Online casinos provide many games at their sites, often more than what you might find in your average land-based casinos. It can be difficult to choose from among the games offered to you, especially if you don’t know much about them. We’re here to help you out by profiling five games found at real money gambling websites that offer a lot to online casino gamblers in terms of fun, challenges and winning potential.
Many people thinking about doing some online gambling for the first time might have a difficult issue in terms of choosing which games to play. Some might stick to games they know from the casino, while others might instead try to dive into some new games to see what happens. But you’ll have your best success if you’re able to choose wisely among the casino games offered to you on the various sites by learning some key characteristics about them.
To help you out with that, we’re here to tell you about five games you should consider playing at online casinos. We’ll start by telling you how you can determine what kind of gambler you are, so that you can choose the games that are best suited to you. And then we’ll take you through some of the games that are offered at various gambling sites, giving you all the details about the rules, strategy and payback potential.
What Kind of Online Gambler Are You?
In this article, we’re going to tell you about five games that sort of stand above the rest when it comes to online casino gambling sites. But it’s important to realize that these games are considered the tops for very different reasons. The game play for each is pretty distinct when it comes to the others, as are other aspects such as house edge, strategy involved, pace of play and many other important factors.
As a result, just knowing about these five games isn’t quite enough. It’s also crucial to know what kind of game is just right for you (or games, if you play on hopping around a bit.) Once you know that, you can start to hone in one which of these you should be playing.
How can you tell your gambling preferences? Think about some of the questions that surround the process:
Are you interested in high payouts in a short time, or more concerned about doing as well as possible over the long term?
Are you OK with games that offer you big jackpot potential even if they put your bankroll at risk, or do you want games where you can play for a long time without risking your original bankroll?
Do you want games that are easy to play, or do you prefer the challenge of strategy?
Do you like the idea of one-person play, or do you want the competitive angle of playing other players?
Do you like games that you can play quickly, or are you OK with games which might take a little longer?
As you’ll see when we take you through the five games you should consider paying in an online casino, these games each cover certain bases at the expense of sacrificing others. No single casino game can be all things to all people. If there was such a thing, the online casinos wouldn’t need to include anything else.
What we suggest is that you first ask yourself the above questions and see if you can identify the answers. It will then help you in your choices when it comes to playing these games for real money. A little bit if prep work will help you to find your game (or games) that much quicker.
One other suggestion: Try to find a gambling site that will let you play these games for free in order to practice them. Doing that will let you test them out without putting anything at stake. In that way, you’ll have a feeling about which games will be more your style once you start playing for real.
Poker is a game that was played long before casinos even existed. In the modern age, poker has become a huge industry, helped out by a boom at the start of the millennium. And the popularity of online poker has taken off like a rocket in recent years, as more and more people have taken to playing at poker sites because of the convenience of not having to seek out a live poker room to get their action.
While there are one-person versions of poker (such as Caribbean Stud) found at online gambling sites, we’re primarily talking about the online version of the multiple-player poker found at poker rooms and home games all over the world.
And right off the bat, that identifies the main separating point between poker and the other games on this list: it’s played with more than one player at a time. As a result, the house edge is based totally on the takeout, or rake, determined by the website; everything else is a kind of zero-sum game, with winners generally taking profits from what the losers have lost.
Winning at poker basically breaks down to two main components:
Forming the best poker hand. If more than one player makes it through the last round of betting, the winner is determined by which player left has the best combination of cards. Poker combinations run from the easily-made, like a simple pair, to much rarer combinations like the royal flush; the rarer the combination, the higher it ranks.
Betting strategically. Many poker hands never make it to a “showdown,” where the players combine their hands. Instead, a hand often ends when all but one player “folds,” or give up their hands, leaving the last remaining player as the winner.
This latter part of the game creates all kinds of strategic moves that can be made to improve chances of winning. For example, a “bluff” is when a player bets like they have a great hand even if they don’t, forcing other players out to win the pot. The opposite of that is the “slow-play,” which is when you have a great hand and don’t bet too aggressively at first because you want other players to stay in and make the pot bigger.
As far as the different styles of poker play, there are many unique twists on the action. But they can be broken down, for the most part, into three general categories:
Draw: This style of poker allows you to improve your hand from its original deal. You do this by discarding cards you don’t want and then drawing new cards from the deck to replace them. Five-Card draw is the most common form of draw poker.
Stud: A stud poker game doesn’t allow you any chance to improve your hand. Whatever cards you receive on the deal are what you get. In stud poker variations, the betting strategy is amplified.
Community cards: In these types of poker games, there will be certain “hole cards” dealt to each player specifically and that aren’t shown. Then there are community cards which are laid face-up on the table which every player in the hand can use for their hands. Texas Hold’Em, the game that fueled the poker boom over the past few decades, is the most popular form of poker that uses community cards.
