In live dealer casino games, you can take on a real-life croupier and win cash online.
Currently, there are no laws explicitly prohibiting online live casino games in California. However, live casino titles may appear at regulated online casinos in California in the future.
Let’s see how these exciting games work.
What are live dealer games?
Live dealer lets you play your favorite casino games online or on mobile against a real-life croupier using real-life equipment. You can take on the dealer at blackjack using real cards or place a bet on a professional roulette wheel.
Live dealer, or live casino, games use special barcodes and Optical Character Recognition technology. The computer scans the cards or roulette numbers, which are then displayed on your monitor. Winning bets are paid instantly after a game.
The beauty of online live dealer games is that you never need to fight for space at the tables. The games are quick, and the croupiers are trained, professional and courteous. You can even find interesting variants online that you won’t get in a land-based casino.
How to play live dealer games online
Open a game to start.
You need your speakers on, and your PC or mobile must be capable of running Adobe Flash to handle the live stream. Trained, human croupier using professional equipment, tables, and cards or wheels to handle the games. Some developers also use blue-screen technology to create the illusion of a casino interior.
To place bets, use your mouse and keyboard to move chips to the relevant betting area – just as you would in a traditional online casino game. However, the equipment used is real and specially designed to be read by cameras and scanners.
Although the live dealer uses real-life cards, tables and wheels, no physical chips are involved. The dealer directs you to place bets using your computer.
Optical Character Recognition: Many live blackjack and live roulette games online use Optical Character Recognition. OCR cameras recognize cards or numbers on the roulette wheel to determine the result.
Barcodes: In card games like live baccarat and live blackjack, a special deck of cards is used. These cards feature barcodes that the dealer scans as they leave the shoe. The card values are then displayed on the screen.
Radio Frequency Identification: If you have watched live poker games on TV, you’ve noticed that scanners instantly read the cards and displayed on the screen. These cards often have Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips installed. These chips are read by the scanner as soon as they are dealt out.
Live dealer blackjack
In live blackjack, the aim is to beat the dealer’s hand without going bust. You and the dealer receive two cards, and you must take more cards (“hit”) until you are happy with your total. You then “stand” and accept no more cards. At the end of a hand, if the dealer hasn’t gone over 21 (“bust”), the hands are compared.
A live dealer blackjack table usually allows five to seven players to “sit” and play. The human dealer uses coded cards in a game of live blackjack. The cards are scanned and appear on your screen as they leave the shoe. The computer can follow the action and pay out winnings accordingly.
First, you select your chip value. The dealer welcomes you to the table and asks you to place a stake. The dealer can follow all the action on their monitor and respond to any queries via the chatbox.
You receive two real cards in your “area” on the dealer’s table. These cards are scanned and displayed on your computer screen. You now have the option to hit, stand, double down or split pairs.
The dealer takes their turn once all the players have finished. The computer scans all cards in the game to determine if the player or dealer has won. You win if the dealer busts and goes over 21 or you beat the dealer’s total. If the hands are equal, it’s a “push” and your stake is returned. Picture cards count as 10, and aces count as one or 11.
Winnings are paid out, and the dealer clears the cards into the shoe and starts a new game.
- Payouts: If you beat the dealer, you get paid 1:1. If you get dealt natural blackjack (an ace and a picture card), you get paid 3:2.
- Double down: Place an additional bet and receive one more card only.
- Split: You can split pairs into two separate hands and continue betting on each. Once you click the “split” option, the dealer physically moves your cards into two hands on the table.
- Insurance: You can also place a special bet on “insurance.” This is a wager that pays 2:1 against the dealer scoring a blackjack.
- Special features: In some live blackjack games, you can see who is on a winning streak via the special gold medals that are displayed on the screen.
Classic blackjack used to be the only live dealer variant available. You can now find great online variants like Perfect Pairs, 21+3, and Infinite Blackjack with the capacity for unlimited players.
