Advantages to Playing with a Virtual Dealer

By Randy Ray in Casino
| January 23, 2018 12:00 am PDT

Online casinos feature a number of differences when compared to land-based casinos. And one of the biggest is that internet casinos use virtual dealers.

A virtual dealer is essentially software that’s programmed to deal cards and give out chips.

Many land-based casino enthusiasts believe that the lack of human a dealer takes away from the experience. But there also a number of big advantages to online dealers.

That said, I’m going to cover the main reasons why the virtual dealers are the best. And just to keep things fair, I’ll also discuss the downsides.

But let’s first look at what types of virtual dealers are available at online and land-based casinos.

Types of Virtual Dealers

Software-Based Dealers

A software-based dealer is one that either can’t be seen or is depicted with a static graphic. An example of the latter is when online casinos put a dealer graphic at the top of a table, but the dealer doesn’t move.

Software-based dealers are the oldest and most common type found at online casinos. You see these versions available in basic internet table games.

The benefit of software-based dealers is that you can focus on the game without worrying about special effects (e.g. virtual reality dealers moving around) or a chatty casino dealer. The downside is that these software programs don’t add anything to your game experience.

Live Dealer Gaming Dealers

Live dealer casinos stream action directly from a brick-and-mortar establishment. This means that you have the pleasure of seeing and interacting with a human dealer.

The best thing about live dealer gaming is that it brings the land-based casino experience to your mobile device or PC. The downside is that you don’t have the same freedom as you do with software-based dealers, where you control the game.

Virtual Reality Dealers

Virtual reality is definitely one segment of internet gaming that’s rising. VR technology will bring about a major revolution for online casinos.

And one aspect of this will be more lifelike dealers. As opposed to the software-based versions, VR dealers will look and move like a human.

The upside of this is that VR dealers create a more realistic experience. But some players may opt for the simpler software-based approach.

Land-Based Casino Virtual Dealers

The only type of dealers that you used to see in brick-and-mortar casinos were the human variety. But land-based casinos now feature electronic blackjack games with virtual dealers.

These games see you make all of your moves on a small blackjack screen. The dealer is featured on a big screen in the middle of all the smaller blackjack screens.

The dealer will either be a detailed software-based figure or a prerecorded human dealer. In the case of the software-based dealer, they behave and act much like what you’d see in virtual reality.

The prerecorded human dealer will say and perform a number of actions. But these are all generic things that are programmed to play out based on each situation.

Land-based virtual dealers offer players the solitude of a slot machine combined with the feeling of a live table game. The only catch is that this still isn’t the same thing as sitting at a real casino table.

Pros of Virtual Dealers

You Can Control How Fast the Game Moves

Human dealers need to keep games moving at a reasonable speed, because this helps casinos increase their profits. Let’s look an example of this:

  • You play two different baccarat games.
  • You only make the banker bet, which has a 1.06% house edge.
  • Baccarat Game A sees 200 hands per hour.
  • You bet $10 per hand ($2,000 total).
  • Your theoretical losses in Game A are $21.20.
  • Baccarat Game B sees 150 hands per hour.
  • You bet $10 per hand ($1,500 total).
  • Your theoretical losses are $15.90.

Many players like the fact that land-based casinos games move at a steady pace. But regardless of whether or not you’re in this group, there’ll be times where you’d like to control the game speed yourself.

This is where virtual dealers are great, because they don’t actually decide the game flow. Instead, you decide when hands are dealt, chips are laid down, and actions are taken.

This is perfect for times when you either don’t feel like playing at a quick speed or want to take breaks in the middle of the action. The latter is great because you don’t have to cash your chips in and leave your seat to take a break.

Then there’s the fact that you can minimize theoretical losses by dealing less hands per hour. This is good for when you want to avoid the previous situation, where you’re losing more money because you’re seeing so many hands per hour.

The only time when you don’t control the game speed online is in live dealer gaming. But you can control the action in software-based, VR, and land-based virtual games.

Tips Aren’t Required

Casinos don’t force you to tip dealers. But the unspoken rule is that you should tip the dealer $5 every hour.

This isn’t a huge amount for most players, especially for those who bet higher stakes. But it does add up if you play for four to five hours.

This brings us to another advantage of virtual dealers—they don’t require tips. Here’s an example of how much money this can save you during a session:

  • You play blackjack for five hours.
  • You tip $5 every hour.
  • This adds an extra $25 to your theoretical expenses.

The one exception to this rule is that you can tip at some live dealer casinos. But if you don’t want to give tips, then all you have to do is avoid these sites.

No Need to Carry Chips Around When Changing Games

One inconvenience of switching tables in land-based casinos is that you must pick your chips up and carry them around.

