I often suggest that one of the best ways to learn how to play casino games is to experiment with the free games available from online casinos. I also recommend these “just for fun” games as an alternative to playing for real money when you don’t have the bankroll to gamble for real.
In this post, I’m offering my opinion on which free online casino games are the most fun to play. Your temperament might be different from mine, so you’ll probably have different opinions.
I’ve tried to include some commentary about which games might best suit your personality in the section for each casino game.
Free Poker Games
If you enjoy strategic thinking, and if you also enjoy pitting your wits and skills against other gamblers, free poker games are probably just the ticket. I love to play free poker just to see if my theories about the correct way to play work in actual practice.
You’ll hear some poor poker players complain that standard poker strategy doesn’t work in free games because the other players won’t “play right.” If you’re a real student of the game, though, you won’t waste a lot of chips bluffing players when there’s nothing real at stake.
Of course, you might argue that I’m stretching the definition of “casino games” to include multiplayer poker like Texas holdem, Omaha, or Stud. You’d be right, of course. A true casino game is banked by the house.
Nonetheless, when it comes to gambling for play money chips, poker games are the most fun for a lot of people.
Recently, poker games that ARE banked by the house have started gaining in popularity. This includes games like Ultimate Texas Holdem, which borrow the trappings of poker—like hand rankings—but have you play against the house and use a pay table like a video poker game or a slot machine game.
Free Blackjack Games
I like free blackjack games because of the strategic aspect. I want to know whether I’m making consistently correct decisions. Some online blackjack games even offer a basic strategy checker, which will notify you when you’re deviating from the correct basic strategy.
Of course, blackjack—even when played perfectly—is a negative expectation game. Even with play-money chips, you’re going to watch your bankroll disappear gradually over time.
But you’ll have a better chance of going on a hot streak playing blackjack than with any other game. And the mental exercise involved in remembering the correct play is always useful.
Free Video Poker Games
Video poker, like blackjack, has a strategic element. In fact, it’s the only game in the casino that comes close to having as low an edge for the house as blackjack. This varies based on two things.
The first is whether you choose the right pay tables. As luck would have it, free versions of video poker games often have generous pay tables. If you’re not sure which game to start with, try a Jacks or Better game with a 9/6 pay table.
The second is whether you make the mathematically optimal decisions about which cards to keep and which cards to throw away. You can find multiple sites offering advice on video poker strategy.
Of course, the best free online video poker games alert you when you’re making a less than optimal play. Again, this is an opportunity to get in at least a little bit of mental stimulation while you’re “pseudo-gambling.”
Free Roulette Games
Roulette is entirely random, so there’s no opportunity to use any kind of strategy to get ahead. You choose your bets, the game spins the wheel, and the ball lands where it lands.
But online roulette is a perfect game to try various betting systems on. And it’s better to try betting systems on a game where you’re not putting real money at stake.
I have a lot of readers who love strategies like the Martingale system or the Paroli system. If you want to get an idea of how such a betting strategy might work in real life at a real roulette table, spend a few hours using such a system with play money chips.
I’m confident you’ll eventually realize these systems don’t work in the long run. The only thing to keep in mind is that the long run takes longer to get to than most people think. Playing two hours with a system on a free roulette game and showing a profit doesn’t offer you much confidence.
Trying it for 200 hours, though, will give you more confidence that your results are close to what you can expect using that system in real life.
Free Craps Games
Half the fun of playing craps in a casino is getting to roll the dice. The other half is joining in on the camaraderie of the other players rooting for (or against) the shooter.
This makes craps less than ideal to play online. But free online craps games can be a great way to learn how the action of the game works and in what order. You can also get a great idea of which bets are good and which bets are bad.
The craps table is full of sucker bets. If you want to see how bad they are in action, try a free craps game instead of the real money game.
Free Slot Machines
I’ve never personally enjoyed free slot machine games unless they were part of some kind of contest where I might win some real money somehow. I’ve found such online slot machine games on the internet in the past, although they’re increasingly rare.
But I have friends and family members who love them. I guess they enjoy the sights and sounds of the spinning reels. I personally don’t understand the attraction.
If there’s no money involved, who cares about lining up symbols on a payline? Who cares about ringing bells or the accumulation of credits that can’t buy anything?
It must have something to do with how the brain processes sensory information. I’ve read books about how slot machines tap into your dopamine receptors in the same way as addictive drugs.
Free Casino War Games
I love free Casino War games for the same reason I love roulette. It’s an opportunity to experiment with various betting systems. The same betting systems I mentioned in the roulette section can be used at Casino War with similar results, in fact.
The reasons why Casino War is appropriate for this is because it offers a close to 50% probability of winning each hand and an even money payout.
With the Martingale system, you’d want to double the size of your bet after every loss. Bet $50 on a hand and lose, and you’ll bet $100 on the next hand. Win it, and you’ve won back the $50 you lost on the previous hand with $50 in profit.
Of course, if you lose, you continue by doubling your bet again, this time to $200. If that wins, you get your $150 that you’ve lost so far back, again, along with a $50 profit.
The Paroli system is just the opposite. If you win, you double the size of your bet, until you’ve won three times in a row.
Bet $50 and win, and you bet $100 on the next hand. Win again and bet $200 on the next hand. If you win that, you’ve won three times in a row, turning your $50 into $400.
Neither of these systems work in the long run, and you’ll find that out fast if you try them on a free casino war or free roulette game.
Free casino games will never be as much fun as real money casino games, for two reasons:
You don’t stand to lose anything.
You don’t stand to win anything.
That doesn’t mean these free games don’t have their uses. You can experiment with various strategies and learn how to play these games without making mistakes. This is good preparation for playing real money versions of the games.
Which free casino games do you think are the most fun and why? Leave a note in the comments and let me know.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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