Primer on Casino Games

Online casinos can be packed with excitement and drama. They are a great experience, but there’s lots of different games, and some are played with cards, others with dice, and some on machines. They might be confusing and difficult to keep track of them all. Following is an introduction to the types of games you would fine in a casino, whether online or in Vegas. You can learn the rules of each game, and we also explain how they’re played. A few strategic pointers are given as well.

Blackjack

Object of the game

The object of this game is to come closer to 21 as than the dealer, without going bust. You go bust when you get a total number over 21. There may be several players at a BlackJack table but they’re not playing against each other — everyone plays against the house.

Card values

The card values in blackjack:

2 through 10 have face value.
Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth ten points.
Aces are either 1 or 11 (it’s up to the player to decide).
How the game is played

At the beginning of a BlackJack game the players at the table and the dealer are dealt two cards each. The dealer normally has one card facing up and one card facing down (the hole card). The player’s cards are both facing up

If you’re dealt a ten point card (10, J, Q or K) and an Ace at the start you hit 21 and win (pays 3:2). This perfect hand is called a BlackJack or a natural 21. However, if the dealer also gets a blackjack it’s a push (a draw).

If no one gets a BlackJack it’s up to the players if they want to take another card (hit) or not. When you’re pleased with your hand you turn down further cards from the dealer. This is called to stand or to hold. As mentioned above you go bust and lose if you get total value higher than 21.

Who wins?

When the players are done taking cards dealer turns up his hole card. The dealer then will take another card until he has a total value of 17 or higher. Players with a higher total than the dealer win (pays 1:1), and players with a lower total value lose their money. If a player and the dealer have the same total, it’s a draw. If the dealer goes bust all the remaining players are winners (pays 1:1).

Roulette

How the game is played

Roulette is played with a wheel with either 37 (European wheels) or 38 (American wheels) numbered slots, and a small ball. The ball is thrown into the spinning wheel and the object of the game is to predict which slot the ball will stop in.

The Bets in Roulette

Bets in Roulette are made on the table layout where the players place chips. The players have many different bets to choose from:

Straight bet

Chips are put on a specific number on the layout. Straight Bets pays 35:1.

Split bet

Chips are put on the line between two numbers on the layout. Split Bets pays 17:1

Street bet

Chips are put on one of the “streets” consisting of three numbers on the outside line of the layout. Street Bets pays 11:1.

Corner/Square/Quarter bet

Chips are put on the intersection between four numbers on the layout. Corner/Square/Quarter bets pays 8:1.

Line bet, five numbers

Chips are put on the intersection of the lines that separates the 1, 2, 3-row and the 0 and 00 spaces. This bet can only be made on American roulette tables and pays 6:1.

Line bet, six numbers

Chips are put on the intersection of the sideline and the line between two streets. This bet pays 5:1.

Column bet

Chips are put on one of the blank spaces at the bottom of the layout. Column Bets pays 2:1.

Red or Black bet

Chips are put on one of the spaces on the layout marked Red or Black. Red or Black bets pays 1:1.

Odd or Even bet

Chips are put on one of the spaces on the layout marked Odd or Even. Odd or Even bets pays 1:1.

Low or High bet

Chips are put inside one of the spaces on the layout marked 1 to 18 or 19 to 36. Low or High Bets pays 1:1.

Slot Machines

How you play the game

All slot machines generally work the same way:

  • In a “real” casino you spin the reels by either pushing a button or pulling on a handle.
  • In an online casino you use the computer mouse to play.

Differences in slot machines

The general Slots idea is always the same: to line up specific symbols on the payout line. However, different slot machines come with different wheel symbols and payout systems:

  • The slot machines can have from three to five wheels and one to five payoff lines.
  • The more unlikely the winning combination is the higher the payoff.
  • Usually you can bet between 0.25 and 15 on each spin.
  • How much you win is reliant on the amount you wagered.
  • Some online casinos offer “progressive jackpots”.

In general slot machines reward you for wagering the maximum amount. For example, the jackpot may pay 400 coins with 2 coins played, but 1,200 coins when 3 coins are played. In these cases you should of course bet the maximum. If you can’t afford playing the maximum number of coins at one machine you should move down a level. This strategy will certainly help you maximize your craps winnings.

Video Poker

How the game is played

A hand in Video Poker is played as follows:

A player makes his/hers bet.
The machine gives the player five cards.
The players decide which cards to hold on to and which cards to muck.
The player’s mucked cards are replaced with new ones.
The player is paid off (or loses the bet) according to the value of his/hers hand.

Major differences between regular and Video Poker

In Video Poker you play against a machine and not against real people as you do in online poker games.
The objective of the game is to make high ranking hands rather than to beat other player’s hands. Consequently, bluffing and other strategic concepts do not come into play in Video Poker.

