Live Dealer Hold’em
Many years ago, poker was just a fun way to fill your free time. We have all seen movies in which a group of people is playing this card game, smoking cigars, and drinking expensive whiskey. It is believed that the game dates as far back as the 19th century and it all started from the USA.
Over the years, poker captivated the hearts of many people around the world. As we all know, poker is a game of luck, skill, and psychology. Eventually, the game has become an integral part of each land-based casino. Players who wanted to earn some easy money, or just to experience the casino feeling did not hesitate to join the poker tables.
Nowadays, we can play poker without the need to stand up from the couch at home due to the technological advances in the past decade. Web technologies even made it possible to bring a real casino experience in our homes. Thanks to the so-called live dealer casinos, your living room can turn into your private gambling hall. The only thing you will be missing is the crowds of people.
Compared to some other table games, poker went live late. By far, there are not that many live dealer poker variations, with Casino Hold’em being the most popular among them. It is important to know that there is a significant difference between playing poker at a brick-and-mortar gambling venue and a live casino.
In Casino Hold’em, you play against the house rather than against other players. Hence, you should not expect to see features such as pots, raise bets, and check that are inherent to Texas Hold’em – the most popular poker variation offered at real gambling establishments.
Casino Hold’em is played with a standard 52-card deck, which is shuffled after every round. An unlimited number of players can join a live dealer table. To kick off the game, Live Casino Hold’em enthusiasts are required to make a forced bet (Ante).
Every casino maven will be dealt two face-up cards, while the dealer receives two face-down cards. These cards are called “hole” cards. After that, the dealer will place three more face-up cards in the middle of the table. These cards are usually referred to as a flop.
At this point, players need to decide what further actions they will take. Generally speaking, they have three options – to Call or to Fold. If you go for the first option, two more face-up cards are placed in the middle of the table.
The fourth card is usually referred to as “Turn”, and the last card to be placed on the table is called “River”. All the five face-up cards that appear on the table are called community cards as both the croupier and the players are using them in combination with their two cards to make a five-card hand with the highest rank. However, if you decide to fold, it means that you give up on your hand and a new round will start.
After all community cards appear on the table, the dealer also reveals his/her hole cards. The best five-card hands for both the dealer and the player are automatically built up. The hand that is of a higher rank wins the pot.
In its essence, Live Casino Hold’em is the simplified version of Texas Hold’em Poker. The main difference between the two poker variations stems from the fact that in Texas Hold’em Poker, you need to pit your wits against other players. On the other hand, if you decide to play Live Casino Hold’em, you aim at beating the dealer’s hand.
Like every casino game, Live Casino Hold’em features certain betting options and you need to be acquainted with them. Basically, the betting options can be categorized in forced wagers and optional bets.
Forced wagers are all those bets you are required to place in order to take a seat at the table. In Live Casino Hold’em one of the mandatory wagers is called Ante. It requires players to place an initial bet before getting a hand. This type of bets presents the amount of money you need to pay in order to stay at the table. In some cases, the size of the Ante is a percentage from the minimum bet. This bet comes with a 1:1 payout.
Live Casino Hold’em Game Actions
Once the croupier dealt your initial two cards and the first three cards appeared on the table, you will need to choose what further actions you will take in the game. The platform will notify you that you are expected to make a decision with a window that states “Make Your Decision”. At this point, you can either raise your bet or fold.
By clicking on the Call betting option, you will need to double the Ante and place the appropriate chip value in the bet area. If you think that your hand is weak and will most probably lose, you can throw your cards by choosing the Fold option, but you will lose the money you invested in the Ante bet.
Poker side bets are additional bets that players are not obliged to place. Such bets are designed to offer players enriched betting experience and add to the joy of the game. It is important to explain that the different poker side bets come with different payouts, depending on the hand you hold. Understanding how side bets work in poker is important for versing your skills in the game.
