Card Games – Top online casino
Card games are one of my faves! Slots are always a popular online casino attraction. They’re colourful. They’re vibrant and they offer the promise of life-changing jackpots with just a single spin. But what about card games? They may not offer the same instant rewards as slots. But they’re equally gripping with the unique challenge they present from a skills perspective. And the exhilaration that comes with going head-to-head against the house, and coming out on top.
If you’ve never tried an online casino card game before, it might be time to sit down at a table and see what fortunes await you. Take a look at our guide to the most popular casino card games. And find out if you’ve got what it takes to be number one.
Card games – number one.
Everyone’s heard of Blackjack. And even if you’ve never played it before, chances are you have too. The appeal of Blackjack is how easy it is to understand for beginners. Yes, there are certain strategies you can use to maximize your chances of winning or minimize your chances of losing. But at the heart of it, it’s you against the dealer in a battle to see who can win with a card hand value of 21.
What’s important to note, however, is that Blackjack isn’t simply about the number 21. As long as your hand beats the dealer’s, it doesn’t matter what your card hand value is. As long as it doesn’t go over 21. Because then you’re out of the game instantly.
Another important point to consider is the value of the cards in Blackjack. As having these memorized will help your decision-making immeasurably. Particularly in situations where you need to think quickly:
Aces – worth 1 or 11 points
Number cards (2 to 10) – worth their face value
Picture cards (J, Q, K) – worth 10 points
Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to play some card games! Luckily when you are playing online there’s no need to worry about what to do when. As you’ll be prompted by the software. So even if you’re a complete beginner, there’s no need to be anxious.
First things first. You’ll need to choose your bet size. Once you’re done, click the ‘Deal’ button. You’ll then be dealt two cards by the dealer, both face up. The dealer will also receive two cards. However one will be face up, and one face down. If you’ve been dealt an Ace and a picture card, well done you – that’s Blackjack. And it’s an instant win for you. Paid out at 3 to 2. (Unless it turns out that the dealer also has Blackjack, in which case your hand will be pushed, or drawn, and you’ll receive your initial bet back.)
If you haven’t been dealt Blackjack card games. Which is most often the case, then you’ll need to start making some decisions. Will you stick with the hand you’ve been played? Or ask for one card? Perhaps you ask for two cards? How many risks are you willing to take? It’s here where experience comes into play. Knowing which of the following decisions to make, and when:
Here’s a guide for you
Stand – Stick with the hand you’ve been dealt.
Hit – Ask for one or more cards until you’re satisfied with your card hand value (or until you unintentionally go bust).
Double Down – Double the size of your bet in return for a single card. Only to be used when you’re feeling extremely confident about your hand.
Split – Double the size of your bet and split a pair of cards with the same value (e.g. two 3s) into two separate hands. From then on you’ll play both hands separately, making individual choices about each one.
Once you’ve made your decision and are satisfied with your hand, it’s the dealer’s turn to play. They’ll reveal their face down card and choose to either hit or stand. If their hand is worth 16 or less. They’ll be forced to hit. If their hand is worth 17, they may need to stand (although some casinos will allow the dealer to hit on a soft 17, e.g. an Ace and a 6). But, if the dealer’s ultimate hand is higher than yours, you’ll lose. If it’s lower, you’ll win even money odds. And if both your hand and the dealer’s are equal in value, the hand is drawn and you’ll win your money back.
Sounds easy enough, right?
It actually is, which is why it’s so popular with beginners both in online and brick and mortar casinos. Where the complexities lie are in the various strategies available. The more you play and the more experience you gain. The more skilled you’ll become. Which is a good thing, as Blackjack is one of the few games where your choices could help guide the outcome, and lower the house edge in your favour. That’s because due to the fact the Blackjack is a strategy game. Its house edge is low already. Add to that your experience and skill, and you could lower the house edge even further to less than 1%, giving you enormous winning potential. All of which means if you haven’t played a game of Blackjack yet. Now’s the time to start. Because this is one game you can’t afford to miss out on.
Card Game number two.
There’s an air of mystery that surrounds Blackjack. Perhaps due to its history of nobility and sophistication. Or its reputation as James Bond’s favourite casino game. Either way, Baccarat isn’t generally a casino card game chosen by beginners. But given its simplicity, it should be.
That’s because unlike Blackjack that offers the player a number of different decisions, Baccarat offers only one. To choose which out of two hands, either the Player or the Banker, will win. Or whether there will be a Tie. There’s no need to choose extra cards or rely on strategies. All that’s needed for you is to place a bet on one of the three potential outcomes. And then sit back and enjoy the game.
