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Live Casino Poker Guide

In this article I’m going to explore and compare the various live casino poker games that are available at online live casinos. I’m referring to the ones where you’re playing with a live dealer, using real cards and a table.

I’ll explain the differences between the games and ultimately recommend where you can play them.

I won’t be plugging Bonuses, free money, or free Spins as they just don’t exist for Live Casino Poker games, regardless of what anyone else says!

For the record, there are 6 Live Casino poker games you can play with a live dealer.

Live Casino poker - live casino holdem logo

2 hand casino holdem

Texas Hold'em Bonus Poker

Ultimate Texas Hold'em

three card poker

live caribbean stud poker

live 3 card brag

side bet city poker logo

So what is Live Casino Poker?

Live Casino poker is a general term for a range of online live dealer games that are based on traditional poker.

In traditional poker, players play against each other. While in Live Casino Poker play is against the house/dealer.

In the year 2000, Stephen Au-Yeung developed a table game called Casino Hold’em while trying to teach his wife how to play Texas Hold’em Poker.

It’s this live dealer poker game that first made its way online for us all to enjoy.

Casino Hold’ems uniqueness lays in there being only one player hand. As it turns out was a revelation for online play, where an unlimited number of people could play the same hand at the same time. Talk about being lucky!

Casino Hold’em was probably responsible for helping with the development of other single-handed poker games and is still the most popular single-hand poker game to be played online.

7 Things you should know before you start playing Live Casino poker games

  1. All the games are based on Pokerunderstanding Poker hand rankings will increase your enjoyment of the game.
  2. Each game is played with a single deck of 52 Playing cards. This is shuffled after each game round, normally by a machine.
  3. All games are played against the house or dealer. To win, the player hand has to be better than the dealers.
  4. In most poker games only one hand is dealt to the player position. There are exceptions with Caribbean Stud Poker and I’ll cover that later.
  5. Side Bets and Bonus Bets all have enhanced payout odds. These bets have a much lower RTP than the base game. If you’re looking for that big hit then the side bets give you that. They can also eat away at your balance very quickly, so play them wisely if you play them at all!
  6. Progressive Jackpots are available on Evolution Gaming’s Casino Hold’em, Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker, and Caribbean Stud Poker. You’ll find them at selected Evolution Casinos.
  7. Some payouts are dependent on the Dealer having a minimum value to their hand. It’s called “The Dealer Qualifying”. Watch out for this.

RTP for Live Casino Poker Games Compared

Every poker game has a different Return to Player (RTP). This is the expected return you’d get on your bets and it’s worked out over millions of hands. In general, you want to be playing games that have a high RTP. I’ve gone through all the games and listed the published RTP’s. I’ve included the bonus and side bet RTP’s for completeness.

Live Poker GameOverall RTPAces or Better BonusTripsBonusPairs Plus5+1 Bonus
Casino Hold’em97.84%93.74%n/an/an/an/a
Ultimate Texas Hold’em99.47%n/a96.50%n/an/an/a
Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker99.47%n/an/a91.46%n/an/a
3 Card Poker96.63%n/an/an/a95.51%n/a
3 Card Brag98%n/an/an/a97.86%n/a
Caribbean Stud Poker98.19%n/an/an/an/a91.44%

Which is the Best Game to play?

There are two ways to judge this:

  • Firstly, the game you enjoy playing the most should be top of your list. If you don’t have a favourite just jump to my previews of all Live Dealer Poker Games to see what suits you best.
  • Secondly, the RTP of the game makes a huge difference. Choose a poker game that has a higher RTP. You’ll find you get to play for longer and your bankroll will turn over a number of times. Bailing out at the right point could mean you leave with a profit. This is gambling, after all, nothing is guaranteed, lol.

If played to optimal strategy Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker has the best RTP’s for the Total Bet at 99.47%.

These also happen to be my personal favourites, as you’re kept involved in each hand until the last card is dealt.

