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 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.
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 Game||Overall RTP||Aces or Better Bonus||Trips||Bonus||Pairs Plus||5+1 Bonus|
|Ultimate Texas Hold’em||99.47%||n/a||96.50%||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker||99.47%||n/a||n/a||91.46%||n/a||n/a|
|3 Card Poker||96.63%||n/a||n/a||n/a||95.51%||n/a|
|3 Card Brag||98%||n/a||n/a||n/a||97.86%||n/a|
|Caribbean Stud Poker||98.19%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||91.44%|
These also happen to be my personal favourites, as you’re kept involved in each hand until the last card is dealt.
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.
Below is a description of the games, a short intro video and where you can play.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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%
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%.
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.
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.
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.
Evolution Gaming has been leading the way in introducing progressive jackpots on Live Poker games.
There are currently three jackpots running.
The Jackpot total for January 16, 2021 is £3,382,948.
Play this for £/€ 1 at Leo Vegas
The Jackpot total for January 16, 2021 is £288,579.
Play this for £/€ 1 at Royal Panda
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.
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.
Two cards with the same value form a pair. A Pair of Aces is the top hand, followed by Kings, Queens, etc.
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.
Also known as Trips, this hand has 3 cards of the same value, e.g. 3 Kings, 3 Eights , 3 Fives etc.
This is a sequence of cards from any suite, like 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or in 3 card poker 4,5,6.
All cards are from the same suit. The kicker rule applies if there are two flushes. This is an Ace High Flush.
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 cards that are of the same value, one from each suit.
This is a straight and a flush all in one.
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.