A GUIDE TO LIVE DEALER CASINOS ONLINE IN CANADA
The online gambling industry has always been amongst the first to harness new technologies. From the very first real money online casino launched in the 1990s by Microgaming, through HTML5 game developments, mobile first game design and now live dealer tables, the rapid growth of this sector has always been powered by cutting edge innovation. Live casinos are one of the best examples of this. They are the holy grail of the online gambling experience – as close to the sales pitch of a ‘real life Vegas casino’ as you can get. Whilst uptake of this kind of gambling was initially quite slow, now almost every casino operator offers live tables as part of their product, so there is no shortage of choice when it comes to picking somewhere to play. When making that choice it’s important to look at what games are on offer, which studios provide them, what stakes you can play at, and what bonuses are available. We will cover all these areas in this article, putting you in a position to make an informed decision on where to spend your money.
WHY PLAY LIVE DEALER TABLES?
Before we get into the games and software here are just some of the reasons why live casinos have become so popular in recent years.
Amongst the biggest reasons for playing at live tables rather than RNG ones is the trust that comes from watching a real croupier deal cards from a brand-new pack. We all know that licensed online casinos are fully audited and the games are tested, but if you’ve even been on the end of a bad losing streak at Blackjack where a computer is processing the outcome of each turn, there will always be a small part of you thinking, ‘is this game rigged?!’ Now, when you can see the cards being unpacked, shuffled and dealt, that sliver of doubt is removed!
For most gamblers the experience of playing at a live table is far better than that of a computer simulation, no matter how slick the animations. When online casino first started appearing in the 1990s and 2000s we were often told how much like Vegas the experience could be. Let’s be honest, it was quite a long way off the razzmatazz of a real casino floor. Well Virtual Reality casinos may still be some way off yet, but live dealer is one step closer to actually being in the Venetian or the Mandalay Bay of the Vegas Strip.
Gambling online is a serious business and it can be pretty hard work! Some of us like to just get down to it and focus on our next bet, but in fact it’s a lot more fun in the interactive environment of the live casino. Not only can you speak to your croupier but you can also enjoy the company of other players around the table, sharing in your wins and commiserating when you lose. Not all live software lets you talk to your fellow gamblers, but many do, so check before you take a seat if that’s one aspect of the experience that you are looking for.
Whatever your stake level, the live tables can feel a bit more classy than a computer generated game. Good looking and smartly dressed croupiers add to the feel that you are in the real environment of a high end establishment as you gamble. And of course, VIP players can enjoy the ultimate VIP experience when they enter the Salon Prive area of any live casino. You will learn more about this kind of gambling further on in this article. It’s where the high rollers bet with exclusive one to one dealers and a VIP manager on hand at all times to help out if they require assistance.
EXCITING NEW GAME FORMATS
The success of live tables has led some software companies to invest in building new bespoke game formats that you won’t find in the RNG table game sections of your favourite casino. These may be variations on the standard card and dice games, like Immersive Roulette or Infinite Blackjack. But they also include completely new games like Evolution’s Dream Catcher or Side Bet City. Live tables are where some of the most exciting innovations in the online casino industry are happening right now and it’s a major reason why players are migrating to this area of the virtual casino floor.
Finally, if you have played these tables in the past and been put off by slow connection speeds or a poor experience on mobile, now might be a good time to re-visit the games. Since they first became available some 10 years ago, technology has improved significantly and the top developers have now created products that are offer smooth, uninterrupted gameplay on any device. In fact, the quality of live dealer streaming now more than matches the standard of animated cards, dice and roulette wheels from RNG table games.
LIVE CASINO GAMES
So there are plenty of reasons to try the live dealer tables today. Before you do, let’s take a look at the games on offer to help you choose where to start.
Live dealer tables usually offer traditional formats of games like Blackjack and Roulette as well as unique online formats created by developers like Evolution Gaming. A typical example would be Lightning Roulette in which additional multipliers are added to the standard payout structure. You can read more about all these in our live dealer game review pages. But for now, here are the main live games available for players in Canada.
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games both online and offline. The simplicity of the format makes it easy to understand whilst each hand plays out quickly which keeps it fun. Blackjack also has a low house edge, just 1% or 2% giving a good return to player so gamblers can enjoy a long session with a relatively low budget as long as their stakes are kept low. Strategy is very simple too, and with a basic Blackjack strategy card it is possible to learn which action to take to optimize your odds depending on the cards on the table. The most common Blackjack formats are basic live blackjack, speed blackjack, infinite blackjack, power blackjack, blackjack party, VIP and Salon Prive.
