Best Live Dealer Casinos 2021
Playing live casino games with real dealers is for many more thrilling than playing slots or virtual table games. This way, you can interact with the dealers and watch the game in real-time through a video stream. Live dealer casino is the closest you can get to gambling in real brick-and-mortar casinos and is available from the comfort of your home.
In this guide, we will tell you all about live dealer games, the different variants you can play, and the top live casinos online available today.
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Why Should I Play Live Casino Games?
Live dealer games are among the online gambling world’s newest and brightest inventions. They enable you to experience the classic atmosphere of gaming tables in a working land-based casino environment.
Real dealers, tables, and cards are broadcast from dedicated studios or land-based casino floors through HD streaming technology.
Your bets are put down through a virtual overlay over the real casino felt, and you can chat with the sociable and friendly live dealers as you play.
So, whether you’re hitting split aces in blackjack, watching the ball rocket around a live roulette wheel, or enjoying a bombastic round of a high-production Wheel of Fortune type game—the live casino atmosphere heightens the thrill of every wager.
You can enjoy all of that from the comfort of your own home or on the move through your mobile device.
The Most Popular Live Casino Games
The world-renowned casino card game is perfect for the live dealer format. It offers some of the best odds of all the live casino games and is straightforward to play. In Live Blackjack, you are playing against the dealer with the objective to score as close to 21 without going over this amount. Live Blackjack is a perfect blend of luck and strategy.
Live Blackjack is one of the most popular games today, with hundreds of different tables available from a dozen or so developers, including:
- Evolution Gaming
- Pragmatic Play
- Lucky Streak
There’s also a variety of table types, including VIP tables, exclusive casino branded options, and ‘party’ tables with excitable hosts and upbeat music.
Live dealer roulette is right up there with blackjack as the most popular game. It’s hard to say which is more prevalent, as roulette only needs one table for hundreds of players, and blackjack tables can typically only fit five or fewer.
This ever-popular game is available in 50+ varieties across the same dozen developers as roulette—including Authentic Gaming, who solely focus on roulette.
As for special varieties, you might see:
- Evolution’s Lightning Roulette
- Playtech’s Age of Gods Roulette
- Golden Ball Roulette from Pragmatic Play
Live Dealer Baccarat
Only popular in Europe and Asia and rarely seen in the rest of the world, live baccarat tables are common in those markets. This old French card game is played versus a live banker who uses a special paddle to deal and pick up cards.
It’s one of the easiest live casino games to play with no strategy involved, as it is 100% down to luck. You can choose to play the banker or player hand, the hand that scores the closest to nine wins.
Fun fact – this is fictional movie spy James Bond 007’s favorite casino game!
Live Dealer Sic Bo
Sic Bo is particularly popular with Asian players and can be translated from Chinese, meaning ‘dice pair.’ It’s the second most popular game played in Macau Casinos, with Baccarat being the first. This game is played with dice, which makes a nice change from the typical card and wheel games such as Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat.
The game is simple to understand and has similarities to roulette in gameplay, but rather than betting on where the ball will land on a wheel, you are wagering on the outcome of three dice being rolled. For instance, you can bet on a ‘Triple’ if three of a kind is displayed on the dice are rolling, you can win 180:1 playing standard Live Dealer Sic Bo.
There are several variations of this live dealer game, including; Super Sic Bo from Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play’s Mega Sic Bo, and Playtech’s Sic Bo Deluxe. All these live dealer variants offer random multipliers of up to 1000x.
Casino Hold ‘Em Poker
Highly popular in land-based casinos across the USA in both its table and video terminal formats, Live Casino Hold ‘Em is proving more and more attractive for live dealer casino developers.
Casino Hold ‘Em is based on Texas Hold’em Poker. However, instead of playing against other players, you are competing against the live dealer. Your aim is to end the game with a better five-card hand than the dealer has.
Only four live online casino developers have made a version of this game so far, with about a dozen different tables available across their collections.