- AA+/Pair Plus Bonus – it is based on the player’s hole cards and the flop. If your five-card hand (including the initial hole cards and the three community cards) has a Pair of Aces or better, your bet wins. The bet is not related to the outcome of the game. This bet comes with lucrative payouts of up to 100:1.
- Casino Hold’em Progressive Jackpot – this bet is placed on the player’s hole cards and the first three community cards. The bet pays out 100% of the progressive jackpot in case you have a Royal Flush.
Placing a Bet
Before placing a bet, you should check the bet limits that are displayed on a panel pinned to the upper left corner of the interface. Make sure that you have a sufficient amount of money in your balance in order to participate in the game. Players should be informed that the platform will warn them in case the bet does not fit in the minimum limits.
To make life easier, the Live Casino Hold’em interface features “traffic lights” that show mavens when they can place their bets. The green light means that players can post their bets, the yellow light warns them that the time for placing bets is almost over, and the red light closes the betting round.
Selecting the value of chips you would like to wager is a piece of cake due to the chip display. There you can find images of casino chips of different denominations. Just click on the chips, which correspond to the sum you wish to wager and drag them to the betting spot on the table.
There are special buttons integrated into the user interface that allow players to double all of their bets until they reach the maximum limit. There is also a repeat button that allows poker fans to quickly replicate their last bets. If you decide to change your bet or remove it before the wagering session is over, you need to use the undo button.
Casino Hold’em Hand Ranking
Understanding the hand rankings and the cards’ value in live dealer Casino Hold’em is of great importance if you want to play this game. It can be stated that this is the core knowledge that every casino enthusiast should master before indulging in any game. What is interesting about Live Casino Hold’em is that players can use both or none of their hole cards to build the best five-card hand for themselves.
Before we continue with explaining the hand rankings, we need to note that there are 4 suits, including clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. As for the rankings of the card value, there are 13 ranks, which are presented in the following progressive sequence: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces. The list below shows the hand rankings from the lowest to the highest:
- High Card – all five cards are of different suits and values. As the name suggests, the card of the highest value is taken into account. In such cases, players are recommended to fold.
- One Pair – the five-card hand consists of 2 cards of the same value and the suit is of no importance. The rest of the cards are of different suits and values.
- Two Pair – such hand includes 2 sets of 2 cards of the same rank, but different suits.
- Three of a Kind – such hands involve three cards of the same value but different suits.
- Straight – all five cards follow a sequential order, but they are of different suits.
- Flush – this hand occurs when all five cards are of the same suit.
- Full House – this hand is comprised of three of a kind and a pair.
- Four of a Kind – such a hand includes four cards of the same value, but different suits.
- Straight Flush – it occurs when all cards follow a sequential order and they are of the same suit.
- Royal Flush – this is the best poker hand and it is comprised of an Ace, a King, a Queen, a Jack, and 10. All the cards are of the same suit. In its essence, Royal Flush is a straight flush but comprised of cards of higher rankings.
It is important to mention that if the player and the dealer have the same hands (for example Three of a Kind), the one who holds the highest cards wins.
Live Casino Hold’em Possible Outcomes and Payouts
The payouts in Live Casino Hold’em depend on the strength of the five-card poker hand the player achieves. The croupier should have a pair of 4s or higher to qualify. In the lines below, we will provide you with comprehensive information regarding the different situations in which the Ante and the Call bets win or lose:
- If the dealer does not qualify and you win, the Ante bet wins and the Call bet is pushed.
- If the dealer qualifies and you win, the Ante bet wins and the Call bet pays 1:1.
- If the dealer qualifies and you lose, both the Ante and the Call bets are a loss.
- If the dealer qualifies and a tie occurs, the Ante and the Call bets are pushed.
- If you fold, both the Ante and the Call bets are a loss.
Payouts for the Main Bets
The Call bet always comes with a payout of 1:1. However, the situation with the Ante bet is more complicated, as its payout depends on the hand you build. It is worth seeing the payouts which the Ante offers, so you can calculate your potential winnings.
