By and large, most quality online casino games are electronic online casino games. However, modern technology has given rise to a new type of amusement: online live-dealer casino games. Live-dealer online casino games are the closest you can get to playing in real physical gaming venues remotely.
When you sit down at the virtual table, you're looking at a real-time feed of an actual dealer or croupier via live-streaming video and audio. Your dealer shuffles the cards, deals you in, spins the wheel, drops the ball, and more, exactly like in real life. Today, live casino options come with multiple player benefits, including greater trust, increased immersion, and a live chat social aspect that you simply can't get with any other kind of online gambling activity.
Most Trusted Live Dealer Casino
Bovada LV is our highest-rated legit online casino offering live-dealer games. Founded in 2011, the site caters exclusively to US players and has famously never missed a single payout. Bovada Casino offers a full-service online casino, live-dealer casino, online sportsbook, and online poker room, giving members a true one-stop shop for all their gambling needs.
New members who join today can claim up to $3,000 in Bovada bonuses, which is boosted to a max of $3750 for those using Bovada Bitcoin/crypto deposit methods. Note, however, that these promos do not count toward any live-dealer casino games at the site.
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Benefits Of Playing Live-Dealer Games
Before getting into the types of games you can find in your site's live-dealer casino section, here are just a few of the benefits of this popular online gambling game format:
- A more confidence-inspiring atmosphere for many players, since you're dealing with a person and not a "program"
- A more familiar gambling experience for those used to playing table games at real brick-and-mortar casinos
- The excitement of real in-person casino gambling available via your smartphone, tablet, desktop, or laptop computer
- A great visual experience with HD streaming, professional hosts, and the sights and sounds of Vegas
- Multiple different table stakes options perfect for beginners and high-rollers alike
- A solid choice of classic games to play: blackjack, roulette, baccarat, mini-bac, etc.
- A slower, more true-to-life gaming pace with plenty of time to strategize your next move
- Live chat so you can talk with your dealer and other players at your table
- Free spectator mode so you can watch the action before risking real money
- Unlimited bet-behinds in case the live-dealer online casino tables are full during rush hour
Types Of Live-Dealer Casino Games
No matter how many benefits live-dealer casino gambling online offers players, they'd all be completely worthless if the live casino games themselves weren't first-rate in and of themselves. Fortunately, as technology has advanced, the live-dealer market at legit online casinos has advanced with it.
Today, more and more live-dealer options are popping up online, and while most of them are similar and offer the same kinds of games, the most reputable vendors tend to focus on the following "Big Four" live-dealer online casino game categories:
Online Live Blackjack
Live-dealer online blackjack doesn't do anything different than classic online blackjack per se; the house rules (dealer hits on 16 or less, stands on 17 or more) are the same as with RNG electronic blackjack games. Of course, there are major gameplay differences, too. For example, you get to see the dealer on the screen and see the cards dealt to fellow players at your online blackjack table, and the game is broadcast to you in real time. Here, you're playing with a real dealer who really shuffles the cards and keeps a realistic pace of play going all around.
Online Live Roulette
At any legit online casino, there are two types of live-dealer roulette games to choose from: live-dealer American roulette and live-dealer European roulette. We recommend the single-0 European game for beginners and the double-0 American game for veterans.
Regardless of game type, live-dealer roulette gives you a potential major edge that electronic online roulette games don't: You get to watch a real croupier's wheel-spinning and ball-dropping habits, which can help inform your next round of wagers.
Online Live Baccarat
While long considered a niche rich person's casino game, online baccarat has opened the classic amusement up to a whole new class of players. Baccarat is the only true gambling game on the live online casino game list, as neither the player nor the dealer actually has any performative impact on the outcome.
Baccarat is essentially a lottery, and you simply place your bets on the baccarat table and await the outcome dictated by the cards dealt. The fun, of course, is in picking and choosing which of the dozens of baccarat bets to place before each round.
Onlie Live Super 6 (Mini-Baccarat)
Super 6 is a popular variation of baccarat commonly found in online live-dealer portals. Also called Punto 2000 or mini-baccarat (mini-bac), Super 6 is compelling because of its faster pace of play – and slightly more favorable odds – than standard baccarat.
Super 6 is to classic baccarat what "zone poker" is to regular poker. Live-dealer Super 6 rules vary from site to site, but they're always a minor variation on standard Baccarat rules, which are more universal.
Online Live-Dealer Casino Software
In the modern live online casino market, most sites feature suites from one of two primary software developers: Visionary iGaming (ViG) and Fresh Deck Studios. Every legitimate online casino recommended here features live-dealer games from ViG, while Fresh Deck live casino games are available at a more limited selection of sites.
In general, ViG live-dealer games offer more variety than Fresh Deck games. That is, you'll usually get more tables to choose from, so you'll usually be able to find and empty seat at the felts even during the busiest times. Fresh Deck, however, has higher betting limits than ViG. This makes Fresh Deck Studios the best choice for high rollers and seasoned live-dealer gambling veterans.
Regardless of the brand you go with, these live-dealer casino software developers and service hosts are USA-friendly and reputable gambling operators across the board.
Note: RNG developers like Realtime Gaming, Microgaming, BetSoft, Playtech, and others make their own live-dealer casino suites, though these are not commonly used by legit online gambling sites that serve the United States.
Live-Dealer Casino Bonuses And Promotions
Unfortunately, most of the standard promotions found at the best online casinos exclude live-dealer games from counting toward any promotion rollover/playthrough requirements.
