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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Breaking down the advantages of live dealer games

26 Sep 2019

By Dan Ippolito
At land-based casinos, one of the best things about sitting at a table is being able to converse with other players and the dealer. Often, the off-the-cuff exchanges are more entertaining than the actual play on the table, regardless of if I'm winning or losing.

When I first starting playing blackjack, I wasn’t as knowledgeable about basic strategy and the other nuances of the game as I am today. Communicating with the dealer and my tablemates allowed me to learn the game much quicker and, in turn, I began enjoying myself more at the table.

Most online casino table games do not have this luxury, but with the advent of live dealer games in recent years, the entire iGaming experience has been greatly enhanced. When playing games such as live dealer blackjack, you are able to communicate with your tablemates and the dealer through chat. Other players can respond in the chat, and the dealer can read through the messages the players send and respond to them. It adds the sense of interaction and brings a more positive vibe to the table. It can also lead you to making smarter plays, if you are looking for help on what to do with your turn. Other players may give you some insight if you ask them in the chat.

According to the new Live Dealer section at Online.CasinoCity.com, there are currently 136 different live dealer games offered by 46 game providers at 265 sites.

The powerhouse behind live dealer games is Evolution Gaming. The provider of live casino solutions opened its first U.S. live casino studio in New Jersey in August 2018. Evolution Gaming added to its arsenal when it acquired Ezugi, another live dealer game provider, in January 2019. This is after Evolution saw a 38% revenue increase in 2018.

Evolution Gaming offers a wide range of live casino games, including blackjack, roulette and baccarat. After my first experience playing live dealer blackjack, I noticed that it combines the “best of both worlds,” if you will.

This version of blackjack kept the same features as a traditional online blackjack game would, while incorporating a land-based casino feel. It allows you to predetermine your decision to hit, stay, double down or split at the same time as the first person at the table. You can, of course, still take your time if you need it when it rolls around to your seat. The game also gives you the option to participate in the chat or interact with other players and the dealer as well.

Another big advantage live dealer games offer is that a table is never full. When walking around a land-based casino, you sometimes find yourself searching and searching for an open seat at a table of your desired price range. However, live dealer games bring you the atmosphere of that same brick-and-mortar casino, but always with a seat open. Most live dealer blackjack games have seven players, but even if those seats are full, the Bet Behind feature allows an infinite number of players to bet behind the main seven.

You could find yourself on the other end of the spectrum and be at a table alone. In some online games, you see yourself waiting for the next hand to be dealt, but you’ve been ready and waiting. Live dealer blackjack can give you the chance to speed up the process with a “Deal Now” button at the table.

The convenience factor is probably a major reason why live dealer games draw some attention as well. Before Encore Boston Harbor opened in June, the closest casino for me to get to was nearly two hours away, at either Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods Resort Casino. Sometimes that felt a bit much, to have to travel four hours round-trip to be able to play at a casino, and I am sure that situation is occurring for others across the U.S. and around the world. That being said, many people now have the option to avoid that drive and still experience playing their favorite table games with a dealer and interaction with players in their own home.

Players are just a desktop, table or smartphone away from being able to play table games with a dealer, rather than making the trek to a casino. Now don’t get me wrong, I would still enjoy going to a land-based casino — especially now, with Encore Boston Harbor open in my backyard — but for some people, having the capability to log online and find a similar experience is quite appealing.

There are plenty of live dealer providers in addition to Evolution Gaming. Playtech, Microgaming and NetEnt are all involved in this area.

Each provider offers different advantages, such as fast deal, free play on a limited basis and larger limit ranges. There isn’t really a correct choice when deciding which provider to go with. It is a matter of seeing what fits your preferences and your style of play. There are a number of online casinos that offer each provider’s games, so there will be options for players to choose from.
 
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