Once you’ve placed your bet, the dealer will then deal two cards face up to both the Player and the Banker positions. And it’s here where things get interesting. Like Blackjack, Baccarat is a game all about card hand values. Unlike Blackjack, however, Baccarat has a completely unique numbering system. One that you’ll need to be aware of in order to understand the game completely:
Here’s what we have
Aces – worth 1
Number cards (2 to 9) – worth their face value
10s and picture cards (10, J, Q, K) – worth 0
Should the hand you’ve bet on be worth double digits (such as a 4 and a 9, adding up to 13). The first digit will be taken away, in this case the 1, leaving you with a card hand value of 3. Yes, it’ll take a little getting used to. But once you’ve cracked the Baccarat card hand system, you’ll be well on your way to playing like a pro.
Once the Player and Banker hands have been dealt, you’re looking for a card hand value as close to 9 as possible. As this is the value that will instantly secure you a win. Hands of 8 or 9 are known as naturals, and are winning hands. A Player’s hand of 6 or 7 will stand. However a hand of 5 or less will see the dealer adding an additional card to the hand. A Banker’s hand of 0, 1 or 2 will have another card automatically dealt to it. While a hand value of between 3 and 7 will only see another card added according to whether or not the Player’s hand was dealt an additional card. And what the new value of the hand has become. Not bad in terms of card games.
Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds
It may sound a little complicated. But the good news is that the dealer will take care of everything. From totalling card hand values to dealing additional cards. Literally all you have to do is make your initial choice and place your bet. That’s it. Once all additional cards have been dealt. The hand with a value closest to 9 will be the winner. Or if both hands have identical values, the outcome will be a Tie.
As with Blackjack, paying attention to the house edge is important. Although in a different way. While in Blackjack you can lower the house edge based on your skill level. In Baccarat there are a range of different house edges to bear in mind, depending on which bet you place:
Banker hand: 1.06%
Player hand: 1.24%
As you can see, betting on the Player or Banker hand is by far your best bet. And out of those two, the Banker hand is the slightly safer choice. You may not be able to influence the house edge. But you might be able to influence the impact on your bankroll, and that’s what’s most important.
So if you’re looking for a game that’s beautifully simple. Yet still engages your interest throughout, Baccarat could be just what you’re looking for. Because if it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for the rest of us too!
Here’s a big card game
Of course Poker had to be on our list. It’s one of the most classic casino card games of all time! While most online casinos offer a range of Poker games from Omaha Hi/Lo to 5- and 7-Card Stud, by far the most popular variation is Texas Hold’em. A game involving multiple players, community cards and a sense of sheer exhilaration.
While Texas Hold’em may differ from the variations played at traditional Poker nights, the aim is the same. To ensure you have the best hand possible. Or to convince other players that yours is better than theirs. Thereby influencing them to leave the game so you can claim the pot for yourself. That’s because Poker is about more than card hand values. It’s about behaviour. So the more you can do to assess other players’ behaviour and use it to inform your decisions, the more chance you’ll have of coming out on top.
Put on your poker face
As a beginner in card games, the game of Texas Hold’em is simple enough to learn. Sit down at a table and you and the other players be dealt two cards each. Which no one else will be able to see. During the course of the game, five community cards will be dealt for all players to use. Your job is to use your two cards and the community cards to build the best hand that you can. And if yours is the strongest hand by the end of the game, you’ll be the winner.
That’s the easy part of Texas Hold’em in the world of card games. Where it becomes more complicated is in devising your bluffing strategy. Using the various decisions available to you to convince the other players that your hand is stronger than it actually is. So that by the end of the game, you’re the last player left standing (or sitting, as it were). While bluffing in real life Poker relies on facial cues and body language. In an online environment all you have to go on is other players’ gaming behaviour. How long it takes them to make a decision. And potentially any clues that they reveal in the online chat, if they choose to use this.
To bluff or not to bluff
The quicker you’re able to master the mental aspect of the game. The more successful your playing will become. And the more you’ll hopefully win as a result. That’s the good news. The even better news is that like Blackjack. The more skilled you become at Poker, the more you could lower the house edge in your favour. With no strategy in place, the house edge could rise as high as 10%. From its more usual 2.1% in terms of the ante bet, and 1.09% for the blind bet. Use your skill and your experience to your advantage. However, and you could decrease the house edge to as low as 0.53%. Do you have the skills to bluff your way to a perfect play? Only time and experience will tell!
Now that you’ve learned all about the top online casino card games available. It’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Sit down at a table the next time you log onto your casino, and see what the cards and your fortunes have in store for you!