Live Poker Review: Winning at Online Poker in the US with Real Money
Live dealer poker games allow to play the game in the presence of an actual dealer.
The player is able to see the cards being dealt in real-time by streaming on his or her device and make wagering decisions with the click of “call”, “fold” options and the likes. The best live poker casinos in the US offer this access to players on the internet. In this live dealer poker review, all the important things to know have been outlined. Things like bonuses, live poker variations, the legal situation in the US, the best casinos for live poker online, and more have been discussed for you to be well-informed.
Live dealer poker across the US — in which states you can play online?
In the US, online poker is legal in four states — Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Laws have been put in place in other states like Michigan and West Virginia, in December and March 2019, respectively.
These new entries have legalized poker playing online in the US pending the arrival of casinos. For one to play poker in the US has not always been easy; however, with the acceptance of the development coming relatively recently and developing quickly afterwards.
Some laws impeded the growth of online poker in the US, like the Wire Wager Act of 1961, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), signed in 2006 under the SAFE Port Act by then-President Bush.
The Wire Act in 2011 was defined by the Department of Justice to apply only to sports betting online and not other online casino games. Following this, several states quickly got onto the online gambling scene by passing intrastate gambling laws. It wasn’t long before interstate laws were also passed, allowing players within several states to play against one another.
2020’s Top Real Money Live Poker Casinos
The task of selecting the best casino to play live dealer poker online in the US is a very important one. There are several things to put into consideration you want to play at a particular casino. Some of the best live dealer casinos in the US to play poker online with their perks include:
Welcome and no-deposit bonuses — Welcome bonus of up to $1000
Safety — Several safe online payment options available
Licensing — Properly licensed to offer live poker gaming to players over the age of 21 in the states of Nevada and New Jersey.
Welcome and no-deposit bonuses — Welcome bonus of 100% up to $200, and a first of the month bonus for lucky players
Safety — Safe banking environment for the completion of online transactions on several payment platforms. Such as Visa, Skrill, Neteller, MasterCard, PayPal, Trustly, Sofort, and so on.
Licensing — This casino is licensed by the Great Britain Gambling Commission and the Gibraltar Gaming Association, and is available to players over 21 in the state of New Jersey.
Software — Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Amaya, Big Time Gaming
Welcome and no-deposit bonuses – 100% welcome deposit bonus up to $1500
Safety — Secure environments are provided for player deposits and withdrawals. Transactions are performed via Visa, American Express, MasterCard, online bank transfers, and so on.
Licensing — Golden Nugget is licensed by several licensing authorities including New Jersey’s DGE, and even hosts other casinos like Betfair under its license
Software — Ezugi
Welcome and no-deposit bonuses — Welcome deposit of 100% up to $600
Safety — Transactions are completed in a secure environment over platforms like Visa and PayPal
Licensing — Licensed in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania under Resorts Atlantic City, and Mount Airy respectively. Software — Evolution Gaming
How Does Live Dealer Poker Work?
All variations of this game follow basic poker game rules and are somewhere between playing at a live casino and regular online poker. In the sense that the player gets his card dealt by a real croupier while still playing online from anywhere on several types of devices.
This is usually done over several rounds depending on the game, where bettors with the better 5-card hand win. In variations of this game, there may be nuances to the style of play, like side bets asides from the ante, and payouts on certain kinds of hands as well. Live dealer poker has some very different aspects to the gameplay than regular online poker. Such as:
- In live dealer poker, the player is playing against the dealer or the house, whereas online poker simulates the regular feel of playing against other players.
- The cards are being dealt by an actual croupier in live dealer poker rather than being randomly generated by the system.
- You can actually converse with the dealer in the “chat” section in a live dealer game.
- Unlike regular online poker where multiple hands are dealt to each player, live dealer poker has several players playing with the one hand against the house.
- There is no need for a bluff or anything resembling that in live dealer poker games.
To enjoy the best experience playing live poker online for cash, you must consider certain aspects of the one you want to play, such as the video quality, communication with the croupiers, payouts and the software. Some of the best gaming software providers in the business include NetEnt, Playtech, Ezugi, Evolution Gaming, Betsoft, Amaya, Big Time Gaming, etc.
Some Live Dealer Poker Variations
Live Caribbean Stud Poker
In live Caribbean stud poker, the player gets dealt 5 cards face up with the dealer getting dealt 5 cards also with only one face up. Before this, the player places the ante bet and may include the 5+1 Bonus bet as well. After bets are placed, the dealer deals the 5 cards designated to the player facing up, and the banker’s 5 cards are dealt with only one facing up. At this point, one can either call or fold, depending on how much you fancy your chances. There are several payouts for several hands for the ante, call, and 5 +1 bonus bet.
These payouts can be seen in the paytable. The call pays out if the dealer qualifies with an ace and a king or better, for example. This game has a total bet RTP of 98.19%. This game is developed by Evolution Gaming and also has a second type involving 5 different player hands dealt on the table playing against the house. The latter is available at XProGaming and Vivo Gaming casinos.
Live Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker
This game is a very engaging variation and promises to reward playing online poker with cash with big payouts. In this game, the player places his ante bet, but is required to play a blind alongside that ante, compulsorily.