Next to Blackjack, Roulette is the most popular table game at casinos. It is really simple to understand with a big range of bets and a fast turn-around from one spin to the next. It is a fixed odds game which means there is no real strategy that can improve your chances of winning. Nevertheless, the draw of the iconic wheel make this an attractive game for all gamblers. Popular versions of live roulette include European Roulette, French Roulette, Lightning Roulette and VIP Roulette.
Bacarrat is another card game that has become very popular in the live environment. It is a simple game at heart but developers have added many variations and side bets to the traditional format to make it more exciting at live casinos. Baccarat Squeeze is great example, where the next card is revealed slowly to add tension to the game. Other live versions include Control Squeeze, No Commission, Lightning Baccarat, Salon Prive and VIP. Of course, it’s possible to play at a variety of stake levels from 10c up to $1000s per hand.
Multiplayer poker became an online sensation in the 2000s when it first opened up in the online world. At live casinos is also possible to play one on one against the dealer rather than other players at a table. Typically, the games follow the Texas Hold ‘Em format in which players bet on their own hand being better than the house hand, made up of the player’s two cards and the five community cards. Live Poker formats include Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker.
LIVE SIC BO
Casino players in Canada might not be that familiar with Sic Bo, a dice game from Asia that has also transferred very well to the online world, but it’s definitely one to try. It’s simple and fun to play and a few of the big live dealer studios have added it to their suite of games. Playtech’s traditional live Sic Bo is popular but for a more sophisticated experience players would do well to try Evolution Gaming’s Super Sic Bo where the action is enhanced by adding multipliers of up to 1,000x in every round.
LIVE HI LO
There is no card game simpler that Hi Lo. The objective is to guess on whether the next card in a sequence will be higher or lower than the previous one dealt. It is possible to play an RNG version of Hi Lo but frankly it gets very boring very quickly. With Hi Lo live players can interact with the dealer or other players at the tables as they place their bets. No complications, this is gambling as its simplest and easiest.
LIVE DRAGON TIGER
Another casino game imported west from the Asian casinos of Macau and with a rich history is Dragon Tiger. It is similar to Baccarat with players betting on the outcome of 2 cards dealt, the Tiger and the Dragon. Choose which you think will be higher or lower, or if the outcome will be a tie. The game is fast-paced and comes with side bets if you choose to play the Evolution Gaming version where previous hand stats also help with predictions of the next cards to be dealt.
OTHER LIVE DEALER GAMES
Realising the popularity of live casinos, developers have been quick to add unique new games. These usually harness the power of having a live presenter and take on a ‘TV gameshow’ style format. One of the best examples of this is Evolution Gaming’s Live Dream Catcher, a Wheel of Fortune style game in which players bet on the outcome of the spin of a giant wheel to win cash prizes. Evolution have also created a follow-up game called Crazy Time with added multipliers, as well as a Monopoly branded version of Dream Catcher. These games are a bit different to traditional table games and an indication of where the industry is heading in the coming years.
THE CASINO HEAT TOP 5 LIVE CASINO GAMES
Our editorial team have voted for their favourite live casino games, and here they are. These games are all available at the best live casino sites listed on this page.
- Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em
- Monopoly Dream Catcher
- Immersive Roulette
- Lightning Dice
- Power Blackjack
ONLINE BACCARAT CANADA
Baccarat is the world’s most popular casino game, surpassing classic formats like Roulette and Blackjack for total wagering. One of the reasons for this is the game’s huge popularity in Asia and the gambling capital or the region, Macau. And in Canada, to play Baccarat online is a hugely popular pastime too. Gamblers in this country have a wide choice of real money casinos in which to bet, with a range of RNG table games and live table formats to choose from.
There are a few reasons for Baccarat’s appeal. Its fame has been enhanced in recent years as it became James Bond’s game of choice in the film Casino Royale! But that’s not the only reason Canadian’s are playing Baccarat in such high numbers. Like Blackjack, it has a very low house edge. That means the casino takes very little out of the game, which means the odds of winning are greater than other real money games like slots for example. Also like Blackjack, Baccarat is very simple – it can be picked up and understood very quickly and online you can play with relatively low stakes, so you don’t need to be a high roller to enjoy it. There are also now several formats to try, including one called Squeeze Baccarat where the dealer makes a slow reveal of the cards to add to the tension. For high rollers, some casinos now offer Salon Prive tables too, where it is just you and the dealer with no distractions.
