Where and How to Play Live Dealer Casino Holdem Online
Article Summary: Complete guide to Live Dealer Casino Holdem including an overview (how it is set up), base strategy, pros and cons and then recs for the best games at Unibet Casino (for non-US) and BetOnline (US players).
Unlike other live dealer games such as roulette and blackjack, casino hold’em is a relative newcomer to the party, as the game was only invented as recently as 2000. This game was introduced due to the popularity of Texas hold’em, although the casino variation of the game allows the game to be played against the dealer instead of other players. The game proved to be very popular at online casinos, although these virtual games never quite manage to match up to the action at a bricks and mortar casino. However, the advent of live dealer casinos in recent years has seen the opportunity for casino hold’em players to enjoy real life action online.
How Live Dealer Casino Holdem Works
When you enter a live dealer casino to play casino hold’em you’ll find yourself sat at a table opposite a real life dealer and playing with actual cards – all of the action streamed real time directly to your desktop or tablet. You’ll have exactly the same betting options as you would at a virtual game, starting with the ante bet with the added opportunity of placing the ‘aces or better’ side bet. You’ll actually place these bets in the same way as you would at a virtual table, although this is the only similarity to the virtual game. Remember that if you do choose to call this is 2x the size of your ante bet. There is a dealer qualification rule in this game, with the dealer requiring a pair of 4's or better to play. If the dealer does not qualify you will only win double your ante bet, with the call bet being returned.
The decision point of whether to call or fold is timed, you'll have 10 seconds to make your choice by clicking a green check mark (tick) / red cross which appear in the middle of the screen. If you time out then your hand is folded. SInce some players will call and others will fold (many players will be participating in each hand) then the dealer will deal each hand to the end. Bets are then automatically settled by the software - and you'll be ready to bet again on the next hand while the dealer takes the next deck from the shuffling machine.
Games are usually hosted by dealers who are friendly and chatty.The dealers will normally welcome you to the table and you can interact via a chat box at many sites, the dealers replying on screen. You can also interact with other players, which is certainly a nice option at casino hold’em, as there will be many occasions when all players will win together. Occasionally you'll get one or more idiots in the chat box, you can choose not to view this when that does happen!
Some of live dealer studios will offer different camera options, Unibet casino being a good example of where you’ll find the options of a 3D style game and those with the dealer featured in a window above the betting layout. Some sites will also offer more than one version of the game, although the fact that many players can play one hand at a time means that there are usually less tables available than at games such as blackjack or roulette. This will usually mean that the range of table limits will be wider at live dealer casino hold’em games.
Strategy Tips for Live Dealer Casino Holdem
First up, a word on the bonus side bet. This is based on the flop and your hole-cards, and pays 7-1 for a pair of aces or better. While the payouts can be generous, this side-game does have a big house edge - more than 6% in favor of the casino. While I would not want to stop players enjoying the extra entertainment of this bet and potentially big prizes - please keep in mind that over time this is an expensive option!
Next the big decision point - whether to call on the flop or to fold your hand. This is one of the more complex decisions for table games, though it can be broken down into the following rules of thumb.
Call on the Flop:
- If you have a pair or better which includes one of your hole-cards.
- If you have an ace or a king in your hand
- If you hold 2 cards which are higher than the highest card on the flop
- If you hold a queen or jack high and the board is not suited (unless you hold one of that suit)
- If you only need one card to complete either a straight or a flush
Fold on the Flop:
- When the board is paired and you do not have a card higher than 10 or need one card to complete a straight or a flush
- Any time when the above 'call' criteria are not met
I find this game to be 'streaky'. You'll have periods where you can't seem to hit a flop for love nor money - then an amazing run where you hit good hands again and again.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Live Dealer Casino Hold’em
The clear and obvious advantage of playing a live dealer game over a virtual one is the fact that the games are real life ones, transporting you directly into a live casino. You’ll be sitting opposite a dealer and see the actual cards being dealt, as opposed to the computer generated cards and the non-existent dealer found at the virtual casino. The social aspect of the games is an advantage to, as you can quite happily enjoy an afternoon chatting away to the dealer, or conversing with other players. The live dealer casinos are the closest you can come to the real life casino experience from the comfort of your own home.
For many players, virtual casinos might be seen as somewhat mysterious, wondering if the games are genuinely fair, maybe assuming that the some casino hold’em hands might easily be fixed. This is certainly not the case as online casinos are strictly regulated in the main, however actually seeing the cards being dealt real time gives these players a level of trust in the games which they wouldn’t have at the virtual tables.
In general, the table limits at live dealer casinos are higher than when playing the virtual games. This is because of the added costs associated with hosting a live dealer game. This isn’t quite so marked for casino hold’em players however, mainly due to the fact that a large number of players can all play at the same time.
Players who want to enjoy fast paced action might enjoy virtual casino hold’em more, as the moment you place the ante bet, the cards are dealt, with no waiting around. However, the live dealer games offer a much more realistic pace, meaning you can enjoy the intricacies of the game a little more, as you wait for that perfect turn or river card to appear, which could seriously boost your win amount.
Recommended Casino Hold’em Live Dealer Games
Your location is the key factor here - since there are advantages in smoothness and speed of the live streams from locating the studio closer to you.
US Players - BetOnline.ag Live Dealer Casino Holdem
BetOnline is fast becoming the go-to gambling portal for US players. They are based in Panama, and have a solid reputation for easy deposits and fast cashouts. As well as the live dealer games (which include Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat as well as Casino Holdem), you'll find a sportsbook, racebook, online casino, skill games area and poker room. With some of the best player promotions anywhere online, I'm predicting BetOnline will grow even bigger in 2018. Check out the live dealer casino holdem at www.betonline.ag for yourself now.
European Players - Unibet Casino
Unibet are my go-to casino for live dealer games of all types. They use the Lativa-based studio of Evolution Gaming, with a selection of branded and unbranded tables. You can enjoy Roulette (including the 'immersive' version), Blackjack, Baccarat and 3-Card Poker as well as the excellent Casino Hold'em games. For great service and a huge selection of games (many unique to Unibet) see www.Unibet.com for yourself!