Live Casino Hold'em Guide
What is Live Casino Hold’em
The game of Poker is a timeless classic, loved and adored by millions across the globe. And there have been several variations of the game over centuries. Over the course of the past decade or so, the poker world has seen an explosion in popularity, with competitions like the WSP, WPT and EPT exponentially growing their following year in, year out. 24-hour television stations with a poker focus are a commonality across cable networks all over the world and pay-per-view live broadcasts of the popular tournaments mentioned above have become expected. But what has made the ever-admired game of poker explode in swank and popularity? The answer is easy; Texas Hold’em. This variant of the game has served to capture hearts and minds the world over; it has literally taken the world by storm! And Casino Hold’em, just like its Texan cousin, has served to take the World Wide Web by storm too. Casino Hold’em is, in essence, Texas Hold’em played against a casino dealer rather than other players on one’s table. You may hear some refer to Casino Hold’em as Caribbean Hold’em; never worry, it’s the same thing. Casino Hold’em is a relative newcomer to the world of casinos, having only been introduced at the turn of the century and licenced for use in the UK in 2007. The game was quickly adapted for online play and it wasn’t long before throngs of online casino gamers flocked to the online Hold’em tables. At first, complaints about the online version not living up to the excitement offered by brick & mortar versions were rampant. Then came Live Casino Hold’em and this shook things up a little!
Why play online and why play live?
Why play online?! There are several reasons! For one, it’s much, much cheaper to play online. Think of it; you don’t have to make your way to a land-based casino, so there are no travel, transport or fuel costs involved when playing online; If you don’t have to make your way to a land-based casino, there are certainly no lodging costs involved either. Then there are the annoying waitresses you just have to tip, the expensive food and drinks typically offered at land-based casinos and the thousand and one other costs involved in any trip aimed at enjoying some time at the tables. But the difference in cost is not the only allure to playing online. Have you ever visited a land-based casino, been in a situation that required some time and concentration, only to be hurried by other players and distracted by the piercing, aggravating sounds emanating from the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of video slot machines lined up across the hall? Not to mention the blinding, flickering lights and distracting displays found at the vast majority of land-based casinos! The atmosphere in those places is simply not conducive to concentration! Well, when playing online you get nothing of the sort. The pressure to hurry it up is not half as intense and the atmosphere is as calm or crazy as you’d like it to be. Then there’s more! Online games allow you to access game rules and hand history at the click – or tap if you’re playing on mobile – of a button, which you simply don’t get in a brick & mortar setting. So there are plenty of reasons to play Casino Hold’em online.
Why play live? Simple. Because there are many who complain about the lack of the edge that comes with sitting on a table with other players, conversing, passing remarks, joking around and simply socially interacting with others when playing Casino Hold’em online. When playing Live Casino Hold’em online, this is all part of the package. You can interact with other players as well as with the dealer – who’s more often than not, quite an attractive number – while getting all that comes with playing online! It’s a win-win. And keep in mind that Live Casino Hold’em, unlike the virtual, online version, is not determined by a Random Number Generator. Needless to say, there’s a real live dealer shuffling and dealing cards before your very eyes, which is what determines the game’s outcomes (other than your own decisions). In our opinion, if you’re a Casino Hold’em enthusiast, there nothing like playing live and online.
How to play Live Casino Hold’Em
The aim of the game is pretty straightforward; combine your dealt pocket cards with the three-card flop to make the best possible poker hand and beat the dealer’s. Here’s how it’s played…
You are first required to place your initial bet. This is called the ‘Ante,’ which is pre-determined. At this point, you also have to option to place a side bet, frequently known as an ‘AA’ bet. This is a bet on whether the player’s eventual five-card hand contains a pair of Aces or better. Once you’ve placed your Ante, the dealer will start drawing cards. Both you and the dealer will receive two cards. These are known as the ‘Pocket Cards’ and are dealt face-down. Once you’ve taken a peek at your pocket cards, the dealer will deal out three community cards, face-up, known as the ‘Flop’. At this point, you have two options; to ‘Call’ or ‘Fold’. If you fold, you will lose your ante, as well as any side bet you would have made. Calling on the other hand, would require you to place a bet that’s twice the value of your ante. If you decide to call, the dealer will deal out another two community cards face-up, known as the ‘Turn’ and the ‘River’. The dealer will then reveal his/her pocket cards and the best five-card hand (between yours and the dealer’s) made up of the five community cards and the two pocket cards wins.
Note that the dealer must always qualify with a pair of 4s at the least. If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, your call bet is refunded to you, while your ante is paid depending on your winning hand. To determine the ratio at which your ante is paid in this circumstance, check the pay table at the Live Dealer Casino you choose to play at. Most casinos pay at 1:1 for anything up to a straight and at 100:1 for a Royal Flush.
Live Hold’Em tips, hints and strategy
First and foremost, keep in mind that this is not Blackjack and there is no set, ideal strategy to Live Casino Hold’em. A player should only call if he/she has hit a pair – with at least one of his/her pocket cards) – a straight draw or a flush draw. With anything less, he/she should fold. There are other instances in which players who choose to play with a little higher risk may want to make a call. Such players may choose to call when their pocket cards include an Ace or King, when both their pocket cards are higher than any card on the three-card flop and when their pocket cards include a Queen or Jack and the flop is unsuited. As a general rule, players should only be looking to fold the worst 18% of their hands. Live Casino Hold’em is similar to Texas Hold’em, but it’s not the same; grinding will not have you walking away with a smile.
Note that although the AA bet promises a great pay-out, the probability of winning it is low. This should go unsaid, as casinos never offer large pay-outs for high-probability bets. The house-edge on the AA bet is normally around the 7% mark.
The house edge for the game (AA bet excluded) ranges according to which Live Casino you choose to play at. It normally ranges between 2% – 2.5%.
If you enjoy virtual Casino Hold’em, you’ll love Live Casino Hold’em! The game may not be as fast-paced, but as stated previously, this gives players the time to think and is far more realistic. It’s a fun poker variant which includes chances to win big and is bursting with thrill and suspense. Playing alongside and being able to chat and interact with other players is a massive plus when playing live, especially when you and those other players manage to beat the house together. Check out our casino reviews to determine which Live Dealer Casinos offer the best atmosphere, bonuses and pay-outs when making a decision as to which casino to play Live Casino Hold’em at. Good luck and may you win big!