So, there are plenty of reasons to try your luck on the live Baccarat tables today.
TRUSTED LIVE BACCARAT CASINOS CANADA
If you want to play Baccarat online for money then you should pick from our favourite legal live casinos. At each of these sites you can play online for real on both RNG tables and the new live casino tables. Stakes start from as little as $1 per hand.
- Captain Cooks Casino
- Zodiac Casino
- Grand Mondial Casino
- Bodog Casino
- 888 Casino
ONLINE ROULETTE CANADA
Roulette is probably the most famous casino game on the planet. The iconic roulette wheel is instantly recognisable and the simple betting formats make it an easy game for new players as well as VIPs to enjoy. It is easy to play roulette online as well because every online casino offers a range of games to try – from classic RNG formats to the new live dealer roulette games powered by Microgaming and Evolution. One of the favourite formats in Canada is the French Roulette enjoyed by Quebeccers in particular. French Roulette online is popular because it offers better odds than the American version because there is only ONE zero on the wheel, rather than two. The zero space is what gives the game it’s house edge – no bets can be placed on this number, so when the ball lands there, the house collects every cent staked on that spin. For a simple Black or Red bet in French Roulette this difference in the set-up of the wheel reduces the odds down to 2.7% from 5.26% for example. Like all the other version of roulette, French Roulette also has a wide range of betting options from simple colours to groups of numbers or individual numbers with much higher odds.
RECOMMENDED FRENCH ROULETTE ONLINE CASINOS
You can bet on the French format of roulette at any live casino in Canada. Some will offer a wider choice of stakes than others and have more tables available. So, to help you find the best live roulette, here is our list of the top 5 sites.
- 888 Casino
- Play OJO Casino
- Jackpot City
- Bodog Casino
- Grand Mondial
For those with more of a passing interest in the live casino industry it is interesting to know who the developers are behind these games. If you have a preferred game format, or you like the dealers at a particular set of tables, then its good to know which studio they come from so that you can find them at other casino sites you sign up with. Here is a short profile of each of the main live dealer software providers.
Without question the market leaders in Live Casino software are Evolution Gaming. This developer started up in 2006 and has since built a formidable array of traditional live table games and bespoke formats, all streamed live from studios in Latvia as well as real-life casinos across Europe. The company has over 3,000 employees, full and part time, which gives some indication of the scale of their operation. They deal exclusively in live casino, unlike their biggest competitors, NetEnt and Playtech. Evolution have won awards for the standard of their products including Live Casino Supplier of the Year at the industry EGR awards. Their most popular game formats include Lightening Roulette and Dream Catcher.
One of Evolution’s biggest rivals is NetEnt live, established in 2013. NetEnt are of course one of the industry’s biggest slot game providers, creating games since 1996. Their live casino arm is based in Malta, offering a more limited range of games focusing on just Blackjack and Roulette, with VIP and Blackjack Blitz versions appearing alongside traditional formats of both games. What you can be sure of with NetEnt is that you will get games with very high production values and some of the best-dressed dealers around. It is likely that in the coming years they will be expanding their range of games significantly so keep watching this space. They are featured at many of the live casino sites on this page.
Another huge game developer who has been around since the early days of the industry (1999) is Playtech. As well as being a leading online slot game developer, this Israeli firm have built a live casino suite with 12 games in it. These include Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Texas Hold Em and Sic Bo. All are streamed from studios based in the Philippines and Latvia, Eastern Europe. They mix up traditional formats with some interesting bespoke ones including a version of Roulette called Age of Gods Roulette with four progressive jackpots built into the gameplay. This is based on a video slot of the same name so will be familiar to Playtech casino fans. As you would expect form a company of their size, Playtech are building a strong suite of games and continue to create new formats each year.
OTHER SOFTWARE PROVIDERS
There are many more studios working in the live dealer sector, including big names like Microgaming, better known for their slots, but now streaming live tables form Canada as well as the Philippines. Smaller studios who you might spot if you play these games regularly include Ezugi, Authentic Gaming, Lucky Streak and Asia Gaming. It’s worth getting to know your favourites as they all have their own styles and varying quality of product and video stream. The professionalism of the dealers varies from one studio to the next too, though the big names can usually be counted on to provide a first-class experience.