If you get the chance to check out Evolution gaming’s progressive Jackpot, which provides you with the chance to win life-changing sums of money.
Other Live Games
Lastly, you’ll find a bunch of live casino titles that don’t fit into any of the above categories.
These include Hi-Lo games, which are very straightforward, and more complicated titles, such as Asian favorite Dragon Tiger, or the historical forerunner of poker, Three Card Brag.
As the live casino online market has grown over the past few years, the top companies now try to outdo each other with high production value games. These new and shiny live online casino experiences include Evolution’s collaboration with the popular board game Monopoly Wheel Live or Playtech’s take on the Wheel of Fortune, Spin a Win.
Live Casino Developers
This team is now the undisputed top-dog of live casino developers today. Europe’s Evolution Gaming owns more studios and more games than anyone else, and it’s the main provider at many online casinos.
Evolution Gaming live gambling titles offer:
- Excellent super-crisp HD quality
- Near-perfect user interfaces on both mobile and desktop
- Richly decorated studios covering various themes and atmospheres
- A different type of live dealer for every mood—extra professional and demure or loud and playful
- Live dealers speaking dozens of languages and games from around the world
- Games from around the world
The Evolution Gaming team has nailed the fundamentals down perfectly after a few years of work on its core tables. The company’s recent releases are mainly big-budget premium games, such as the award-winning Lightning Roulette, the 80s-themed bet on poker title Side Bet City, or the collaboration with a worldwide smash-hit game show Deal or No Deal LIVE.
Some Evolution-powered casinos feature their full collection of 150+ tables. This includes private VIP tables, custom tables with individual casinos, and tables with live dealers speaking one of the dozens of available languages.
The second-most popular live casino provider, this Swedish company uses green screen technology to provide backgrounds to their live table games.
With a similar level of quality to Evolution, it all comes down to your preference between a generated city penthouse background or a real studio.
NetEnt has around 40 different live games available, although most casinos usually run with 20 or so of them at a time. They cover blackjack, roulette, and a couple of other more niche games in many languages.
A few examples include:
- Live Common Draw Blackjack
- Rocket Roulette
- Turkish Live Roulette
One of the world’s foremost slot and casino game developers, it’s no surprise that Playtech is also active on the live online casino scene.
At the moment, they offer live versions of blackjack, poker, baccarat, and casino hold ‘em.
Among those, their unique varieties include the super-serious VIP Soiree Blackjack and Age of Gods Roulette, which features décor, costumes, and live dealer music themed around their classic Norse mythology-inspired slot.
Formerly Extreme Live Gaming, this studio was bought out by Pragmatic Play in 2018.
They swiftly set about upgrading their new live studios and enhancing the gameplay, with former employees of Evolution and NetEnt bringing their experience onboard, too.
When they relaunched, Pragmatic’s tables were greatly improved, with some unique blackjack side bets as well as a crisp and easy-to-navigate user interface. You might notice the new setup is similar to Evolution’s best-in-show offering.
At the moment, though, they don’t provide as many games as their biggest competitor—only blackjack and roulette. However, they do offer two totally unique versions of live casino roulette:
- Golden Ball Roulette
- Book of Ra Roulette
The first uses a unique golden bonus ball every few rounds, which can give massive multipliers to any winning straight up (single number) bets. Book of Ra roulette is based on Pragmatic’s popular slot and features hosts in Egyptian getup and a themed wheel.
Both of these were designed by Extreme Live Gaming before Pragmatic took over and thus don’t feature their updated user interface. However, they’re still perfectly enjoyable to play.
Ezugi’s main attraction is the selection of languages they offer on their live games and their streamed roulette tables from physical land-based casinos.
They also offer some niche games, like Dragon Tiger, Keno, live lottery games, and Sic Bo.
Although their streaming might not be up to Evolution or others’ top-tier HD quality, Ezugi possesses unique appeal in other areas. For example, you can tip the dealer at any time in almost all their games.