But you don’t have to worry about this at internet casinos because the software automatically tracks your chips. This means that you can move from table to table and your chips (bankroll) will appear instantly when you sit down.

You Don’t Have to Give Your Players Club Card to the Dealer

Land-based casinos don’t start comping players immediately. Instead, the standard process for getting comped is as follows:

  • Sign up for the players club online or inside the casino.
  • You’ll be issued a players club card.
  • Choose a table game.
  • Give your card to the dealer and tell them you want to be rated.
  • The dealer will give your players club card to the pit boss.

You don’t have to go through all of these steps and give your players card to the dealer at online casinos.

Once you sign up and make a deposit, your real money bets will be tracked. And the software automatically doles out your VIP rewards accordingly.

No Potential Attitude

Dealers are like anybody else in that they can have bad days.

Sometimes these bad days are brought on by drunk and/or annoying players. Other times, the dealer could be holding onto negativity from outside of work.

In either case, these situations can result in dealers treating players poorly. But you never have to worry about this with a virtual dealer, because they don’t have feelings, coworkers, or personal lives.

Even the case of live dealer casinos, the dealers are generally more affable than your average land-based dealer. The reason is because they’re supposed to keep a fun, party-like atmosphere going.

Cards Dealt Instantly

Land-based casino dealers have to collect cards from players, put them in the shoe (or shuffle), and deal the next hand.

Most human dealers are so good that this process feels seamless. Nevertheless, virtual dealers (a.k.a. the software) have a leg up on their human counterparts because they don’t have to go through this process at all.

Instead, cards appear instantly whenever you click “deal.” This is nice for times when you want to cut out the extra wait time and get straight to playing hands.

Cons of Virtual Dealers

Lack of Interaction

Online casinos can’t measure up to brick-and-mortar establishments in terms of the social aspect.

The only time most players talk to virtual dealers is when they’re cursing them out during a losing streak. But even in these cases, you’re only talking to software that has no recollection of what you’re saying.

Of course, live dealer gaming gives you the ability to communicate with dealers. But this still isn’t the same, because you’re using a chat box to make comments and ask questions.

A side aspect worth mentioning is that you can’t verbally chat with fellow players, either. This further emphasizes the lack of interaction in virtual gambling.

Dealer Can’t Add to the Experience

A fun human dealer can turn a good casino night into a great one. Some dealers have a great sense of humor or interesting personality and really liven up the table.

This is another area where live dealer gaming can almost be like the real thing. After all, live casino dealers are supposed to make gambling sessions a fun affair.

But you can’t retell stories about software-based or virtual reality dealers with your buddies afterward. These are merely software programs that ensure you have chips and cards when needed.

No Helpful Dealer Suggestions

Many beginning gamblers think that dealers are out to get them and help increase the casino’s advantage. But the truth is that dealers get paid the same by casinos regardless of whether you’re winning or losing.

The main thing they care about is dealing a fair gaming and being nice enough to get tips.

Most dealers are happy to give you helpful strategy suggestions when asked. This is especially nice in blackjack when you aren’t 100% certain on basic strategy.

A virtual dealer, on the other hand, won’t give you any suggestions. Again, these programs only deal cards and collect chips.

You Can’t Win Based on Dealer Mistakes

Sometimes dealers make mistakes that can give you a better chance of winning. Here’s one example of how this can happen:

  • You’re playing double-deck blackjack.
  • The dealer runs out of cards before you get a chance to hit (this happens sometimes in double-deck).
  • The dealer can reshuffle the discards and offer you a hit card.
  • Or you can complain and be optioned out of the hand.
  • The latter is perfect for times when you’re in a bad situation.

Beyond dealer mistakes like this, some players have devised entire strategies around taking advantage of dealers.

One of these strategies is hole carding, where you try to see the dealer’s hole card when they deal to themselves. Knowing this information can potentially earn you profits.

But neither these strategies nor dealer mistakes are possible at an online casino. The reason is because the software doesn’t get tired or lose its train of thought.

Of course, some online casinos have had software bugs that resulted in games not being dealt properly. But these instances are rarer than human dealers making mistakes.


Human dealers are part of what makes the land-based casino experience exciting. But not every player is into social gambling.

These players will appreciate virtual dealers, which offer a number of advantages over humans.

My personal favorite is that you can control the game speed and take breaks whenever you feel like it. I also like how you can save money by not having to tip virtual dealers.

One more thing I appreciate is that you’ll never run into a software dealer who’s in a bad mood.

In summary, I encourage you to play your next session online and enjoy the benefits that virtual dealers offer.