VIP LIVE CASINOS AND BETTING WITH HIGH STAKES
Table games are often associated with the high end of gambling in casinos. The image of the classy high roller decked out in black tie with a look of concentration on their face as they figure the odds on the next turn of a card is one we are all familiar with, and certainly casino operators in the online world will welcome anyone to their tables who has the intention to play with big stakes.
If you are serious about betting with high stakes then live blackjack or roulette tables are a great way to do it. Some, but not all online casinos will offer a Salon Prive experience. These tables are reserved for the highest of the high rollers with big budgets to burn. Here is what you can expect from the VIP live casino experience:
- First, let’s look at what you need to be packing to enter this VIP world. Generally, bets will start at a minimum of $1,000 per hand and go up to a maximum of $10,000 per hand, though this upper limit can usually be raised on request.
- VIP or Salon Prive tables are truly exclusive – just you and your chosen male or female.
- A VIP room manager is usually present at all times to help out should you require assistance.
- The player controls the speed of the game and can say when the next card should be dealt or the wheel should be spun.
- The best Salon Prive experience is currently provide by Evolution Gaming. They offer 11 private tables in all – one roulette, six blackjack and four baccarat.
Think you’re ready for a bit of that? Well, if your wallet can take the heat then our best recommendation is 888 Casino. Their Elite Lounge offers some of the best live dealer gaming in the industry and if you join today you’ll qualify for their welcome offer that includes up to $88 in bonus funds (no deposit needed).
MOBILE LIVE CASINOS
In the 2020s mobile casino player has surpassed desktop play as the most common method of wagering on games. The arrival of HTML5 technology in the late 2000s made this possible and was a catalyst for online gambling via handsets. Creating a live dealer product that renders well on any mobile screen has been a challenge for game developers, but you will find now that all games work as well in this way as they do on a larger screen. And with much improved connection speeds, issues with lag have been resolved as well.
LIVE CASINO BONUSES
Just like any other casino game, live tables reward players with bonus funds that can be used to play the games for ‘free’. Of course, most of these bonuses will require a deposit to trigger them, but a free bet should never be turned down, and right now some operators are offering $100s in bonuses to try their products.
Live casino bonuses are not as common as slots bonuses because they are trickier for a promotions team to manage. Table games generally have a higher Return to Player (RTP) than slots which means that it is easier for a punter to walk away with winnings from bonus funds. Blackjack, for example, has an RTP of close to 99%. In order to mitigate the potential risk in this, casino operators will offer live bonuses with much higher wagering requirements OR set the game weighting for table games that is lower than that of slots. Typically, slots will contribute 100% to wagering requirements, where as a table game like Blackjack might only contribute 25% or even 10%. Some table tames will be considered too risky and won’t contribute at all.
So, keep all this in mind when you come to claim one of the many online casino bonuses available to play live tables.
Currently, some of the best live table offers are coming from casinos in the Genesis Global Ltd group. You can join Genesis Casino in Canada and deposit $10 or more to get a 100% match up to $100 to play the live tables. In this instance the wagering requirement is 40x the bonus value, but beware because Roulette only counts 10% towards this, Blackjack 5% and Dream Catcher 10%. So in reality, your Wagering Requirements are much higher. Genesis also offer a 10% cashback bonus on your losses each Tuesday at the live tables. This bonus is also subject to a wagering requirement and you must opt in to claim.
Other casinos offering live bonuses include Casloola, (100% up to $100) and 888 Casino (100% up to $100).
NEW LIVE ONLINE CASINOS IN CANADA
There are hundreds of casinos in Canada offering real live table play, and new casinos are launching every month, so now is a great time to start playing. At The Casino Heat we don’t rest on our laurels. We are out there, looking for new sites to add to our lists and recommend to our readers each week. So make sure you keep checking back on a regular basis to see what new sites our on this page where they will be marked as new in the list. New sites usually offer generous bonuses to attract your money, as well as offering the best new games, so they can be a better choice than old brands.
LIVE CASINO DEPOSIT AND WITHDRAWALS
Perhaps you are now thinking about registering at one of the live casinos in our list and getting ready to take a seat at one of the tables? If you want to play then you will first need to make a deposit. Just like other real money casinos, live dealer casinos accept a range of payment options. The most common way to deposit is with a credit card or bank card, and almost all gambling sites in Canada will accept Mastercard, Visa and Maestro.
There are many alternative payment options to try as well, including eWallets like Neteller, Skrill and Paypal. Each of these provides a convenient way to store your gambling budget and keep transactions separate to your day to day bank account ones. Withdrawals are also processed more quickly onto eWallets which is another reason they are popular with casino players. Other banking options include pre-pay cards like Paysafecard and the very popular Interac payment service.