- The Ante pays 100:1 for a Royal Flush.
- The Ante comes with a payout of 20:1 for a Straight Flush.
- The Ante’s payout is 10:1 for Four of a Kind.
- The Ante pays 3:1 for a Full House.
- Players whose hand is comprised of a Flush will rake a 2:1 payout on the Ante.
- The lowest payout on the Ante is 1:1 and it is for hands that are constructed from a Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, or One Pair.
Payouts for the Bonus Bet
Similar to the Ante, the Bonus bet also features fluctuating payouts based on the hand you hold. We would like to provide you with a detailed information regarding the payouts that come with the Bonus bet.
- The Bonus bet offers a jaw-dropping payout of 100:1 for a Royal Flush.
- Players with a Straight Flush will enjoy a payout of 50:1 on the Bonus bet.
- The Bonus bet pays 40:1 for Four of a Kind.
- 30:1 is the Bonus bet payout for a Full House.
- Bonus bet comes with a payout of 20:1 for a Flush.
- And the lowest payout the Bonus bet offers is 7:1 for all other hands, including a Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, and Pair of Aces.
Live Casino Hold’em Features
Software providers that supply casinos with live gaming products worked hard to develop a user-friendly interface that can be customized according to the player’s preferences. In addition to that, to make live dealer games available everywhere, developers managed to squeeze the interface in a way to fit it in all modern portable devices’ screens.
Live Casino Hold’em comes with a video stream of high quality, so players can see every movement of the dealer right in front of their eyes. It is worth paying attention also to the features pinned to the interface of the game as they are useful enough.
- Chat box – it is a handy function that allows you to communicate with other players and the dealer. If you have any questions, you can ask the croupier, who will read your inquiry and get back to you verbally. The chat is visible to all players sitting at the same table.
- Game Number – each round has a unique game number, so in case you need to contact the customer support department in relation to a particular round, you can either provide this number or a screenshot of the game.
- Game History – this feature allows players to see what games they played, how much money they lost or won, and what bets they placed. The information is organized in different categories, so you can find what you need in the quickest possible way.
- Customized Settings – the user interface of Live Casino Hold’em comes with a package of settings that provide players with the opportunity to turn on/off the dealer’s voice and the game sound. In addition to that, casino mavens can adjust the video streaming quality according to their Internet connection speed.
- Multi-Game Play – the user interface allows players to play at two different tables simultaneously. You just need to press the “Add Table” and your screen will be split into two sections – one for each table.
- Bet Limits – each live dealer table features bet limits and Live Casino Hold’em makes no exception to this rule. To see the bet limits and payouts, you just need to hover the cursor of your mouse over the limit plate pinned to the interface in order to see not only the minimum and maximum bets, but also the Ante and Bonus payouts.
- “Help” button – if you are not particularly clear with the game rules or how to place a bet, or you need some other information regarding the game, you can always click on the “Help” button and read the instructions there.
It is worth mentioning that these features might vary between different providers, but the ones included in the list are the most common that players can encounter during their Live Casino Hold’em experience.
Live Casino Hold’em Software Providers
You are often advised to pay attention to the software provider that a casino uses, but have you ever asked yourself why should you care about this? Well, the reason why software providers are important is that they supply casinos with live gaming products. In other words, all live dealer games that casinos offer are powered by a software company.
Evolution Gaming is on the market for long enough to know how to meet players’ expectations. The software company was founded in 2006 and nowadays almost every virtual casino that offers live dealer games joined hands with it. The company offers all kinds of casino table games in live format.
Live Casino Hold’em takes a central place in the company’s portfolio. To provide poker players with unique gaming experience, the company released different exciting variations of live poker such as Live 2 Hand Casino Hold’em, Live Caribbean Stud Poker, Live Three Card Poker, and others.
