existing Player Bonuses
As mentioned above, casinos are better off taking good care of their existing players in order to keep them around longer.
The best and most commonly offered bonus for live games is the cashback offer (or what Americans call “reloads”).
The way these work is that when you play, you’re granted a certain percentage of your original wager in order to continue playing. Cashback bonuses are limited to a certain amount per day, or per week.
How to Withdraw your Bonus Money
This is also known as the “playthrough requirement”. Live casinos will often tease you with impressively high “free bonus” numbers and percentages, but you should be aware that you can never just withdraw that free money and walk away with it on the spot.
Indeed, you will be expected to play a certain amount of hands before you can transfer your bonus money from your bonus account to your regular account.
Basically, what you have to do is wager the sum of your deposit amount and your bonus amount a set number of times. For instance, let’s say a casino has a 20x wagering requirement. What does this mean, in practice?
- You deposit $100.
- You claim your 100% bonus, bringing your total up to $200.
- You will have to wager 20x your $200 before you can withdraw your bonus money.
- Play enough games for your cumulative wagers to stack up to $4,000 total.
- Make sure you make your wagers within whatever time limit is required by the bonus.
- Withdraw whatever is now in your bonus account!
So why do casinos require you to play before you can cash your bonus? Well, first of all, it’s to prevent players from just signing up, grabbing the bonus money and leaving.
But there’s something else to take into account, to sharpen your understanding of how live casinos work.
The “Rake” in Live Poker Games
In order to even have free money to hand out in the first place, casinos have to be able to earn money themselves, and not just by waiting for their players to lose!
As we’ve just seen, the way they do this is by encouraging you to play once you’ve made your deposit and claimed your bonus.
Poker games are one of the main attractions of live casinos. They often have a variety of poker games to offer you, including:
- Texas hold’em
- Seven-card stud
- Caribbean stud
This goes without mentioning the various “VIP” poker cardrooms for people who want to wager bigger amounts.
One of the reasons for the wagering requirements to be high in these live games is that the casino wants to take cuts from as many pots as possible before it allows you to withdraw your money.
The percentage that the casino takes from the pot in each of your poker games is called the “rake”. The more games you have to play to make up your wagering requirement, the more rakes your casino will get.
If you’re not too hot on your chosen live casino nibbling away at your winnings, then make sure to choose a casino whose wagering requirements are low.
How to Pick the Best Live Casino
There are plenty of top ten lists out there, but if you want to make your own opinion on what makes the best live casino, here are a couple of elements to look out for.
Even though we mentioned that live casino games generally offer higher betting limits than regular online games, it’s good to check out how high those limits go.
Some live casinos are better equipped than others when it comes to how many games they offer, and how enjoyable the game features are.
Look out for variety: American and European roulette, different types of poker and blackjack, but also different levels of VIP games.
In terms of quality, you’ll want to look at what software providers your live casino gets its games from. Renowned providers like evolution gaming or NetEnt live rarely disappoint.
Obviously, you will want to choose a live casino that is compatible with your own device. If you also decide to choose a live casino that is compatible with everything, chances are that their games will have some great, well-thought-through features.
Live chat is always the best option when it comes to customer support. You’ll want to be able to get swift responses if you encounter issues with your casino account balance or withdrawal mishaps.
The next best option would be to get swift responses through e-mail, which isn’t the case for all live casinos.