Occasionally, live-dealer games will contribute to your wagering requirements, but even then, they typically do so at a rate of only 1% (compared to 100% for online slots and 20%+ for most table games). If you primarily intend to play live-dealer online gambling games instead of electronic software-based casino games at these trusted gaming sites, you should probably forego any offered gambling bonuses or casino promos.
That said, we think most live-dealer players still spend the majority of their time playing RNG casino titles, so we generally recommend accepting any available betting bonuses whenever making new deposits.
Mobile Live-Dealer Casino Apps
Live online casinos got their start in the late 2010s, so the mobile revolution was already upon us. Thus, most live-dealer online casino sites were already thinking about the mobile aspect when putting together these services.
Of course, given the quick pace of technological advancement, legit mobile casino apps (or, more accurately, mobile casino web apps) have come a long way. Now, with ubiquitous iPhone casino, iPad casino, and Android casino capabilities – along with 5G Internet speeds – live online casino games can be delivered to your device in full HD no matter where you are.
There are no casino apps to download or update, and there are no geofencing/GPS restrictions. You can literally pull up a seat in front of a real casino dealer anytime, anywhere. As long as you have a modern mobile device, an up-to-date mobile web browser, and an Internet connection, you can go all in.
Online Live-Dealer Casinos Vs. In-Person Live Dealer Casinos
Live online casino games exist to bring you an immersive and true-to-life gambling product that mimics the in-person brick-and-mortar table game experience. And they do this exceptionally well.
Through a combination of live streaming video and audio – as well as an interactive live chat feed for every table – these games are the closest you can get to playing in a real gambling house.
One day, online live-dealer casino games will likely be served up in full VR, at which point those games will be almost totally indistinguishable from the in-person game. But we’re not quite there yet.
For now, these are the primary benefits you’ll get playing live online instead of at your local gaming hotspot:
- All the same classic casino table games you expect
- More seats and more tables than any retail venue
- 24/7 access from anywhere in the United States
- Unlimited bet-behinds when the tables are full
- Free spectator mode – Take a break and watch
- Multiple table stakes for all games/tables
- Chat in real-time with dealers/fellow players
- Access RNG casino minigames to play during live sessions
- Quickly move from one table/game to another
- Follow your favorite dealer(s) to play on their schedule
- 100% anonymity – Leave your poker face at home
Pro-Tip: As with live in-person casino games, typical gambling decorum is generally expected. Be sure to abide by all house rules regarding interactive chat, and make sure you tip your dealer when you win. Remember, these are real casino dealers working real casino jobs.
Live-Dealer Online Casino FAQs
Yes. All the sites we recommend are legitimate online casinos with a fully legal selection of game types and betting markets.
There are no federal US gambling laws that bar real-money online gambling with overseas operators. Further, only one state – Washington – has mandates against individuals gambling online.
However, WA online gambling laws are not historically enforced, and all the top sites accept WA residents.
Still, if you live in Washington, please follow all local gaming laws.
Yes. As long as you play at reputable online casinos like those featured here, the games offered in their live-dealer sections 100% legitimate.
These live casino suites are staffed by classically trained casino dealers and croupiers, and they all follow the standard casino table game protocols.
No. Live-dealer online casino table games are not rigged, provided you play at one of the sites featured in our guide to legitimate gambling sites.
These venues have all been in operation for years, and they’ve each established solid reputations in the online gambling industry.
Plus, with most live-dealer casino software developed and hosted by Visionary iGaming and/or Fresh Deck Studios, there’s even less to worry about.
These services are truly best in class.
No. If you’re a gambling cheat, it is very difficult – if not entirely impossible – to take advantage of online live casino games.
This is because there’s no real way to mark cards remotely or track cards as they’re shuffled between hands. And since most tables cycle out their card shoes with other tables after every few rounds, card counting is that much harder, too.
At these sites, you’re always going to get a fair shake from the house and from other players at your table.
Varies. Each casino can establish its own rules regarding how it conducts its live-dealer games.
However, since most sites use ViG or Fresh Deck live suites, the rules will generally be identical from site to site. In general, the standard “default” blackjack rules, roulette rules, and baccarat rules apply.
As a player, it’s also important that you abide by the rules.
Because live casino games feature live chat options, you are bound by your site’s TOS to behave in a dignified manner. Live online casinos are real casinos, and real casino decorum is expected.
Optional. We like tipping. live casino dealers are real dealers working real jobs, and tips make up a not-insignificant part of their income.
Of course, you don’t have to tip if you don’t want to – You won’t be discriminated against for not tipping in any live online casino setting.
Still, we’re gamblers, and we believe that luck is karmic. So we always tip our live dealer when we win.
Dealer salaries. Since live casino games are operated by real dealers, the casino can’t afford any comps to apply to these games.
Win, lose, or draw, the dealers must be paid, and no legit online betting site can really justify having live games count toward casino bonuses and promotions.
On occasion, you may find a site that does allow live game action to count toward bonus playthrough. But in such cases, it does so at a very low rate – usually just 1%.
If you accept a casino bonus, be sure to play plenty of electronic RNG games to meet your rollover requirements quickly.
No. Again, live-dealer casinos employ and pay live dealers. As such, the sites in question cannot afford to allow members to play free live casino games.
Most sites offer all their electronic casino games for free (via “Practice Mode” or “Demo Mode”), which is something we always encourage for new gamblers.
18+ or 21+. The minimum age to play live-dealer casino games is the same as your site’s minimum age to play electronic casino games, bet sports, play poker, bet horses, etc.
That is, there is not a different age minimum for the different betting markets at any legit online casino.
Most of the sites we recommend allow players to join at just 18 and up, but a few operators have their minimum age limits set at 21-plus.