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Casino Card Games

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How Do Card Games Work?

A card game is any game played using one or more decks or packs of playing cards. Although there are thousands of card games, all revolve around the same principle, exploiting the fact that they can be identified from one side only and not allowing players to know anyone else's cards but their own.

To make the game fair, all cards in the deck are of the same size and design, and all players are familiar with the deck's composition beforehand. However, the moment the cards are dealt, players can no longer see the faces of their opponents' cards, only the backs, that is, the indistinguishable side of cards.

For this reason, card games are often labelled as games of chance or "imperfect information", as opposed to games of strategy or "perfect information," where all players are fully aware of their opponents' current position throughout the game.

Types of Card Games

Of course, thousands of seemingly different card games do have plenty in common, allowing us to categorise them according to their defining characteristics, rules, and aims.

Trick-taking games

Trick-taking game is a card game where a play of a hand centres on a series of rounds or called tricks, each of which is evaluated to determine the winner or taker of the trick. The goal can be to amass as many tricks as possible, like in whist or spades, or have the highest value of the cards in tricks, e.g. Pinochle or any game in the Tarot family.

Shedding games

In shedding card games, the aim is to be the first to play out one's cards, as in crazy eights or president, or to avoid being the last player with a card or cards in hand, e.g. old maid.

There are numerous versions of these games; some are even played with speciality cards, like Uno, the popular children's card game.

Patience

Patience or Solitaire games are one-player games whose aim is most commonly to set the shuffled deck in order. When played by more than one player, patience games become shedding or melding games.

Melding games

In melding games, also known as rummy games, the aim is to be the first to get rid of cards by melding them in valid combinations, as in gin rummy, or to score as many melds as possible before finishing the round, like in canasta.

Banking games

Banking games are mostly casino games where players bet on having or acquiring better cards than the dealer, such as Baccarat and Blackjack. Although they are not considered games of skill, learning the ins and outs of these games can substantially increase the chances of winning.

Vying games

Vying games belong in the category of advanced skill gambling games not because the rules of these games are complicated but because they require players to trick one another. Many times, convincing other players that you are holding the best card combination is what it takes to emerge as the winner, such as in poker or brag.

Most Popular Casino Card Games

Now let's get down to business and see what the most popular casino card games are! We will break down some of the most sought-after card games, from Blackjack to various poker variants, to bring you closer to the modern online casino offering. Let's roll!

Blackjack

Commonly cited as the ultimate classic casino table game, Blackjack is probably a casino game with the most straightforward rules.

In Blackjack, you don't bet against other players but exclusively against the dealer. Once you're dealt a pair of cards, you'll look to get as close to 21 as possible without surpassing it.

When counting, cards 2 to 9 retain their face value, while tens and face cards are worth 10 points. Aces, however, you can count as 1 or 11 points.

If the value of your hand goes over 21, you go bust and lose; if the dealer's hand gets closer to 21 than yours, you lose again.

Poker

The objective of the Cadillac of casino games, aka poker, is to have the best hand to win the pot.

In poker, you'll be looking for the best possible five-card hand, ranging from the weakest, known as the high card, to the strongest, known as the Royal Flush. After a series of betting rounds, the players expose their hands to see who has the strongest.

However, winning at poker isn't always tied to having the best hand. Being a vying game, poker lets you win without having the best hand by tricking other players, or "bluffing", into thinking that yours is the best hand. Bluffing takes practice and isn't easy to master, but it's an essential skill that sets poker apart from other card games.

Video Poker

If you're familiar with the basic poker rules, you won't find it hard to adapt to playing against the machine, as most video poker games are essentially the classic 5-card draw poker.

The game is set in motion by placing a bet and pressing the Deal button upon which the machine, either virtual or a physical one, deals you five cards. The machine then allows you to exchange any or all of the cards to score a winning hand.

The software then determines whether you have a winning hand. If you do, you win and get paid according to the paytable.

Baccarat

Like any other casino game, Baccarat is played with the standard 52-card deck. The rules are rather simple, but that doesn't mean you can win as easily.

The croupier deals two sets of two cards, dubbed the Banker and the Player, and you can bet on either of them. The goal is to get as close to nine as possible. Of course, not all cards carry the same value, so cards 2 through 9 are worth their face value, tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth zero, while aces are worth 1 point.

Once the cards are flipped, you count the so-called pips or the symbols on playing cards (hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs) to determine who won, taking into account only the last digit, including when the score is a double-digit number.

