Online Casino games are now enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. Since the first online casinos began offered their services on the internet more than 20 years ago, this entertainment grown enormously in popularity. It’s now easier than ever before to play online casino games. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your sofa. You may even potentially feel a little spoilt for choice. You might even feel a little bit overwhelmed by all the different games on offer. That’s why we’ve put together this introduction to online casino games.
Playing at online casinos can be a stack of serious fun. Of course, there is also the chance of winning some serious money. It’s really quite straightforward, even if you’re not a high-tech wizard or great with computers, tablets or mobile phones. It is also perfectly safe and secure too. Despite these facts, the concept of playing online for real money can be quite daunting for some beginners.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know in order to enjoy playing online casino games. For example, learning the rules of various casino games in addition to basic strategies can increase your chances of winning by narrowing the gap on the marginal house edge that most online casino games have. Online casino games can loosely be categorised into two main groups: skill games and games of chance. The differentiation between skill games and games of chance is actually quite elementary.
Casino games (especially, the so-called ‘table games’) including Blackjack, Video Poker, Roulette and other games of a decision-making nature can be learnt through practice and understanding basic strategies to play decisively to maximise the chance of being a winner and minimising your losses.
Games of Chance
Games such as Online Slots, scratch cards, keno and lottery type games are totally random and simply games of chance. Very little opportunity of developing a ‘winning strategy’ exists. Simply put, these games are pure luck (perhaps even more so in online casino where these games are determined by random number generators to keep results fair and transparent for all to see).
Online Casino Games are all quite different. While the house wins in every game, some games offer better chances than others for players. The ‘House Edge’, refers to how much the casino budgets to win over the long term.
Generally, if you can play a game with ONLY a 1% house edge, you have a MUCH better chance of winning over the long term than if you play a game with a 5% house edge. A long-term perspective can be an advantage when deciding what games to play.
As a general rule, the more difficult a game is to play, the better it’s returns. However, there are some exceptions to that rule.
Let’s examine closely the types of online casino games available along with a short description of each game.
Gaming machines are casino games that are machine operated. These games were traditionally mechanical and coin operated. The evolution of modern gaming machines led to electrical machines and operation with coins, tokens, paper money and credit cards. Today, almost all are completely digital whether they are located in a land-based casino or an online casino.
Gaming machines in online casinos consist of online slot machines and video poker.
Online Slot Machines
Online slots are the most popular games in online casinos. Originally, traditional online slots were simple 3-reel machines with fruit and bell symbol. These days you can find a collection of games from 3-reeled, 5-reeled, those with up to 243 paylines as well as the million-making progressive jackpot online slots games.
Online Casino slots have now evolved into their own entertainment genre. Themes can range from horror, superhero and sci-fi movie tie-ins through to kids cartoons and classic novels. Rules, odds, strategies, money management and terms used to play online slots can be seen in our Online Slots Guide.
Video Poker is amongst the most popular online casino games. Video Poker is playable in a wide variety of themes and concepts and is particularly enjoyable for the player who thrives on a game of skill. The low house edge, the potential of large wins and the anonymity of playing alone are amongst the greatest attractions of Video Poker play.
Video Poker is between a single player and the computer. Therefore, the play is fast, as no waiting time is needed waiting for other slow players to decide and place their bets.
The rules of Video Poker are easy-to-learn;
- Play 1 to 5 coins.
- You receive up to five cards.
- You choose which to hold and which to discard.
- The Online Dealer replaces your discards and;
- Pays you off depending on the value of the cards remaining in your hand.
Excitingly, Online Video Poker is an exception to the rule, ‘the house always has the advantage’.
If you look for liberal pay tables and play them smartly, you may enjoy a slim advantage over the house. By factoring in incentives such as cash back, free play and other promotions, some online video poker machines can return you over 100%. Check out our online Video Poker Guide.
Online Table Games
Land-based casinos and Hollywood both helped to raise the profile of table casino games. However, in times past, you still needed to physically go to a casino to play your favourite games if you wanted to be like your favourite movie characters, James Bond or Danny Ocean, looking cool and playing the slickest games on the planet. Then, came along the excitement of online casinos.
Traditionally, table games have always required a human dealer to control the game. Online casinos have now made it a reality to enjoy your favourite table game like Baccarat, Roulette, Craps and Blackjack at any time of the day. Additionally, you can now play from the comfort of your own home or ‘on-the-go’ on any mobile electronic device.
