PA Live Dealer Casinos
At first glance, the phrase “live dealer” may not sound all that impressive or interesting. After all, every casino in Pennsylvania has live dealers. However, a “live dealer casino” is an online casino with actual, flesh-and-blood dealers.
Live dealer games are exclusively offered for table games. Though not every retail casino table is available at any one time, the most popular table games are. So, you can play with a real person dealing in games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, three-card poker, craps, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
If playing with a real person sounds exciting, that’s because it truly is. You have come to the right place for all the latest information and news about live dealer casinos in Pennsylvania. The sections below will guide you to the best and brightest that Pennsylvania’s live dealer casinos have to offer.
Best live casinos in PA
How do Pennsylvania live dealer games work?
Pennsylvania live dealer games offer you a real-time live stream directly from the casino. Games are broadcast from specially-designed studios onsite at the casinos themselves.
So, you place your bets on games happening simultaneously in another part of Pennsylvania. You can interact with the dealer and, occasionally, other players, through the chat function on the apps.
Because you’re getting that feedback and you’re looking at an actual person, live dealer games help to alleviate one of the biggest problems with playing casino games online: the social isolation that can come from simply interacting with the app melts away, and you end up feeling as though you might actually be in a real casino — even though you’re on your couch.
You also don’t have to worry about the idea that the site is rigged against live dealer games. Every site uses a real-number generator for its games and is closely monitored for fairness by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, but some players may feel like things are stacked against you when you’re online. With live dealer games, you can watch the dealer interact with the cards, dice, or roulette ball and reassure yourself that the game is fair.
Are PA live dealer games available on mobile devices?
Yes. You can play live dealer games in Pennsylvania on your mobile device without any trouble. Casino operators in PA offer dedicated apps for both Apple (iOS) and Android devices, and the apps are optimized to give you the best playing experience.
The only requirements are the same for any online gambling option in PA. You must be physically inside state lines (and 21 or older) in order to play.
How to play live dealer games in Pennsylvania
Live dealer games have only been active in Pennsylvania since October 2020. However, in that time, the list of games you can play has expanded dramatically. It is now possible to play the following games in a live dealer setting on Pennsylvania gaming apps:
- Blackjack (and variants)
- Roulette (and variants)
- Three Card Poker
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Dream Catcher (Money Wheel)
For the most part, you can reliably find blackjack and roulette. However, not every Pennsylvania app has all of these games available. Since live casinos online are relatively new to PA, the offerings are on many sites are continually growing. Live dealer craps is a new addition to PA online casinos.
Each standard game plays like its real-world counterpart. The variants might be unique, but they usually boil down to an extra side bet or optional game format that you do not have to play.
The main difference is the speed at which the games move. Because the dealer does not have to manage the chips of each player at the table, a live dealer game moves at a quicker pace than the real-life version. So, be aware that you’re not going to have the same amount of time to make your decisions as you would in a retail casino.
Live dealer games are almost exclusively offered for real money play only. The ability to try games out in demo mode is usually unavailable.
If you are already confident in your ability to play the game, then this feature may not be a problem. However, we recommend that every player, regardless of their experience level, play for a bit through demo mode or with play money before trying new games.
The house advantage on live dealer games tends to creep a little bit higher than normal games, and you want to make sure that you’ve shored up any leaks or holes in your strategy. It’s hard enough to win without making unforced errors.
Most live dealer games are available with a wide range of stakes. You may see betting sizes much lower than what you’re used to betting. You may be tempted to scoff at these sizes, but we want to encourage you to use them to your advantage. You can get your feet wet on the operation and flow of the game without putting yourself at the usual amount of risk. We also recommend that you do not attempt to play bigger than you usually do, either.
Above all else, bear in mind that it’s real money on the line in games with a negative expectation. For that reason, it’s important to set limits, play conservatively, and take wins when you can get them (i.e. quit while you’re ahead).
Here are more details about the two most common games:
Live dealer blackjack
If you’re used to playing blackjack in a retail casino, then the live dealer version should be pretty familiar. For the most part, blackjack gameplay is the same.
However, one major difference, depending on where you often play, might be the number of decks in a live dealer shoe. Many live dealer casinos online in Pennsylvania will use an eight-deck shoe in order to befuddle card counters.
Other rules that you’re likely to encounter include:
- Dealer hits on soft 17
- No doubling down after a split
- No dealer peeking at hole card
- No surrender for half-bet
These rules combine to escalate the house edge of typical live dealer blackjack games to a whopping 0.72%. By contrast, most blackjack games offer house advantages of 0.50% or less.
You can balance against the higher edges, though, by availing yourself of strategy cards for perfect Basic Strategy, bet sizing, and other techniques designed to make your play as optimal as possible.
Many live dealer blackjack games will come with a couple of side bets. Two of them, 21+3 and Perfect Pairs, are most common.
21 + 3 is likely the most common blackjack side bet in any context. The bet looks at the value of your first two cards dealt and the dealer’s upcard for a determination.
Basically, you get paid when the three cards combine for one of the following combinations: flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, straight flush, trips, or suited trips. The payouts differ from site to site, but it can be a way to amp up the excitement of playing blackjack.
Perfect Pairs is a bet that is only possible with multi-deck shoe games. So, live dealer games are ideal for the wager. Essentially, a Perfect Pairs bet relies on the value of your first two dealt cards to determine a winner. If you make a pair, you win.
