Different Online Casino Games
At first glance there seems to be a multitude of different online casino games on offer from established sites like Online Vegas Casino. Do you fancy having a punt, but feel a little confused? Here we look at the main categories of online casino games, which can broadly be divided into slot machines and table games. As we will see, the outcome of most online casino games is largely determined by luck.
The majority of online casino games are some form of virtual simulation of casino games from the physical world. When it comes to slot machines in the modern bricks and mortar casino, the vast majority are dedicated computer controlled units where all the action takes place on a screen, with no mechanically moving pieces. The fruit machine with moving reels is really something of an antique these days, so when it comes to the online casino games version of modern slots, the only real difference is that staking money and receiving win payments is all handled through a credit or debit card, rather than the feed of coins. Many of the most popular modern online slots can offer jackpots reaching into the hundreds of thousands, and allow the staking of hundreds on a single spin of the reels. Whatever the stakes and prize, the common theme that all the slot type online casino games have in common is that wins are truly a result of pure luck, dependant on the outcomes produced by a random number generator.
The second broad category of online casino games, table games, are all based around casino classics from the physical world, often with a new twist. While dedicated players of games like online roulette like to claim that there is some skill involved in successful play, the truth of the matter is that roulette is basically an older, more basic technology designed to do just what modern slot machines do: roulette was one of the earliest (largely successful) attempts to produce a random number generator. In terms of online casino games, the iconic roulette, that universal symbol of casino gambling, can now be played in a quite a range of new versions. Some, like three wheel roulette, only exist in the virtual world.
A sub-division exists in the table games category of online casino games, and this is of course occupied by card games. Blackjack, baccarat and different forms of online poker have been played in casinos for centuries, but just as with slot machines many of the virtual versions rely on random number generators to determine the cards dealt, rather than simulating an actual shoe of cards depleting over successive hands. This is particularly important for games like blackjack, as it removes the possibility of using the predictive methods of card counting to inform betting strategy, and lower the house edge. Texas Hold ‘Em Poker on the other hand is played against other human players online, and so the way that the cards are dealt is not so important to success. A sound knowledge of strategy is still required in both games to pick the best tactics for each hand. If you wish to play online casino games in which skill is important you should learn more about card games.
Originating in France over 200 years ago, blackjack is now played all over the world and is one of the most popular online casino games. Blackjack owes its popularity to the fact that it is a very simple game to learn and play. The object of online blackjack is to hold cards whose value is greater than those held by the dealer, but without going over 21.
The game uses either a single or a number of standard 52 card decks with each of the cards having a value. The value of the cards numbered from 2 to 10 is their face value. For example, the value of a card showing 2 would be two, the value of a 3 would be three and so on. All of the face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are valued at 10, whilst the Ace can either be valued at 1 or 11, with the player deciding which. When a hand includes an Ace valued at 1 it is known as a ‘soft hand’ and when it is valued at 11 it is known as a ‘hard hand’. A hard hand will always beat a soft hand of the same value. The ultimate hand in online blackjack is a 2 card hand consisting of an Ace, valued at 11, and another card valued at 10, with a total value of 21. This hand is known as ‘Blackjack’, or a ‘natural’, and can only be achieved after being dealt the first two cards. A Blackjack hand will always beat a hand valued at 21 using three or more cards. The suit of the cards is immaterial in the game of blackjack.
Before any cards are dealt, the player must first place their bet. Having made their wager, both the player and the dealer are dealt two cards each. The players cards are usually placed face up on the table so their value can be seen. One of the dealer’s cards is also dealt face up, known as the ‘up card’, with the other being dealt face down. This card is known as the ‘hole card’. The player is now ready to play online blackjack and has several options available to them. These are as follows:
This is when the online blackjack player chooses to be dealt an extra card. Players can continue to draw as many cards as they like, but remember, if the total value of the hand is over 21 the dealer wins. When a hand is over 21 it is known as ‘bust’.
When the player is happy with the total value of their cards, they ‘stand’. After the player has made the decision to stand, they can no longer draw anymore cards.
After being dealt their first two cards, the player is always given the option to ‘double’. If the player decides to double, they must make an additional bet that is equal to, or less than, their original wager. After doubling, the player is dealt one extra card and no more. Their final hand will consist of just three cards.
If the player is dealt two cards that are of equal value in online blackjack, they will be given the option to ‘split’. On splitting the cards, the player must place an additional bet on the table that is equal to their initial wager. The player is then able to play each card as a separate hand. Once the player is happy with the value of their first hand, they stand. They then proceed to play their second hand. All of the options that are available to them when playing a normal hand are available to them when playing each of their split hands.
If the dealer’s up card is an Ace, the player is given the option to buy ‘insurance’ against the dealer having Blackjack (a two card hand valued at 21). If the player wishes to buy insurance, they must pay half the amount of their original stake. If the dealer shows Blackjack, the insurance will pay out at 2 to 1. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, the insurance is lost and the game will continue as normal.
The dealer’s hole card remains face down on the table until the player has finished playing their hand. The dealer can then only play their hand in a specific way. On turning the hole card over, if the dealer’s hand is valued at 17, or more, they must ‘stand’. This means that they cannot draw anymore cards. However, if the total value of the dealer’s hand is 16 or less, they must continue to draw cards until the value of their hand is 17, or over. The dealer does not get the option to double, split or buy insurance against the player getting blackjack, instead they must simply hit or stand. In the event of the player and the dealer having hands of the same value, the player’s wager is returned to them. This is known as a ‘push’. After a push, a new online blackjack game begins as normal.