Roulette is played on a wheel which contains either 37 or 38 slots (depending if European or American version). It features a small, usually white, or silver ball. This ball is thrown in and settles in one of the slots once the wheel is spun by the croupier. The croupier, (the dealer – who represents the house), takes the bets and pays out should you happen to have predicted the correct outcome. Simply put, by correctly guessing where the ball will finally settle means that you are the winner of the round. It does not get any simpler!
Maybe it is the simplicity of the game then which currently makes Roulette so popular at online and land-based casinos. With basic and easy-to-understand rules, everyone has chances to get in on the winning action. Examine our Online Roulette Guide for a further detailed explanation.
Craps is a game placed with dice where players bet on the results of a single roll of a pair of dice. Whilst Online Casino games generally favour the house, craps is one the games with the best odds for player wins with a house edge of less than 1%.
Basic Craps rules are relatively simple. By playing craps online, you are always the shooter. You must place a bet on either the pass line or the don’t pass line.
During the come-out roll if a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled, the game is hen over and a new game begins. With a roll of a 7 or 11, all pass line bets win. If the dice land on any other number, that then becomes the ‘point’. During the point phase, should the shooter roll a point, the pass line bets win. If the shooter rolls a 7, then the game is over. For a more detailed look at the game, click here for our Online Craps Guide.
Much like Roulette, Baccarat does not require much from its players. Simply take your choice of card, hold your breath and cross your fingers.
As a player, you will have to choose between three outcomes:
- whether the dealer wins,
- whether the player wins or;
- whether it’s going to be a tie.
The winner is the one with 8 or 9 card points first.
If none do, then it’s a tie.
With a 33.3% chance of winning, excitement definitely runs feverishly in Baccarat. Made famous by James Bond 007, Online Baccarat is a favourite in Europe and is a favourite of many online players.
The different card games available in online casinos are among the most popular. Card games are often less about luck and more about acquired learning and skill.
Blackjack is a simple card game. You are quite simply trying to beat the dealer by scoring closest to 21(Blackjack). The catch is that you cannot ‘bust’ (i.e. your hand cannot exceed the value of 21) or you automatically lose the round.
Blackjack is played against the house. Online, you are playing against the computer. Blackjack is an incredibly popular game as there are large odds stacked against the house and really you have the opportunity to win some serious hard cash even if you learn some basic elementary strategies. Examine our Online Blackjack Guide for more details.
Poker (Texas Hold ‘Em)
Most Online Casinos also offer additional poker games that are not Video Poker Machines. Of these, Texas Hold ‘em remains the favourite of online poker players.
Texas Hold ‘Em is a fun and easy to learn game. You can quite literally be enjoying a competitive game within minutes of beginning. You will discover that a lot of strategy is involved. The very best players are expert at reading hands and betting in ways to maximise value when ahead and to minimise losses when behind. Please be fully aware that at times, Online Texas Hold’ Em may potentially have a rather high House Edge.
Live Dealer Games
Live Dealer Games are for the players who love the atmospheric adrenalin buzz of The Vegas Strip, Macau or Atlantic City. In a Live Dealer Casino game, a human dealer usually runs the game in real time from a casino gaming table, viewed via a live streaming video link. Players make betting decisions on their computer or mobile screens, and can communicate directly with the dealer.
Live Casino Games usually offered include Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat. Simply click on the table you wish to join and a Video Chat window will open up. Play against real live dealer in real-time over video stream!
Games with the largest jackpots?
Without any question, Online Slots offer the highest jackpots. British soldier, Jon Heywood currently holds the World Record Jackpot payout win of more than CAD$23 million playing Mega Moolah at Betway Online Casino in October 2015. Almost unbelievably, he made his win on a single CAD$0.40 bet.
Online Slots do, however, have an extremely high House Edge. The games that offer the lowest house edges are:
- The house edge for Blackjack is just 1%, or as low as 0.13% for many online casinos. Moreover, you are playing against a dealer, not professional players, which in theory, makes it much easier to win.
- Craps 0.60%.
- Roulette 2.7%.
Are Online Casino Games ‘Rigged’? – No, it’s a Myth
No. Online Casinos are not rigged, nor are they allowed to be rigged.
The perception that many online casinos deliberately manipulate the odds cannot be further from the truth. Licenced Online Casinos are subject to stringent ongoing tests and are regulated to offer realistic Return-to-Player percentages (Usually over 95%).
The games are designed using a random number generator. The generator sifts through hundreds of potential results per second. Outcomes are randomly chosen, identical technology to that used by land based casinos. All games are closely monitored and checked monthly by independently legislators to ensure they are fair and that strict industry-wide Return-to-Player percentages are enforced. See detailed descriptions in our Independent Online Casino Reviews.