How Live Dealer Casinos Work


Live dealer casinos could pose a threat to land based casinos if they increase further in popularity.

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With more of us spending a great deal more time at home, the need for online casinos to become more sophisticated has been felt more strongly than ever. Only twenty years ago it was still a revelation that you could play poker online at all. Fast forward a decade and online poker had become fairly sophisticated, with little hints of what the future may hold beginning to shine through. Now that we've hit the 20s technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, as well as super-fast widespread internet services, are bringing us ever closer to the experience of 'the real thing'. The latest technology to be employed in the quest for an authentic casino poker experience is the live dealer casino. This is how they work.

Face Value

One of the aspects of real-life poker games that until recently developers had struggled to replicate was the interaction between player and dealer. Some sites had provided lifelike portrayals of dealers, but without a person behind the screen, their responses were scripted, stunted, and honestly, pretty see-through. With the invention of the live dealer casino, the future is bleak for land-based casino gaming. The experience is so close to real life, that it's almost not worth making the trip to the actual casino.

This experience is achieved by using an actual dealer who is presented to the player by a series of instantaneous video cameras. Many of us have used this technology ourselves. Have you ever made a Live Instagram story where you spoke directly to your phone? You've used a similar, but slightly less advanced technology than in a live dealer casino. Just like on Instagram, the players can reply directly to the person on the video by texting (or in this case typing) their answer into the chatbox. The dealer can respond in real-time, bringing a pleasant back and forth between the players and the host. Of course, several cameras are used to ensure there's a proper view for all angles of the table and the video quality you receive will be a lot higher than on your phone!

Magic Cards

One of the most vital parts of a live dealer casino setup is in the cards themselves. Each card in the dealer's deck is implanted with a microchip. These chips correlate to one card in the deck only and as the dealer scans them through a machine they are connected to a computer program, allowing them to be instantly transported to your screen at home. In order for this to work seamlessly, the dealer has to swipe every card underneath a machine called a Game Control Unit.

This unit is the entire brains behind the operation. It is programmed with software that reads cards using optical character recognition, understands poker hand rankings, and generally, along with the dealer, keeps operations running smoothly. This is unsurprisingly the most expensive outlay that a live dealer casino will have to pay for, but the more sophisticated the GCU, the more lifelike and glitch-free the experience.

The Finer Details

Just as in a real casino, in a live dealer casino, the dealer will wait for everyone to place their bets using the user interface. This usually comes in the form of a betting slip box, where you type in your wager in chips, and the information is sent to the Game Control Unit that we mentioned earlier. Only once this has happened will the dealer begin dealing. As you now know, all of the health cards are scanned and filmed by one of the high-quality, live streaming cameras that we mentioned. Thanks to the Optical Recognition Technology that we mentioned, your hand will now be shown on your screen for you to scrutinize.

The dealer will now allow each player to decide which action they would like to take, whether that is hit, stand, double down, or otherwise. Once all of the people around the table have made their move, the outcome of the round will be decided by the Game Control Unit and all bets will be paid out immediately. Finally, as another nod to the real casino experience, if you've enjoyed the professionalism or company of your dealer then you're able to tip them via the User Interface. That's it!