Top Casinos for Live Casino Hold’em Online 2020
For one of the most exiting casino experiences, you should try live casino hold’em poker. You then play against a real dealer, but in the comfort of your own home.
On this page we have gathered all the information you need to learn this game, as well as the best online casinos where you can play live dealer casino hold’em in real time.
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What is Live Dealer casino hold em?
Casino hold ’em Poker, a fairly new game at online casinos, allows people to play poker hands against a dealer instead of against other players, for a communal pot.
It was designed in the late 1990s by American student Stephen Au-Yeung, who was looking for a way to help teach his then-partner how to play traditional poker.
The game soon took on a life of its own, and by 2002 casino hold’em Poker machines and tables were available in casinos across the US. Internet giants soon jumped on the game too, and not long after that, live casino developers wanted in on the action as well.
How We Rate Live Dealer Casino Sites
1. Safety, Security, and Support
If an online casino doesn’t have the right licensing and security information available, we won’t recommend you play there. It’s that simple.
After that, some of the other things we look at include ownership information, security protocols, and customer support.
After all, an online casino could have the best game collection and the most innovatively designed site ever, but if they aren’t a safe and secure operation players can trust with their money, then no-one should recommend them.
2. General Overview & Banking
After confirming that it’s a reputable and secure place to play, we look for casinos with great banking systems.
This means a wide variety of fast banking options and a well-designed menu system. The casino should explain everything clearly when you need details, yet also have features that save you time when you want to jump quickly into the game.
Withdrawals should never take longer than three to five days, unless by check or bank transfer. The best live dealer Hold ‘Em casinos will process e-wallet withdrawals within 24 hours or less – and we’ll always point out sites that offer these speedy transactions.
3. Live Dealer Collection
There are three or four types of Live casino hold’em on the market today, across the same number of developers. We’d expect a well-known live casino to host Hold ‘Em games from leading provider Evolution Gaming, plus a few from Playtech or Microgaming.
Available games should cover the standard version as well as some variety, such as Playtech’s or Evo’s Three Card Brag, Evo’s Ultimate casino hold’em, or even more niche Bet on Poker games such as BetConstruct’s Bet on Poker or Russian Poker.
Last, but definitely not least, we take a look at bonuses, promotions, and offers. The chance for some free wins is understandably very important to all casino players, including live Hold’Em fans, but issues such as banking and the actual games selection tend to be more of a priority for us.
Obviously, we’ll still look to find all of the best deals and offers out there though, and the bonuses available can definitely make a good online casino into a truly great one.
Reasons to Try the Game
Live Casino Atmosphere
The potential for exciting and interactive immersion is the most appealing thing about live casino games for many people.
Most developers, such as top-tier Evolution Gaming and Playtech, will host live dealer casino hold’em in dedicated studios.
You can hear and see other tables, with other dealers shuffling cards and talking to their players, as well as developer staff walking around and checking the tables are running smoothly. This creates a real casino floor vibe that is unrivaled by any other gaming experience you’ll find online.
Although casino hold’em was only invented in the 1990s, the roots of poker in the USA go back as far as the 1860s. The origins of the game trace back even further into the past, coming from a similar 16th-century game called Primero.
That means poker has been played almost as long as classic 21-based games like blackjack. Today, you can enjoy this iconic game in crystal clear HD, streamed from hundreds of miles away, in the comfort of your own home — or even out and about on your mobile device.
Easier to Get a Seat than Blackjack
Because all players share one hand , and you make your own bets independently, there’s always a seat available at live Hold’Em tables.
Compare this to the most popular live casino card game, live blackjack, in which (depending on the developers hosted by your casino) you might occasionally find trouble getting the seat you want at peak hours.
Way Better Odds than Video Poker
Since live casino games use real decks of cards, the odds of getting any particular hand are exactly the same as in real poker.
Video casino hold’em terminals are not bound by physical cards. This means rare hands like a Full House or Royal Flush can have astronomical odds against them appearing.
Because of that, jackpot prizes for pulling such a hand can be much higher on video terminals. However, you’re much more likely to pull such exciting (but still very rare) combos in a Live Dealer casino hold’em game.
Step by Step Guide to Playing Live casino hold’em
1. Place Ante Bets
The first bet in any poker game is called the ‘ante,’ and it’s the same here. Bets start at about $1 (or your currency equivalent) and can go up to $5000 or so, depending upon the casino or developer with whom you’ve chosen to play.
This is the time whenyou can choose to place any side bets as well, such as Perfect Pairs or Trips.
2. First Cards
You and all of the other players will get two face-down cards from the dealer, and then they’ll take two face-down cards for themselves.
