Most Popular Casino Games
Every casino player has his or her own favorite games to play. Among the most popular casino games for real money are slots, blackjack, craps, roulette and video poker.
When getting ready for a trip to the casino, there are two important rules to follow:
1) Have a clear playing and betting strategy for whatever game you choose; and
2) Set a budget for your game play and stick to it!
Following are some brief suggestions for how to go about playing popular casino games. However, these are general suggestions, and smart players will take some time to check out the games are played in their chosen casino before diving into the action. Whatever you do, keep a cool head and always do the math in choosing a game with the best odds of winning.
Playing slot machines has become so popular in brick-and-mortar casinos over the past 50 years that it’s surprising to think they were once an afterthought. That’s right, gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had slot machines installed in his casinos to keep wives and girlfriends occupied while their menfolk took in the “real” casino games. Before long, however, everybody discovered that slot machines were paying off for players, and their popularity soared.
Today in many places where casino gambling is just getting under way, the first thing a new casino does is to install slot machines. This means that this game is more accessible to plays from the start, but it’s still necessary to decide on a strategy. With slot machines, a strategy can be as simple as moving to another machine if the one you’re playing hasn’t paid off in a certain number of spins.
Slot machines are simple to play. Each machine has a certain theme, such as racing, food, pirates, treasure hunts, ancient civilizations and so on. The machine is set up with a certain number of reels from 3 to 7 typically, and programmed with any number of payoff lines. It’s wise to review and if possible memorize the payoff table for each game you play. That way you’ll have a better idea of what you’re shooting for.
Players used to pull a lever to get the reels turning, but today most slot machines are computerized, so all that’s necessary is to push a button and watch the wheels spin. Thanks to computers, software programs known as random number generators, or RNGs now run slot machines. These programs have been an enormous boon to the popularity of slots, because they have all but eliminated the possibility of a machine being tampered with, thus assuring a fair game.
Betting on slot machines can range from as little as a penny a pull to big-money games at $1 or more. Slots games often have added features such as bonus games or progressive jackpots. Some players like the bonuses, while others would prefer a straight, unadorned game. It’s the player’s choice.
Many casinos now offer what’s known as a “player’s card.” This card looks like a credit card, but it actually records your plays in a slot machine. With this card, slots players can become eligible for the same customer appreciation programs as other game players. So check out the VIP programs before dropping money on your favorite slot machine.
Blackjack has become a popular casino game in part because it’s possible for players to develop skills that give them an edge on the house. The game, also known as 21, is also one of the most fun games to play.
Many people think that the goal of blackjack is to get the highest total of card denominations without going over 21. In reality, a player’s goal for casino blackjack should be to beat the dealer. Once you shift your thinking to a beat-the-dealer strategy, you’ll be amazed at how much better your blackjack play becomes.
Blackjack used to be dealt with a standard deck of 52 cards. However, the advent of some major wins in blackjack by players who count cards has resulted in casinos using multiple decks dealt from a box known as a “shoe.” is used in a game of blackjack. A table can range from one to seven players against the dealer. The dealer generally has a lot to do: exchanging cash for chips, dealing cards, playing the hand for the house, and even summoning a server for drinks, if the players so desire. So do follow good casino etiquette and tip the dealer when you win, or save one of your chips to tip the dealer if you leave the game without winning. Dealers make their living from tips, and a gracious player will always be welcome.
Playing Blackjack for real money works in this way: The dealer starts by dealing two cards face down to each player, and then one card up and one down for the dealer. Cards are worth their number value, with 10s and all face cards worth 10 each. Then betting goes around the table, as each player gets the opportunity to draw more cards in an attempt to beat the dealer. It’s important that novice players memorize a blackjack strategy table in order to make the most of their bets. Have the patience and discipline to do this before playing in a casino, and your play will be much more enjoyable.
Blackjack betting can be complicated for beginners, which is another good reason to learn as much as possible about the game before going to a live casino. Many online casinos allow players to practice for free, and this is a good way to test how well you’ve memorized your strategy.
Craps, or shooting dice, is a game of skill that requires two six-sided dice and a craps table. Up to four casino employees crew the table to manage betting and run the game. The table can seem intimidating to novices; the layout looks complicated and the number of possible bets is stunning. The table is big, built to accommodate up to 12 players. Even with all these complexities, the object of craps is simply to bet that the person who rolls the dice, called the shooter, rolls a winning combination.
There are 36 possible number combinations in one pair of dice. Some totals are possible in just one combination, such as 2 or 12, known as “rolling boxcars.” The odds for rolling any specific total can be calculated from the number of combinations able to make that total. True odds in craps for any possible number can be calculated by dividing 36 (the number of possible dice combinations) by the number of combinations that can make a specific total. Keep in mind, however, that the true odds of rolling any particular number in craps are reduced by whatever amount the house takes as its percentage, or edge. That’s why it’s important to check on the payoff at craps, which typically has a high edge for the house.
Roulette remains one of the few casino games that many find romantic. Think of James Bond in the casino at Monte Carlo, or the scene in Casablanca where the hard-bitten club owner Rick lets a young couple win their passage to America at the roulette wheel. Such romance might linger in the European version of the game, but American roulette is more difficult despite its popularity.
Roulette is a simple game of chance; there are no skills involved that could give a player an edge over the house. The object of roulette is to predict where the ball will land on the wheel. In US casinos, a small ball spins around a turning wheel with numbers from 0 to 36 on it. However, unlike European roulette, there’s also a slot for 00, which reduces the odds of winning to 1 in 38. To bet in roulette, each player exchanges his or her gaming chips or cash for colored roulette chips. The individualized colors let the croupiers and other players identify the bets.
A roulette table offers spots for a maximum of six players. The layout of the betting table covers every possible outcome for a spin of the wheel, allowing players to bet on every aspect of the game at various odds of winning. The numbers 1 through 36 are arranged into 3 columns, each with 12 rows in numerical order. The color of each number on the table corresponds with the number’s color on the wheel. A roulette wheel is divided into 38 slots colored red or black. It’s also possible to bet on whether the ball will drop into a red or a black slot, and many players like to bet this option. The 0 and 00 are always green.
Roulette wheels never stop spinning. The only time they’ll speed up is when the game is about to begin. A small ball is released along the outer edge of the wheel after the speed up, traveling in the opposite direction. Players have until the wheel slows down and the ball drops onto the wheel to place bets. The resulting number is the winner.
Roulette offers nine different types of bets. There are six kinds of bets known as inside bets, and three known as outside bets. The betting limits for outside and inside bets are usually different, set separately by the casino. The croupier will tell you the betting limit of the table, if it’s not listed on a card near the wheel.
Video poker often is nicknamed “the hunt for the royal flush.” A video poker machine can engage a player’s complete attention, giving them some respite from daily demands. Some say it’s the one casino game that combines luck, skill, technology and psychology all in one. The difference is that a player is playing against live opponents, but against the machine.
Most video poker games are based on Five-Card Draw Poker, in which five cards are dealt to each player, who can trade in the cards for new ones. Depending on the type of game, in most cases a winning hand is determined by the same rules as in live draw poker. The most popular form of the game is Jacks or Better, in which a player must have at least a pair of Jacks to win. Other popular variations include Joker’s Wild, Deuces Wild, and Bonus Poker.
Like slots, video poker has become so popular that many casinos now offer player’s cards that will record a person’s video poker hands to qualify for those all-important casino freebies known as “comps.”
Video poker machines and slot machines are about the same size, and they take similar size bets from nickels up to $5 a hand. If using a credit card to pay for your video poker, be sure the machine has accurately recorded your buy-in. If it hasn’t, immediately call over one of the casino attendants to resolve the issue for you.
Press the Deal button when you’re ready to play and the game is on! Five cards will appear on the screen as you hand, and you get to choose which cards to hold and which to discard. Some machines will make suggestions on which cards to keep, but most players prefer to make their own choices. The hand ends after the draw when you see your new cards and determine whether you’ve won.
Once in a while, a machine will deal out a winning hand the first time. That’s the time to save the hand by pressing a button marked “Hold” or “Stand” on each card. Press the Deal button again, and the machine records your win. When the dreaded “Game Over” flashes on your screen, simply try again by pushing the Bet button.
Now here are the two most popular tips for winning at video poker:
* Pick your machine carefully.
* Play the max bet and keep to the strategy that’s best for the type of game you’re playing.
Many people play video poker because it’s simply so much fun. But if you want to win real money, then bone up on your poker strategy and be sure to pick the right machine.