Detailed Guide to Playing Casino Card Games

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Each casino card game has clearly defined rules that players need to follow. So, in order to play, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game.

The main focus of this article will be to explain how to play casino card games that can be found in every casino. So, if you want to learn more about each of the games presented below, read on to find out all you need to get started!

Popular Casino Card Games

When talking about casino card games, a thing or two you need to understand is that some are based on pure luck while others require skill. Depending on your preference, we compiled a casino card games list that will explain the most popular casino card games such as blackjack, baccarat, pontoon, and poker with its variants in-depth.

Blackjack

Number of players Two to seven
Playing against Always against the dealer
Number of decks One 52-card deck (Jokers removed)
Moves Hit, stand, double down, split

Blackjack, or 21, continues to be many people’s first choice. Its popularity comes from the simple blackjack rules. It is one of the few games played against the dealer, not against the other players at the table. The goal is to beat the dealer to a hand of 21 without actually exceeding 21. If your cards number more than 21, you lose. Played by two to seven players, with a 52-card deck, the cards in the deck (2-10) have their face value. Jacks, kings, and queens score 10 points, and aces can bring either 1 or 10 points depending on the other card’s value.

The blackjack rules include placing a bet before the game even starts, then the dealer and the player receive two cards each. Players’ cards are placed face-up in their betting positions, while one of the dealer’s cards is face down and the other is face up. Afterward, the player chooses his move. He can hit (be dealt another card), stand (end turn), double down (take another card to up the stakes), or split (separate the cards for another hand).

The dealer is the casino representative and the fact that he acts last means that he has the advantage of seeing the players’ cards and the mistakes they made when playing their hands. When it comes to the house advantage, blackjack is one of the betting card games that have a low house edge0.5%. Experienced players can reduce the house edge to zero while beginners can raise the house advantage to 2%.

Baccarat

Number of players Seven to fourteen
Playing against Dealer
Number of decks 6-8 decks
Moves Player, banker, tie

Baccarat has been played in casinos for over a hundred years and is thus considered a classic. Some claim that it is based on pure luck, and they may be right. But how to ace a baccarat game? The baccarat rules require the player to place a bet on the player, banker, or tie before the hand begins. The objective is to reach a number as close to nine as possible. So, if the player receives a hand with a total number of nine, then it is considered a natural win. When it comes to the card’s value, the player should understand that face cards such as jacks, kings, and queens have zero value, aces count as one, while number cards are worth the number on them. For instance, if a player has a seven and a queen the total amount would be seven, whereas if the player has two and six, the score equals eight.

Baccarat is a preferred choice due to the low house edge. The Player bet comes with 1.24%, whereas for those betting on the Banker the house edge is 1.6%. When playing baccarat, the gamblers’ tips are: avoid betting on a tie because the payout of a tie is often 8-1 in casinos, thus the house edge is 9.5%, making this bet a bit tricky and risky.

DID YOU KNOW: Both baccarat and blackjack feature a low house edge making them even more appealing to players.

Poker

Number of players Two to eight players
Playing against Other players
Number of decks One 52-card deck
Moves Ante, check, call, fold, raise

When someone mentions casinos, the first game that comes to most people’s minds is poker. This risky game is based on patience, math, behavior analysis, and a dash of luck. The game is played with a minimum of 2 players and unlike baccarat and blackjack, players play against each other. According to the poker rules, the players’ turns are determined in a clockwise direction and the cards are dealt the same way. Each player receives two cards face down and the game begins. The poker game starts with all players placing their ante (initial bet). After that, each player can check (not make any bets at the time but stay in the play), call (to match the highest bet), raise (increase the previous high bet), or fold (drop out the hand). The game also permits bluffing. There are various instances when people won solely because of bluffing.

In a gambling card game such as poker, the house has no vested interest in the outcome since players play against each other. That’s why some even consider that there is no house edge in classic poker. Casinos make their money by charging determined amounts of money for hosting the game.

Three Card Poker 

Number of players Minimum two players
Playing against Dealer
Number of decks A single 52-card deck
Moves Ante, play bet, pair plus

Three-card poker is a relatively new poker variant. What made the game popular is that it is fast-paced. Even though the game can be played with minimum two players, it is one of those types of casino card games where the player plays against the dealer. The goal is to have a better hand than the dealer. The game uses a single 52-card deck. The players place an ante on the casino table and put their chips in before the game begins, and then the dealer and each player receive three cards face down.

Each player receives the cards, takes a look, and decides whether he can beat the dealer. The player can continue playing or fold and forfeit the ante. If the player goes forward and it turns out that the dealer has a better hand, then the player loses the money, but if the player’s hand turns out to be the better one, the player gets paid for the ante. The play bet will be paid if the dealer has a qualifying hand (Queen-high).

When learning how to play casino card games, some prefer to learn this variant of poker because it is in fact two games in one. Aside from the initial bet, it allows players to make a special side bet (pair plus) where the player must have a pair. The house edge for the pair plus is 2.2% which is probably the side bet with the lowest house advantage. Most gamblers play the side bet because it keeps the odds relatively even.

Pai Gow Poker

Number of players Up to six players and one dealer
Playing against Dealer
Number of decks One 52-card deck plus one joker
Moves /

Pai Gow Poker combines elements of American poker and the Chinese game of Pai Gow. If you’re in doubt about how to play a casino card game, especially Pai Gow Poker, make sure you understand the rules first. The player needs to make a five-card hand (higher hand) and a two-card hand (lower hand) from the 7 face-down cards dealt. Just as in any poker game, in Pai Gow Poker players need to make their bets before the game starts. This is another card game where players use a traditional 52-card deck plus one joker.

The simple casino card game rules are not the only thing that makes Pai Gow Poker attractive. People play this poker variant because the house edge is 2.84%. There is even a way to lower it to 1.42% only if you play the Banker. The player wins if both hands are higher than the banker’s and loses if the banker’s hands are higher than the player’s. It’s a tie when only one of the player’s hands beats the banker.

Texas Hold ’Em

Number of players Two to ten players
Playing against Other players
Number of decks Standard 52-card deck
Moves Check, bet, call, fold, raise, re-raise

Texas Hold’em poker is the most popular of all poker variants. If you wonder how to play this casino card game, basic hold’em poker rules are as follows: the game consists of one dealer, a small blind, and a big blind. The small blind is the player directly to the left of the dealer while the big blind sits left of the small blind and both orchestrate the game. After these roles are determined, two hole cards are dealt to each player. After each player looks at the cards and makes a move, three community cards are placed on the table (the flop), the players make a move again, a fourth community card is placed face up (the turn) and there’s another betting round. Lastly, in the final round, the fifth river card is dealt face-up on the board. Then players make their last move and in the showdown, they reveal the cards. The player with the highest hand wins.

In these betting card games, the house edge cannot be determined, so the participation money goes to the house.

DID YOU KNOW: Video poker is a variant of poker that has a very low house edge compared to other poker variants. The house edge of video poker is 0.46%.

Stud Poker

Number of players Two to eight players
Playing against Other players
Number of decks Standard 52-card deck
Moves Check, bet, call, fold, raise

In Stud poker, the person with the highest casino card game points wins the game. It is played with two to eight players competing against each other. The moves used in stud poker are the same as in almost every poker game – check, bet, call, fold, raise. Once the game starts, players place an ante and receive their cards. It is a poker variant where players receive a mix of face-up and face-down cards.

The house edge cannot be determined since players play against each other, not against the house.

Caribbean Poker

Number of players Up to seven players
Playing against Dealer
Number of decks One 52-card deck
Moves Ante, bet, fold

Caribbean Poker is a variant that resembles 5-card stud poker in a way. It differs in the fact that in Caribbean poker players play against the dealer. It is a perfect game for those who cannot keep a poker face because there is no bluffing or deception. The casino card game rules of Caribbean poker are easy to understand. All players place their ante before the game starts. The game consists of only one hand where the dealer deals five cards to each player (there can be up to seven players) and himself with one significant difference: one of the dealer’s hands is face up. Players look at their cards and based on the cards in their hand, decide their next move – to fold or continue playing. In such gambling card games, the dealer reveals the cards after the players make the last move. In this case, the dealer checks for an Ace/king combo. If there isn’t one, players get their bet money back and the dealer loses. The average house edge in Caribbean poker is 5.2%.