Those general games can be broken down from there with little twists here and there to create something unique. The best online gambling sites often contain a wide variety of these variations on common poker forms. They’ll also give you different betting limits and will let you play in different ways, such as cash games, head to head, or tournaments.
Poker is a game that is impossible to master, because you just can’t ever accurately predict the play of your opponents. But the best poker players can truly dive into the minds of the other players at the table, as well as throwing them off with their own unpredictable play. That’s why the best pros win a lot more often than they lose.
One other aspect of poker that separates itself for most of the other games listed here is that it is the game you’ll want to play if you want to win big in a single sitting. This can happen either by winning a tournament of performing well in a high-limit cash game. The downside is that you can also open yourself up to big losses if you’re not careful.
2. Video Poker
Many people don’t realize how beneficial video poker is to gamblers when they decide to play online. If you’ve never played video poker before, you might think that it’s just another form of online slots. But in actuality, video poker takes the independent play of slots and combines it with the strategy and high payback of table games.
In its most basic sense, video poker is just a simulated version of Five-Card Draw. Game play breaks down to this:
You receive five cards on the deal from a 52-card deck
You’ll assess these cards with the thought of making the best possible poker hand
You can keep the cards you think will help you make a winning hand and discard those that you don’t think will help
You’ll receive fresh cards from the deck to replace the ones you’ve discarded
After that process, you’ll have your final five-card hand, and that will determine whether you’ve won or lost
After that, the similarities to actual poker end. The main difference is that there is no need for different betting rounds in video poker, since you’re the only person playing. You make your bet at the beginning of the hand and that’s the end of the betting.
As a result, all the strategy is focused on deciding on what cards you hold and what cards you discard from each deal. You have to do this by looking at the pay table, as that will determine your strategy. Here is the pay table for the most common form of video poker, known as Jacks or Better:
4 of a kind
3 of a kind
Jacks or better
As you can see, you can bet between one and five coins, the value of which depends on the denomination you’ve chosen to play. Here are how the different winning hands are comprised, from least to most valuable:
When you get your initial cards, you have to decide which of those winning combinations you have a realistic chance of achieving. But you also have to decide when it might be time to try for one of the rare, high-paying combinations. The better decisions you make in this regard, the higher your potential payback will be.
As we said above, Jacks or Better is the most basic format for video poker at online gambling sites. But video poker also stands out for the variety of different ways it can be played. For example, video poker can be altered by:
Different pay tables: Many video poker games have the word “bonus” in them, which lets you know that you’ll be looking at increased payback for four of a kind. Other pay tables contain other specific twists. As the pay table is altered, so too is payback percentage, volatility, and correct strategy.
Multiple play: You can play more than one video poker hand at once with these types of games. While you’ll still only receive one deal, the decisions you make will be played out over three, five, ten or even 50 or 100 hands. Using the multiple play format really revs up the pace of play.
Special features: Video poker manufacturers can add different unique features without really changing the basic deal-decide-draw format, many of which are only accessed with a wager that is higher than normal. For example, you might be able to get multipliers, free wheel spins for extra coins, free hands of video poker, or amplified pay tables. In most cases, these twists actually increase the payback from the normal style of play, although they also put more pressure on your bankroll with your higher bet.
Pound for pound, video poker is one of the most gambler-friendly of all games found in online casinos. It’s not that hard to learn to play. And it’s transparent, in that your chances of making winning hands and the payback for winning hands are all set in stone when you begin play.
On top of that, if you choose the right pay table and learn proper strategy, you can narrow the house edge to a point where it is as low as any other casino game. Video poker might not be the flashiest option among these five games. But it deserves your attention if you’re looking for a game that offers you a lot of positives and not too many negatives.
Blackjack is a hot commodity at most land-based casinos, so it’s no surprise that it’s also extremely popular among online gamblers. It’s a perfect game for those who like low-variance, as you can generally play blackjack for a long time on a small bankroll. And it also features one of the lowest house edges of any casino game, as long as you understand the way to play with proper strategy.
Many people misunderstand the rules of blackjack somewhat when they say that the object of the game is to get as close to 21 with the value of their cards without going over. While that’s a part of it, you ultimately have to beat the dealer to win your hand.
The cards in blackjack each have a value attached to them:
Jacks, queens and kings = 10
Two through nine = face value
Ace = 1 or 11
Knowing those values, you have to make decisions on your hand based on the two cards that you initially receive. The dealer also gets two cards, but only one of theirs will be showing. While it’s conceivable there might be other players in the game if you’re at a gambling site that offers a live-gambling option, their cards don’t affect whether you win or lose in any way; it comes down to you and the dealer.