How We Rank Live Dealer Sites
1. Licensing, Safety & Support
Security for your money is our number one priority when looking at a live quality casino online.
When you read one of our reviews, you can be certain a site is 100% trustworthy and holds the right credentials before you even begin reading.
We consider a range of factors, such as a casino’s owners, its operating history, and any licensing information, before we do anything else.
We also look for relevant well-known third-party providers on the casino pages, as many of these companies do their own background checks before opening a partnership.
These providers include Problem Gambling Awareness groups, major sponsors, or widely-used banking methods like PayPal and VISA.
All of these considerations add up to make an effective picture of any casino, allowing us to root out the 0.1% of disreputable operators for you at this stage.
2. Site Usability & Banking Systems
An online casino could promise the best collection of games and bonuses this side of Vegas. However, if you can’t find any of the games you want to play, and the only way to withdraw is through a two-week bank transfer, then there’s no point in signing up.
When conducting a review for live gambling sites, we look for:
- Easy-to-navigate menus with multiple search options and filters
- All bonus and general casino terms clearly laid out and easy to find
- Fast and efficient banking (maximum 48 hours for e-wallet withdrawals and five days for card withdrawals)
3. Live Casino Game Collection
Once we’ve established all of the above, it’s time to take a look at the games.
Ideally, a live casino collection should have Evolution Gaming, Playtech, or NetEnt as their main supplier.
A grab bag of similar-level developers makes up the rest. They all offer their own unique takes on live dealer online casino gaming but aren’t quite as high in table numbers or quality as the top three.
As for games, an excellent live selection should offer you:
- Casino Hold ‘Em
- Wheel games
- Special or unique varieties of the above
Live Dealer Casino Bonuses
While most casino bonuses target slots players, there are some fantastic promotions and offers out there for live casino fans, too.
We check the Terms & Conditions of every welcome offer thoroughly to let you know if it’s suitable for live dealer online casino play.
The best bonuses for live casino players are usually weekly or monthly promotions. These can include:
- Golden Cards
- Most straight up, blackjack, full house, etc. wins over a time period
- Turnover tournaments
- Win a number of times on a 7 in roulette or blackjack
You can only get such super-interactive promotions from live dealer games, and we always point them out when we see them.
How to Play Live Casino
Live casino games are mostly easy to pick up and play. Signing up to a casino is never a hassle, either. You can create an account and start having a blast at a table in just a few minutes.
- Look through our reviews for a suitable live casino site. You want one with a great rating and applicable live bonuses.
- Make your first deposit. If it’s one of our recommended casinos, it should offer a variety of banking methods to suit your needs.
- Consider submitting your identification documents at this stage, although it’s not a requirement until you need to make a withdrawal.
- Here, you can claim a bonus if it applies to live dealer games. If there’s no live bonus at your chosen casino, you can still claim one and play slots.
- Finding the live games is typically easy, as they should be on their own dedicated page that you can find on the casino homepage.
- Choose your game. We recommend Evolution, Playtech, or NetEnt for first-timers as they boast the most efficient and easy-to-use interfaces.
- Either read up on the game rules in one of our helpful guides, look at the in-game instructions, or jump straight in. Either way, you’ll soon be hitting blackjacks and straights like the best of them.
Playing Live Dealer Games on Mobile
With a modern mobile device and a decent connection, you can play a few rounds of almost any live dealer casino game wherever you are in the world.
Whether that’s hitting the felt in blackjack, watching the colorful wheels spin in Evolution’s Monopoly LIVE, or tossing some dice in Sic Bo—the whole world of live casino gaming is available for mobile play.
It also looks and feels great, with most developers adapting their games for a smooth and intuitive mobile experience.
However, live casino gaming takes more work from your device and connection than playing a slot or RNG table game.
Hot Tip: Make sure your device is charged, and your connection is stable when playing on mobile. No-one wants to disconnect in the middle of a winning wager.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Live Casino
1. Partial collections
Just because a casino features games from a particular live developer doesn’t mean it offers their full collection. Newer titles can often fall by the wayside.
