Everything You Need to Know About Live Dealer Games and Bonuses
Games of chance have always had a special place in our hearts. Experts believe it’s the adrenaline rush that comes with the potential of losing something valuable that drives the popularity. It has been true for thousands of years and we don’t see the paradigm declining anytime soon.
When it comes to modern-day gambling, casino games take up at least half the industry. The other half is, of course, sports betting. And thanks to the advancement in internet technology, all of these activities are accessible online.
We have one of those activities for discussion today. The live dealer games. In Canada, live dealer games are just as popular as online slots, if not more. So, let’s dive into the paradigm and explore what it is for good.
The Best Online Casinos Canada with Live Dealer Games
First things first. After you’re done reading this guide, you’ll need some reliable casino brands at your disposal. So, let’s start our guide with the list of the best online casinos in Canada. And if you know our ranking modality, you would know that you’ll get some amazing bonuses in there.
What are Live Dealer Games?
So, what do we mean by a live dealer game? Well, in a traditional casino, there are no particular “live dealer” games. All the table games are live dealers by default. However, it’s not the same for online casinos.
In general, we can dissect online casino games into 3 major categories. The online slots, the online table games, and the live dealer games. The live dealer games and the table games usually follow the same modality, except for how the games are conducted.
If you haven’t guessed already, live dealer games have a human dealer present. The primary goal is to simulate a real casino floor. The RNG table games, on the other hand, use a random number generator (RNG) instead of the live dealer.
Another important aspect of live games is that you play with other real players. Although it doesn’t matter when you’re playing against the house anyways, it’s a psychological boost to know that you’re not surrounded by computers.
As for where to find these games, most online casinos have a dedicated section on their websites. “Live Casino”, “Live Dealer Games”, “Casino Games”, etc. are all valid labels to represent the category.
If you can’t find a dedicated category in any of the casino sites, just visit the table games section or use the search engine on the website to find the game you’re looking for.
How Do Live Casino Games Work?
That’s an excellent question. On paper, the live casino games look like video streams. It’s very similar to when you watch videos on YouTube. However, it’s not that simple. If it was, the games won’t be nearly as enjoyable as they are.
The technology that goes into making live games is not very old. It means there’s still room for improvement. And that’s what we’ve been seeing for the last decade. Every few years, the software providers bless us with new and innovative titles.
Coming back to the point, live dealer games work by bridging your device with the casino game via OCR. We’re planning to do a deep dive into OCR and its predecessor very shortly.
For now, let’s go over the console. A “console” is the control panel you see on your screen when you play the games. If it’s a live blackjack title, you will get options like “Hit”, “Stand”, “Double Down”, and the usual fields for setting your bet. If it’s a high-end game, the console might be floating on the screen while you can see the dealer in the background, responding to your actions.
And for the regular games, the console might be in one of the corners on your screen, separated from the dealer feed. Whatever the case is, the games work in the exact same way. After a round of the game is over, your winnings (if any) will be added to your real money balance automatically.
Between RFID and OCR, the Games Grew Up
As promised, we have a comparative discussion of the technology that goes into live dealer games a reality. Currently, OCR technology is used to run the games. Back when OCR was not a thing, RFID technology was used.
RFID or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a slightly older, wireless technology that works based on tags and readers. The elements that go into a casino game, such as the cards, wheels, or chips, have RFID tags. And the readers were integrated right into the table.
While this should’ve worked excellently on paper, the reality was different. Having the readers on the table meant that the dealer will need to land the card exactly where it is. Otherwise, it won’t work. It’s one of the main reasons live dealer games didn’t blow up although the concept was way ahead of its time.
Then came along the OCR. OCR stands for optical character recognition, a technology that can detect movements in the real world and translate them into digital signals. Most modern OCR systems are integrated right into the camera of the casinos. It means no more tags and readers which ultimately results in the dealers dealing with the games more seamlessly.
OCR also made mobile gaming more seamless for the players. We have a dedicated section where we’re going to look into how modern live casinos work on mobile devices.
Most Popular Live Games to Play in Canada
Now that you know how live casino games work, as in what technology is used to make the games possible, we can go into the details of some of the most popular games. Chances are you’ll know all of the games already, just with a live dealer twist.
Live Dealer Roulette
Roulette has always been a crowd favourite. The simplicity of the game along with the potential of consistent payouts make it a very enjoyable game all over the world. Canadians spend a lot of time and money playing roulette.