A pair with different suits and colors is worth at least a 5:1 payout to you. A same-colored pair will give you at least 12:1 on your money, and you can make at least 25:1 if both cards are identical. Depending on the variant, these odds amounts can all be higher.
Many live dealer blackjack games will allow you to make your decision about your first two cards without waiting for others. This feature is called “Pre-decision” and should speed gameplay along.
Although there is a variant called “Infinite Blackjack” that has an unlimited number of open seats at a table, many live dealer blackjack games also feature a bet behind option to give an unlimited number of players the option to play when there are only seven seats available. Essentially, you can bet on the outcome of other players’ hands and win when they do. In theory, you could bet on every single player at the table.
Live dealer roulette
Live dealer roulette is much closer to the retail version than live blackjack is to its traditional counterpart. Obviously, the speed is much faster without the dealer handling the bets, but roulette basically plays the same.
One thing to watch for in any roulette game, though, is the style of roulette advertised. European and French roulette wheels come with only a single zero slot, while American wheels have both single zero and double zero. The house edge is almost double on an American wheel, so either look for the European version, or be aware that you’re going to be at a disadvantage with respect to our brethren across the Atlantic.
Other live dealer casino games
As we mentioned, there are a few other game options that you might be able to find in Pennsylvania live dealer casinos. These options will not be on every app, but it’s important to know what they are if you come across them.
Baccarat is a game of international intrigue, thanks to James Bond’s great love of the game. Cards are dealt to both the Banker and Player positions, where the bettor is attempting to predict which position will have the highest value cards. The game only concerns itself with the ones column, so face cards are worth zero. The highest amount you can score is nine.
Three Card Poker is a standard, if newer, table game in many casinos. The player and dealer both receive three cards, and the player has to decide if he/she is willing to bet that his/her hand is superior to the dealer’s. If yes, then the player must put out a separate ante bet to continue. If no, then the player’s hand is folded, regardless of the value of the dealer’s hand.
A somewhat similar game to Three Card Poker is Ultimate Texas Hold’em. In this game, the player and dealer seek to make the best possible poker hand out of two cards in their own hands and five community cards across the board. The player begins each hand by making both a Play and Ante bet, and may make a raise once during gameplay. On the river, the player either makes a raise, or folds and takes the loss.
Finally, Dream Catcher is a live dealer game quite similar to the Big Wheel game popular at some retail casinos. A large wheel with dollar amounts on it spins, and players bet upon which dollar amount the wheel will stop. Unlike the other two games, there really isn’t a ton of strategy, so if you want a more simple game of chance to pass the time, Dream Catcher might be the thing for you.
Pros and cons of live dealer games in Pennsylvania
Although live dealer games are quite an interesting novelty, they are not perfect. Whether you will play them on a consistent basis will depend upon your goals for playing online.
- Convenience — Obviously, the main reason to play live dealer games is the fact that you can do so from anywhere in Pennsylvania. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you have a full casino (essentially) in the palm of your hand.
- Trust — Like we mentioned earlier, if you are suspicious about the randomness and fairness of an online casino, live dealing might help to soothe those concerns. You can see the cards being shuffled and the game being run with your own eyes, and there’s something to be said for being able to confirm that everything is on the up and up.
- Unlimited seating — Although some tables will have limited seats, most of them will allow betting behind, meaning that you’ll always be able to join a live dealer casino game in some regard. There are also “infinite” variants that uncap the number of players who can join a table, and you can play along (potentially) with dozens of other people.
- Social — The most obvious downside of live dealer online casinos is the social aspect. Although seeing a real person helps to bridge the gap between purely online casino play and the experience in a retail casino, it is still not the same. If you like to feel the energy of an actual gambling house when you play, you might not want to bother with live dealer games.
- Connectivity — Another issue is the fact that live dealer games, like many things, require a stable internet connection to function. For performance purposes, a fast and rock-solid connection to the internet is crucial, and disruptions could very well cost you money.
- Ruleset — In general, the rulesets for live dealer games are unfavorable to the player, especially in comparison to retail casinos. However, since you can have any tool you like in front of you when you play, the tighter ruleset might not be a deal-breaker for you.
PA online casinos with live dealer games
If you want to give live dealer games a try, you’re in luck. There are several PA online casinos that offer live dealer games.
Now, one thing to note about the list of sites is that things can change rapidly. At present, here is a list of all the Pennsylvania casino apps with live dealer games:
- BetMGM Casino PA
- BetRivers Casino PA
- Caesars Casino PA Online
- DraftKings Casino PA
- FanDuel Casino PA
- Hollywood Casino PA
- Stars Casino PA
- SugarHouse Casino PA
- Unibet Casino PA
- Parx Casino Online
If and when Golden Nugget PA opens its virtual doors in Pennsylvania, could also join in. Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), which mostly pioneered live dealer games in the US, will almost certainly make live dealer a part of its portfolio.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for playing live dealer games in Pennsylvania. Even if you’re not completely sold on the idea but you like to play table games, you may want to give them a try. They can add some variety and spice to your typical game selections.
Don’t forget that you can interact with both dealers and players when you play live dealer games, too. There’s no reason that you can’t feel like you’re at the casino, even if you’re still in bed.