Live CasinosAlthough I consider myself a 'seasoned' online casino player, the one thing I have never done is got to grips with live casino games. So for this article I have turned to my friend Neil who has not only played at most live casinos available online but is also regarded as an authority on which live casino products offer the best options for players. I trust him - he knows his stuff and this overview, detailing which are best live casinos for certain types of game, was written for Top Choice Casinos in December 2013.
Choosing The Right Live Casino
A few years ago, live casinos had very limited table choice and suffered from lacklustre video feeds and laggy games. Today however, it's a different story. Almost all of the major (and not so major!) online casinos now offer a live casino, and some like BetVictor's online casino boast no less than 4 (see below), giving players a far greater choice than ever before.
The live casinos are supplied by a handful of software development companies such as Evoultion Software, Microgaming, Playtech, HO Gaming, MediaLive and Amaya Gaming. What they all have in common is they developed their own software and services and they both own and operate their own Live Casino studios.
These developers are obviously based in locations all over the world including as Latvia, Malta, Canada, Gibraltar and the Phillipines. Clearly this, along with the location of the various dealing rooms, has an impact on the type of product on offer but they all offer a core set of games, Blackjack, Roulette & Bacarrat with a smaller number providing Casino-Holdem & Sic-Bo. Side-bets for Blackjack (such as Perfect Pairs and 21+3) are also offered by a few of the suppliers.
Playtech have probably got the greatest coverage across all online casinos, with Bet365 and Paddy Power being the two most well known brands. The live casino can be played in the browser, or as a download and apart from some slight differences in the look they are essentially the same. In addition to the 3 core games, Bet365 offer 'Casino Holdem' and 'Sic Bo', whilst Paddy Power just 'Casino Holdem'. There is not much to choose between the two, but the table limits are better (greater range) at Paddy Power's live casino. They have both recently introduced Live Dealer 'apps' which a number of mobile casinos now employ and while the product is very good, the quality of streaming is very dependant on where you are and personally I think you will struggle if you're not using WI-FI.
A good alternative to the Playtech casinos is the Microgaming product. They have two live casinos, a standard one and a Playboy branded product, both of which offer Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat. 32Red offer both the Microgaming live casinos. Table limits are fairly low, but the major issue with the Microgaming product is the limited number of tables they have available. It can be a real struggle to get a seat at busy times. The advantage 32red have is they are able to offer double the tables because they have taken both products.
Stan James and Mybet both offer the Amaya Gaming Live casino, which only offers Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat. There are two dealing rooms used, a European and Asian alternative. Both stream games from the European studio. Mininum stake levels at both start at £1 with the maximum bet limits at Stan James reaching a whopping £2,500!
Of all the online casinos, BetVictor has the widest choice of live casinos with no less than 4 different lobbies! Here's how the 4 compare:
Victor's Live Casino is provided by MediaLive, and is hosted in BetVictors very own studio in Gibralter. ' Only BetVictor customers get to play here and when it's busy they can add more tables, so there is never an issue with getting a seat. All of the dealers speak very good English and are certainly the most outgoing and chatty dealers you'll come across.
The BV Grand option is the largest of the 4 casinos and is powered by Evolution software. Of all the live casino softwares available online, Evolution's is my favourite and you'll normally find me on one of the Blackjack tables here.
The third option is Victor Royale which uses net Entertainment's live dealer option but as I write there are only two games options (March 2015): roulette and blackjack so the other live options are probably better bets right now.
Finally there is Club Victor, another recent addition from Microgaming, but only the standard tables are available. The issue with number of game tables still exists but if you can't get a seat it's easy to move to one of BetVictor's 3 other live casinos.
It should be pretty clear why BetVictor's live casinos are my first choice when it comes to live dealer games. The fact there are 4 options with 2 of them being among the best out there is great and it's easy to switch between the so finding tables is no problem.