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Live Dealers Prove Popular at Online Casinos

Live Dealers Prove Popular at Online Casinos

Online casinos have offered live dealer tables for certain games for years (most notably blackjack, baccarat, and roulette) but what was once a niche offering only found at a few sites is becoming more and more common. Software provider Microgaming announced in late April that sites powered by its software including Platinum Play and Royal Vegas Casino would be rolling out live dealer tables, joining sites such as 888 Casino, bet365, and Party Casino in offering players the option of taking a seat at a table with a live dealer.

The concept is a simple one; while you're playing online you watch a dealer via a video feed that deals cards or spins the roulette wheel, with the action unfolding in front of live instead of via computer animations and graphics like standard online games. If you're playing blackjack, the dealer will deal the cards and wait for your decision to hit or stand, so the game is very similar to playing live at a casino in Vegas, Macau, or other gambling destination.

While that's appealing in many ways (especially for players that are paranoid that they're being cheated by online software), it also has its drawbacks, as you'll have to wait impatiently for slow players to make a decision just as you have to in a live game, with the pace being much slower than when you play at the normal online tables. If you play for high stakes, you should also be prepared for the consequences if your Internet connection drops; unlike standard online games if you time out your game won't be stored at that point, so the hand continues even if you don't make a decision in the allotted time you have. This is much more an issue with blackjack than other live dealer games such as roulette and something to consider before taking a seat at the live dealer tables.

Drawbacks aside, the live dealer games continue to grow in popularity, and it's easy to see why, as they not only offer a unique change of place but also a more social experience as well, and one much closer to the live action in a casino. Players can chat with each other as well as the dealers, and some casinos that offer live dealer games obviously make an effort to hire attractive, outgoing dealers who try to make sure players are enjoying themselves, regardless of whether they're winning or losing.

The increase in live dealer tables also corresponds with the recent push by some poker providers (most notably 888 Poker) to incorporate the same idea into selected poker tables that require players to use Web cams, with the goal of offering a more "realistic" poker experience. While it may seem a bit odd at first glance to try to re-create the live casino experience at online gambling sites (as the obvious rejoinder would be to just go play at a casino if you enjoy that more) there does seem to be a niche and demand for the offerings, and it's important to keep in mind that some players don't have easy access to a local casino. 

12-May-2011, 05:03

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