Before you sign up at a casino we recommend that you check out the withdrawal times for your favourite payment options, as well as the minimum deposit and withdrawal amounts. For the quickest withdrawals, try our list of Instant Withdrawal Casinos to try. Note as well that in most cases you will need to withdraw to the same payment service that you deposited with.
GETTING STARTED - HOW TO REGISTER AND PLAY
Ok, you should know pretty much everything you need to know about live dealer casinos now. You are about ready to register, deposit and take a seat at one of the tables. Before you do, here’s a short step by step guide to help you get started.
- Choose a live casino from the list at The Casino Heat, click Join Now to visit the site and register.
- To register you will need to enter personal details including your full name, email address, date of birth, postal address and the currency you wish to play in.
- You will normally be required to validate your account by providing scans of documents that confirm your ID.
- Choose your deposit method and fund your account. Remember, to claim any bonus you may need to deposit a minimum amount.
- Once your deposit is in your account, head to the Live Dealer area of the game lobby.
- Pick a game and click to load it up.
- Say hello to your dealer and fellow gamblers. Then start playing!
- Yes, just like video slots and RNG table games, live dealer casino games can be played on any mobile device as well as on a desktop computer or laptop. You will need to make sure that you have a sufficient internet connection to support streaming and thanks to improvement in broadband and Wifi since the early 2010s in most places this won’t be an issue. All games are also built in HTML 5 which means that they will adjust to any screen size. Also remember that streaming video in this way will take up a lot data from any monthly allowance that you have, so it is better to be on a Wifi connection if this is possible.
- Yes, it is possible at some casinos to secure bonus funds that can be used to play live dealer tables. Just make sure that you read the terms and conditions of the sign-up offer before accepting it to be sure all games are eligible. Remember as well that because of the low house edge associated with most table games, the wagering requirements of most bonus offers for live casino will be significantly higher than those associated with online slots. Up to 80x is not unheard of. Also look to see if table games have alternative game weightings. Sometimes Blackjack and Roulette will only contribute 20% or less to the total.
- It depends on the software and the licensing deal between the provider and the casino operator. In some cases the casino will run exclusive tables but it is more common for casinos to share tables, so there may be players from more than one casino playing the same hand. This will not affect your gambling experience in any way.
- Yes, live dealer games are as safe as standard RNG table games, video slots or any other online casino game. As long as the site you play at is licensed by a respected jurisdiction like Malta, Gibraltar or Khanawake, then the products will have been audited by a 3rd party to ensure that they are safe and fair. It is also reassuring for any player to be able to watch the cards being dealt live by a real person rather than through a computer simulation.
It is very unusual for an online casino to operate live dealer tables for free. However, if a casino offers a live casino bonus then you can use this to play without spending real money from your account.
- Each game developer will stream the action from their own studios with their own croupiers. Many of the big names, including Evolution, base their biggest set-up in Eastern Europe because it is more cost efficient there. Evolution also have studios in Canada. Other developers have built live dealer studios in Malta, one of the homes of online gambling, as well as Asia and South America. It is a global concern!
- The online casinos reviewed and listed at The Casino Heat are all licensed and follow strict guidelines on fairness. There is no reason for an operator to try to cheat their customers as they are highly profitable as it is. If they were found to be cheating, then the consequences for the reputation of their business would be catastrophic. Make sure to always play at licensed sites like the ones on this page and you will be in safe hands. And as a player … there is no way for you to cheat either!
- If your connection drops and you are no longer able to watch the action then the card hand, wheel spin, or roll of the dice will continue and any winnings will be added to your account balance as normal. When your connection resumes then you can continue to bet at the next available opportunity.
- No, in most cases the games are non-download and will be streamed direct to your desktop or mobile device.
Yes, there are some game providers who stream the action directly from real land-based casinos in places like Malta, Macau and Monaco. These can be fun to play as you can watch other gamblers on the real casino floor taking part at the same time as you.
Our choice for the best live casino in Canada is Jackpot City. Their live dealer tables are powered by Microgaming and Evolution Gaming. You can play Blackjack, Baccarat and Roulette, as well as Gameshow formats like Dream Catcher and Monopoly Live here. They are currently offering a welcome bonus of up to $1,600 available across your first four deposits on the site. Jackpot City is legal and safe and licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority.