Live Casino Bonus
You should be aware that normal casino bonuses and live casino bonuses work a bit differently. Normal bonuses tend to match your deposit, but bonuses for live dealer games are most often so-called cashback deals. These cashback deals return a percentage of any losses you might suffer.
You might wonder why many online casinos have separate bonuses for “simulated” casino games, like slots, and for live dealer games. The reason for having different live game bonuses is game contributions.
It’s normal that you need to wager your deposit and bonus a certain times before you can withdraw. What makes this problematic for live game players is that at most casinos roulette and blackjack have low contribution limits. They might even state that they contribute 0% of their stake towards clearing a bonus, which renders these bonuses impossible to enjoy for live gamers.
So, to solve how live roulette and live blackjack players can get on some extra deals too, casinos have come up with cashback bonuses. These cashback deals return any losses that you might incur playing live games. Typically cashback returns 50% of your losses. It’s common you need to ask the casino’s customer service for your cashback (these deals are rarely automatic).
Putting it all together, here are all the different types of bonuses you can get for live games:
- Cashback: Returns your losses up to a percentage (for example, 50% cashback)
- Deposit bonus: Rarer than cashback, but sometimes a casino matches your deposit, and you can use the extra cash to play live games
- No deposit bonus: Money you get for free (without depositing) for testing out a casino. These are very modest, typically $5 at most
- No bonus: Some live casino game players prefer to play without a bonus
Cashback deals are usually not sign-up bonuses. You can enjoy them more than once, whenever they happen to be available at the casino site you play at.
Warning: it’s critical you don’t play at a live online casino with the site’s standard deposit bonus before ok’ing this with customer service. Some gambling sites have strict policies regarding what games you can and can’t play with your bonus and playing the wrong game can invalidate your whole bonus.
Terms & Conditions
Typical live casino bonus has more relaxed terms and conditions than slots, bingo and other casino bonuses. It’s not rare that all you need to do is to play live games and then ask for cashback if you happen to lose with your initial deposit.
There are practically never any limitations regarding which live games you can play. It’s all the same, no matter if you wish to play live roulette, live blackjack, live baccarat or any of the poker games available at most live casinos.
Just to give an example of how easy the terms and conditions are to follow, here’s a real-life example from Mr Green.
- Make a deposit $20 or more
- Wager the whole deposit on live casino games
- If you win, you keep what you win
- If you lose, you get 50% of your deposit back
- You can do what you want with your returned 50%
And that’s it. There’s really nothing difficult here, as long as you remember to follow step 2.
One last point about the terms and conditions is to keep in mind that regardless of the bonus type, the deals always have a maximum. Considering that live dealer games are highrollers favourites, the maximums are surprisingly low. For example, a typical cashback deal only returns a maximum of $50 or $100.
Live Dealer Casino Games
When you enter a live game lobby at the casino of your choice, you’ll be connected to a real-life casino via a video web stream. You can then play at this real-life casino by making your gaming decisions with your mouse or phone. According to how the games go, funds are added to or deducted from your account automatically.
Technically live games take advantage of ultra-modern image recognition technology. It reads card symbols, roulette wheels, etc., automatically to allow computers to understand what’s going on. Ironically, all this million-dollar modern technology is needed to give you a decidedly old-school casino experience.
Live casino games differ from normal online casino games in four key ways:
- Live games have higher betting limits
- Live games don’t use computer random number generators (instead they use real cards, roulette wheels, dice, etc)
- It’s slower to play live games than simulated casino games, the dealers and croupiers need to physically set up each hand or spin
- You can’t play live games for free
Live gaming also is a bit more personal than playing simulated games. You can, for example, chat with the croupier or dealer (one common situation is simply asking about the rules). When you chat, you can type your question or comment, which is then sent to the dealer who responds directly to you the camera.
Getting started with real-money live dealer games only takes minutes. First, sign-up an account at a live dealer online casino. Then, you need to deposit with a Canada-friendly banking method like Interac or eCheck. After this, you’re ready to play roulette, blackjack, baccarat and other live games.
The reason why you need to deposit playing with live dealers is that they’re the only games, apart from a few jackpot slots, that you can’t play for free. The reason for not being able to play for free is simple, the croupiers are real people and need their salaries. While you can’t play for free, you can watch the games before depositing to get a feel for what’s going on.
Playing the games works the same as playing any online casino game. Make your bets and decisions by tapping your phone or clicking your mouse and watch the action unfold.
What Games Are Available?
You can play the same games online as you’d play at a real-life casino. These classics include roulette, popular card games, and even some Asian dice games.
Here is a full list of live casino games you can play:
- Wheel of fortune -style games
- Poker games: casino holdem, three card poker
- Dice games: mostly sic bo
The first three (blackjack, roulette, and baccarat) are available at every casino that has live games. Poker games are also common; you can expect to see either casino holdem or three card poker at most sites (let it ride unfortunately hasn’t yet been made into live format).
Wheel of fortune games (win money based on a spin of a big wheel) are becoming more popular, so you can expect to see at least Evolution Gaming’s Dream Catcher at the site of your choice. Dice games are much rarer. While craps are not available yet, with a bit of luck, you can at least play sic bo, which is a similar dice game.
Out of all these games roulette is by far the most popular one, so you’ll find many roulette variants to play:
- Speed Roulette: super-fast by live standards, two spins per minute!
- Lightning roulette: lucky numbers pay 500:1
- Immersive roulette: luxurious roulette game
- Double ball: there’s two balls in the wheel for a completely new kind of game
As far as rules go, each live table game is played with the same rules as it’d be played at a real-life casino.
Playing for Real Money
Live games are played for real money only. The minimum bet size varies from site to site but is typically $5 or $10. The maximum you can bet starts at $1000 and can go higher at certain VIP-friendly casinos if you request higher limits via customer service.
While live gaming stakes cover everything from a few bucks up, the first step, of course, is to get money into your casino account. Casinos have plenty of Canada-friendly deposit methods like Interac and eCheck that get your money in (and out) instantly.
After you’ve deposited and potentially benefited from bonuses, you can start playing real-money games. Each site has different minimum and maximum stakes, but keep in mind that the maximum stakes are only a guideline. There are plenty of players who play with higher-than-advertised stakes. If you’re one of these gamblers, you get to play for bigger money by contacting customer service. You’re put through to VIP-manager, who’ll raise the limits for you.
Many gamblers are curious as to what’s the maximum you can win playing live games. The ultimate big win would be to hit the jackpot of Casino Holdem (by Evolution Gaming).
Casino Holdem’s side bet is progressive, meaning that part of what players wager on it goes into the pot to grow it. As of writing this, the side bet is 1.6 million Canadian dollars. It’s a life-changing amount of money, but prepare to need a healthy dose of luck to win it: you’ll need a seven card flush to win the jackpot!
Live Games & Canada
When it comes to us Canadian gamblers, playing live dealer games is best done at big casinos. Smaller ones don’t necessary have 24/7 tables, meaning that the often Europe-oriented sites might have all tables closed just as us Canucks are ready to gamble!
These big, new casinos also tend to have other Canada-friendly features like local customer support, CAD support and Canadian banking methods. These big sites include familiar names like Party Casino and newcomers like LeoVegas (mobile casino).
Lucky thing for us Canadians is that apart from the table opening times there aren’t other difficulties. The language, for example, is by default English and only specialty tables do other languages like Russian, etc.
When it comes to taxes and legal side of things we also have it good. Online gambling for real money is legal in Canada. Any winnings from real-money games, including bonuses, are tax-free.
You can play live dealer games on your mobile devices, phones, and tablets, by playing directly at the casino’s website. Both Google Play and Apple App Store shun real-money gaming apps, so downloading an app is not an option in Canada.
Live dealer games are especially enjoyable on a tablet but play fine on a cell phone too. As far as phone models go, there’s not a lot to know. All the latest Android and iPhones, and even most older ones too, work fine. The limiting factor in getting a smooth gaming experience is usually the stability of your data connection rather than how many gigabytes of memory or what kind of a processor your phone has.
Live dealer games are a bit more bandwidth intensive than slots or scratch cards (which demand the least bandwidth). When you play on your phone on the go, try to get at least 3G data connection. 4G or wifi is, of course, best. If you happen to lose your data connection, just in case you’re curious, your bet is treated the same as it would be at a real-life casino if you stood up at the table.
Many gamblers, especially high stakes ones, prefer playing live dealer games. Actual, physical cards, roulette wheels, and dice mean there’s no computerized random number generators involved. This lack of computers creates an extra level of confidence into the games and their randomness.
There’s also another reason why high limit gamblers prefer live games: these games are not operated by the online casino itself. Instead, the games are bought from independent game producers, whose whole business depends on delivering reliable, legit casino games.
Big-name live game providers you’ll see at Canada-friendly casinos include:
- Dream Gaming
- Extreme Live Gaming
- Evolution Gaming
- NetEnt (currently unavailable for Canadians)
In addition, biggest online casinos, like Leo Vegas and Guts, for example, have their own live tables. However, while these games are branded for the casino (“Guts Exclusive Roulette”), they are provided by one of the game developers listed above.
High-Limit Casino Games
If you are into high-limit casino games, you need to play live games. Where normal online casino games allow you to stake around $100 – $500 per blackjack hand or a roulette spin, live games allow for much higher stakes. Five-figure spins are not unheard of.
If you wish to play for ultra-high stakes, you need to take a few simple steps. First, contact the casino’s customer service to arrange your money transfer and to waive any bonuses. Then, choose the game you wish to play (roulette, blackjack, and baccarat are common choices). Now you’re guided to the right (private) live gaming table, where you can start gambling.
Note that only the largest online casinos have the capability of arranging all this. For one thing only they have enough cash on hand to pay out the huge amounts of money a lucky highroller can win. So for high-limit casino action aim to play at a site like Guts, that has plenty of experience of catering to highrollers.
2018 Best Casino for Live Dealer Games
If you’re going to choose just one casino for playing live games, make it Mr Green. While many casinos have a similar offering of different live games, Mr Green is by far the most active in running different live-only campaigns.
While Mr Green’s exact promotions vary from time to time, it always has something special going on at its live tables. For example, you might get a hefty deposit bonus, win yourself some extra cash from a free prize draw and so on.