Live Casino Poker games

5 Live Casino Software Providers offer Live Poker games, but not all of them are able to offer all of the games. This is due to licensing restrictions.

  • Evolution Gaming – has the widest coverage of games and holds exclusive rights for 3 Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em & Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker. They also offer Casino Hold’em, Side Bet City & Caribbean Stud Poker. They are also the only supplier to offer Progressive Poker Jackpots.
  • Playtech – has Casino Hold’em and 3 Card Brag.
  • Ezugi – has Casino Hold’em.
  • Vivo Gaming has 5 Seat Caribbean Stud Poker.
  • Xpro Gaming has 5 Seat Caribbean Stud Poker & Casino Hold’em.

Below is a description of the games, a short intro video and where you can play.

Live Casino Hold’em

Casino Hold’em is the first live dealer poker game to be offered to online Live Casino players.  It remains the most popular and widest available game at online casinos.

The objective of Casino Hold’em is for the player to make a better 5 card poker hand than the dealer, out of 7 cards dealt.

The game starts with the player placing a mandatory Ante bet and an optional Bonus side bet.

Two cards are then dealt to the player position face up, while the dealer gets two cards face down.

A flop of 3 cards is then dealt in the center of the table. These are community cards that are shared between the player and dealer.

The player decides whether to play the hand by placing a bet that’s double the ante. Or he can fold the hand. The river and turn cards are then dealt on the table.

The dealer then displays his two cards and both the player and dealer make the best 5 card poker hand they can. The best hand wins.

When the dealer has a pair of 4s or greater he has qualified and can pay a call bet at even money if the player wins. If the dealer doesn’t qualify and the player wins, the bet is returned as a push. If you lose you lose all your bets.

The Bonus Side bet of Aces or Better is paid out on the first 5 cards dealt.

An optional progressive Jackpot available at Evolution Live Casinos.

ezugi casino holdem video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Bonus Side Bet.
  • Progressive Jackpot at Evolution.

Ante RTP = 97.84, Bonus Bet RTP = 93.74% & Jackpot RTP = 81.84%.

2 Hand Live Casino Hold’em

2 Hand Live Casino Hold’em is an exclusive game produced by Evolution Gaming.

It’s played exactly the same game as live Casino Hold’em, with one difference.

There are two-player hands you can play. You don’t have to play both  and if playing one you can choose which one.

You’ll find the Bonus side Bet is available on both hands and the rules of the game is consistent with other variations.

2 hand casino holdem video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Bonus Side Bet.
  • 2 Player Hands.

Ante RTP = 97.84, Bonus Bet RTP = 93.74%

Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Ultimate Texas Hold’em has the same sort of game structure as Live Casino Hold’em, but the major difference is how you bet on this game. I first came across this game in Las Vegas and fell in love with it instantly. I just love the way you’re kept involved in the hand until the last card is dealt. So imagine my delight when Evolution Gaming released this game to online players back in 2017.

Like most card games you have to place a bet (Ante) before play commences. In UTH, when an Ante bet is made, a bet equal to that also has to be placed, called the Blind. So that’s two bets just to get started.

An optional Trips side bet can also be placed, which pays out on hands of 3 of a Kind or higher.

The dealer and player are then dealt two cards. The player decides whether to bet (3x or 4x the Ante) or check.

The dealer deals the flop and the player, if they haven’t already bet, can bet up to 2x the Ante or check.

The dealer then deals the turn and river. The player can bet 1x the Ante or fold.

The dealer reveals his cards and the best 5 card poker hand wins. The Trips Side bet pays regardless of what the dealer has. For more information on game play click here or read my strategy for Ultimate Texas Hold’em if you already know how to play.

ultimate texas holdem video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Trips Side Bet.
  • Bet up to 4x the Ante.
  • Exclusive to Evolution Casinos.

Ante RTP = 97.82, Total Bet RTP = 99.47%. Trips RTP = 96.50%.

Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker

Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker is another spin on Ultimate Texas Hold’em.

This time rather than the player having to decide to place four times bet upfront, his only initial decision is to play or fold. Playing costs one time the Ante. Then, as each round occurs the player can bet or check his hand until the game round is complete. If you bet on each round that amounts to four times the Ante.

What’s brilliant is your kept involved for each deal.

The Bonus Side bet is also completely different, paying out for pairs and high card combinations rather than poker ranked hands, which is the norm in other Poker games.

With a Total Bet RTP of 99.47%, this is a game worth trying.

It’s only available at Evolution Casinos and also has a Progressive Jackpot.

Ante RTP = 97.96, Total Bet RTP = 99.47%. Bonus Bet RTP = 91.46% & Jackpot RTP = 81.84%.

texas holdem bonus poker video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Bonus Side Bet.
  • Bet up to 4x the Ante.
  • Exclusive to Evolution Casinos.
  • Progressive Jackpot.

3 Card Poker

3 Card Poker along with 3 Card Brag, is the simplest and easiest to understand of the Live Dealer poker games.

The player places an Initial Ante Bet and also an optional Pairs Plus and 6 Card Bonus Side Bet.

The cards are dealt firstly to the player face up and then to the dealer position face down.

The player decides whether to play the hand by making a play bet equal to the Ante or to fold the hand.

The dealer then reveals his cards.

The best poker hand wins.

There’s an optimal betting strategy for 3 card poker which you can read about here.

Ante RTP = 96.63%, Pairs Plus RTP = 95.51%. 6 Card Bonus RTP = 91.44%

three card poker video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Pairs Plus Side Bet.
  • 6 Card Bonus Side Bet
  • Exclusive to Evolution Casinos.

3 Card Brag

3 Card Brag is almost the same as 3 Card Poker.

There is one difference and that’s with the hand ranks and pay scales.

The top hand in 3 Card Brag is a Prial (3 of a Kind).

This pays 40:1, whilst in 3 Card poker, a Straight Flush pays 40:1. So in theory you’re better off playing 3 Card Brag than 3 Card Poker because 3 of a Kind is more likely to occur than a Straight Flush.

3 Card Brag has the Pairs Plus Side bet. There is no additional 6 Card Bonus.

Ante RTP = 98%, Pairs Plus RTP = 97.86%.

three card brag video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Pairs Plus Side Bet.
  • Exclusive to Playtech Casinos.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Of all the poker games, Caribbean Stud poker looks the most similar to the games you see on the old Western TV shows.

In terms of gameplay at a live casino, it’s almost a larger version of 3 card poker but played with 5 cards.

Two versions of Caribbean Stud Poker exist online.

  • Evolution Gaming’s version plays with one player’s hand.
  • Xpro Gaming and Vivo Gaming provide a 5 player hand alternative.

In all varieties, 5 Cards are dealt to the player face up. The dealer’s cards are dealt face down, with the first card left face up so players can decide whether to bet or not.

This is the only decision point in the game. Do you play or fold?

If you’ve played, the dealer reveals their other 4 cards. The best poker hand wins.

There’s an additional 5+1 side bet at Evolution casinos and an optional Progressive Jackpot.

Caribbean stud poker video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • 5 + 1 Side Bet.
  • Progressive Jackpot at Evolution.
  • Evolution, XPG and Vivo Casinos.

Ante RTP = 96.30%, Total Bet RTP = 98.19%, 5+1 Bonus RTP – 91.64% and the Jackpot RTP  = 81.84%.

Side Bet City

Side Bet City isn’t strictly a poker card game, because no cards are dealt to the player or dealer.

However, I’ve included it because the results of the game are all Poker ranked hands.

The dealer deals 7 cards face-up on the table. You have the option to bet on the first 3 cards, the first 5, or all 7.

If you’ve bet on the first three your results are limited to 3 card poker hands. The 5 and 7 cards are used to make the best 5 card poker hand.