To beat the dealer and win the value of your bet one of the following has to be true at the end of the hand:
Your cards have a value of 21 or below that is higher than the dealer
Your cards have a value of 21 of below and the dealer’s value goes above 21 (known as a bust)
If you go over 21, or the dealer ends up with a higher value than you that is 21 or below, you lose your bet. A push happens whenever you have the same value as the dealer (that is below 21) at the end of the hand, and that means you get your original bet back. One other possibility for you: a blackjack, which is when you get 21 on your first two cards and the dealer doesn’t do the same; most online casinos pay you 3 to 2 on a blackjack.
When you receive your first two cards, you have the following choices:
Hit: When you hit, you get another card. You can hit as many times as you wish as long as you don’t go over 21.
Stay or Stick: This means you’re happy with the value of the cards you have and don’t want to add any more. You can also stay after you’ve hit one or more times.
Double: This is when you double your original bet. When you double, you will receive one more card from the dealer to add to your original two and then you must stay. You might choose to double if the card that the dealer has showing indicates a possible bust down the road and another card added to your first two will get you close to 21.
Split: You can split if your first two cards are of the same value (such as two 8s or two face cards). When you split, you double your bet and take the first two cards and use them as the starting point for two new hands, with the dealer adding one card to each. From that point, you can then play out the hands in any way you wish.
Insurance: Insurance is a way to protect against the possibility of a dealer having blackjack. If the dealer has an ace showing, the player can make an insurance bet of half their original wager. The dealer will immediately check then to see if they have blackjack, and, if they do, the player wins 2 to 1 on the insurance wager, even as they lose their original bet.
Even though that might seem like a lot to a first-time player, blackjack is actually a game that you can learn pretty quickly after playing a few times. Playing it well is another matter. Luckily, there are many blackjack strategy charts that will show you the optimum plays in every situation, depending on what you have and what the dealer has.
If you play blackjack with utmost strategy and find a version of the game with favorable rules for the player (lower amount of decks used, liberal rules for splitting and doubling, dealer must stay on 17, among other), you can cut the house edge below one percent.
That is about as good as you can do with online casino games. For those who want long-term results out of a game, blackjack is as good as it gets.
On top of that, blackjack is excellent in terms of keeping the volatility relatively low. If you bet wisely and play with good strategy, you can play for a long time on a relatively short bankroll. However, if you’re looking for a big jackpot, blackjack isn’t really going to be your game, as you have to grind out winnings one hand at a time.
This is in step with the fact that slot machines are extremely popular in actual land-based casinos. In fact, many online casinos offer slots only and not much in the way of table games.
It’s pretty simple why slots reign supreme in this manner: They are the easiest games to play. There really isn’t any strategy involved, besides the fact that betting the highest amount usually earns the highest amount of payback over the long haul. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of hitting the spin button on the screen and then waiting to see the results.
Just as you can find many different types of slot machines in live casinos, online slot machines are found in practically every style in online casinos. While how you play the game is pretty much the same in every instance, you can try different styles such as:
Narrative games: Many online slot-machine fans like following along with a story as they play. These games can be followed almost like you would follow the storyline in a role-playing video game. They can be more entertaining than the games where there isn’t much to them in terms of background.
Themed games: These games are similar to narrative games and there is often a lot of overlap between the two. You might be able to find games tied into pop culture properties in some cases. Or the particular online casino might have their own proprietary characters and properties that show up in themes.
When it comes to the actual game play, however, online slots don’t change all that much in how you play them. You’ll still be setting up your bankroll, dedicating a certain amount to each spin, and then hitting the spin button to see what happens. If you happen to make one of the winning combinations on the pay table, you’ll end up winning the coins related to that combination.
For those who want a little excitement, look for the online slots that give you more ways to win.
Multiline play is the most common of these variations; in fact, most online slots are of this variety. You’ll usually see a screen with symbols on it in 3 by 5 fashion, and you can win not just for horizontal lines, but also for lines that zig zag across the screen in different patterns.
Many online slots allow you to access different special features as you play as well. When you do manage to put one of these special features into play, you can win more in a short period of time. These features include but are not limited to:
Special pay tables: When you make certain spins, you’ll unlock pay tables more lucrative than the ones you’re playing.
Wild symbols: If you get a wild symbol, it can be changed into any other symbol in order to make your spin a winner.
Multipliers: These do just what they sound like. For example, if you have a 4x (4 times multiplier) attached to a spin that would normally win you 10 coins, you’ll actually win 40 coins.
Streak bonuses: You’ll win escalating amounts of coins if you can put together winning streaks several plays in a row.
Free spins: If you get free spins, you’ll be able to play a certain number of rounds of the slot without losing any of your bankroll. But you will be able to win during that stretch.
Progressive jackpots: These are jackpots that start at a base level but keep going up as long as no one at the gambling site is able to hit it. Progressive slots can offer some of the biggest payback available while they are high above their normal level. Once they are hit, they’ll return to their normal level and the whole process starts up all over again.
