Whilst Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat provide endless hours of pleasure for many, there are lots of other equally enjoyable table games that aren’t as well known, but ought to be. If you’re unsure about graduating onto the tables and need something that’s not too strategic to help build confidence, or want something more strategic without having to delve into a lifetime study of multi-player poker, then you may find your perfect game among the following:
3 Card Poker
In this game you pay an ante (compulsory initial bet) and are then dealt 3 cards face up. The dealer’s hand is face down and you have the option to bet on whether you have a superior hand or not. If you bet, the dealer’s hand is revealed provided it qualifies by being Queen High or better.
If the dealer doesn’t qualify you win double your ante and get your bet returned. If he does, you’ll get double your stake and ante if you beat him, and lose both if you don’t.
Players are allowed to make an optional Pair Plus bet, which does not depend upon the dealer’s hand at all: You simply bet on whether you’ll get a pair or better in your hand, and if you do you’ll be rewarded according to a paytable set by the casino. Odds of 40 to 1 for a Straight Flush are fairly typical.
Additionally, you’ll win a bonus on your ante if you have a pair or better – again, irrespective of whether the dealer plays. This is paid according to another paytable, typically offering odds of 5 to 1 for a Straight Flush.
Microgaming sites like Ruby Fortune and 32 Red tend to offer more 3 Card Poker than any other casinos with up to a dozen versions: Check out the download versions of their sites for the full list, but this version – allowing you to play 5 hands at once – is fairly typical.
Caribbean Stud Poker
This game dates back to the early 1980’s. When you pay your ante there’s also the option to drop a chip into a progressive jackpot box. You’re then dealt a hand that you may look at and the dealer gives himself 5 cards, all face down except one. You’ll then decide whether to bet or fold: If you bet, the dealer will reveal his hand if he qualifies with Ace-King or better. If he doesn’t qualify then your bet is void and you receive evens on your ante. If you beat the dealer you’ll get even money on your ante and varying payouts on your bet, depending on how good your hand is – odds of up to 100 to 1 for a Royal Flush are typical.
If you bet on the Progressive Jackpot, and you have a good hand, then you’ll get some or all of the total accumulated prize pool depending on your hand: A Royal Flush wins the lot, with a Straight Flush usually taking 10% of the pot, and other hands getting lower payouts.
Pai Gow Poker
This is a Western casino variant of an ancient Chinese domino game, simplified yet still fascinating. You play against the dealer, and after paying an ante are dealt 7 cards. These are made into the best 5-card and 2-card hands you can make; you can then fold or bet, and will need to beat both of the dealer’s hands to win even money, minus a small house commission. One of the hardest aspects of online Pai Gow, though, is finding somewhere to play it. Larger Playtech sites such as Titan Casino will offer it – though in time we expect it to be widely-available.
This is a real departure from the usual poker-related card games: The dealer has no hand to play, but deals you 2 cards after you pay an ante; suits are irrelevant, and aces count as 1. If your cards are of consecutive value (e.g., a 4 and a 5) your bet is returned; if they are of the same value a 3rd card is dealt, with a 3-card match paying 11 to 1 – otherwise, again, your bet is returned.
If there is a spread of 1 or more between your first 2 cards (e.g., you were dealt a 7 and a 9) then you can bet the same amount as the ante on whether a 3rd card will fall between the 2 values of your 1st 2 cards, with higher odds depending on the spread size. So, for example, if your initial cards are 7 and 10, your spread is 2 and a 3rd card of 8 or 9 will be paid at 4 to 1.
This highly-unique variant can be found on Playtech casinos like 1-2-1 and Bet365, so give it a whirl for a highly-refreshing change.