Omaha

Number of players Two to ten players
Playing against Other players
Number of decks One 52-card deck
Moves Check, bet, call, raise, fold, all-in

Omaha is very similar to Texas Hold’em so that players who have mastered Texas Hold’em can easily understand Omaha. But what about those who have no idea how to play either one? We are here to guide you through the basic Omaha rules and resolve any ambiguities. Omaha requires a minimum of two players. Each player receives four hole cards, and then five community cards are dealt from the 52-card deck on the betting table. The player needs to make the best possible hand with two hole cards and three community cards.

Now that you know the Omaha rules, let’s see how betting works in this game. There are three types of betting – pot limit, fixed limit, and no limit. The pot limit refers to the maximum amount that can be bet and it is the total amount of the chips in the pot. Fixed limit means that there’s a certain amount you can bet on and you can only reraise a limited number of times. And lastly, with no limit, players can aggressively bet or raise whenever they like.

Pontoon

Number of players Two to eight players
Playing against Dealer
Number of decks 52-card deck
Moves Spit, buy, twist, stick

Pontoon is a card game that is a variation of blackjack. It requires a minimum of two people who will play against the dealer. In pontoon, the casino card game scoring is the same as in blackjack. Aces are worth 11 or 1, face cards 10, and number cards count from 2 to 10. Players declare pontoon when they have an ace and one of the face cards in their hands. Although pontoon is similar to blackjack, some characteristics are unique. If the player has two cards equal in rank, he goes for a split, which allows him to have two separate hands. The player can choose the option to buy. If he wants to buy a card, the player needs to increase the stake. If by any chance the player decices upon a twist, then he wishes to ask for another card. Lastly, a stick is when the total value of the cards is less than 15. Now that we explained how to gamble with cards in pontoon, another important aspect is the house edge. Many love pontoon due to its low house advantage that can go as low as 0.42%.

DID YOU KNOW: With cryptocurrencies’ popularity on the rise, there’s been an increase in the number of crypto betting sites. From bitcoin dice to bitcoin poker, crypto betting is becoming more and more popular.

Key Takeaways

Texas Hold’em is the most played poker variant in live casinos as well as in online ones.
Using the correct strategy could help you win the game.
One of the most popular gamblers’ tips is to bet only what you can afford to lose.
Pontoon is a variant of blackjack.

Using Strategies in Card Games

Card players can use several strategies that will in many cases determine the outcome of the game. For instance, in blackjack, card counting can give either the player or the dealer a better chance of winning the round.

Even though the casino game rules are made so that the house always wins, there is a way to turn the house advantage in the player’s favor but that can only happen if the player is experienced enough to play the odds perfectly.

DID YOU KNOW: The number one myth casinos encourage is that counting cards is illegal. In fact, counting cards is legal in most of the world. Using electronic devices to help you count cards is illegal, however.

Conclusion

In this article, we explained how to play casino card games popular in casinos worldwide. Hopefully, we resolved any doubts and ambiguities about the rules. Understanding the moves and the house advantage in each game is important if you want to win. Now you can make an informed decision as to what game to choose next time you go to a casino.

Disclaimer: Enjoy gambling, but always practice gambling responsibly.

FAQ

Is betting on card games illegal?

It depends on where the betting occurs. If you bet on card games in a casino that complies with all the legal procedures, then betting is legal. However, if you bet online on unauthorized platforms, this is illegal.

What to bet on when playing games?

Consider betting on games that you know well. Another thing to consider is the low house edge some games have such as blackjack, video poker, and pontoon.

What card games do they play in casinos?

While there are many casino card games, some of the most common are blackjack, baccarat, and poker with its many variants. Most people start with them when learning how to play casino card games.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Alex is an IT wizz gone SEO gone fire-juggler. We’re not even joking. When he isn’t researching why one personal loan is better than the other and which piece of hardware you should buy next, he’s rollerblading or selling homes (because he does that, too, the smarty-pants).

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