We all love poker. For many of us, it is our favorite game to play whenever we visit a casino. But not everyone ranks poker highest on their lists of popular casino games.
Here is a look at 10 of the world’s most popular casino games.
Slots are typically the biggest revenue-creators for casinos, and most regular casino patrons list slots as their favorite game to play.
Slots have come a long way in terms of their development, with the technologically-advanced video slot machine having largely replaced the familiar “one-arm bandit” fruit machine. One big appeal of slots are the jackpots, which come either as a fixed jackpot specific to a machine or a progressive jackpot involving a network of connected slots. Online slots are also especially popular, ranking high in the list of favorite online casino games.
We can include video poker in the slots category as well, even though it plays a lot differently than most slots and incorporates genuine poker strategy.
When it comes to card games played in the casino, blackjack tops the list for many. Also known as 21 or “Vingt-et-Un,” players compete against a dealer as they try to make hands totaling 21 without going over.
There are many different blackjack variations, as well as the chance to make side bets on perfect pairs or other types of hands. There is some skill involved, too, as players decide whether to hit, stand, split hands, double down, to play their ace high or low, and so on.
Roulette is one of the oldest casino games around, dating from Europe hundreds of years ago. A croupier spins a wheel containing numbers from 1 to 36, plus a zero (and a double-zero if it is “American” roulette). Players mark their bets on a board with numbers, and wait to see whether or not fortune smiles upon them.
Players can bet on a specific number and win a big payout if it hits. They can bet on the ball landing on a red or black number, what is called an outside bet like betting on even or odd numbers. Or they can make an inside bet on adjacent numbers, a row of numbers, and so on.
We all know poker, of course, and while not every casino even has a poker room, some have quite large ones that are very popular. Unlike other casino games, poker is one in which players compete against each other with the “house” taking a rake from each pot.
Sometimes the casino will offer jackpots for the best poker hands or especially bad beats, but the money funding these prizes come out of the pots as well. Many who play poker online first then like to go try their hand (pun intended) in a live game.
Craps is a dice-based game in which several players all separately bet on a single roll or sequence of rolls. While it is largely a chance-based game, there can be some strategy involved concerning how players bet.
Like blackjack, roulette, and poker, craps is a casino game that often has a social element to it. Often you’ll see a craps table surrounded by many players all reacting excitedly to how the dice falls.
Baccarat well deserves its place on this list, and perhaps should rank higher depending on where you are in the world. Baccarat is a card game often favored by high rollers as opposed to the majority of casino goers.
Baccarat originated in France and is popular in European and American casinos. But baccarat is most popular in Asia where the casinos are routinely packed with busy “punto banco” tables.
In fact in Macau casinos, baccarat is by far the most popular game, responsible for bringing in the most revenue of all the games. The nearest challenger is slots, which when compared to VIP baccarat and regular baccarat earns something like 1/15th to 1/20th what baccarat does.
Keno is a gambling game that resembles the lottery. Typically players select numbers between 1 and 80 (often 20 of them), then a drawing occurs.
One reason Keno is popular is because it is so easy to play. Usually it only involves filling out a slip or clicking numbers on a screen. As in lotteries, the prizes can be quite big, although the house edge is often very high relative to other casino games.
Pai Gow poker is a relatively recent invention. It’s a card game derived from the older Chinese game involving dominoes. It’s a version of poker, but it plays like blackjack insofar as a table full of players are all competing against a dealer (or “banker”), and not each other.
We might include in this category other, similar “casino poker” games like Three-Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and the like. These games are especially popular among poker players, in part because they allow them to draw on their poker skills and knowledge in a different context than at a regular poker table.
Heading back over to the Macau casinos for a moment, that’s where you’ll likely see a lot of Sic Bo also being played. It’s a chance-based dice game with connections to games like hazard and chuck-a-luck.
If you visit the Sic Bo tables you’ll usually see three dice under a clear dome surrounded by a table full of numbers indicating different types of bets. It resembles craps, although since there is no skill involved it really plays more like roulette.
Bingo is kind of like Keno, only instead of picking your numbers you are given them on a Bingo card. Then as numbers are drawn you mark them off your card, hoping to get five in a row (either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) and make “Bingo” to win.
Some might think of Bingo as a game mostly played in churches or for charity. But Bingo is quite popular in many casinos as well, including some where the gambling laws only permit Bingo and prohibit other “Vegas-style” casino games.