Casino gaming is bigger business than ever, and the development of online platforms has opened up all sorts of new possibilities and a wider choice of games. It can leave the humble player unsure where to start. Logically, you want a game that is fun and that gives you at least a fighting chance of beating the house.
The problem with slots and roulette is that the outcome is entirely down to chance. Someone can walk up to a roulette wheel for the very first time, and will have exactly the same likelihood of winning as someone who has been playing every day for 30 years. With card games, however, there are decisions to be made and strategies you can adopt. Sure, the turn of a card is still a random event, but at least you have some influence over your destiny. Let’s look at some of the options.
Blackjack is consistently voted the most popular casino game of them all, whether you’re on the Vegas strip or playing at a live blackjack table via your smartphone. It’s a game that ticks all the right boxes in that most people know the rules, and if they don’t, it takes about two minutes to get the idea. Yet basic strategy is nuanced such that it can improve your chances of winning by shaving one percent or more from the house edge.
Take it a step further, and more advanced techniques like compositional dependent strategy and card counting can improve your chances still further and practically eliminate the house edge entirely.
Of course poker is the most strategic game of all. We’ll set aside multiplayer games like Texas Holdem for another day, as these are really in a category of their own. However, there are other poker variants that are ideal for casual casino gamers, and video poker comes top of the list.
There are two important strategic decisions to make. One is which cards to hold and which to discard. This is all about understanding probabilities and there are some great training apps to help you optimise your decision making. The other is which variation to play. If you know what you are doing and have the bankroll to ride out the volatility, versions like Deuces Wild can actually have a negative house edge, meaning the odds are slightly in your favour.
Visit a traditional country pub in the English countryside and you will still find locals with their cards and peg boards playing cribbage. It’s been around for about 400 years, and seems an unlikely game to be adapted for the online casino. Developer 1×2 gaming decided to give it a try, and the result is a simplified version of the classic game that has become something of a cult hit.
The player and dealer are each dealt four cards, and there’s a community card known as the crib. You score points with poker-like runs of pairs, straights, flushes and so on, and the winner is the first to a predetermined score.