Live Dealer Casinos: A Guide to Playing Live Dealer Games Online

Live dealer casino games blend the social elements of land-based casinos with the convenience of online casinos. They feature actual dealers, cards and tables.

Live dealer gaming has not yet made its way to New York via legal online casinos. However, you can play live dealer games at NJ online casinos.

If you enjoy casino games and want to experience the convenience of live casinos, then you should consider trying this style of gaming.

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Live dealer vs. land-based casino table games

As the name suggests, the live games are based on the table games at land-based casinos. As a result, they share some similarities.

Live dealer and land-based gaming both involve actual dealers and real tables. In fact, you can communicate with the dealers and tip them.

However, these formats also carry some distinctions that set them apart from each other.

Here are the most significant differences between live and brick-and-mortar casino table games.

Faster gameplay

Dealers in land-based establishments handle multiple tasks, including dealing cards, collecting chips, paying wins, and communicating with players. These tasks all weigh into how long each hand and round takes to play out.

In contrast, live casino dealers don’t need to worry about paying wins or collecting chips on losses. Instead, the software handles all wins and losses digitally, making live dealer games run more efficiently.

Different social aspects

We mentioned earlier that land-based and live casinos both offer a social element; however, some details vary in this regard.

Brick-and-mortar venues involve sitting at a real table and physically handling cards and chips. Also, you can verbally communicate with the dealer and other gamblers.

Live sites see the action streaming from a land-based casino or studio to your phone or PC. You can use chat to message the dealer, who chooses if and when to respond.

Depending on your personality, you may prefer one setting over the other. You’ll like brick-and-mortar games if you’re a social person, while you’ll prefer live casinos if you don’t enjoy mingling in person.

Live dealer casino bonuses

Online casinos with live dealer games offer welcome bonuses that give you a chance to earn free cash. For example, some casinos offer a 100% match bonus on your first deposit worth up to $500.

These deals require you to satisfy terms and conditions before withdrawing the money. One of the most important terms is playthrough or wagering requirements. 

You can typically play live dealer games to meet wagering requirements. However, live dealer games only count 20% toward satisfying playthrough (online slots count 100%).

Here’s an example:

  1. A new casino in NY offers a 100% match bonus of up to $200.
  2. You deposit $200.
  3. Playthrough is 20x the bonus. You must wager 200 x 20 = $4,000 before cashing out.
  4. Live table games only count 20% toward playthrough. You must wager 4,000 / 0.2 = $20,000.

Land-based casinos don’t offer such deals; they only provide standard comps on your play.

If and when online gambling becomes legal in New York state we expect the usual suspects to provide Empire Staters with the best welcome bonuses, feel free to read our reviews below:

Limited availability

One major drawback to live dealer games is that they’re not widely available across every single casino in the regulated market. Only select sites currently offer these games.

Convenience of live casino games

Live dealer games boast convenience over brick-and-mortar tables. You can play at a live casino through a mobile device or a desktop computer. Smartphones are especially handy for live dealer gaming because you can take them anywhere.

Table games in land-based casinos don’t offer the same convenience. You must physically visit a land-based establishment, which may require a long drive depending on where you live in New York.

Less variety in casino games and side bets

Live dealer casinos are growing in terms of games and side bets. Currently, though, their variety doesn’t measure up to brick-and-mortar casinos.

Baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and Ultimate Texas Hold ’em are the main table games available. You’ll find a few other options spread throughout the market.

Unfortunately, you can’t look forward to the same variety at brick-and-mortar locations. The latter offer games like Big Six, craps, Crazy 4 Poker, Let It Ride, and three-card poker.

Live dealer baccarat

You can play live baccarat on a real table with physical cards at some online casino in New Jersey. It looks much like the land-based version, only it uses virtual chips to place bets.

You select chip denominations to make your wagers. The dealer declares “no more bets” when the round is about to begin.

The standard minimum bet at most internet casinos is $1. Land-based casinos, in comparison, require you to bet anywhere from $5 to $25 to play.

Online gaming sites feature standard wagers, including betting on the banker’s hand, player’s hand or both hands tying.

Online casinos take out a 5% commission from winning banker bets. Even so, this wager only carries a 1.06% house edge.

The player bet also carries a low-house advantage of 1.24%. The tie bet comes with a 14.36% casino edge, which is worse than almost any other casino wager.

