What’s So Special About Live Casinos?
Without a doubt, it’s the human element. While online casinos do a good job at bringing excellent casino games straight to you, there is something unique about playing in a regular casino where you go head on with another person to see who will come out the winner. Not to mention you can meet others who share your passion for the game. So that’s what live casinos do. They bring all these human elements to online gaming so that you feel like you’re sitting at a table facing off with the house, sometimes with other players. Real-time video connects players to the handsome croupiers, and players can interact with them and with each other. You’ll quickly find the thrill that from land-based casinos in Vegas (or Auckland!) that is missing in regular computer table games. Some casinos even have live Blackjack parties where many different players are at the same table, and you can chat, and feel the bubbling excitement and tensions in the games. Some of the most popular Live Casinos for New Zealanders are at sites like 888 Casino, Jackpot City Casino, Royal Vegas Casino and Casino.com. You might be wondering how it technically all works. It’s quite simple really, but high speed internet is key. Real, breathing, (and sometimes quite gorgeous!) dealers are at tables, and in front of them is a camera and microphone. The video and sound is live streamed over the web to the internet casino, more specifically to the game you’re connected to. On your end, you adjust your bets in real time and can tell the dealer when you want a card to be dealt and so on. The camera is of course only one way from the croupier to you, so your privacy is always respected. And for those who are skeptical about computer programmed games that rely on random number generators (RNGs), at live casinos, you’ll see the card being dealt, or the dice being rolled, right in front of your eyes. Whether it’s Blackjack, Roulette or Baccarat, the game is the real game itself. There is no technology in the game itself – only in the fact that the video is transferred to your real time.
Live Casino Bonuses
These fabulous games can frequently be enjoyed with bonuses. Online casino bonuses tend to be most generous with your first deposit, aka the Welcome Bonus, and you can use the bonus money on a range of games. It’s basically free casino credit courtesy of the house. Others have promos specifically for Live Dealer games. 888 Casino, for example, often has cash prizes snuck into its deck of live Blackjack cards. Take a look at a casino’s Promotions page to see what you can get.
How to Play Live Dealer Games
Live dealer games are not so different from regular casino games. So to begin with, make sure you are familiar with the rules of the game, whether it’s American or European Roulette, or Blackjack or Texas Hold’em. As with regular games, you can choose betting limits – there are frequently both High Limit and Low Limit tables to accommodate for different kinds of playing styles. It’s not a bad idea to have some bonus money on hand to try strategies with, and it’ll also help you try all the different games and croupiers available. Otherwise, just make sure you have a high-speed internet connection, sign up for an account a casino and you’re ready to play! Most online casinos will also have their live games ready for mobile, so you can also play through your phone or tablet.
Different types of Live Casino Games
Kiwis are spoilt for choice. Just pop by any one of the recommended casinos, and take a look at their Live section. Choices go from classics like Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Poker, Sic Bo, to Dream Catcher and Lottery. For high rollers, High Limit and VIP games are readily available. Some casinos with Microgaming software might feature the Playboy casino, where your professional croupiers are dressed up in sexy bunny suits. Make sure to take a look at our list of best casinos to see what kind of games there are.
Live Dealer Blackjack
This is one of the most popular live games. Also called 21, Blackjack is a game most of us are already familiar with, and it’s always a pleasure to play. So not surprisingly, most casinos will have several variations and tables of Live Blackjack that you can join at anytime. Some even have live Blackjack parties! Many prospective players think that “live casino” simply means an animated dealer who dishes out the cards – they are mistaken! With Live Dealer Blackjack, there’s a licensed dealer looking straight into a live-streaming camera, using real cards, on a real table, to manage your game. Since you can chat to the dealer (through text) and see things going on around him, you get to enjoy a totally immersive, real-world experience. In terms of rules and gameplay, it’s just normal blackjack. If you get dealt 21, you’re guaranteed a win; if you keep hitting until you break 22+, you’re out. If you’re a little hazy on the rules of the game, visit our blackjack page for a handy explanation.
Different casinos have different betting limits – it depends on the audience to which the casino is catering: some support players looking for $1/2/5 stakes, whereas others may have maximum bets of several thousand bucks.
Counting cards is a system of observation which allows you to estimate what percentage of high-value cards remain in the deck. Knowing this, players can choose to place bets at the opportune moment where the odds of winning big are highest. It’s also known as cheating. It’s always possible to count cards when playing blackjack (except in RNG games), but what really matters is how reliable the count becomes. Most people agree that given how regularly the deck is shuffled at live dealer casinos, it’s impossible to get a reliable count. The deck re-shuffling is to make sure the game stays nice and fair for all players. Short answer? Card counting won’t work unless the dealer makes a mistake and forgets to shuffle. In RNGs, the draws are completely random every time and so it’s physically impossible to count cards at all.