If you’re looking to solely play NetEnt’s Unlimited Blackjack, for example, be sure to sign up to the casino and take a look in the NetEnt lobby before you make a deposit. You can also read one of our helpful reviews for all the niche titles in any casino’s live dealer game selection.
2. Bet limits
Although bet limits usually fall within a set range, the specifics depend on the casino in question.
Most stick with the operator’s standard on the low end, which is about $0.20 on Evolution’s Wheel Games and $1 on Party Blackjack tables.
However, you should do some research to find the highest limits—if that’s what you’re after. Luckily, we always point out high-roller suitable live casino collections in our casino reviews.
At the top-end of budgets, you can find blackjack tables with $500 minimum bets. In some cases, you even need to have $10,000-plus in your casino account just to sit at the table.
3. Live Casino Specific Bonuses
The best online casinos feature live dealer specific welcome bonuses. They also hold regular monthly promotions that make use of live dealer technology.
We always keep an eye out for casinos that offer top-tier promotional schedules for live dealer fans like you.
Read one of our reviews to find out what makes each casino’s bonus selection good or bad from a live casino point of view.
Land-Based vs. Online Live Dealer Casinos
There’s no getting away from it the thrill and glamour of playing at a brick and mortar casino is hard to beat. Still, live dealer casino games are the next best thing, and we don’t all have casinos nearby to play at. For many, a trip to a land-based casino is a special occasion limited to a few times a year or less.
For this reason, online live dealer casinos win hands down in the convenience stakes. Pretty much wherever you are with a reliable internet connection, and on any device, you can be playing live dealer casino games at any time of the day, home or away.
Even if you had a casino on your doorstep during the recent pandemic, the chances are it would have been closed anyway, making live online casinos the only option if you wanted to play with a live dealer.
Another consideration is the selection of games you can play and the number of live dealer casinos to choose from. Even the gambling mecca Las Vegas only has 51 licensed casinos on the strip, a drop in the ocean to the number of live dealer casinos you’ll have access to online.
The limited choice of games can also be frustrating; for instance, you could end up at a land-based casino that only offers American roulette, with its house-friendly odds, who wants to be playing at this disadvantage when they have the option of playing numerous live dealer games with better odds. You’ll also get to enjoy exciting variations not found at a brick and mortar casino such as Lightning Roulette, Speed Baccarat, and high-roller games such as VIP Blackjack.
Without a doubt, a trip to Vegas, or Niagra, or even to your local big city casino can be a fun and memorable experience, but playing for real money at some of the best live casinos online can get pretty close, especially if you get a friendly live dealer and a fun bunch of players. Live dealer casino games such as Live Dealer Blackjack Party do a good job of creating this relaxing, fun-loving atmosphere. Even if you don’t finish the session a winner, at least you’ll leave with a smile on your face.
On a final note in the live dealer vs. land-based casino debate, if you’ve ever been to a casino on a crowded holiday weekend and were frustrated with how difficult it was to get on your favorite table games. You’ll never have this issue at online live casinos; you’ll always find a table to play on.
RNG vs. Live Dealer Casinos
If you’ve read so far, you’ve probably got a good grasp of why live dealer casino games are so popular. However, if you’ve ever visited an online casino, you’ll know that there are plenty more options than just live dealer games. In fact, the majority of those you’ll find at online casinos are instant play games that use an RNG (Random Number Generator) to generate the outcome.
Rather than get bogged down with the technicalities of Random Number Generators, let’s keep it brief. An RNG is a type of computer software used by online casinos for their virtual games to determine the outcome. RNGs are totally fair and safe, and while you might hear horror stories of rigged casinos’ this is extremely rare.
The majority of online casinos use big-name software providers who make sure that independent bodies regularly audit their RNG games. As the house edge is always in the casino’s favor anyway, it would be a big mistake for them to rig the RNGs and put their whole future business in jeopardy!