At the start of the game, the player has 15 seconds to place his ante and blind and is dealt two cards face-up, while the dealer is dealt two face-down. At this stage, the player has 11 seconds to choose between a 4x ante multiplier bet, a 3x ante multiplier bet, and a check. The dealer then deals 3 community cards faced up to the center of the table.
If the 4x, or 3x bets were not placed in the previous round, the player has the option of playing a 2x ante multiplier bet, or a check, depending on the strength of his current hand.
At the last (river) round the dealer deals, 2 more cards face up to the center of the table adding to the previous 3. Once again the player has 11 seconds to choose between a 1x ante multiplier bet, or a fold if previous bets have not been placed. After this, the dealer reveals his 2 hole cards, and the hand with the best 5 cards wins the round if the player did not fold.
There is a trip bet that pays out on a three of a kind hand that the player can place bets on as well.
Live Casino Hold’em
This game is played with a standard 52 card deck, with the player(s) aiming to get a better 5 card hand than the dealer using standard hand rankings. The player is required to play ante bet, and an optional side bonus bet.
Thereafter, the dealer deals 2 cards face up to the player, 2 faces down for himself, and 3 community cards at the center of the table.
Player then has the option to call or fold based on the apparent strength of his 5 card hand from the flop cards already dealt. After this is done, the croupier then deals the last two community cards. The call bet will only payout if the dealer qualifies with a pair of 4s or more, and the bonus pays out on at least a pair of aces at 7:1.
Live Online Poker Tournaments
Casinos offer live tournaments for players to participate in online making the games more interesting and engaging.
Several types of these tournaments include Single Table Tournaments (STT), Multi Table Tournaments (MTT), Rebuy Tournaments, Live Satellite tournaments, and so on.
Live Dealer Poker Basic Strategy and Tips
The first thing for anyone planning on playing poker anywhere at all is to know the hand ranking for the different kinds of Poker hands. It is literally impossible to even anticipate a win without knowledge of this. There are several hand rankings from “Royal Flush” to regular “High Card”.
The ways to employ this knowledge depends on the type of poker being played, but basically, you have to look out for high cards like an ace, king, queen, and such.
This way even if you have a pair or three of a kind and so on, your big cards may be among them or may give you a strong kicker. It is wiser to make bonus bets be just a portion relative to the size of your ante since bonus bets usually have a lower probability of winning.
Placing bonus bets as large as your ante may just be wasteful especially in games like Ultimate Texas Hold’em for example where you technically bet your ante twice in the form of a blind.
Managing your bankroll is also very important. You must have a scheme in place dictating how you bet from your bankroll. Seeing as bets are required to be placed in short periods, you must have this on hand to help you play responsibly.
Mobile Live Poker
The powerful force of technology would not just stop at offering live casinos for only desktop devices, of course. Mobile live casinos for the android and iPhone players are slowly but surely coming into play, with Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Playtech and so on at the forefront of this charge. Some live casino games are offered on mobile and tablet devices across iOS and Android systems as well.
Especially with software like Evolution Gaming, the layout for the mobile versions is very similar to that of desktops. However, strong internet connection is necessary to prevent lagging and provide a good playing experience.
Types of Poker Bonuses
Welcome Bonus — This bonus is awarded when a new player signs up for the first time.
No-deposit Bonus — This bonus is awarded to the player without any deposit and is usually collected with the use of a promo code.
Reload — When the player meets a certain deposit target set by the casino he will get a reload bonus.
Cashback — Sometimes when the going is really tough, and the player has endured several losses, depending on the casino, a certain percentage will be paid back to the player to play with.
Video Poker vs Live Dealer Poker
The major difference between the two styles of poker is that the player has the dealer in front of him in a live poker session, which is not the case in video poker as it is a game played alone. It is also important to note that variations of video poker usually have their lowest hand requirements for payouts. Whereas live dealer poker variations simply require you to best the dealer’s hand.
The Good and Bad of Live Dealer Poker
As with almost everything imaginable, live dealer poker has its flaws. It is laudable as a concept borne of the beauty of technology’s development. It eases the player the stress of going to a brick-and-mortar casino while retaining the feel of the casino.
However, being on the internet makes it sure to have complaints and things to watch out for. Internet speed is necessary to enjoy a proper game playing poker for cash online as any lagging can cause the player to lose money. Also, some of the classic dynamics of poker like the bluff is completely lost, and this is a very fun part of the game.
Is live dealer poker legal in the US?
- Yes. Once you're over 21 and are in a state where playing poker for cash in the US is legal, you can play poker for real cash.
Can I play live poker for free?
- The Stars Group (TSG) provides free-to-play live casinos with in-app purchases on its social gaming app — PokerStars play.
What is Return to Player and how to check it?
- Return to Player (RTP) is the expected percentage the player is expected to get over a bet or series of bets. It is calculated using the amounts won back by players, and the amounts wagered by players. It is calculated by a testing agency and is revealed by the casinos themselves in accordance with data revealed by their respective testing agencies.
How do you play live dealer Hold'em?
- Simply go to any of the casinos already discussed, and follow the strategies to play as well.
Are live poker games rigged?
- The cards are automatically shuffled in real-time, and the dealer cuts the deck before dealing as well. Having all this manual dealing occur before one’s eyes dispels any doubts concerning rigging.