Different kinds of Video Poker

There are many different kinds of Video Poker and each one requires its own strategy. Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild are three of the most common playing forms:

  • In Jacks or Better a pair of Jacks is the lowing ranking paying hand.
  • In Deuces Wild the deuces are wild and can be counted as any card in the deck. For example, this make a hand like Five of a Kind possible.
  • In Jokers Wild a Joker is included in the deck. The Joker can be counted as any card in the deck. This makes hands like Five of a Kind and Joker Royal Flush possible.
  • Remember that some strategic knowledge is very useful when you’re playing Video Poker. If you randomly pick a machine and apply your general poker knowledge, you will surely lose over time. If you want to gain an edge in Video Poker you must know what the best pay tables are for each game, where to find them, and how to play them.
  • Consequently, some research is needed if you want to be a Video Poker winner.

Craps

How the game is played

The game of Craps can be played in two different ways:

You can be the shooter, throwing the dice.
You can be an active spectator, betting on the outcome of other people’s throws.
On the first roll (called the come-out-roll), the shooter’s aim is to throw a 7 or an 11 (a win) and avoid throwing a 2, 3 or 12 (a loss). If none of the above mentioned numbers comes up on the come-out roll the number that was thrown becomes the shooter’s Point. The shooter keeps rolling the dice until one of two numbers comes up – the point number or a 7. If the point comes up before rolling a 7 the shooter wins. If a 7 comes up before the point the shooter loses.

Craps bets:

The players around the Craps table can either bet for the shooter to win or for the shooter to lose. There are many other bets that can be made as well.

Pass Line Bet:

Pays off 1 to 1 if the result of the come-out roll is 7 or 11. If the result of the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12 the bet is lost. If a shooter’s point is established the Pass Line Bet wins if the point hits before a 7. Otherwise it’s lost.

Don’t Pass Line Bet:

Pays off 1 to 1 if the result of the come-out roll is 2, 3 or 12. If the result of the come-out roll is 7 or 11 the bet is lost. If a shooter’s point is established the Don’t Pass Line Bet wins if a 7 hits before the point. Otherwise it’s lost.

Come Bet:

Works as Pass Line Bets but these bets are made after the come-out roll.

Don’t Come Bet:

Works as Don’t Pass Line Bets but these bets are made after the come-out roll.

Odds bet:

Odds bets can be placed together with Pass Line Bets, Don’t Pass Line Bets, Come Bets, and Don’t Come Bets. With Pass Line Bets and Come Bets the bet is that the shooter’s point will hit before a 7. With Don’t Pass Line Bets and Don’t Come Bets the bet is that a 7 will hit before the shooter’s point. The payout on these bets depends on what number the shooter’s point is. However, Odds bets always give true odds, and are the most advantageous in Craps.

Big 6 bet:

Pays 1:1 if a 6 hits before a 7.

Big 8 bet:

Pays 1:1 if an 8 hits before a 7.

Aces Bet:

Pays 30:1 if a 2 hits on the upcoming roll.

Twelve Bet:

Pays 30:1 if a12 hits on the upcoming roll.

Any 7 Bet:

Pays 4:1 if the upcoming roll shows a 7.

Any 11 Bet:

Pays 15:1 if the upcoming roll shows an 11.

Any Craps Bet:

Pays 7:1 if the upcoming roll shows a 2, 3 or a 12.

Place Win Bet:

If a specific number chosen by the player (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) hits before a 7 the player wins accordingly:

6 and 8 pays 7 to 6.
5 and 9 pays 7 to 5.
4 and 10 pays 9 to 5

Place Lose Bet:

If a 7 hits before a specified number chosen by the player (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) the player win accordingly:

6 and 8 pays 4 to 5.
5 and 9 pays 5 to 8.
4 and 10 pays 9 to 5.

Buy Bet:

Works as a Place Win Bet but Buy Bets has a different payout structure:

6 and 8 pays 6 to 5.
5 and 9 pays 3 to 2.
4 and 10 pays 2 to 1.

The house takes out a 5% service charge on these bets.

Lay Bet:

Works as a Place Lose Bet but Lay Bets has a different payout structure:

6 and 8 pays 5 to 6.
5 and 9 pays 2 to 3.
4 and 10 pays 1 to 2.
The house takes out a 5% service charge on these bets.

Field Bet:

If the upcoming roll of the dice shows a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 the players wins accordingly:

3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 pays 1:1.
2 and 12 pays 2:1.

Hardway Bet:

If a “double” (for example two 4’s) hits before a 7 the player wins accordingly:

4 and 10 pays 7 to 1.
6 and 8 pays 9 to 1.

Horn Bet:

If the upcoming roll shows a 2, 3, 11 or a 12 the players wins accordingly:

3 and 11 pays 3 to 1.
2 and 12 pays 6.75 to 1.

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