With that being said, there is still something reassuring about watching a live dealer shuffling or turning over the cards or spinning a real ball on a genuine roulette wheel. Many online gamblers gravitate to a live dealer table for this reason.
You might ask why, once you have played at a live dealer casino with its exciting interactive casino experience, would you even bother with the traditional online casino games?
Actually, there are many reasons. The first would be the number of games available, with thousands to choose from, while live dealer casinos at present are limited in selection. You are also able to play popular games such as slots and video poker that aren’t conducive to the live dealer format.
With instant play games, you also can play real money or free-play games that aren’t typically available to play in live casinos.
However, the best option, in our opinion, is not to limit yourself to one or the other. When you feel in the mood for a more immersive and social experience, hit the live dealer casinos. On your daily commute and want to indulge in a fast few games of slots to pass the time, why not!
Short History of Live Dealer Casinos
Gambling has been with us in various forms since ancient times. The earliest known game that is still played in casinos is baccarat, and the first casino appeared in its birthplace of Italy, where they spread all over the world and to gambling meccas as diverse as Las Vegas, Macau, and Monaco.
Relatively new on the scene were the first online casinos, led by Microgaming in 1994, a brand that is still making waves today. Playtech was the first to offer live dealer casinos in 2003 with the advent of technology that could cope with live streaming. Who know’s what the future will bring, but we can guess the big software providers like Playtech, Netent, and Evolution gaming will continue to innovate and provide even more exciting and immersive games for their players.
Frequently Asked Questions
Live dealer games are casino table games (and other special titles) streamed from real-life studios or casino floors.
They let you play with physical cards, wheels and dice, and live dealers while sitting hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
Another attraction is the opportunity to interact with the dealers while you play. The dealers also speak many languages.
It’s a 50/50 between blackjack and live roulette for the number one slot here. Blackjack offers more tables from most developers, but roulette wheels can accommodate hundreds of customers at once, whereas most blackjack tables only fit five or so.
Evolution Gaming’s Lightning Roulette LIVE often goes into 1500+ player territory.
Not at all. Live casino online games are designed to be played entirely in your browser on mobile or desktop.
Yes. All developers in the modern market optimize their live games for mobile play.
If your device and internet connection are strong enough to play, you’ll be up and ready at the table within a minute of starting up the casino.
Blackjack. You can get the house edge down to as little as 0.5% by playing perfectly with a good strategy.
Roulette comes with a 5% edge on some bets but goes as low as 1:37 for straight-up bets.
Any card games carry a lower house edge for the player when played in a live dealer casino, as physical card numbers and the computer’s memory limit the odds.
This varies between casinos as each site is responsible for setting its own limits. However, there are some commonalities.
At the bottom end, ‘Party’ blackjack tables and spinning wheel game show titles like Spin a Win often start with $0.50 or even $0.20 bets.
At the top end, some super VIP tables from Evolution and Playtech can come with $500 or more minimum bets and a top limit of up to $20,000.
Yes, the majority of live casino games give you the option to interact with the dealer via instant chat. Live dealers are typically friendly and knowledgeable and will answer any questions you might have.
Unfortunately, the live casinos are way ahead of the players who have contemplated or even tried card counting. Measures have been put in place to mitigate the chances of card counting occurring. The dealer uses multiple card decks that are shuffled regularly.
The best live dealer casinos are streamed from studios all over the world. Evolution gaming has nine studios in Europe, Canada, and the USA. NetEnt streams live dealer games from Malta. Playtech has studios in Europe and the Philippines. Popular locations for live dealer studios include Riga, Lativa, Manilla, the Philippines, and the island of Malta.
As you’d expect, English is the most widely spoken language at live dealer casinos. But many others are catered for if you wish to play live dealer games in your native language, including French, Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish, Danish, Norweigan, Flemish, Finnish, German, Danish, and many others.