Live dealer games have become increasingly popular as technology improves and many gamblers distrust virtual games.
Online gambling sites in the UK, US, Europe and worldwide have captured a high degree of popularity during the past two decades. With the internet revolution starting the in the 1990s, online casinos and betting sites could bring table games right into the homes of their players.
There is no doubt that gamblers love the convenience of internet casinos. They no longer have to travel hours to the nearest casino, wait for tables, tip dealers, etc. Since the mid-1990s they’ve been able to play the full range of casino games without getting out of their pajamas.
The tech revolution came with a price, however. The games just didn’t feel authentic. Like early video games, the computer graphics were cheesy. It was painfully obvious that users weren’t playing a physical card game. Players didn’t know whether they could trust the random number generators (RNGs) that dealt the cards. Some began to question whether the added convenience was worth giving up the real thing for.
Then the live dealer innovation came out.
What is a live dealer?
About a decade after the invention of online gambling, Playtech developed the first live dealer game in 2003. It didn’t really catch on at first because few internet connections could support the live stream, but it has been steadily improving ever since. Now most major online casinos like William Hill, Bet365 and Betfred offer them.
Live dealer games are played online but attempt to simulate the brick-and-mortar casino experience as much as possible. A human dealer runs the game in real time, which is viewed by players via a live stream. Players make bets using their keyboard or mouse, and can communicate with the dealer via chat.
Currently the most popular live dealer games in online casinos in the UK, US and elsewhere are blackjack, baccarat and roulette. There isn’t much demand for live dealer poker because players don’t compete against the house.
Why do many players prefer them?
• Playtech developed the first live dealer game in 2003
• Many players prefer live dealer to virtual games because of the feeling of authenticity and distrust for random number generators
• Live dealer games are now available on mobile devices
Live dealers bring a number of advantages to the table (no pun intended). The most obvious one is the game feel more authentic. As authentic as sitting in from of your computer screen in your underwear can get. It may not be playing in an American poker room on the Vegas strip, but there is a real human being dealing from a real deck of cards. No cheesy graphics either.
The second reason is connected to the first. In most online table games cards are dealt according to an RNG, not pulled from a physical deck of cards. While any legitimate online casino has its RNG inspected and verified by a third-party, many players simply don’t trust them.
Players who swear by live dealer games say that they are less likely to get caught in runs of bad luck. With a live dealer, you can literally watch the cards being shuffled. It eliminates any distrust that the player may have.
An innovation that keeps on innovating
The live dealer movement has also latched onto the mobile casino gambling revolution. Proving itself as a truly innovative sector of the gaming industry, live dealer games have been developed for mobile as well as online platforms. The HTML5 platform has been a boon for live dealer games.
When attempting to make a great live dealer game, the point is simple: make it as realistic as possible while bringing it to as many players as possible. Live dealer developers have utilized HTML5 technology to make this happen. HTML5 allows the same game to be accessed in high quality across a broad range of online and mobile devices.
CEO of Visionary iGaming Martin Reiner said the following:
“The magic of HTML5 is that it is a standard that will be accepted across all browsers and mobile phone platforms, something that Adobe Flash cannot boast…Not only will the HTML5 client applications deliver high quality, rich user features on standard internet browsers, it will open up the world for Apple iPhone and Android users to have access to their gaming accounts from virtually anywhere.”
In addition, as internet connections and streaming technology move forward the gameplay feels more and more authentic. Soon enough it will feel as if the dealer is really in the room with you.
Does this pile of pros have any cons mixed in?
As of now the live dealer games have one significant downside: they are more expensive to run than fully electronic games. The provider must rent studio space and pay dealers and multiple cameramen for each game. Most gaming providers hire a third-party to actually conduct the game. But it isn’t cheap.
For that reason, online casinos tend to limit the amount of games they offer live. Some online offers hundreds of virtual games alongside just a few with the live dealer option. Until costs come down, live dealer games won’t be running the virtual gambling business. In addition, all of that video hogs bandwidth, so you need a good connection to play. If one isn’t available, stick to the fully electronic games.
The future of online table games?
It looks like live dealer games are here to stay. Despite the higher cost of production, there is a loyal group of gamblers which swears by them. In addition, technological advances like touch screens will only make live dealer games more authentic by bringing players closer to the action (until the dealers are inevitably replaced by robots). The use of HTML5 has allowed live dealer games to be accessed via a broad range of mobile devices. There is little not to like about the future of live dealer.