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How and Where to Play Live Casino Hold’em in 2020

Have you played live Casino Hold’em before? If not, you should consider trying it.

We’ll explain why later. But if you want to get started right now, the quickest way is to join a real money online casino. Here are our recommendations for the best live dealer Casino Hold’em casinos.

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Casino Hold’em is easy to learn and has a low house edge. It borrows enough elements from Texas Hold’em that poker players will love playing it, too.

Then, there’s the live casino aspect. You get to chat and play with other people. There’s a person dealing the hand on a real card table inside a brick and mortar casino (or a studio that looks like a casino).

You really get the best of everything when you play this game, especially if you choose to play online at one of our recommended live dealer casinos.

If you’re not ready yet, that’s okay. This guide is going to help you get started. You’ll learn why our recommended live online casinos are the best to join. You’ll see what the big differences are between the three Casino Hold’em formats. And we’ll answer your most frequently asked questions.

Let’s get started.

Live Casino Hold'em

Best Casinos for Live Dealer Casino Hold’em

If you want to play live Casino Hold’em online, you first need to find a live dealer casino to join. This is challenging for a few reasons.

  • There are dozens of online casinos to choose from.
  • Only a few live dealer providers offer live Casino Hold’em.
  • Not every live dealer casino works with one of those providers.

You also need to consider banking options, promotions, security, other games, and more when choosing an online casino. When you narrow it down like this, only a few live dealer online casinos are ultimately worth joining.

Do you know which ones those are?

Probably not. That’s why we recommend you join one of the live casinos we recommend. We go through every casino with a fine-tooth comb, testing and looking for a few key factors.

  • A legitimate gambling license and the name of the commission that issued it
  • The banking options they accept, including their limits and fees
  • How safe and secure their site is
  • Whether you can play their games on mobile devices

We test and look for this information to make sure the casino is safe, secure, and worth joining for the casual player. Then, we dig deeper to ensure each one is worthwhile for playing live Casino Hold’em for real money.

Here’s what we look for.

  • Does the casino offer any live dealer promotions?
  • If their Casino Hold’em games have relatively high table limits, is it a good casino for high-stakes Hold’em players?
  • Which live casino providers do they work with? Some providers, like Evolution Gaming, offer Casino Hold’em variants that the other providers do not.
  • Do they offer a quality live stream? Is it crystal clear or is it grainy?

The idea is to find the perfect combination. Look for an online casino that’s safe, secure, and convenient to use with high-quality live dealer Casino Hold’em games.

We take the few casinos that meet our standards, rank them, and share the results with our readers.

That’s our process in a nutshell. That’s how you know you can trust us when we say that we recommend only the best live dealer Casino Hold’em casinos online.

All that’s left for you to do is pull the trigger. Figure out which casino is best for you and create your account.

Start now and you could play your first Casino Hold’em hand in the next few minutes, using the information in the next section as your guide.

How to Play Live Dealer Casino Hold’em

The rules for live dealer Casino Hold’em are the same as the RNG or land-based formats. The game and payouts are the same from every live dealer provider that offers it, too.

Your objective is to make the best five-card Texas Hold’em hand. Here’s how the game will play.

  • You make an ante bet. For this example, we’ll say it’s $10.
  • You make your side bets (optional).
  • The dealer gives you two cards face up. The dealer gets two cards face down.
  • The dealer places three community cards face up in the middle of the table.
  • You now choose whether to fold your hand and forfeit your bet, or you can call. Calling requires a bet twice the size of your ante. In this example, it’s $20.
  • The dealer flips over their cards.
  • The dealer places the last two community cards in the middle of the table.

Casino Hold’em Hand Rankings

Standard poker rankings are used to determine the winner, assuming the dealer’s hand qualifies.

The dealer needs a pair of fours or better to qualify. If their hand doesn’t qualify, you get your call bet back and your ante bet is paid according to the table below (based on the strength of your hand).

If the dealer’s hand qualifies, then whoever has the best five-card poker hand hands. If you lose, the dealer will collect both your ante and call bets. If you have the better hand, both bets are paid according to this payout chart.

  • Royal flush – 100:1
  • Straight flush – 20:1
  • Four of a kind – 10:1
  • Full house – 3:1
  • Flush – 2:1
  • Straight or less – 1:1

The dealer will also pay out on any successful side bets you made.

