Live Dealer Poker

Casino poker is a relatively new concept. Up until recent years, poker was a game that involved several people sitting at a table playing against each other. This changed with the introduction of casino poker to the gambling scene. Now players could try their luck against the house using the same rules, without the need to look or wait for other participants. This format of play was quickly adopted by online casinos and many new games appeared in virtual form. It was not long before someone decided to adapt the casino poker genre into a live version and so live dealer casino poker came into existence.

There are several variations of poker available in the live format offered by different software providers. All of the big names in the casino software development scene have some form of live poker which you can play at the best online casinos. These games are hosted by experienced croupiers and are played in real time. The footage is captured in professional studios or land-based casinos, and it is streamed over the Internet to your device. This is one of the greatest achievements of the online gambling industry, as the ability to enjoy a true brick-and-mortar casino atmosphere any time, anywhere was considered a pipe dream not too long ago.

Poker Hands

The rules of poker are very simple to understand even for those who have no prior knowledge of the game. All versions of casino poker are played using a typical 52-card deck that is shuffled after every game. Players are required to place an Ante bet in order to be dealt cards. While the Ante bet is mandatory, all further bets are placed at the player’s discretion. After initial three community cards – called the Flop – are dealt, two more will follow, called the Turn and the River. After each dealing you will have the option to bet or check. The mandatory Ante bet is as large as you decide that it should be, however, the wager following it has to be twice its value, with every consecutive one being of equal value.

The basic idea of casino poker is to get a better hand than the dealer. You form combinations depending on what cards you have in your hand and what community cards are laid out on the table if there are any. Below you will find listed all possible hands from worst to best.

Poker Hands
Hand Description Example
High Card When neither player has a combination the one with the higher card wins.
Pair A pair consists of two identical cards and three others.
55
55
Two Pairs A hand of two different pairs and one extra card.
QQ
QQ
44
44
Three of a Kind A combination consisting of three identical cards and two others.
22
22
22
Straight A hand consisting of 5 consecutive cards of different suit.
66
77
88
99
1010
Flush Five cards of the same suit. Do not need to be in any specific order.
33
55
88
99
1010
Full House A full house consists of a pair of one value and a three of a kind of a different one.
99
99
77
77
77
Four of a Kind A hand consisting of four cards of the same value and an extra card.
55
55
55
55
Straight Flush This is a five-card straight, in which all the cards are of the same suit.
KK
QQ
JJ
1010
99
Royal Flush This is the strongest hand in the game and as such, it beats all others. It consists of straight from Ten to King all of the same suit.
AA
KK
QQ
JJ
1010

Some styles of casino poker reward higher combinations with higher payout ratios, much akin to the rewards in video poker. For instance, Playtech’s Live Casino Hold’em game pays 20:1 on your Ante bet when you get a Straight Flush, and 100:1 if you manage to get a Royal Flush. Typically, anything equal to or below a Straight pays 1:1.

Poker Terminology

When it comes to classic casino games, you will notice that experienced players talk in this specific jargon. Most of these games have been around for many decades or even centuries and in that time span players have developed their own insider language. Those not familiar with this may find themselves lost when discussing a game with veterans. For this reason, we have gathered some of the most widely used poker terms and defined them in a language that can be understood by everyone.

  • Ace in the hole – Having an ace in the opening hand.
  • Ante – A minimum bet that players must place before the game begins.
  • Bankroll – The funds that you use for gambling purposes.
  • Blank – A community card that is of no value to your hand.
  • Bleed – To bleed chips is to continuously lose chips or funds through bad play.
  • Board – A term referring to the community cards that players make combinations with.
  • Boat – Another name for the full house hand.
  • Bottom end – The lowest of all possible straights.
  • Busted hand – A hand that does not develop into anything substantial.
  • Community Cards – In some poker games cards are dealt on the table, which the players use to make combinations with the hole cards.
  • Check – To bet nothing.
  • Flop – The first three community cards that are dealt.
  • Fold – To surrender your hand and lose your previously placed bets.
  • Nuts – The best possible hand that you can have at a particular moment.
  • Over-Pair – Used in Hold’em and refers to a pair in the hole that is higher than any of the community cards.
  • River – The fifth and final of the community cards to be dealt.
  • Side Bet – An optional bet, that is placed independent from the main bet.
  • Showdown – The final stage of the game where all the cards are revealed and the outcome is decided.
  • Tilt – An objectively bad play made by a player due to carelessness or some other factors.
  • Trips – A slang word for three of a kind.
  • Turn – The fourth and second to last community card to be dealt.
  • Quads – Four of a kind.

