How Many of These Casino Gambling Games Do You Know How to Play?
If you walk into any casino in the world, you’re likely to spot a few slot machines and at least one blackjack table. Beyond that, however, the selection can vary widely from one nation to the next.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand slots, which probably accounts for their massive appeal with players ranging from drunken frat boys to chain-smoking widowers. The same can be said for blackjack, as almost everyone has learned the basics of “21” at some point in their life.
Then there are the casino options that people either (a) forgot about, or (b) never knew about to begin with. Learning how to play these less-popular games can be important for the serious gambler, as it exposes you to a whole new world of betting possibilities.
See how many of these casino gambling games you know how to play. A perfect score isn’t going to win you any sort of prize, but it will guarantee that you can walk into any land-based gaming establishment and find something to wager on.
1 – Video Poker
You might be rolling your eyes at this entry, but you’d be amazed at how many players never bother to learn the rules. That’s a shame, as it has the potential to be one of the most profitable games on the casino floor.
Video poker works much like five-card draw poker. The player gets five cards, and they can choose to keep all, some, or none of the cards.
For each card that’s tossed away, they receive a replacement. This gives them their final hand, and the payout is determined based on the strength of that hand.
In most versions of the game, you’ll need a pair of jacks or better in order to get paid. There are dozens of variations of the game, although the royal flush is usually the top hand.
I love this game, as it’s one of the only casino options that give the player a possible edge over the house. In order to take advantage, however, you’ll need to memorize the best possible play for each hand.
2 – Chinese Poker
Also known as “Russian Poker,” this poker variant can be found in casinos throughout Australia, Asia, and the United States. The normal game pits four players against one another.
Each player receives 13 cards, and they have to build three poker hands. One hand has three cards (“the front”), while the other hands are comprised of five cards each (“the middle”; and “the back”).
The back hand must be the highest ranking hand, while the front is the lowest ranking hand. If a player gets a flush on all three hands, they win regardless of what cards their opponents hold.
3 – Keno
The odds on this game are terrible, but it still offers a chance for a big payday. If you’ve ever played the lottery, then you’ve basically played keno.
Players usually select between 3 and 10 numbers ranging from 1 to 80, although some casinos allow for larger wagers. Twenty numbers are then selected at random, and the player is paid based on the number of matches.
Nobody in the history of gambling has managed to get 20 out of 20 matches, although it’s something I’ve always dreamed of. Check out some of the odds for the larger (and more profitable) matches:
- 16 matches – 1 in 1,496,372,110.872
- 17 matches – 1 in 90,624,035,964.712
- 18 matches – 1 in 10,512,388,171,906.553
- 19 matches – 1 in 2,946,096,785,176,811.500
- 20 matches – 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,173,800.000
4 – Sic Bo
The name of this Chinese game translates to “precious dice,” and it’s played with three dice. Asian gamblers love this game, although it can also be found in casinos from American to the United Kingdom.
You should have no trouble learning the rules of the game, as they can be summed up in a single sentence. Three dice are rolled, and the player attempts to predict the outcome.
Here are some of the betting options with the lowest house edge:
- Big – The total will be from 11 to 17 (2.8% house edge)
- Small – The total will be from 4 to 10 (2.8% house edge)
- Odd – The total score will be an odd number (2.8% house edge)
- Even – The total score will be an even number (2.8% house edge)
5 – Casino War
This is the rare casino game where the player can beat the dealer more than 50% of the time. It’s also devilishly simple to learn, and you may have played it as a child under the name “War.”
After placing your wager, both you and the dealer receive a card. If your card is higher, you win. Otherwise, the dealer collects your wager.
If you tie with the dealer, then you have two options. The first option is to surrender and lose half your bet. The second option is to go to war, but you’ll have to double your bet in order to do so.
After three cards are burnt, you and the dealer each receive another card. A higher dealer card results in a player loss. A higher player card results in a payout of the player’s original wager. A tie results in the player being paid based on the doubled wager.
6 – Pai Gow Poker
Instead of Chinese dominos, this game is played with cards. I’ve always been fascinated with this option, although my local casino has never offered it.
The game is played with a normal 52-card deck, but a joker is also added. Up to six people normally play, with each competing against the dealer.
The player receives 7 cards, and they must create a five-card and two-card hand. The rank of the five-card hand must be the higher of the two.
In the five-card hand, the joker can be used to complete a flush or straight. Otherwise, it serves as an ace. In the two-card hand, it always functions as an ace.
If you beat both the dealer’s hands, then you receive a payout based on your wager. If only one of your hands wins, then the bet is considered a push.
7 – Super Fun 21 Blackjack
In a lot of ways, this game is similar to traditional blackjack. There are, however, some key differences. Here are some of the more notable examples:
- Natural blackjack with diamonds pays 2:1.
- Natural player blackjack always wins.
- Six cards totaling 20 automatically wins.
- Getting five cards or more totaling 21 automatically wins.
- You can split hands up to four times.
- You can double down at any time, no matter how many cards you have.
And now for the rule that balances everything out for the house. You knew there was going to be a catch, right? Instead of the normal 3:2 payout, a natural blackjack only pays even money.
8 – Spanish 21
Like Super Fun 21, this game shares many of the same rules with traditional blackjack. There are differences, of course, and these include the following:
- The ten cards are taken out of the deck, leaving only 48 cards.
- Ties are always won by the player.
- You receive a bonus payout if you get a suited 7-7-7 against a dealer 7.
- Insurance is available and pays 2 to 1, although experienced players know this is a sucker bet.
- Dealer stands on 17, while he hits on a soft 17 in traditional blackjack.
While most of these rules are advantageous to the player, the removal of the tens from the deck manages to shift the balance back to the casino. This increases the house edge by about 2%, although the overall expected return is still respectable.
9 – Three-Card Poker
You begin the game by making wagers for ante and Pair Plus. The latter is always required, while the former may be optional.
You receive three cards after making your wager, and the dealer gets the same number. If you made an ante bet, you now have the option of folding or making a play bet equal to your original wager. If the player makes a second wager, then his cards are compared to the dealer to determine who has the better three-card hand.
In order to collect on the Pair Plus wager, you’ll need to have at least a pair of twos. You can also collect a payout for a straight, flush, three-of-a-kind, mini-royal, and straight flush.
I’m a big fan of this game due to the speed of play. While the house edge is higher than European roulette and craps, it still offers a superior option to slots, keno, and American roulette.
Casino games come in all shapes and sizes. Some are simple to learn, while others can challenge even veteran players.
The more casino gambling games you learn, the better your odds of becoming a well-rounded player. This knowledge is especially useful to international travelers, as you never know what kind of games a foreign casino might hold until you’ve walked through its doors.