A live table game gives you a live feed to a professional dealer at a table playing the game of your choice. All the classics are available, including roulette, poker, baccarat, and more. You’ll get a professional, suitably attired dealer who interacts in real-time with the players in the live room.
You'll be able to see your place at the table and the roulette wheel or the cards being dealt to you. When it's your turn to play, the dealer will address you directly, just like they would in a bricks-and-mortar casino setting.
It's one thing to create online slots and games relying completely on algorithms but bringing the human element into the online gaming arena is a different proposition altogether. Live table games must appear scrupulously honest. Therefore, you have full sight of the whole table or roulette wheel, as well as the dealer's movements.
Additionally, live table dealers are specially trained in presenting the game and themselves in a streaming environment and interacting with online players.
Keep reading to learn about the hardware and software behind live table games. You'll also gain some insight into the latest tech-based hybrid gaming model.
Live table casino games are about more than just watching the dealer through a live feed. Simulating a casino environment, with the presence of other players, requires an abundance of technology.
Four important pieces of equipment work together to make the live table experience feel as real as possible.
These days it's easy to find high-definition video cameras that are extremely compact. Along with the benefits of high-resolution streaming, these cameras are also important for their size, since this makes it easy to position them exactly where you need them.
The positioning of the cameras around the gaming area is extremely important for reinforcing the integrity of live table gaming.
For example, online roulette games normally have a minimum of three streaming cameras. One that covers the roulette wheel and the croupier, another that captures the table, and a third that captures the image on the screen.
Game Control Unit
The Game Control Unit (GCU) is the piece of hardware that encodes all the video being broadcast from each gaming table. Without this, there would be no live streaming. Therefore, every table in the live casino studio is connected to it.
In a live table game, the monitor allows the croupier and players to see each other, which helps make the experience more natural. The croupier can make eye contact with each player and speak naturally with them.
It also shows information vital to the game, such as bets placed, the players at the table, and fresh players joining.
Although casino staff who run the tables in live gaming are highly trained, regulated, and tested, the smart card keeps an electronic eye on them. It makes sure that they are correctly following procedures at all times during the game.
Let's now take a look at some of the underlying software that makes all that hardware work and enhances the player experience.
You don't normally get to see the other players, but most online casinos have a built-in chat facility.
Although the croupier can speak directly to each player using the monitor and microphone, the live table setup doesn't include speakers. Therefore, players use the built in instant messaging tool to communicate with the casino staff.
The biggest advantage to the croupier is that they can control the conversation, ensuring that the game's flow isn’t disrupted. From the players’ perspective, it provides a smoother experience, avoiding common problems associated with voice calls over the Internet.
Players see on-screen game controls superimposed on the video image of the table. Leveraging touch screen technology on phones, tablets, and desktop computers, players use the game controls to place their bets and interact with the croupier.
It's annoying enough when any online service goes down. With so much competition in the online gaming space, going offline, even for a brief time, could be a major blow for an online casino.
An online casino that's seen as unreliable will quickly lose players to a competitor. Buying and maintaining hosting infrastructures is extremely expensive. There are hardware acquisition and maintenance costs to consider, and technical staff are required to keep it running smoothly.
Fortunately, it's possible to contract out the hosting. The best hosting firms offer service level agreements (SLAs) which commit to a minimum amount of server up-time.
In recent years, so-called ‘pulse arenas’ have emerged. They’re a hybrid of online and physical gaming. They increase human interaction and provide live entertainment.
Pulse arenas have banks of EGTs (Electronic Gaming Tables) which are essentially extra-large tablets. Players can have several games running simultaneously and switch between them on the fly.
EGTs also show the live feed from gaming tables that are physically in the room and hosted by a professional croupier. Gameplay is identical to playing completely remotely, but in pulse arenas, there's an MC constantly addressing the players, and sometimes inviting one to participate alongside the croupier.
Pulse arenas aim to turn electronic table gaming into an event or show, and some even have live dancing or other entertainment.
The Future of Live Casinos
Online casinos have come a long way since they emerged in 1996. The online casino sector is extremely competitive, so it's only natural that casinos would seek to employ cutting-edge technology.
Live table gaming is at the forefront of this technological advance. To create a semblance of personal interaction in an online environment requires the very best hardware, infrastructure, and software.
The advent of pulse arenas brings the industry full circle, as players now gather in purpose-built rooms to play slots and classic table games. There are two key differences between online casinos and classic ones. Firstly, you're playing via a large touchscreen, and secondly, it's possible to have several games on the go at the same time.
It's impossible to predict with any level of certainty where the tech of live table games will go from here, but it will certainly be interesting to see the next steps in its evolution.