Three face-up cards are then put down by the dealer, to be shared by all players. These are called the ‘flop’ cards.
Everybody then makes their best hand (done automatically by the software) out of their cards and the flop.
3. Choose and Turn
Once you’ve got your hand, you can choose to either call or fold.
If you call, you repeat your ante bet. If you fold, you’re out of the game for that round and you lose your original bet. The dealer then puts another two face-up cards on the table, known as the ‘turn’ and ‘river’ cards.
4. Winners Revealed
The players, and the dealer, then assemble another poker hand with the inclusion of the new cards. If you beat the dealer with your hand, you win the round.
However, watch out for the dealer’s hand. If the best hand they can make is below a pair of fours, then bets are pushed. This means your ante bet is paid back from a lower paytable, even if you had a very strong hand like a Royal Flush, and your call bet is paid back to you.
You’d still bag a decent payout on a top-hand, around 20x or so. However, it’s usually about a third of what you’d have gotten if the dealer had been holding a qualifying hand too.
The Two Best Live Dealer casino hold’em Developers
The big daddy of the live casino development business, Europe’s Evolution Gaming has the best casino hold’em offering online too.
Any casino offering their full collection will feature at least five or six Hold’Em tables, plus their unique 80’s themed Bet on Poker game, Side Bet City. You should also find a couple of Three Card Stud tables.
All of Evo’s games, including Hold’Em tables, have impeccable HD stream quality coming from custom-built studios. Their user overlay is top notch, and their live dealers are courteous, friendly, and knowledgeable.
Evolution also offers a progressive jackpot side bet across many of their casino hold ’em tables. Jackpots have reached the $10,000 or more mark on occasion.
Playtech casino hold’em games are also streamed from custom studios around the world.
Their unique title is Three Card Brag, based on an old English version of three-card poker. Their standard live Hold’Em tables offer 100:1 payouts on a Royal Flush and feature an exclusive AA side bet that pays out if your hand is better than a pair of aces.
While their stream quality is excellent and the user interface perfectly playable, just a few little kinks here and there keep Playtech’s efforts from being as stellar as Evolution Gaming’s offering.
Other game providers
Ezugi and BetConstruct are the only two other notable providers of live casino poker games.
Ezugi’s tables are similar to Playtech’s. They have a decent format, including digitized cards for those who have trouble seeing them on the table, and the option to tip your dealer a small sum whenever you want.
BetConstruct doesn’t offer live casino hold’em, exactly. Instead, they have a few Bet on Poker games, which use the same poker hands, but aren’t quite as interactive or strategic as Hold ‘Em games.
Types of Live Dealer Casino Hold’Em
Casino Hold’em is the original and most popular version of this classic game. If you’re just starting out or want the purest experience, this is the live dealer variety you should play.
All of the developers that provide Hold’Em games will have this standard format in their collection.
Payouts vary between 5:1 on a winning Straight all the way up to 1000:1 on winning side bets, and even some progressive jackpot bets are thrown in too.
Only Evolution Gaming offers Ultimate casino hold’em at the current time. It gives you the option of raising your bet during every round – if you’re feeling confident you’ve got a winning hand.
It also allows an optional side bet called ‘trips’ that pays out if you pull any hand with any value above Three of a Kind. This pays out a maximum of 50:1, if you get lucky and bag a Royal Flush, and a low of 5x on a Straight.
Evolution Gaming offers a couple of live variants of three-card poker, which is even easier to play than typical casino hold’em. There’s literally just two rounds of bets each game, the ante and one after the first card, before the last two of the three flop cards are revealed and wagers are paid out or lost.
Playtech offers a unique live casino version of three-card poker too.
Called Live Three Card Brag, it follows the rules of an older British game, Brag, which has been played since the 16th-century. It is very similar to casino hold’em, except it has slightly different names and rankings for the various hands.
Bet on Poker Games
Both Evolution Gaming, in the form of the 80’s-themed title Side Bet City, and BetConstruct offer ‘bet on poker’ style titles.
These games give only one hand, to the dealer. You and the other players just have to bet on poker hands that might be the outcome.
Usually, you can bet on 3, 5 and 7 card hands, as well as bets like Pairs, Trips, Full House, Flush, etc.
Although they lack some strategic choice, Bet on Poker games can be super fun to play in their own right. They’re certainly much easier to follow than standard casino hold’em (for new players at least).
As a side note, Evolution’s Side Bet City also looks the absolute business.
It has its own custom-built studio drenched in neon nostalgia and resembling a bar straight out of iconic 80’s cop show ‘Miami Vice.’ Everything, from the betting overlay to the host’s outfits, is impressively tailored to the theme.
