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 18, 2023, 8:34 AM

Poker is the most iconic of all card-based casino table games. It’s an all-American legend that started in New Orleans and spread via the Wild West saloons and Mississippi River gambling boats until it became the nation’s favorite card game. Movies like Rounders, Maverick and The Cincinnati Kid helped foster poker’s reputation as a game for players with an appetite for risk that comes with potentially big rewards. 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, including Texas Hold’em online – 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 at live dealer casinos 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 at an online casino with a live dealer and other exciting casino games.

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 state-of-the-art casino studio with real live dealers hosting casino games, like poker, to a live casino online. On the other hand, online poker is a computer-generated simulation of a poker room, much like a video game. Another difference is that online poker pits 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. 

How To Play Live Dealer Poker

The concept for most live dealer poker games is the same as their offline counterparts. For example, live dealer Texas Hold’em is the same as traditional Texas Hold’em online 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 using text chat while the game is in progress. 

But this doesn’t mean that all live dealer poker games are the same. There are many variants, each with its own rules. Let’s take a game of live dealer Ultimate Texas Hold’Em poker as an example. You start off by placing equal ante and blind bets. Before the flop, you can bet three or four times the ante if you think you’ve got a winning hand. Otherwise, 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 or check, you have to fold.

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

There are also some unique elements to each variant of live dealer poker. Here are a few examples of these in Ultimate Texas Hold’em.

Qualification

In a game of Ultimate Texas Hold’em, the dealer needs to draw a pair to qualify as a potential winner. If the dealer fails, they must reveal each player’s cards (starting from the left), signal a push for the ante and return each ante wager to any player who didn’t fold. The dealer must then resolve the bonus bets and then collect, count and place the players’ cards in the discount holder.

If the dealer qualifies, all players’ two-hole cards are combined with the five community cards to create the strongest hand. That hand is then compared to the dealer’s strongest hand to decide the winner. 

Trips Side Bets

Ultimate Texas Hold’em poker also 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 many traditional poker strategies fall 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 poker games will vary from title to title. Here is some more general advice that could help you improve your win rate in a variety of live dealer poker games:

  • It goes without saying that while different poker games offer different levels of entertainment, the most fun versions of the game don’t always offer the lowest house edge. If you’re focused solely on winning, you need to check which titles offer you the best odds before you jump into a game. 
  • No matter which live dealer poker game you are playing, there are still strong and weak hands that you’ll need to learn. If you go into a game knowing if you’re on the back foot, have a mediocre hand or have the nuts (the best hand), you’ll undoubtedly improve your win rate over time. 
  • You need to educate yourself on the different strategies that apply to each version of live dealer poker. For example, both Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em are poker variants, but they do play slightly differently. These differences mean you’ll need a different approach for each game.

Let’s continue with our example of Ultimate Texas Hold’Em. Here are some specific tips that you can apply to this version of the game:

  • If you have any ace or king before the flop, as well as queen/8 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, raising is a good idea. 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 certainly 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 enables 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. Register 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. Yes, just like online poker, we bring you the best live dealer providers’ most thrilling titles like Infinite Blackjack, Lightning Roulette and more. The real-life casino experience is one step closer to home!

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