When it comes to live dealer roulette, the enjoyment just goes through the roof. You can see the real roulette wheel as well as hear it, just like you would in a land-based casino. In the console, you should have the entire table layout. You simply choose how much you want to bet and on which combination. Some innovative UIs may even let you drag and drop the chips!
What you see on the screen will vary from game to game. Some games only have a wheel because you have the table layout in your console. Other games have the complete setup where the dealers place chips on the corresponding numbers based on your inputs. If there are other players in the lobby, they get the same treatment too.
Live Dealer Baccarat
If you’ve been following our guide, you may know that baccarat is probably the simplest casino game out there, at least for the players. The game is usually very fast-paced in the RNG setup. But you can also expect very fast gameplay when you play live baccarat.
Basically, everything is the same in a live baccarat game and an RNG baccarat game. You get 3 options to bet on. The player, the banker, and the tie. The only difference is that a real casino croupier will deal the cards for you in the live variant.
As for the console, you should see floating icons asking you whether you want to bet on the player or the dealer. The live dealer baccarat is also very convenient for the dealer as the OCR will do the calculation. It’s a win-win situation for all.
Craps as a casino game is very player-oriented. What we mean by that is it’s the players who play the most important roles in the game. From the come out roll to all the subsequent rolls are all taken care of by the players.
But how is that possible in a live dealer craps game, you ask? Well, reputed game providers like Evolution Gaming have come up with a unique solution to it. There’s a mechanical arm where the croupier places the dice. It’s timed to throw them and you can see the countdown on your screen.
Before the come out roll, you get to choose all the bets. You get around 10 seconds before every roll to determine where your money goes. What we like the most about the live games is that most of them come with a tutorial. You can check that out before you start spending real money on the games.
Blackjack is an extremely popular casino game all over the world. So much so that we haven’t even seen an online casino in Canada that doesn’t offer a blackjack title. Most operators go for both RNG and live dealer games. There are no differences in terms of payouts or the rules.
Blackjack is played clockwise around the table. Also, there will most likely be other players with you in the lobby. The dealer will start by dealing with the cards in their designated spots. After the first round of dealing (2 cards), you get to choose what you want to do on the console.
Based on your and other players’ inputs, the dealer may or may not draw more cards from the deck. After the dealer shows his/her hole card, the OCR will calculate the payouts and display that on the screen.
Poker is perhaps the most popular casino game of our time. It’s exciting, it’s rewarding, and most importantly, it lets you practice the infamous “poker face”. Well, only if you play the game in a physical casino environment.
But what we told you that you can get the same level of entertainment from an online casino? Yes, it’s possible through live dealer poker.
Poker is one of the very few games where you play against fellow players. The house, as in the casino, only plays the role of a mediator. The player with the strongest hand wins the round.
When it comes to live dealer poker, you’re more likely to find poker rooms rather than specific game titles. These rooms have strict schedules to make sure that the lobbies are populated at all times. There’s no point in joining an empty lobby and waiting for hours, right?
Last but not least, we have live game shows. These are not necessarily the core casino games we know and love. Rather, these might be reality TV shows or any other game where you can contextualize gambling.
Some of the most popular game shows are Dream Catcher, Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal, Mega Ball, Crazy Time (a variation of Dream Catcher), and so on. If we have to guess, we believe Deal or No Deal and Dream Catcher are 2 of the most popular titles.
The appeal of these games is not only the higher payouts but also the contrast with regular casino games. If you’re bored after playing hours of roulette, you can try out a few rounds of Dream Catcher to freshen up. Not that you should gamble for long hours anyways!
Bonuses You Can use on Live Dealer Games
In an online casino, you can’t ignore the bonuses. In fact, it’s one of the driving forces behind modern-day gambling. Online gambling, to be precise. Operators offer these bonuses to bring in new players. Casino online bonuses are mostly associated with online slots. But that’s not the only game category that you can use the bonuses on.
First up, the welcome bonus. You might already know that it’s the most common bonus an online casino offers. Some casinos directly offer a monetary bonus while others offer exclusive live casino welcome bonuses.
The latter is rarer, of course. But if you look hard enough, you’ll find more than enough options in Canada. If the bonus exclusively mentions “live casino”, it means it’ll only activate when you play live casino games. Now, some casinos may even restrict what games you can play. But let’s discuss that later in the terms and conditions section.
The “chips” here are phantom casino chips. You know, the chips that you get from a land-based casino after paying real money. The best way to understand how free chips work is to think of free spins. Just like you can only use the free spins for online slots, you can use the free chips for table games, both RNG and live dealer.
