PokerStars Launches Live Dealers – But are They Welcome?

PokerStars Logo 240x160

Today sees the launch of live dealers over a number of the casino games now available at PokerStars. The most recent of a raft of changes brought in by new PokerStars owners Amaya, it’s hoped that the new live dealers will breathe life into the playing environment on the site. Like all changes brought in by Amaya, however, the launch of live dealers is set to have as many naysayers as it does advocates.

What are live dealers?

Live dealers pretty much do exactly what they say on the tin; rather than offering having the outcome of card deals or roulette spins dictated by a random number generator, they are decided by the outcome of real time deals by a real person (in PokerStars’ case, in a studio in Riga in Latvia).

There’s more to it than just the dealers dealing though. A chat function has existed on PokerStars for players to talk to other players for a long time now, however, with live dealers, the dealer has a heads up display showing the full chat conversation, and can respond verbally to any and all questions and comments made by players throughout a game. The idea is that this better mimics the interaction players would have with dealers in real casinos, and offers a more immersive and enjoyable experience.

As with most PokerStars new addition, live dealers were tested first in Spain to great success.

What games offer live dealers?

You can basically play with live dealers on any of the new casino games at PokerStars (so long as you’re playing through the downloadable Windows-based PokerStars 7 poker client… for the time being). This means you can enjoy Live Casino room in Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Casino Hold’em all with live dealers. You’ll have to access your chosen game through the new PokerStars branded Live Casino Room.

PokerStars Roulette logoThe real success story from the new live dealer roll out is the ‘Immersive Live Roulette’ which not only promises live dealers, but a fully immersive and cinematic experience. Developed in partnership with Evolution, ILR uses multiple HD cameras to offer close ups, auto-cutting sequences and a state of the art set to give players a view of Roulette they’ve never seen before.

Too many changes?

It was way back in November that we broke the news that PokerStars was planning to launch online and mobile casino games alongside its poker offering. To say that the announcement split opinion would be the understatement of the decade. While vast numbers of players praised PokerStars for diversifying and ensuring that its players had more choice than ever before, the site also suffered a huge backlash against the move from poker purists who thought the games had no place on the site (the most high-profile and outspoken of which was no doubt Victoria Coren, who left the PokerStars Pro team in protest).

After the furore following the launch of Spin & Gos at the site, as well as the opposition to the introduction of casino games in the first place, there’s little doubt that there’ll be plenty of upset after the launch of live dealers. However, seeing as Amaya has successfully ridden out past storms, it also seems pretty likely that live dealers will in the end prove pretty profitable for the company.

If they’re you’re thing, they’re you thing. If they’re not your thing, just mind your own business and play some poker.

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