Poker Variations

Being one of the most played card games of all time, poker has enjoyed a wide player base. Many different variations have emerged over the years, each playing slightly differently than the other. At a live casino, you will find only the best and most fun poker games that the industry has to offer.

The way casino poker is played at live casinos is somewhat different than at land-based casinos. At a brick-and-mortar establishment, each player is dealt their own hand face down, whereas at a live casino the croupier deals a single hand face up that is meant for all players. Additionally, the live dealer table does not feature any seats meaning that it could theoretically serve an infinite number of players. While this might sound strange at first, consider that since there is no maximum player limit you can play at any time without having to wait for a position to become available.

Live Casino Hold’em

live dealer holdemLive Casino Hold’em is one of the most popular variations of casino poker. It takes all the basic rules from traditional Hold’em and pits you against the dealer. First, you place your Ante bet, after which you and the dealer are each dealt two cards and the Flop is placed on the table. After considering your possible outcomes you can either bet further or check, having done that the Turn will be revealed. You get to bet or check again, and then you get to see the River. After a final bet or check, the dealer’s cards will be revealed. Whoever has the better hand wins. There really is not much more to it than that. Hold’em is liked so much partly due to its simplicity and here you get exactly that. Additionally, it also has a very low house edge compared to other variations.

Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud PokerThis style of casino poker is similar to five card draw, in that the player and the dealer play with 5 cards each. To enter the game you must place an Ante bet, after which you will be dealt five cards. The dealer will draw five cards for themselves and place one face up. After you see the cards you can either fold or place a bet that is double the value of the Ante to continue. If you decide to place the second bet, the dealer will reveal their cards. If the dealer does not have an Ace and a King or better, their hand does not ‘qualify’. This means that the player is paid even money on the Ante bet and nothing on the other bet. If the dealer’s hand does indeed qualify and you win, you will be paid even money on the Ante bet and an additional amount on the raise depending on what your hand is. The payout rates are as follows:

Live Caribbean Stud Poker Payout
Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Four of a Kind 20:1
Full House 7:1
Flush 5:1
Straight 4:1
Three of a Kind 3:1
Two Pairs 2:1
Pair and Lower 1:1

According to these numbers, the casino has an edge over the players in the range of 5%, however, when you take the raise bet into account that number becomes lower. Naturally, you should always check the paytable at the casino, as the rates might vary.

Live Three Card Poker

live three card pokerThree Card Poker plays differently than other poker games. As the name implies, this game is played with three cards, rather than the usual five. You first place your ante bet and you receive three cards face up. The croupier also deals themselves a hand, though you cannot see it. After seeing your hand and considering your options you can either play it to the end or fold. If you choose to continue you will have to place a bet equal to the Ante, at which point the dealer will reveal their hand. The one with the better hand will win. This game uses the standard poker combinations though adapted to a 3-card form. Your standard straights, flushes, pairs, etc., still work as intended. If the dealer does not have a Queen or a higher card, they do not qualify, which means that you earn even money on your Ante bet, but nothing on the raise. If the dealer is dealt a Queen or better and you have a higher combination then you win even money on the Ante bet, as well as on the raise depending on how good your hand was. The game pays as follows:

Live Three Card Poker Payout
Hand Payout
Straight Flush 5:1
Three of a Kind 4:1
Straight or Lower 1:1

Three Card Poker has some side bets that really change the nature of the game. Players can bet on whether or not they will have a pair or better in their hand, in addition to the Ante. You can still win money from this bet, even if your hand loses to that of the dealer’s. This wager is placed alongside with the Ante, and if you fold you will lose it. Typically, a pair pays 1:1, a flush – 4:1, a straight – 5:1, a three of a kind 30:1 and a straight flush pays 40:1. Please note that these numbers may vary between casinos. The house edge on this bet is set to be around 7%.

