Live Dealer Roulette
Live dealer games have become more popular over the last couple of years. You don’t have to look too far to see that. More and more casinos are adding live games to their lineup, and then there’s Smart Live, a casino dedicated to them.
It comes as no surprise to me. After all, one of the objectives of an online casino operator and software provider is to give players as real an experience as they can. And live dealer games do that, using just enough software to handle the bets and video streaming, while everything else (the action) is handled by a live person. When you combine that with the social element of chatting with the dealers/croupiers and your fellow tablemates, along with the realistic casino atmosphere, you give players a reason to never leave the house. To never make the trip to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Why would they make the trip to a brick and mortar casino when they can get the experience from their own home, at the fraction of the cost and time associated with travelling, taking time off work, room and board, etc?
So with that all in mind, I want to dive a little deeper into live dealer games. More specifically, live roulette. The following will explain in more detail how live roulette games work, the variations you’ll find online and some key differences between live roulette games and the traditional online and brick and mortar games.
How Does Live Dealer Roulette Work?
There are two ways to look at this question. One, from the operator side. And two, from the player’s side.
From the operator’s side it’s very much like broadcasting a TV show. The roulette table will be placed in it’s own area, sometimes surrounded by the other games like live blackjack or baccarat, depending on the variation you’re playing. If there aren’t any tables in the background, then the casino will have some sort of (fake) backdrop, like of the city’s skyline, or the background will be the casino (for local customers) itself.
To record the action, there are (at least) 3 separate cameras. One will be an overview, the second a table shot and the last will be a wheel shot. However, the wheel shot will switch to the croupier once the ball has settled into a cell.
The action is then delivered via a feed to the casino, which can be viewed on your TV or via your browser on your computer or smart phone.
On the player’s (your) end, it’s going to be like playing any other roulette game online. You’ll take your chips, place your bets and wait. The biggest difference is that the action will be live. If available, you’ll be able to chat with the croupier and the other players, either through a chat box or your microphone.
Without getting into all the equipment, that’s all there is to it. The games are just recorded and streamed online. Everything else is handled by software.
What Types of Roulette Games Can I Play at Live Dealer Casinos?
Believe it or not, there are several live dealer roulette variations available. The best example of this is Smart Live Casino. Here are the games that you can play there:
- Mini (Social/Brown/Black) Roulette – 3 different variations. I think the biggest difference here is the color and size of the wheel. The layouts are different from the other roulette games, too.
- Rapid Roulette – This is a one-of-a-kind variation that’s faster than standard roulette. This is the game you want to play if you want to get more bets in.
- Low Limit (Auto) Roulette – This is a low limit, air-powered roulette wheel.
- (Auto) Roulette – This is a higher stakes variation of the game above. This is fully automated, too, powered by air.
- Live Roulette – A standard game of roulette.
There are 7 variations at Smart Live. Most casinos will have 1-3 live online roulette games, giving you the choice between a standard or 3D setting. Others will also have the options of choosing between a European or Asian croupier.
Stakes for live roulette games will vary, but from what I’ve seen $5 appears to be the standard minimum bet. The exception is Smart Live, which has stakes starting at .10 and $1. Maximum bets can be as much as $10,000.
Every casino I’ve come across has had a variety of games outside of roulette, too. You’ll have the option of playing live blackjack, baccarat and casino hold’em, as well as your standard online casino games powered by software (not live dealers).
What are the Biggest Differences Between Live Dealer and Other Roulette Games?
There are several differences between live dealer and ‘other’ roulette games. I thought that it would be useful to know what those differences are.
Live dealer roulette is faster than brick and mortar roulette. That’s because live dealer croupiers don’t have to pay each player.
Similar to a brick and mortar casino, you can’t (usually) play live dealer roulette for free. That’s because the casino has to pay the croupiers, not to mention that you could be taking up a seat that a real money roulette player could otherwise be occupying. The exception to this is Smart Live; they allow you to play for free.
Live dealer croupiers and games aren’t always available. Many of them are on a schedule, so each roulette variation will be available at specific times. This is unlike online roulette games, or even casino roulette games, where you’re able to play 24/7.
The stakes are higher in live dealer roulette compared to online roulette. With exception to Smart Live, you’ll be paying a minimum of $5 to play roulette, whereas with online roulette the minimum bet is around $1.
I’m sure there are more, but these differences will make the biggest impact in your decision as to what roulette game to play based on your schedule, your location and budget.