As we said, slots are a draw in part because they’re ideal for people who don’t want to think too hard while they’re gambling. On top of that, online slot machines offer some of the biggest jackpots among all online casino games. That’s a positive for people who like the idea that they can win a bunch in a very short amount of time.
Where online slots lack is in the overall payback. First of all, it’s often impossible to tell what you’re going to get from a particular slot in the long haul, because there is no way of knowing how often winning spins might occur on the average. On top of that, online slots generally measure well below games like video poker and blackjack in terms of the payback percentage.
In addition to those negatives, online slots can seem somewhat dull if you’re craving a challenge. And others will be frustrated by the lack of control they have over whether they win or lose. But these complaints must be the minority opinion, because the popularity of online slots always seem to be on the rise.
People might not consider roulette to be an online gambling option because it seems like such a physical experience. You might have the notion in your head of that big spinning wheel and a bunch of people around the table cheering for the number to come up, as you might expect to see in a land-based casino. But, in actuality, roulette makes for an excellent online experience, as you’ll be able to play with the same odds as you would in the casino.
Some online casinos might have live-dealer (or live-spinner, to be more accurate) versions of roulette at their sites. But for the most part, the action will be automated.
Just as in other online casino games, the results will be determined by a random number generator in the software, but the game will go through the motions of showing a spinning ball in a wheel so you can feel that excitement.
First of all, online roulette is an easy game to play. It’s just a matter of deciding how much of the digital table you want to cover with your bets. On the table you’ll find the following spaces:
#1 through 36, divided between red and black colors
A green #0 and, in American Roulette, a green #00 as well
The green spaces are “house” spaces, which means that you’ll lose if you’ve made one of the even-money bets on the board. That’s part of the reason that European roulette, which has just one green space, is preferable to American roulette. Another reason is that payback for other bets stays the same in both games even though the 38th space on the American roulette wheel slightly lowers your chances of your wager being a winner.
To make your bets, you’ll move your digital chips around on the screen. The more numbers you cover, the better chance you have to win, but you’ll also lower your potential payback. Here are the different types of bets that you can make and the odds that you’ll receive:
Single number (straight-up): 35 to 1
Two numbers (split): 17 to 1
Three numbers (street): 11 to 1
Four numbers (corner): 8 to 1
Five numbers (basket, available only in American-style roulette): 6 to 1
Six numbers (six line): 5 to 1
Twelve numbers (columns, dozen): 2 to 1
Eighteen numbers (odd or even, red or black, 1 to 18 or 19 to 36): 1 to 1
What’s fascinating about the mathematics surrounding roulette is that the house edge for every one of these bets is the same. The only exception is the five numbers “basket” bet, which has a higher house edge and should be avoided. Barring that, you’ll know what you’re going to get out of every one of your online roulette bets.
What you can do by changing your bets is change your volatility level. If you bet on just one number at a time, you’ll have long stretches when you don’t win, but your bankroll will take a big jump when you do. By contrast, the even-money bets will offer you a better chance of winning from spin to spin, but they’ll also require you to grind out winnings.
In addition to choosing European roulette if at all possible when playing online, you should also look for the availability of one of these two rules, any of which will lower the house edge:
Imprisonment: With the imprisonment rule, or “en prison” if you like the European lingo, you won’t automatically lose an even-money bet if a spin lands in a house space. Instead, your bet will be imprisoned until the next spin, in which case it will either be returned to you (if the ball lands in one of the covered spaces) or you’ll lose it (if not.)
Surrender: The surrender rule is also tied to occasions when you make an even-money roulette bet and the ball lands in a green space. When this happens in a roulette game with a surrender option in place, you lose only half of your original wager instead of all of it.
The house edge for roulette comes to about 5.3 percent in the American version and 2.7 percent in the European version. If you can find the imprisonment or surrender versions, you can lower that house edge down to 1.35 percent. That’s a pretty low number for what is essentially a luck-based game.
Online roulette is a good choice for those who like to control the volatility levels. And it’s also a game where you’re never really in the wrong with a bet (expect for a “basket” bet, as mentioned above). That makes it a game that even a beginner can play as well as somebody who’s been playing for years.
Obviously, you might not care too much for roulette if you’re not a fan of luck-based action. Once you make your bets, whether you win or lose is pretty much out of your hands. But if you don’t mind leaving a little bit up to chance, you might find that online roulette is as beneficial to you as it is exciting.
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We hope that you now have a firmer grasp of these five games which pretty much rule the roost at the best real money online casinos. As you can see, they all have advantages and disadvantages, and what game you enjoy the most might come down to your own personal preferences. If you do a little more research on the individual game pages, you’ll find out more about them and can make an even more informed choice.
Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog.
For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...
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