One of the most common bonuses for live casino consumers is cashback. We’ve seen more cashback offers for live casino games than we’ve seen for other games or on deposits. We’ve even seen many online casinos offer cashback as a welcome bonus if you lost your first deposit on live casino games.
If the cashback is offered against your real money losses, you can expect it to be wager-free. It means you can withdraw the money right away after it’s been credited to your account.
Terms & Conditions for the Bonuses
Yes, the terms and conditions won’t leave live casino bonuses alone. Just like all other bonuses in the iGaming industry, you must keep up with the terms if you want a fair chance to unlock the bonuses.
To help you in the process, let us list the most important terms for online bonuses at live casinos.
It’s no shock that the wagering requirement is the first term we’re going to talk about. All casino bonuses have it, except for cashbacks in some cases. From what we’ve seen, live casino bonuses have the exact same wagering requirements as other bonuses.
However, how much the games contribute is different for different game types. Online slots almost always contribute 100% of the bet to complete the wagering. Live dealer games, in most cases, contribute nothing. Even if you find an operator that allows wagering with live games, it’s barely over 10%.
So, if you have the option, don’t wager the bonus with live dealer games. The most likely outcome is that you’ll run out of time before getting to the halfway point. Rather, play slots during the wagering period and reserve the live casino fun for later.
Live dealer games usually have a higher table limit than other games, even RNG table games. When you’re playing these games, especially with a bonus, it’s crucial that you focus on the limits. If you don’t stick to the table limits or try to deposit less than the minimum threshold, you run the risk of losing the bonus.
Don’t confuse this with the table limits. This is your maximum bet cap when the wagering requirement is active. You get to choose a lower bet value than the assigned max bet but you certainly can’t go over that. If you do, that particular bet won’t count toward wagering.
Interestingly, this is not just true for the live dealer games. Rather, it’s the same for all games. You should find the information in the T&C section for a bonus. If you can’t, ask customer support.
Everything in the world expires, including us. So, what are casino bonuses, right? Well, not to sound too grim but you should use any live casino bonus before the time is up. If you get two separate deadlines, one for using the bonus and the other to wager the winnings, keep the calendar handy.
Can I Play Live Games On My Mobile?
Yes, you can. In fact, live casino games started to pack some punch right around the time the first iPhone was launched. We’re talking about the 2006-2007 era when we entered a new world of mobile entertainment, without even realizing it!
Since then, smartphone technology has only improved and so has live casino technology. Fast forward to today, you can play almost any game you think of from your smartphone. In fact, plenty of online casinos from our list offered dedicated downloadable apps that you install directly on your phone. That way, you don’t have to type in the URL every time you want to play.
The only thing you need to keep in mind is the internet speed. Due to the nature of live games, they require higher bandwidth in comparison to other games. Given the current status of internet technology in Canada, it shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Advantages of Live Dealer Games Over RNG Games
So, why should you play live dealer games in the first place? Are they better than the other games? Or, do they offer higher payouts than slots or table games?
Well, let’s try to answer your questions by looking at the advantages a live casino brings to the table.
A Casino at Your Fingertips
The biggest attraction of live casino games is of course the ROI (return to investment). Well, don’t think of it from a business perspective because that’s not how it works. But when you compare it to other casino games, you’re getting more in return in terms of features. You get to play with a real dealer and see what’s going on in the game.
Can any of the other casino games claim the same? We don’t think so.
Fairness has always been a major concern in the gambling industry. It’s simply because real money transactions are involved in the process. While you can trust the licensed casinos to be fair, there’s no way to know for sure.
Live dealer casino games, on the other hand, come with additional fairness practices. Think of them as live kitchen restaurants. You know that the food is fresh because it’s cooked right before your eyes.
Some of us like to be alone. We want to play casino games tucked under our blankets with no one else in the lobby. At the same time, some of us love human interaction. In fact, it’s the only thing that pulls many players toward live dealers games from table games.
What are live dealer games?
Casino games where a real casino croupier is involved are live dealer games. Game shows are also part of the same category.
How can I play a live dealer?
The way you play any other game. You sign up for an online casino, deposit real money, and pick the game you want to play.
Are live dealers real?
Yes, they’re as real as humans get. Also, the games are played in real-time which means the dealers on the other end of the screen are just as excited as you are.
Which live dealer games are the most popular?
From what we can tell, Roulette, Blackjack, Poker, and Baccarat are the most popular live dealer games.
Can I get bonuses at a live dealer casino?
Yes, you can. We’ve already discussed the potential bonuses you may get at an online casino in Canada.