When you place a 6-Card Bonus wager, you bet on the best possible five-card combination that you can get out of your cards and those of the dealer. Much like the Pair Plus bet, this one is also placed with the Ante and is forfeited if you fold. The better the combination the better the payout. More specifically:

Live Three Card Poker 6-Card Bonus Payout
Hand Payout
Royal Flush 1000:1
Straight Flush 200:1
Four of a Kind 50:1
Full House 25:1
Flush 20:1
Straight 10:1
Three of a Kind 5:1

Based on these numbers, the 6-Card Bonus bet gives the house roughly a 10% edge. Please take into account that your casino might pay differently than shown here. Do your due diligence before committing real funds.

House Edge

live poker house edgeThe term ‘house edge’ refers to the statistical advantage that the casino has over players. At any casino, both online and land-based, money changes hands constantly, sometimes in favor of the casino, sometimes in favor of the players, but the house always comes out with a profit. This is due to the house edge. The games are designed in such a way so that the house will be ahead over the course of many games. A house edge of 4% for example, means that in the long-term the casino will keep that much of the money and pay the rest in winnings to the players. This allows some people to score huge winnings in the short term, but if enough time passes they will start to lose money. Knowing how much of an advantage the casino has over you is vital and it will affect your choice in games.

The casino poker genre boasts a relatively low house edge compared to some other games. Naturally, the numbers will vary between the different variations, as some games will have more favorable odds than others.

Caribbean Stud Poker gives the house an advantage of roughly 5% if the player understands the rules and plays perfectly. This number takes into consideration all possible combinations and the probability of them appearing.

The house edge in Three Card Poker is calculated based on what wagers you place. Since there are several side bets that you can make, the casino advantage will be different. By playing with only the Ante bet, the casino has an advantage of roughly 3,4%. When you make a Pair Plus bet, however, the house edge rises more than twofold to 7,3%.

Casino Hold’em has much more favorable odds if you play using an optimal strategy. This game has a house edge below 1%, normally hovering around 0.8%.

Please keep in mind that to calculate the house edge many different factors are taken into account. These numbers assume that you are playing every hand perfectly and that the payout ratios are the industry’s standard. Be sure to check the rules of the table before you sit down to play, as any deviation from these factors will result in a different house advantage.

Poker Strategy

live poker strategyPoker is a complex and somewhat chaotic game, and as such, it is very difficult to master. The variables are too many to calculate properly and other strategies like card counting do not work, as the decks are shuffled after each showdown. When you play against other people there are many tactics that you can use to win. You can bluff, taunt, play with your opponent’s mind, etc. Psychological warfare is a major aspect of poker and skilled players use it to their advantage. Casino poker, on the other hand, does away with all of this. You play against the house, represented by a random dealer. Bluffing is useless here, as the croupier will play the game to the end. This brings casino poker closer to the likes of blackjack. You are put at a disadvantage, due to the infamous house edge. The tactics that you would utilize against other players are useless here, so you must rely on luck and probability to see you through. Here are some of the best tactics to use when playing casino poker.

When playing Casino Hold’em there are several things that you need to pay attention to. There are three actions take you have to take during the game and those are before the Flop, after the Flop, and after the Turn. The value of your hole cards will play a large role in how the game turns out. In an ideal scenario, you will receive a pair of 7 or higher as your hole cards, anything below that is hardly worth your time and money. Suited cards are statistically better to keep than unsuited ones. If your hand consists of a suited 7 and higher then it is worth it to see what happens next. If instead, you get unsuited hole cards, then anything below a nine is practically worthless.

Playing Three Card Poker is a fun experience, however, it will take some strategy in order to beat the dealer. Ideally, you want to have cards equal or better than those that qualify the dealer. In this case, that would be at least one Queen or better, any lower hand you should fold. It is not recommended that you wager on the 6-Card Bonus due to the high house edge. While it does offer an incredible potential return on investment, the likelihood of that happening is very slim, so do it at your own peril. The Pair Plus bet is somewhat more favorable, though not by a large margin. It can be profitable for you, though it is definitely hit or miss.

Caribbean Stud is somewhat more simplistic, compared to the other two. Much like Three Card Poker, it is preferable that you receive a hand that would qualify the dealer or better. In this case that is an Ace and a King in a single hand. If your hand does not have that then you need to fold it, as it is very likely that it will lose you money. A pair, on the other hand, is excellent and you should always raise when you have one.