Is Live Dealer Blackjack Fair?
Yes. As well as following the exact same regulatory procedures as land-based casinos, there is a pit boss who directly overlooks the table to ensure that nothing is amiss and that everything is fair. Think about it this way: the odds favour the casino anyway, and they’re always going to turn a profit. Skirting the rules just isn’t worth the risk!
Live Dealer Roulette
Roulette is a game with many different variations, rules and nuances. However, when it comes to casino play, the rules have to be consistent for each style of the game – that’s what you get with live dealer play. If you’ve played regular online casino roulette, then you’ll recognize that the game is exactly the same. Well, almost exactly. The live dealer game goes much further, offering a level of realism and excitement that you’ll never capture on an animated, 2D game. The basic premise of roulette is that you release the ball into the spinning wheel and place bets on where you think the ball is going to land: on a red or black number, a specific number or a group of potential numbers. What you choose determines your payout. If you’re not too sure on the rules, you can always learn to play roulette.
Where to Play in New Zealand
In case you were wondering, Live Dealer Roulette is legal all across New Zealand, so you can get your fix anywhere in the country. Online casinos are subject to strict licensing laws and regulations, just like land-based casinos, so you can trust that your money is in safe, honest hands.
Unlike Texas Hold’em Poker, there is a huge number of roulette variations available, even when it comes to live dealer casino. We’d be here all week explaining them all, but let’s take a look at some of the most popular options to give you an idea what’s out there.
- Playtech Prestige Roulette – Classic European roulette with multiple camera angles and a nice slo-mo replay! It’s a glossy, well-designed interface for premium players.
- Evolution Gaming Immersive Roulette – Attractive dealers, great viewing angles and replays, stunning video quality.
- Playtech French Roulette – Using the classic French rules (including La Partage) with superior audio and visual quality, including the roulette wheel and board.
- Evolution Gaming Speed Roulette – At over two spins every sixty seconds, this is a fast-paced game for alert players.
- Super Casino Roulette – A live-broadcast casino from London, UK, with a high-tech screen interface and virtual betting table.
Given the potential to win huge sums in roulette, all casinos will impose a maximum bet amount. At the same time, the minimum is usually higher than you’re likely to find with slots or some other games, to keep things exciting. The following list will give you an idea of the betting limits at various casinos.
Roulette is one of those games which requires a surprisingly small amount of space on a smartphone or tablet screen, making it ideally suited for adaption to the mobile platform! While everyone agrees that playing on the big screen makes for a better visual experience, the absolute convenience and practicality of playing wherever and whenever you want makes mobile a seriously powerful tool. Even better, mobile games often come with their very own signup bonuses and offers, so that simply for playing the game you can earn free cash or other bonuses. Check out the table below for the best offers, as well as the names of our favourite mobile-friendly casinos.
Live Dealer Roulette Software
Roulette is easily the most popular of all the live dealer casino games, and that means virtually all software developers working on live casino have at least one roulette variation in the bag.
- Playtech – Probably the world’s most popular online casino software provider. Enjoy Prestige, European, French and VIP roulette at Playtech casinos.
- Evolution Gaming – Immersive roulette is a game unique to Evolution, but they also offer multiple viewing modes, as well as a European version with a Race Track and La Partage.
- Extreme Live Gaming – Live dealer chat, on-screen statistics plus European roulette with Race Car and Call bets.
- Microgaming – With multi-player and multi-table roulette, Microgaming lets you do it all and is the world’s oldest online casino.
- Amaya – 3 unique camera views, multi-game play and standard European roulette.
Live Dealer Roulette vs. RNG
RNG (aka Random Number Generator-controlled) games are those which make up all of the non-live online casino titles. This technology is used to ensure every spin of the wheel is totally random and that wins are fair to all players. The thing with RNG-based games is that, after a little while, it stops being as exciting. It’s just a cartoon on a screen and no matter how well-designed, players eventually start playing without thinking, just working through the motions. With a live dealer that’s actively talking with you, sharing jokes and manning the wheel, it’s an utterly contrasting experience. The stakes suddenly feel more personal, and the game more exciting. With roulette, playing a live dealer game is so similar to being at the actual casino. Some games even let you chat with other players and see how well their bets have gone, just like the real thing!
Is Live Dealer Roulette Fair?
Absolutely. The thing to remember is that the house always wins. Some players come away from casinos with massive payouts, but as a percentage, the casino comes away with a profit – so why would they rig their games? There’s an extensive amount of regulation and red tape surrounding online casinos, and it’s virtually impossible to get away with deceit. In order to ensure that you are gambling with a safe, verified institution, visit one of our recommended casinos.