If you decide to play Live Casino Hold’em or any other variation of the game powered by Evolution Gaming, you should expect nothing less than crisp graphics, authentic casino environment, and enthralling betting options. In addition to that, the software provider offers Live Casino Hold’em tables managed by native speaking dealers in almost any available language.
Ezugi is a leading software provider which is specialized in developing live dealer games. The company’s live games are streamed from its purpose-built studios. Even though all gaming products which the company offers are worth the attention, we would like to focus on Ezugi’s live poker products.
It is a matter of fact that poker tables resemble each other, but Ezugi again found a way to incorporate the company’s unique touch in its live poker tables. Ezugi’s blue table is one-of-a-kind. The brand offers Live Casino Hold’em tables that allow an unlimited number of players. This is nothing new to the live dealer casino industry, but it is an important feature that saves players a lot of waiting time. In addition to that players will not face troubles when using the game’s interface as it is designed in a player-friendly way.
Established in 1999, Playtech is a reputable online supplier of casino games. It has a bulky catalogue of casino games that are welcomed in many virtual casinos’ lobbies. Leading the way in the iGaming industry, Playtech invested heavily in its live dealer casino games, adding to its products also Live Casino Hold’em.
The software developer incorporated advanced settings in the game’s interface to provide players with hassle-free gaming experience. Playtech’s Live Casino Hold’em features a classical environment that is highly-praised by poker connoisseurs.
Microgaming is a heavyweight when it comes to software providers. In 1994, the company shook the grounds of the industry with the world’s first online casino software that was presented. Microgaming is not the type of company that will rest on old laurels. To keep on fascinating its fans, the software developer launched its live casino.
However, we must admit that Live Casino Hold’em was added to Microgaming’s live dealer portfolio relatively late, and more precisely in 2015. But it definitely turned into one of the hottest trends among live poker enthusiasts.
Microgaming’s Live Dealer Casino Hold’em brags about its well-organized user interface. In addition to that, the game is streamed directly to your screen thanks to the cutting-edge technologies, which the company embraced. Stuttering and freezing are unlikely to happen with Microgaming’s live gaming products.
Live Dealer Casino Hold’em Variations
Poker exploded in popularity mostly due to the televised main event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Since then, it just sounds cool to say that you play poker in your free time. However, software providers offer a modest number of poker variations in live format.
Maybe this is so because some people consider that poker should be played at a table, sitting in front of real people. To a certain extent, they might be right because the poker’s enchanting image comes from the fact that players master psychological skills to read others’ feelings and emotions.
Nevertheless, we must admit that playing live poker at a virtual casino is also a worthwhile experience. Such live dealer tables come with some advantages, including unlimited seats at the table and different variations of the game. Apart from Live Casino Hold’em which tops the rankings, some of the most sought-after live poker variations include:
- 2 Hand Casino Hold’em – this is a fast-paced variation of Live Casino Hold’em which is played with two hands at the same time. The player can decide whether to play the two hands or no. There is also an optional bonus bet that can be played on both hands, but also on a hand preferred by the player. This variation of the game is more advantageous to players, as they can play with two hands at the same time, while the dealer receives just one hand.
- Casino Hold’em Jumbo-7 – this variation of the game offers casino devotees the opportunity to play for a share of a jackpot that increases each time the game is played, but the jackpot is not won. To pocket the big money, you need to be lucky enough to hold a 7-card hand comprised of Straight Flush.
Live Casino Hold’em House Edge
The house edge is an important aspect when selecting a game. It is the built-in advantage of the casino over the players. The house edge is a percentage of the players’ bets that the casino keeps as a profit. It does not matter if you prefer to play at a live casino or land-based gambling facility, the house edge is an integral part of every casino game.
The house edge grinds against your bankroll all the time. You might win the first rounds, but the more you play, the bigger chance you have to lose. The house edge varies between different games and paytables. When it comes to Live Casino Hold’em, the house edge is not that bad compared to other games – just 2.16%. The AA Bonus bet comes with a 6.26% house edge, assuming that you play at a standard paytable.