Live dealer baccarat
In live dealer baccarat, two hands are dealt out on the table: the player’s hand and the banker’s. You place bets on which hand will win or if the hands will result in a tie.
The idea is to get as close to a total of nine as possible. Picture cards count as zero. In some cases, another card is dealt out according to the three-card rule. If the player’s hand wins, it pays 1:1. The banker’s hand pays 19:20, and a winning tie bet pays 8:1.
To place bets in live baccarat, you select your coin size and which hand you want to bet: player or banker.
The croupier deals out two cards to each hand. Scanners read the barcoded cards as they leave the shoe.
In some games, you can place side bets like pairs – a special payout made if the player’s and banker’s cards form a pair. A player pair or banker pair pays 11:1, and a perfect pair pays 200:1. This payout is based on both the player and banker holding a pair in their hands.
In Macau casinos, baccarat players have the option to “squeeze.” This is now available in some live baccarat games.
In Live Baccarat Squeeze, you can peek at the down card before the dealer turns it over. A special close-up camera zooms in on the down card after you select the squeeze option. The dealer slowly reveals the card for added drama.
Live dealer roulette
You can now play live dealer roulette in the comfort of your home. Live dealer roulette is also starting to appear in some land-based casinos in California.
There are two types of live dealer roulette for online and offline casinos: one uses a mechanical wheelset to spin automatically, while the other features a human croupier operating the wheel and ball. In both games, the wheel is located in a physical casino space or a custom-made studio. Wheels undergo regular testing for bias.
A physical roulette wheel determines each spin. However, you place bets via a touchscreen and receive payment accordingly after each game. In a live setting, you sometimes sit on the other side of the casino in relation to the wheel while making your wagers.
In virtual roulette, a human dealer directs the action at the front of the casino floor. You place bets on terminals in front of the dealer so you can watch as the action unfolds.
These are some popular roulette variants:
- American roulette
- European roulette
- Live double ball roulette
- Dual play roulette
- Speed roulette
- French roulette
When you open an online live roulette table, you will see a live stream from a casino or studio. Turn on your speakers to hear the human dealer directing the game.
To place bets, select your coin denomination and drag and drop chips onto the areas of the table you want to bet. You can place bets on straight up numbers, columns or outside bets.
Most live roulette games also include a racetrack which displays the numbers as they appear in order on the wheel.
Live roulette odds/payouts
- Single numbers (straight up): 1:1
- Dozens (1-12, 13-24, 25-36): 2:1
- Columns: 2:1
- Two numbers (split): 17:1
- Three numbers (street): 11:1
- Four numbers (square/corner): 8:1
- Five numbers (top line/first five: 0, 00, 1, 2, 3): 6:1
- Six numbers (six line): 5:1
- Red/Black: 1:1
- Odd/Even: 1:1
- High/Low (1-18/19-36): 1:1
While playing live roulette, you can view a history of all previous results. You can also see what numbers are “hot” and “cold.”
Some online live roulette variants feature special side bets, too. Reel roulette includes a symbol-driven side bet that pays out prizes based on special slot symbols that appear during a spin.
Immersive roulette features multiple camera angles. You can switch between camera views during the game for some excitement. There is even a slow-motion replay function.
Great live roulette games let you chat with the dealer in real time. You can use the on-screen chatbox to ask questions and advice during a game. The dealer reads the messages and responds via the live stream.
Playing online in California in 2019
Unlike New Jersey and Delaware, California has no legislation governing online casinos and live casino games. California isn’t home to any registered, regulated online live casinos.
If you want to play live casino games, you can travel to land-based tribal casinos with virtual gaming terminals. Place bets at electronic terminals and play against a human croupier spinning a real wheel or dealing real cards.
Finding a top online live dealer casino in CA
Live dealer casino games let you take on the croupier in your favorite table games. It’s like having the Pechanga Resort or San Manuel Casino in your front room.
In regulated states like New Jersey, live dealer games are hugely popular. Could we see similar live roulette and live blackjack games making it to an online casino in California? If it happens, expect to find the same great live casino games available to play.