Live Dealer Roulette Free Games
One of the most popular tactics for winning at online slots is to play free demo games before investing your actual cash – unfortunately you don’t have that luxury with Live Dealer Roulette! Because the game is live, with players wagering real money, it’s impossible to simply “join in” with virtual currency. However, what you can do (especially if you’re new to roulette) is visit an RNG-based roulette game (at virtually any online casino) and place bets, release the ball and get the hang of the payouts. Once you’re comfortable, visit a live dealer lounge and try your luck with some real company!
Live Dealer Baccarat
When you load a Live Dealer Baccarat game, you’ll be seeing from the viewpoint of someone actually sitting at the table. There’s the dealer straight ahead, betting areas for all the players, the shoe to one side (where the cards are kept) – it’s just like being there. Some players think the dealer will be an animation or 3D rendering; they’re always real, trained professionals who do their job just like you’d expect in a land-based casino. You can interact with the dealer and ask questions, making it a fully immersive experience. The rules and gameplay are exactly like regular Baccarat, though some casinos will have different variations on offer. Visit our central baccarat page for the rules and strategy ideas.
Where to Play Live Baccarat in New Zealand
Live Baccarat is completely legal in New Zealand, but to be safe you should visit our recommend casinos if you don’t already have a preferred partner: they are all fully licensed and compliant with NZ gambling laws and will offer a top-drawer gaming experience.
Baccarat is one of those games which has been around for centuries, and as such has developed all sorts of alternative rule sets and variations. Here’s a quick overview of the most popular ones:
- Punto Banco – This is the “normal” variation. Hands are dealt to the player and banker, closest to ‘9’ at the end of the round wins. Bets are placed on the player, banker or a tie.
- In-Running – Basically the same as Punto Banco, but you can place additional bets at various stages throughout the deal.
- Progressive – You can place an additional side bet on a specific hand for both the dealer and banker (usually suited aces + 8s) and win a fixed or progressive jackpot if it comes through.
- Pairs – You can open with a bet that either (or both) the player and banker will be dealt a pair. Higher odds for more specific bets like a perfect pair, or dealer and
- Dragon Bonus – Normal baccarat with side bets on specific hands against the player or banker.
- Card Peek – Some premium versions of baccarat allow the highest-staking player to “peek” at the other players’ cards before they are turned face side up.
Like all casino games, the betting limits and ranges can vary substantially from game to game. Even within the same casino you’re likely to have a range of betting options. Check out the table below for a quick idea of some casinos’ betting limits.
Live Baccarat on Mobile
The obvious upside to playing mobile Live Dealer Baccarat is that you can play wherever and whenever you want – the only limits are your internet connection (i.e. you need one) and your device’s battery! The screen is smaller, but clever optimisations can make the experience every bit as fun as playing on desktop. Even better, you can get mobile-specific bonuses just for playing on your tablet or smartphone. Check out some of our favourite casinos with high-quality mobile platforms.
Live Dealer Baccarat Software
Just like with video slots and regular table games, there’s a huge variety of software developers supplying the technology, and specific providers usually have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to game production. Evolution Gaming is usually considered the standout performer at Live Baccarat, with “TV Quality” games, lots of variants and a host of side bets thrown in. Their speed baccarat game is highly recommended for fast players. Other popular providers include: Playtech, Microgaming, Extreme Live Gaming and Netent.
- Playtech – Not all software providers offer multi-seat baccarat, but you can find it at Playtech. Full HD, “Pairs” side bet and fully mobile compatible.
- Microgaming – Currently two variations available, multi-player and dragon bonus.
- Extreme Live Gaming – Classic Macau-style gaming with 6-card layout and multiple side bets.
Live Dealer Baccarat vs. RNG
The game itself, Baccarat
, doesn’t really change much whether you’re playing in Vegas, with an RNG or in a live dealer game. What does change is the atmosphere, the ambiance and the thrill, and live dealer games are much
closer to Vegas in all 3 areas than RNGs. Sure, RNGs can certainly be faster than live dealers
, but with the likes of Evolution Gaming’s speed baccarat, the differences aren’t all that sizable. What it really comes down to is your motivation for playing: are you hoping to bet wildly and quickly to try and sneak a big win, or do you enjoy the experience of playing baccarat itself? If it’s the latter, then live casino is 100% for you.
Is Live Dealer Baccarat Fair?
All land-based and online casinos follow the same rules and regulations when it comes to licensing and fairness. In addition, there is a pit boss overseeing every action at your table, so it’s virtually impossible for anything to go wrong, or for the results to be fixed.
Live Dealer Baccarat Free Games
While RNG-based games have now reached the point where you can enjoy free play before putting your money where your mouth is, we don’t yet have that luxury with Live Dealer Baccarat. If you want to get some practice in before playing for real money, we recommend playing a demo RNG game, becoming comfortable with Baccarat and then coming back to make a killing.