Live Hold’Em Poker Bonuses
Sadly, Hold ‘Em games aren’t the most popular live casino titles out there, and therefore, you won’t find many dedicated bonuses for them.
They do exist though, especially on the very best casino sites that have a lot of weekly or monthly promotions. We’ll always highlight these operators when we see them, so keep an eye out for our reviews and you might find one.
Not many cash welcome bonuses are usable on live casino titles in general, but again, you do see them sometimes. Fortunately, there are promotions and offers for live dealer Hold’Em fans out there, you’ve just got to do a little hunting to find them.
Or, let us do the hard work for you.
Playing on Mobile
Like almost any other live casino title, if you have a modern mobile device and a reliable connection, you can play live dealer casino hold’em absolutely anywhere.
You can enjoy a few hands on the train to work, during your lunch hour, or while waiting at the airport en route to a holiday or business trip. Wherever you fancy, you should be able to fit in some live poker.
The best casinos might have a dedicated application for you to download. If not, most casinos have perfectly optimized mobile sites you can visit in your browser.
Just be aware that live dealer streaming takes up more system memory and mobile bandwidth than most other casino games. So, be sure to check your battery and connection strength before you start to play – because no one wants to disconnect in the middle of a winning hand.
Hot Live Dealer Hold ‘Em Tips
1. Learn your poker hands
Poker is an incredibly popular game and cultural touchstone the world over, so knowing the core rules, and most importantly, what makes a good or bad hand, is a great idea for many reasons.
You should definitely take a look at a broad summary of the different ‘tricks’ or combo hands you might pull.
Having said that, casino hold’em poker is undeniably the best place to learn, as you’re not under pressure from other players and don’t have to think about bluffing or any other psychological strategies.
2. Avoid folding (most of the time)
Unlike in traditional poker, there’s no chance you’ll have to go all-in or keep increasing your bets (except once) if you don’t fold, so it’s often worth playing a poor hand through, just to see what happens.
You should also remember that there is always a distinct possibility of the dealer’s hand not qualifying, in which case all ante bets are pushed anyway. If you also had a disappointing hand, you’ll be glad to have remained in the game when bets are pushed.
3. Use a Calculator or Table
At its heart, any kind of poker is a game of estimating odds.
When you’re learning the ropes, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the possible hand combinations. Having a list of them nearby, either on paper or another window on your computer, will assuredly help you out immensely.
For more experienced players, a table of the odds on various hands, cross-referenced with the dealer’s cards, will allow you to make quick estimates of hand potential. For example, this type of table can simplify the process of judging whether it is worth ‘raising’ in games that allow you to do so (like Evolution Gaming’s Ultimate Hold’Em).
Live Dealer casino hold’em is a poker-like game, played against the dealer, rather than the other players. Long popular as a video terminal game in land-based casinos, you can now play it online against a live-streamed dealer with real cards.
As with most live casino games, it’s unlikely you will find live dealer Hold’Em for free.
Live casino developers expend significant resources on upkeep for the tables and paying 24/7 wages for the live dealers, so offering free gameplay is not viable.
There are plenty of places to try video casino hold’em poker terminals for free online though. This is where you should go for practice before hitting the live dealer felt.
Since you’ll only be competing against the dealer and not other players, there’s no reason to expect tournaments, in the usual sense.
Individual casinos may offer turnover tournaments which cover their entire live casino selections, but these are relatively rare promotions. Keep checking our pages though, and you might just catch one.
If you have a decent modern mobile device, there’s a 99% probability you’ll be able to hit up some Hold’Em action wherever you are.
Whether it’s through a casino’s app or in your browser, you’ll find all live casino developers have optimized their games for mobile play. Our recommended Hold’Em providers, Evolution Gaming and Playtech, are absolutely superb on this front.
If you’ve got the connection and the hardware, you’ll be hitting straights and flushes with your new favorite live dealer in no time.
Evolution Gaming, PlayTech, BetConstruct and Ezugi all offer live casino hold’em games.
Although each of them has their charm, the above order is about how we’d rank them in terms of overall quality.
If a casino offers a live Hold’Em suitable bonus, we’ll tell you about it. Nine times out of ten, if a bonus works on desktop, it will also be available when you sign in on your mobile.
Although these bonuses might be uncommon compared to slots-based bonuses, they do, in fact, exist – and we’ll help you to find them.
One tip we can also give you is that some bonuses are mobile-exclusive. This means you can often take advantage of them even if you’ve used up your welcome bonuses at the same casino on desktop.