Casino Card Games
If you were asked to name your favourite casino games, chances are the first that will come to mind are slots and table games like roulette. But the reality is that although they’re entertaining – and of course you can win cash playing them – they don’t have particularly strong RTP figures.
For the best chances of winning you’ll be wanting to focus on some of the card-based games, which is one of the reasons that casino card games hold a permanent place in the list of most-played games in the casino.
Casino poker games come in a number of different guises, all of which offer different levels of ease to play, and various percentage chances of winning. This ‘easy to play’ aspect can often be the biggest draw for many players.
On this page we’ll take a beginners-style, high level view of the different card games you’ll find in most online casinos.
The Main Types Of Casino Card Games
We can actually break down games into two distinct types – poker style games and those that don’t have poker as a basis like blackjack and baccarat.
So Casino poker is a term which actually covers all types of poker – from the popular Texas Holdem and 7 card stud played in the real-life poker rooms against other opponents to the variants played in online casinos. Games include Caribbean poker, 3 card poker, Pai Gow and others.
In these poker games, you play against the dealer or house, either alone or with other players. They’re one of the reasons that live dealer casino gaming has become so popular.
The other reasons are simplicity and choice. Even a beginner can be up and running quickly, while there are a huge number of variants of each game.
Add in some potential of landing a progressive jackpot with that once in a lifetime great hand, plus the option to play with small stakes or entirely for free, and you have the recipe for an entertaining alternative to the other popular casino games.
The subject of online poker is a huge one, and one that’s best covered on a dedicated site. But it is one of the most popular card games played in a casino.
It’s a family of various games and there are several types that you can play online, and there are many places to play. The type that you’ll recognise instantly is the ‘players round a table’ version, where you’re battling against opponents in different types of ring games or tournaments.
But here we’re looking at the type of poker you’ll find in casino based games, and this means the games where you’ll be playing against a dealer either electronically or in live dealer situations.
Each one also has variants which it’ll pay to be aware of. One of the basics of successful poker gaming is to pick a game type and focus on it, build your experience, and become an expert. Unless you’re very lucky ( and luck in card games has a nasty habit of running out) this is the best way to work upwards from beginner stage to becoming a more advanced player.
Reaching those more advanced stages takes time and requires full understanding of each game. Plus an in depth appreciation of the key strategies for each one. All something that’s best covered on dedicated pages, so here we’ll give a brief introduction to the different game types to whet your appetite.
Based on the popular Texas Holdem poker format, Casino Holdem comprises two separate bets and a flop, turn and river – along with the potential to win many times your original bet in a single hand.
Before the cards are dealt you place a bet on the ‘ante’. Next you are dealt two cards and 3 cards are dealt for the flop. You then make a decision to call or fold based on your hand.
You’re mixing your own 2 cards with the 3 in the flop (and the potential of the next 2 to be dealt).
If you want to call (that is you have strong enough cards to continue the game), you place an additional bet equal to your ante in the ‘bet’ position on the table. The dealer then reveals his cards and the turn and river cards are dealt.
How much you win depends on beating the dealer, who must hold a qualifying hand of a pre-specified value to play. If the dealer cannot get a qualifying hand then the call bet is a push and you are paid 1-to-1 on the ante bet. If the dealer qualifies and you beat the hand shown then payouts are determined by the payout table:
An example of payouts would be:
Straight or Lower 1-to-1
Full House 3-to-1
Four Of A Kind 10-to-1
Straight Flush 20-to-1
Royal Flush 100-to-1
These odds are paid on the ‘call’ bet, with the ante always paid at 1-to-1 in addition. If the dealer has a better hand then you lose both bets.
Pai Gow Poker
Among the casino card games in the poker family, one other favourite is Pai Gow Poker. It is also known as double hand poker.
Pai Gow is a hugely popular game among Chinese players, although the poker version has its roots in the US. It is played almost similarly to conventional poker with the differences being that the seven card hand is split into a five card hand and a two card hand.
It is normally played with six people apart from the dealer but there can be less or more number of people sharing a table. It is played with a single deck of 52 cards with each player dealt seven cards.
The five cards hand must be higher than the two cards poker hand. Each round may have a different player acting as the banker while in some cases the dealer may be the representative banker of the house all the time. Almost every other rule is similar to normal poker.
Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker, or Casino Stud Poker as its sometimes known, is another easy to play table based casino poker game with limited options for making winning plays. In Caribbean Stud you either raise and win back your original bet plus the value of your extra bet (your call bet), make a draw or push by having an equal hand to the dealer, or lose.
Top Caribbean Stud Poker Tip – Raise with a hand of a pair or better and fold on anything lower than Ace, King high.
3 Card Poker
This one sits among my personal casino card game favourites. Fast paced and with plenty of chances for winning hands, this game is often played by tournament or cash game poker fans who like to play casino games on the side.
You can get a grasp of 3 card poker rules in a very short time, while the strategies involved in successful play are straightforward and easy to understand. Essentially the name of the game is to get your 3 card hand to beat the dealers.
If you want to experience casino games and get plenty of playing time for your money, then three card is a great choice with its low house edge.
Look out for that 3 of a kind or straight flush for the biggest wins!
Top 3 Card Poker Tip – Raise on any hand better than Queen, Six, Four. If you have a hand ranked lower, don’t play.
Blackjack or Twenty One is also one of the most popular casino card games. It’s the game that’s played the most in both land-based and online casinos
Playing blackjack offers a unique opportunity for profit because it is possible to beat the house by using effective, optimal strategies. Certainly in the short term. It’s one of those rare games where there are good odds of winning consistently, and if you play regularly enough some of the strategies you can use will become second nature.
Each player – including the dealer – receives one card. You’ll make your initial bet based on the strength of that first card. The aim of the game is to reach as close to 21 as possible without going over, or to land the blackjack (a picture card and an ace).
After the first card you’ll get another, and then either be able to ‘buy’ extra cards or ‘twist’ to turn over a card without risking any more money.
There are a number of strategies for getting the maximum chances of winning which are covered in depth on the blackjack page.
If you’re looking for a casino card game that’s fast becoming a favourite of high rollers, Baccarat will be one on the top of your list. Also known as Player/Banker (for reasons which will become obvious), it’s been played in casinos for a long time but more recently has become increasingly popular.
As an alternative to getting involved in other forms of casino games, playing Baccarat has some strong benefits. It’s simple to play, and the house edge is low.
While not being one of the traditional table top card games, video poker still deserves a mention. It’s an electronic version that takes you closer to the world of slots machines.
The variants are almost too numerous to mention here, making it a ‘class of its own’ casino game with land-based casinos running banks of machines, and online casinos offering dozens of different titles.
Video poker is based on the 5 card draw variation of poker. If you’re looking for a game of skill that’s close to full blown Texas Holdem but played against the dealer instead of opponents, has a low house edge of less than 1% for many games, the possibility of large wins, and the anonymity of playing alone, there is nothing else that can compare.
Without a doubt, card games do deserve their position in the casino. In the main they’re simple to play and will get you a fair number of wins.
To win consistently you’ll need luck on your side, but by playing the correct strategies you can put the odds as far as possible into your favour.
If you’re playing though, always remember that it’s still gambling. The risk of addiction is there for the unwary player, as is the potential for long losing runs which can reduce your bankroll quickly.