Texas Hold 'em

Here comes the gambling world's legend, Texas Hold 'em! Texas Hold 'em is by far the most common of all poker variants and the one played most commonly at casinos.

Like any other poker version, the goal is to have the best hand out of five cards. The difference between the 5-card draw and Texas Hold 'em is that players receive only two cards each, while the remaining "community" cards are dealt by the dealer one by one in subsequent rounds and placed face-up on the table.

The aim is to have the best hand by combining the two cards in your hand with another three cards of your choice on the table. You must place a bet in each round to stay in the game. Otherwise, you lose and are not allowed to continue until the hand is finished.

If you make it to the last round, you get to show your cards and take the pot. That is, if you actually have the best hand or if you're skilful enough, make your way to the pot by bluffing.

Three-Card Poker

In three-card poker, the player bets their hand directly against the dealer's hand. Once the ante wagers are placed, the player and the dealer are dealt three cards. The player can then fold or stay in the game by placing a "play" wager equal in size to their ante. Hands are then exposed to determine the winner.

The hands' value is similar to the hand hierarchy in Texas Hold 'em, except that a hand consists of three cards instead of five.

However, for the dealer to play, their hand must be Queen high or higher. If the dealer doesn't play, there is no action on play wagers, and the ante wager is paid to the player 1:1. If the dealer plays, the hands are compared. Should the player's hand lose, they lose both the ante and play wagers. But if the player wins, both the ante and play wagers are paid 1:1. If it's a tie, neither of them wins any of the two wagers.

Stud Poker

In stud poker, each player is dealt three cards face-down, one at a time, while two cards are placed face-down in front of the dealer. The objective is to have the best hand, combining the three cards you were dealt plus the two in front of the dealer.

The players then peek at their three cards and may 1) ask for their bet back or 2) choose to "let it ride." If the player lets it ride, the dealer flips one of their cards. The process repeats for the second time, after which players expose their cards, and the dealer pays out all winning hands.

What Casino Card Games Have the Best Odds?

Perhaps there is a card game close to your heart, and you intend to stick to it. But if you're more about winning than having a thing for a specific game, you'll be interested to know which card game has the best odds. That's where AskGamblers steps in.

Blackjack is the casino card game with the highest odds of winning. At 49%, Blackjack overshadows any other casino game when it comes to winning odds. At most casinos, the Blackjack house edge comes in at below 1%, so go figure.

Next comes Baccarat. The odds of winning the Player's hand stand at 44.6%, slightly lower than scoring a win when you bet on the Banker's hand, 45.8%. Meanwhile, ties win 9.6% of the time. If you factor out the possibility of a tie, you will learn that the Banker's hand wins about 51% of the time; a marginal advantage, but still an advantage, don't you think?

Three-card poker follows closely. The general odds of three-card poker come in at 44.91% for the player, 55.03% for the dealer, and 0.06 for a tie. If you're in for a bit of a thrill and skill required by poker, then three-card poker is your go-to game.

Card Games: Free vs Real Money

It's a question as old as time: should you play card games for free or with real money? Luckily, there's a simple answer to it.

If you're a newbie or utterly clueless about the basic rules, stick to free games until you build your experience up. Unlike some other casino games, card games take patience and practice to master, and you can never be too good at them.

Playing in free mode lets you hone your skills and prevent you from losing money. You know what they say, practice makes perfect, so you should start playing on your bankroll only once you're confident in your skills.

Free Casino Card Games

Now let's break down some of the pros and cons of playing free casino card games.

Pros:

  • You can have fun without risking your funds;
  • Get familiar with the mechanics, graphics, gameplay and payouts as they are identical to the real money card games;

Cons:

  • You can't win real money.

Real Money Card Games

Here come the pros and cons of playing real money card games:

Pros:

  • More excitement, but also greater risks;
  • You can win real money;

Cons:

  • You can lose money, too.

Top Card Game Providers

There are dozens of different card game software providers, and for a newcomer, choosing a game may be overwhelming. This is where free casino card games come in handy; by sticking to free mode, you get a taste of the mechanics, graphics, and paytables until you settle on the provider you like the most.

All major online casino software providers develop card games, so the chances are you will easily find your preferred game among the offering of all iGaming giants.

For further reference, here are the top card game providers we found:

Remember: there is no need to rush anything. Explore the world of card games and their software providers at your own pace and test them in free mode until you are sure you've found a suitable game.

Good luck!

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