How to Excel at Live Dealer Poker Online

min read
A dealer with chips next to him shows some cards on a poker table.
BetMGM Oct 21, 2021, 12:30 PM

Poker is the most iconic of all card-based casino table games. It’s an all-American legend that started in the gambling halls of New Orleans and spread via the saloons of the Wild West until it became the favorite card game of the nation. Movies like Rounders, Maverick, and The Cincinnati Kid helped foster poker’s reputation as a game for players with an appetite for risk. But the truth is that poker moved out of the smoky dens of legend into a new era.

These days, online poker – in all its modern forms – is where it’s at. Land-based live poker will always have its place, but an increasing number of players are finding that live online poker is just as fun and challenging as traditional poker while being a whole lot more accessible and convenient. You don’t have to leave home (let alone find an open casino,) and it’s easy to find poker games online to suit your level of skill, including live poker tournaments. Read on to find out how to set yourself up for success when you play poker live online.

What makes live dealer poker different

Live dealer poker is different from both live poker and standard online poker in important ways. First, live dealer games are streamed from a live casino online, where real-live dealers sit at real tables in a state-of-the-art casino studio, whereas online poker is a computer-generated simulation of a poker room. Then, both live poker and online poker pit you against other players, but it’s just you and the dealer in live dealer poker. This makes an important difference to the style of play, too. Let’s take a game of live dealer Ultimate Texas Hold’Em poker as an example.

How to play live dealer poker

The concept is the same as traditional Texas Hold’em poker: You have to build a winning hand with two hole cards and three community cards. When the game opens, you’ll meet your dealer, who will be sitting at a real casino felt table with a shoe of playing cards next to them. You’ll be able to message the dealer in a chat box that’s attached to the game while it’s in progress. 

Start off by placing equal ante and blind bets. Before the flop, if you think you’ve got a winning hand, you can bet three or four times the ante, or you can just check and see the flop.

On the flop, if you haven’t wagered yet, you can bet twice your ante. Then the dealer flips the turn and the river. If you checked before, you have the chance to place a wager equal to your ante. If you don’t bet, you have to fold.

The action is a bit faster than you might be used to, and any pots you win will be automatically “shipped” to you – you’ll see your bankroll balance update at the end of each round.

Qualification and ‘trips’

At the start of a game of live dealer poker, the dealer needs to draw a pair to qualify. If the dealer fails, you win your play bet and your blind but push on the ante. If the dealer succeeds, you win or lose all your bets, depending on whether your best five-card hand beats the dealer’s or not.

The live dealer variant of Ultimate Texas Hold’em poker has an optional side bet called “trips,” where you bet on getting trips (making three-of-a-kind with one card in your hand and a pair on the board) or better using your hole cards and the community cards. You can get some great payouts! 

Live dealer poker strategy

Live dealer poker is effectively a showdown between the player and the dealer, so a lot of traditional poker strategy falls by the wayside. You don’t have to worry about other players’ positions – although to be fair, you’re always under the gun!

Basic strategy for live dealer Ultimate Texas Hold’Em poker is based on probability and common sense. If you have any Ace or King before the flop, as well as Queen/Eight or higher and Jack/10, it makes sense to raise. Also raise on any pocket pair except for 2/2.

If you pair up on the flop, it’s a good idea to raise. The same goes if you have an overcard (a hole card higher than any card on the board) and a flush draw.

On the river, it’s a sensible decision to bet if you make any pair. It’s also considered wise to bet if you think the dealer has nothing. It takes a lot of experience to reach the point where you can call the draw, though, so be sure to bet within a budget.

Live poker tournaments online

Live dealer poker sure does provide a new poker experience, but the one-on-one aspect of the game means it’s a bit less competitive than traditional live poker. It’s not currently possible to enter live dealer poker tournaments, for example. But you can always enter live poker tournaments powered by software that enable you to take a place in an online poker card room. You can’t physically see your opponents, but the play is live… and very lively!

Games include Texas Hold’em Poker (No Limit and Fixed), Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, and 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo. Stakes can range from $0.01/$0.02 to $100/$200.

Play poker online here at BetMGM

If you’re looking for lively poker games online, you’ve come to the right place. Sign up with us here at BetMGM for the best poker experience online, including exciting live poker tournaments. With over 70 tournaments daily, you’ll never be short of opportunities to play.

Don’t forget to check out our other classic casino table games such as blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, which you can also play in our live casino online.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
About the Author


Read More

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.