This ancient Oriental game is highly engaging yet incredibly simple to play: You bet on the outcome of 3 dice, with odds offered for 7 different types of bet:
- Evens are paid if you bet on any one number appearing on any 3 of the dice
- Bets on any 2 specified numbers appearing pay 5 to 1
- Bets can be made on the total value of all 3 numbers rolled, with varying odds from 6 to 50 to 1
- ‘Small’ or ‘Big’ bets are made on the value of all 3 dice totalling between 4 and 10 or 11 and 17
- Bets made on specified pairs pay 8 to 1
- Bets made on a triplet of any value pay 24 to 1
- Bets made on a specified triplet pay 150 to 1
Sic Bo can be found at Playtech casinos including Bet 365 and Mansion; it’s a great introduction to dice games and makes a refreshing change from playing cards…
Casino Hold ‘Em
This is a close as you’ll get to playing genuine Texas Hold ‘Em against the dealer, and it captures the community spirit of its bigger, multi-player cousin superbly: After making an ante bet with an optional side bet you’re dealt 2 cards face up and 3 community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. You then decide whether to fold or bet, based on the best hand you think you can make from the total of 5 cards. If you bet, then 2 more community cards are dealt and the dealer will show his hand. Win and you’ll be paid evens on your ante and bet; lose and both are forfeited. Meanwhile, if you’ve made a side bet you’ll be paid according to the casino’s paytable if you can make a hand of 2 Aces or better. This is an ideal introduction to multiplayer Hold ‘Em, as well as a great game in its own right and can be found on selected Playtech sites such as William Hill Casino.
This legendary Chinese tile game is rapidly growing in Europe and America and can now be found at several places online. It’s like a complex version of Rummy in the sense that you need to collect sets of tiles in groups to win – but the online versions allow you to play solo, cutting out the lifetime of devotion needed to become proficient at the full 4 player game. You’ll begin with a hand of 13 tiles and will pick up and discard tiles to try and make 3 sets of 3 or 4 consecutively-numbered or identical tiles, with an extra 2 identical tiles on top. You’ll select tiles at random, and they’ll come from the following groups:
- 3 main suits – Bamboo, Character and Circle, numbered from 1 to 9
- Honor suits comprising the Wind tiles (North, East, South and West) and the Dragon Tiles (green, red and blue)
- Bonus tiles comprising 4 Flower tiles (Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum and Bamboo) and 4 Season tiles.
You’ll get 3 picks per game to try and achieve a full hand. For most players it’s a fascinating new gaming environment, and a great introduction to the real game as well as a lot of fun in its own right. Try it at any fully up-to-date Playtech site like William Hill or Mansion and you’ll be glad you did…
Let it Ride
This is hugely popular in Vegas, and is beautifully simple yet highly addictive: You make an initial bet of three chips and are then dealt 3 cards face up with 2 face down, ready to be turned over. You are aiming to make a decent Poker hand and can either leave your bet prior to the 4th card being turned (‘Letting it Ride’), or withdraw one of your chips. The same procedure applies with the 5th card, and you’ll win according to a pre-determined paytable if you end up with tens or better.
There’s also a bonus bet you can make at outset which can’t be withdrawn – should you get a decent hand with this bet made, you’ll receive much better odds – typically up to 20,000 to 1 for a Royal Flush.
This game is unique to Playtech online casinos. Played against the dealer, you’ll start with 2 cards: If they’re worth between 2 and 5 you can pull out completely and take your ante back. If you have between 6 and 9 you can pull out with half your ante forfeited. 10 or more and you have to play, either with 2 cards and your ante, or with a 3rd card and a raise.
If your hand outranks the dealer you’ll win evens, however if he holds a red ace in his 2nd or 3rd cards he’ll win your ante and raise bets; a red ace for his 1st card will lose you your ante bet. It’s a highly distinctive take on the usual table poker games and can be found on any reputable Playtech site such as Winner, 1-2-1 or Bet365.
This is the Daddy of all dice games and will give you endless credibility among your gaming buddies. It might look complicated, but it’s not:
Start by placing your bet on the Pass Line and throw the dice. If it’s 7 or 11 you win evens; 2, 3 or 12 and you lose your stake. Any other number is known as ‘the point’ and is indicated by white disk next to that number on the table. You now win evens if that number is rolled before a 7, and lose if the 7 comes up first.
You can play the exact opposite of this strategy with the Don’t Pass Bar, and also play similar games using Come and Don’t Come if you want further action at any time. The rest of the table consists of ‘Sucker Bets’ – low odds, one-roll propositions that real Craps players avoid. Find a practice table at any large Playtech site and learn the ropes – and when you visit a land casino with a Craps table you’ll be the coolest dude on the floor…
As you can see, there’s so much more to online gaming than slots and the well-known table games: Find a casino that offers easy practice play and give them a go. You may find your all-time favourite game is much easier to learn than you thought, and offers vastly improved odds than you get spinning that Roulette wheel for the thousandth time…