Live Casino Hold’em Side Bets

There are a couple of side bets you can make, depending on the provider of the live Casino Holdem game you’re playing.

The most common is the AA side bet. The casino will pay you according to the following chart if the first five community cards have a pair of aces or better.

  • Royal flush – 100:1
  • Straight flush – 50:1
  • Four of a kind – 40:1
  • Full house – 30:1
  • Flush – 20:1
  • Pair of aces to straight – 7:1

Another side bet you can make at some live dealer casinos online is on the Jump 7 Jackpot. This is a network-wide progressive jackpot from Evolution Gaming.

The jackpot pays when a seven-card straight flush is dealt. All players who made the side bet receive a cut of the prize pool. The last time we checked the jackpot was sitting at 2,831,659.

Remember, side bets increase the house edge, making the game less profitable for you to play. But with a near-$3 million jackpot to be won, we can’t blame you if you decide to play it.

Live Casino Hold’em Variants

We only know of one live dealer Casino Hold’em variant outside the standard version, and that’s the Live 2 Hand Casino Hold’em variant from Evolution Gaming. Here’s a video.

This variant is identical to regular Casino Hold’em except that you can play two hands at once instead of one. You play each hand separately, which means this:

  • You can play a side bet on one hand, both hands, or neither hand.
  • You can fold one hand, both hands, or call both hands.

Live 2 Hand Casino Hold’em is an awesome variant to play if you want more action. This is only one of several reasons why you should play live Casino Hold’em online for real money.

Why Play Live Casino Hold’em Online?

You might wonder why you should play live dealer Casino Hold’em when you can play the live version in-person and the RNG version online.

Here are a few reasons why we encourage you to check it out compared to the other two formats you can play it in.

Here are a few reasons why live Casino Hold’em trumps its online RNG cousin.

Play Fewer Hands Per Hour

You can play hundreds of hands per hour on a normal RNG Casino Hold’em game. That’s because there’s only you at the table, and the dealer is automated.

It’s easy to get caught up in the action and play tons of hands every hour. This can add up fast, even if you’re only playing $1 per hand.

Play live dealer Casino Hold’em instead and you’ll play less than 100 hands per hour. The more people who play with you, the smaller this number gets.

This gives you the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the action a little. Relax. You can save a little money, even at $3+ per hand.

Play With Real People on Real Casino Equipment

People gamble online because it’s convenient. You don’t have to get dressed up. You don’t have to drive or fly several hours away. You don’t have to spend extra money to eat out.

You don’t have to do any of that when you play from home.

But many Casino Hold’em players miss the social side of gambling live. And regular online casinos don’t fill that void.

Live dealer casinos do. They give you the best of both worlds. You get all the benefits and conveniences of gambling online, with the added benefit of playing in a “real” casino.

You also get to play with real people opposite a human dealer. You can chat with them, ask them about their day, talk strategy, etc., just like you would in a land-based casino.

Finally, there’s the equipment. Many Casino Hold’em players prefer real equipment because you can see the dealers operate everything. They feel that there’s less of a chance that the casino will take advantage of you when you can see the action unfold in front of you.

Play for Higher Stakes

One of the benefits to gambling online is that you can play for lower stakes compared to land-based casinos i.e. $1 per Casino Hold’em hand compared to $5 or more. The downside is that most online casinos also have relatively smaller maximum table limits.

Live dealer casinos have bridged this gap. Some will let you play for $500 or more per hand and $100 for the AA side bet.

Many live casinos let you play multiple hands or tables too, which will allow you to increase the number of hands you play if that’s what you want.

Don’t forget, bigger bets also mean larger payouts. Many live dealer casinos payout as much as $250,000 per hand.

Chances are, you can’t find an online RNG casino that does that.

What about live dealer Casino Hold’em vs. playing in land-based casinos? The games are very similar. You can enjoy many of the same benefits too, such as playing with other people, enjoying the casino atmosphere, and playing for larger sums.

So, why bother with live Casino Hold’em instead of playing in a brick and mortar casino?

Live Casino Hold’em Promotions

One of the biggest differences between online and land-based casinos are the promotions. Now, land-based casinos have promotions, usually comps, which you can use to discount meals or shows.

But online promotions are better. Here are the deals that live dealer casinos offer.