Live dealer blackjack

Live dealer blackjack is similar to the version at land-based casinos: a physical table, cards, and a human dealer.

One key difference, though, is that it involves lower deck penetration. The cut card is placed about halfway through the shoe to thwart potential card counters. Pros would otherwise dominate casinos if they could just sit at home and count cards.

Live blackjack rules can vary based on the internet casino.

Many of the following rules apply to all casinos:

  • Six to eight decks
  • A 3:2 payout for a natural (21 on the first two cards)
  • Double down on any two cards
  • Double down after splitting
  • Dealer hits on a soft 17
  • No resplitting aces
  • No late surrender

These rules are a combination of what you’ll find throughout online casinos. We suggest that you check the “help” screen of the game you’re playing for specifics.

The live dealer blackjack betting process is the same as that of baccarat. You choose virtual chip denominations that are located to the side of the playing area to determine your bet size.

The minimum wager is usually $1, which is lower than the minimum land-based betting range of $5 to $25.

Blackjack side bets

The online market also offers two common side bets in 21+3 and perfect pairs. You can find the standard rules on these wagers below:


  • A 100:1 payout for suited trips (your first two cards and the dealer’s up card)
  • 40:1 for a straight flush
  • 25:1 for three-of-a-kind
  • 10:1 for a straight
  • 5:1 for a flush
  • 97.32% return to player (RTP)

Perfect pairs

  • 25:1 for a perfect pair
  • 12:1 for a same-color pair
  • 6:1 for a mixed-color pair (your first two cards)
  • 95.91% RTP

Again, these are general rules on live dealer blackjack side bets. You should always refer to the help screen to figure out the exact rules and the RTP for your game.

Live dealer roulette

In live roulette, the dealer spins a reel wheel to determine results. The site also offers virtual aids to help you see the board and winning numbers.

A close-up view of the winning number appears after every spin. Meanwhile, the board is represented by a virtual layout that enlarges the numbers.

The lowest minimum bet at live dealer roulette table is $1. In comparison, most land-based casinos require at least a $5 minimum wager.

The house edge varies between wheels. American and European wheels differ in their numbers and house edge.

Here are the characteristics of each wheel:

European roulette

  • 37 numbers
  • Single zero
  • 2.70% house edge

American roulette

  • 38 numbers
  • Single zero and double zero
  • 5.26% house edge

The American wheel carries a higher house edge due to the double zero. This is a house-friendly feature that causes players to lose any bet that doesn’t involve the double zero.

Based on the house advantage differences, you should opt to play live European roulette whenever possible.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Live Ultimate Texas Hold ’em is very similar to the famed Texas Hold’em version played in casinos and at poker sites. It uses a 52-card deck and traditional hand rankings.

The primary difference, though, is that this version sees you compete against the dealer rather than other players. This setup makes ultimate Texas Hold’em feel similar to blackjack, where everybody is trying to beat the dealer.

You make an ante bet to receive two hole cards and participate in each round. The skill comes in judging whether you should fold (forfeit ante) or call (2x ante bet) based on your hand strength.

The goal is to form a better five-card hand than the dealer using a combination of your hole cards and five community cards. You can also earn special payouts based on the following hands:

  • 500:1 for a royal flush
  • 50:1 for a straight flush
  • 10:1 for a four-of-a-kind
  • 3:1 for a full house
  • 3:2 for a flush
  • 1:1 for a straight

Assuming you use the ideal strategy, ultimate Texas Hold’em carries a relatively low 2.18% house edge.

Should I give live dealer casino games a try?

The differences between land-based and live dealer table games will weigh heavily into whether you decide to try the latter.

Live dealer gaming is more convenient because it’s available through your mobile device or desktop computer. It also includes enough social elements to make it more engaging than virtual online table games.

Brick-and-mortar games are far from the most convenient as you must travel to a casino to play. However, you can’t beat their social element, including verbal conversations with the dealer and fellow gamblers.

If you’re undecided, then you should at least consider giving the live dealer games a brief try. Minimum bets are lower than what land-based casinos feature, which means you don’t need to risk a lot to play.

If you decide to try a live dealer gaming site, check out potential bonus deals.

In the end, one of the most important things is to have fun. With its combination of unparalleled convenience and a decent social aspect, live dealer gaming can help you do just that.

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