Live Dealer Hi-Lo
Since Hi-Lo is an extremely simple game with fixed rules, there’s no technical difference between the live dealer games and, for example, RNG-based, classic online casino versions. However, playing with a real dealer makes a massive difference to the player experience. Hi-Lo dealers are usually good fun, enjoy chatting and elevate the game to more of an event. The premise of the game is this: a card is placed face-up on the table. You bet on whether the next drawn card is higher, lower or the same. If you’re right, you win; if you’re wrong, you lose! It’s straightforward, but if you’re feeling hesitant, feel free to use the resources on our site to learn how to play Hi-Lo before visiting the live dealer platform!
Where to Play Hi-Lo in New Zealand
Playing live dealer Hi-Lo in NZ is perfectly legal, so don’t worry about that! If you’re looking for a place to play that’s fair, safe and fun, then try visiting one of our recommended casinos below.
Unlike other table games like blackjack or roulette, there’s only one rule set for Hi-Lo. Variations might be created in time, but the lack of complexity to the game means that it’s not terribly versatile: higher, lower or draw. That’s all there is to it!
The maximum return at Hi-Lo with Playtech’s live dealer game is around 12/1, with a maximum bet of $10. However, the game also has an enforced winnings limit of $100, so betting a draw (odds 12.06) at $10 will get you $20 less than you might expect. Worth noting! Playtech’s software offers the only popular live dealer Hi-Lo game available right now, but once more games are featured in casinos we may see the stakes and rewards rise to something more exciting.
Live Dealer Texas Hold’em
Unlike traditional Texas Hold’em, in the live dealer version you aren’t trying to cunningly outwit and out-bluff your fellow players, but rather you’re playing 1v1 against the dealer. At any one time, there could be hundreds of you playing on the same flop, turn and river. This makes the game seriously exciting as it’s all about backing your hand against the blind-playing dealer. Naturally this will act as a deterrent to serious poker players who live for bluffs and double bluffs, but for those who enjoy the game (perhaps without being experts), the live dealer option is great fun. The dealers themselves are usually very chatty, responding to questions and making the game hugely entertaining.
Where to Play Live Dealer Texas Hold’em in New Zealand
You can now play Live Dealer Texas Hold’em at tonnes of online casinos here in NZ, so don’t worry about that. The games are completely legal and above-board, and all of our recommended casinos below conform to the strictest regulations and fair play rules.
There are a few different variations of Casino Hold’em (the version of Texas Hold’em adapted for player vs dealer gameplay) and your options will depend on the specific casino you visit. Each casino will have its live dealer games provided by a specific software developer, possibly one of Playtech, Microgaming or Evolution Gaming.
- Classic Casino Hold’em – You make an ante (pre-flop) bet, then have the chance to bet again after the flop. From there, the dealer turns their cards, reveals the remaining two row cards and we see who wins!
- Evolution Jumbo 7 Jackpot – You can make an additional side bet of hitting a 7-card straight flush – if you place the bet and manage the result, you’ll win the massive progressive jackpot!
- Live Caribbean Stud Poker – Place an ante bet then you and the dealer are dealt 5 cards, but only one of the dealers’ is face up. Place a second bet and try to beat the dealer’s hand.
- Live Texas Hold’em Poker – This lets you check or raise post flop or river, in addition to the normal rules.
Poker is traditionally a game for those with fat wallets, and the stakes are often very high. For those who might be worried their bank accounts won’t stretch that far, however, you needn’t be: casino hold’em is only between you and the dealer. One player might be wagering $5 every other hand, when another is laying down $1000s at a time. For the specific betting limits at certain casinos, check out our table below.
Live Dealer Texas Hold’em Software
Online casino software is the key to all of the great games you enjoy, and when it comes to Live Dealer Texas Holdem, no one does it better than Evolution Gaming. Their classic game is just that: pure class. They also have their revolutionary Jumbo 7 Jackpot in addition to the unique Caribbean Stud variation. Playtech and Microgaming are other big names in the live dealer Hold’em world, though the likes of Ezugi and Global Gaming Labs are also up there.
Bluffing in Live Dealer Texas Hold’em
Since you’re playing one-on-one against the dealer, it’s impossible to bluff in Live Dealer Hold’em – there’s no one to con! It’s more a game of luck (and a small part statistics) than anything else. Modern Texas Hold’em Poker with a live dealer combines the most exciting elements of poker (suspense, dealer interaction, big payouts etc) with all the comforts of your own home. If you enjoy poker, you’re sure to love live dealer hold’em, so why not give it a try?
Sizzling with the thrill of facing off with a real human being and a professional croupier, live dealer games are a popular item at online casinos. They cover all of the casino classics, with table games in their many variations, and sometimes there are even live lottery draws. By utilising the developments in video streaming, you can now experience the adrenaline from land-based casinos from the comfort of your own home, any time of the day. It’s easy to get started and you can try your hand right now, at one of these popular New Zealand online casinos.