Deposit bonus
The casino matches a percentage of your deposit. For example, a casino might offer a 100% match bonus up to $500. The casino gives you $1 for every $1 you deposit.
Earn points for every wager you make and later turn those points in for cash.
VIP program
VIP programs use points, too. The points you earn determine your place on the casino’s VIP ladder. The higher up you climb, the more perks you can unlock.
Free bets
When’s the last time a land-based casino gave you a free bet at one of their games? It doesn’t happen. But it happens all the time at live dealer casinos.

The promotions are just better online.

Save Money Playing Online

You’ll spend a little more money playing live Casino Hold’em compared to RNG Casino Hold’em because the minimum is 3x more.

But that’s nothing compared to the money you spend playing in land-based casinos. Here are all the ways you’ll save money playing Hold’em from home instead.

Smaller stakes
The smallest games online are $1 for the ante and $2 for the call, or $3 total. Good luck finding a game for less than $5 or $10 offline.
How much will it cost you to travel to the nearest casino? What if you fly? You can spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars to make the trip. That doesn’t include the $100+ per night you’ll spend at a hotel.
Food and drinks
Everything cost more in the casino or, in places like Las Vegas, on the Strip. You can save tens and more likely hundreds of dollars eating and drinking at home.

You can easily spend hundreds and thousands of dollars going to the casino. That doesn’t include your gambling budget either. But you can save that money if you play live dealer Casino Hold’em instead.

Those are some of the biggest positive differences between playing live online Casino Hold’em compared to playing the regular online game or in a land-based casino.

Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t get to play the other formats anymore. Sometimes, you want to play lots of hands or for only $1 per hand. Or you want to play live because you plan to take a vacation.

There’s no right way to do this, only what’s right for you.

But if you want the best of everything gambling has to offer — convenience, mid-stakes, human interaction, and more, without having to leave your house — then it’s hard to go wrong with live online Casino Hold’em.

Live Casino Hold’em FAQ

What is the difference between Casino Hold’em and Texas Hold’em?

There are a few differences.

  • Casino Hold’em is played against the house whereas Texas Hold’em is played against other players.
  • Casino Hold’em has a house edge. Your edge in Texas Hold’em varies based on who you’re playing against.
  • Your hand is face up in Casino Hold’em and face down in Texas Hold’em.
  • You have fewer betting rounds in Casino Hold’em (2) compared to Texas Hold’em (4).

What is a good RTP for Casino Hold’em?

Playtech’s Casino Hold’em game is approximately 99%. The one from Evolution Gaming is nearly 98%.

You want the highest RTP you can find. The thing is, you’re not going to realize a 1% or even a 10% difference in a session, let alone a dozen sessions. You have to play thousands of hands to realize the difference.

Our point is for you to focus on finding a Casino Hold’em game you like instead of worrying too much about the RTP.

Can you play live Casino Hold’em for free?

Not usually.

Live dealer games are like land-based casino games in that there are only so many seats for players to occupy. If they let you sit at one for free, that’s one less seat a real money player can occupy.

Which is the best Casino Hold’em live dealer provider?

There are only four of them (as of 2020). There’s Evolution Gaming, Playtech, Ezugi, and Microgaming. The rules and payouts are the same at each one.

That said, there are some differences between them, including how the software looks, the features, and how the providers train their dealers. Some dealers are friendlier than others, for example.

The last key difference is that Evolution Gaming has the 2 Hand variant and progressive jackpot side bet and the others don’t.

Ultimately, the best provider is the one that makes the game you like to play the most, so it makes sense to try them all.

Are there any downsides to live Casino Hold’em?

It depends on what you think a “downside” is. You’ll play fewer hands compared to RNG games. The stakes are a little higher. And the game will move a little slower.

You could probably consider these “downsides.” But that seems a little thin to us.

Play Live Casino Hold’em Online for Real Money

Live Casino Hold’em is a blast to play. It’s got a low house edge. It’s easy to learn. You can win millions of dollars if you win the progressive jackpot. And you can play it with real people on real equipment.

What’s more is that many online casinos offer it. All you need to do is find the right casino for you and you’re off to the races.

That’s where we come in. We’ve hand-picked the best online casinos for live Casino Hold’em. We did this to help you save the time and money you’d spend trying to find one on your own. Here’s a reminder of our top recommendations.

So, take a few minutes to find the right casino for you and create your account now. And in a matter of minutes, you’ll be playing one of the best Texas Hold’em themed casino games online.