Payouts on the hands depend on which option you’ve bet on. There’s also the option to bet on All lose, where you receive a 0.70:1 payout if there are no winning hands.

side bet city video

  • Played with one deck of 52 Cards.
  • Manual Deal.
  • Bet on 3 Cards, 5 Cards, or all 7 Cards.
  • Bet on the All Lose option.
  • Only available at Evolution Live Casinos.

3 Card RTP = 96.69%, 5 Card RTP = 95.21%, 7 Card RTP – 94.34% and the All Lose RTP  = 96.29%.

Progressive Jackpots on Live Casino Poker Games

Evolution Gaming has been leading the way in introducing progressive jackpots on Live Poker games.

There are currently three jackpots running.

Casino Hold’em Jackpot

Jumbo 7 Jackpot for Casino Hold'em

The Jackpot total for May 27, 2023 is £4,485,912.

Play this for £/€ 1 at Leo Vegas

Texas Hold’em Bonus Jackpot

First 5 Jackpot for Texas Holdem Bonus Poker

The Jackpot total for May 27, 2023 is £560,893.

Play this for £/€ 1 at Royal Panda

Caribbean Stud Poker Jackpot

Jackpot for Caribbean Stud Poker

The Jackpot total for May 27, 2023 is £304,503.

Play this for £/€ 1 at Mr Green

The jackpot is triggered when a Royal Flush has been dealt to the Players hand. All players playing the Jackpot bet at the time qualify for an equal share of the prize.

Other cash prizes can be won for smaller winning poker hands. These are fixed payments that are paid directly to the player.

The jackpots are not available at all Evolution live casinos, it all depends on whether they signed up for it.

The progressive Jackpot for Caribbean Stud Poker was last won in June 2018.

A bit about Poker hand ranks

At the heart of any poker game is the ranking of hands. The rankings remain the same for all games (Except 3 Card Brag, where 3 of a kind (Prial) beats a Straight Flush or Royal Flush.

High card


The lowest-ranked hand in poker is the High Card, with the Ace being the highest. If two people have equal high cards, the next highest card (kicker) in the hand determines the winner.

One Pair

9c-60x40 9s-60x40 kd-60x40 5h-60x40 2s-60x40

Two cards with the same value form a pair. A Pair of Aces is the top hand, followed by Kings, Queens, etc.

Two Pair

9c-60x40 9s-60x40 3c-60x40 3h-60x40 2s-60x40

Two sets of pairs in the same hand. If two people have the same first pair, the rank of the second pair decides who wins.

3 of a Kind

5h-60x40 5c-60x40 5d-60x40 qd-60x40 7c-60x40

Also known as Trips, this hand has 3 cards of the same value, e.g. 3 Kings, 3 Eights , 3 Fives etc.


2s-60x40 3h-60x40 4c-60x40 5h-60x40 6x-60x40

This is a sequence of cards from any suite, like 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or in 3 card poker 4,5,6.


ah-60x40 3h-60x40 5h-60x40 9h-60x40 10h-60x40

All cards are from the same suit. The kicker rule applies if there are two flushes. This is an Ace High Flush.

Full House

5h-60x40 5c-60x40 5d-60x40 9c-60x40 9h-60x40

A pair and a 3 of a kind make up a Full House. The higher 3 of a kind would win if there are two full houses.

4 of a Kind

9d-60x40 9c-60x40 9h-60x40 9s-60x40 ah-60x40

4 cards that are of the same value, one from each suit.

Straight Flush

3c-60x40 4c-60x40 5c-60x40 6x-60x40 7c-60x40

This is a straight and a flush all in one.

Royal Flush

aced-60x40 kd-60x40 qd-60x40 jd-60x40 10d-60x40

The best possible hand in poker. A straight flush of the highest value cards in a suit, A-10.

Its beatable by a Prial in 3 Card Brag.