Poker Games for the Casino Player | Casino Poker Rules
Video poker, Caribbean Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three-Card Poker, Pai Gow … all of them will give you lesser odds than your skill advantage at the poker table might but all offer a great amount of fun and excitement.
The primary difference, of course, is you’re playing against the house rather than other players. But if you need a quick poker fix after you’ve busted your latest tournament, here’s where you can get one.
Poker Games for the Casino Player | Casino Poker Rules
Caribbean Stud Poker
On of the most popular casino poker games worldwide is Caribbean Poker, or Caribbean Stud Poker. There are a couple major differences from a standard poker game, though.
First, players play against the house - not each other. Players also get all five cards at once rather than in sequence with a betting round after each.
Basic Game Play:
Each player begins put putting in his or her ante. The dealer puts out five cards for each player and the house itself.
One of the house's cards is dealt face up. Each player can now put in twice his or her original ante (a "call bet") or give up the hand.
Play then goes directly to showdown. The dealer has to have AK or better to have a qualifying hand. If he doesn't the player's ante and call bet are returned plus an ante. If the player's hand is equal to the dealer's it's a "push" and the ante and call bet are returned to the player.
If the player's hand beats the dealer's (see poker hand rankings) the house pays out even money on the ante plus fixed odds on the call bet according to the following chart:
- evens for a pair or high card
- 2-1 for two pair
- 3-1 for three of a kind
- 4-1 for a straight
- 5-1 for a flush
- 7-1 for a full house
- 20-1 for a four of a kind
- 50-1 for a straight flush
- 100-1 for a royal flush
Video Poker – The Best House Odds in the Casino
As plenty of casino regulars will tell you, sitting at the bar playing video poker is usually (at worst) a break-even proposition.
With the free drinks flowing and great odds if you play the proper strategy you can spend a few hours idling away on a video poker machine and come up none the worse the wear on your bankroll.
If you’re betting properly you also stand a pretty good chance of hitting some big jackpots. Plenty of video poker options are also available at online casinos with a few different variants and game types to choose from.
The most popular you’ll find Jacks or Better but Deuces Wild and Joker’s Wild are other common options.
Whatever the machine the principles are still the same:
- Official poker hand rankings are used
- All forms of video poker are essentially Draw game with five cards dealt off the top rather than two or four in a regular poker game
- You pick which cards to hold or discard in each round
- Your final five-card hand determines your payout with a Royal Flush (the top hand possible) with maximum betting credits risked will give you the highest payout.
In Jacks or Better, you need to have at least a pair of Jacks to get paid.
Standard Odds for Jacks or Better Video Poker
Royal Flush - 250x (bonuses of 4000x or more when betting max credits)
Straight Flush - 50x
Four of a Kind - 25x
Full House - 6x-9x
Flush - 5x-6x
Straight - 4x
Three of a Kind - 3x
Two Pair - 2x
Pair of Jacks or Better - 1x
If you stick to textbook poker strategy you stand the best chance of getting paid. Getting paid as frequently as possible should also be your main priority.
Risks are only worth it when you have a chance to hit one of the big scores with a big hand.
Generally speaking you should draw if you have:
Three or four to a straight or a flush
You should hold:
Any pair dealt to you
Any three cards to a straight flush.
If you have none of the above, hold any cards Jacks or Higher.
More on video poker game strategy here.
Pai Gow Poker
Another very popular form of casino poker is Pai Gow, named after the Chinese domino game of the same name.
Unlike “real” poker, you only bet once at the beginning of the hand before you’re dealt 7 cards from the 53-card deck (52 cards plus one joker).
Your task is to make your seven cards into two strong poker hands.
Your “back” hand (or “big” hand) uses five cards, like traditional poker. Your “front” hand (or “small” hand) is just two cards and only high cards or a pair.
Your big hand has to outrank your small hand.
The Joker can be used to complete a straight or flush in your five-card hand. If not, it’s an ace. In your two-card hand it can only be an ace.
Once your two hands are set you compare them to the dealer. If both are better, you get paid 1:1. If only hand is better it's a push. If both are worse, you lose.
Basic Pai Gow Strategy
The common strategy is to always make the strongest possible two-card hand. That way you can be fairly sure you at least won’t lose your bet
If you can make a strong five-card hand, though, like a straight or better, go for that.
If no pairs, put the highest card in your back hand and the two second-highest in the front to make it as strong as you can without outranking the back hand.
More on Pai Gow Rules and Strategy here.
Poker Slots, 3-Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and More
With poker growing in popularity everywhere casinos are seizing the opportunity to add more poker flavor to their casino offerings.
In Ultimate Texas Hold'em players go heads up against the dealer with several different types of bets available on top of the required BLind and Ante bets.
You get two hole cards and you can either check or bet 3x or 4x your ante for your Play bet. After a three-card flop you can check or bet 2x your Ante for your Play bet. After the final two community cards you can fold or bet 1x your Ante for your Play bet.
If your hand beats the dealer’s hand your Play and Ante bets win even money. If you tie, those bets push. The Blind pays if your winning hand is at least a Straight. If you beat the dealer with less than a Straight, it pushes.
If the dealer doesn't have a pair or higher he doesn’t qualify and your Ante is returned.
Slots Are for Everyone
If you’ve ever been to a brick-and-mortar casino you know slots are front and center everywhere you look.
There’s a reason for that. They’re easy and fun to play and don’t require any advanced knowledge or training.
With payout rates usually between 94% and 97%, your chances of winning at least some of your money back are also pretty high.
The modern slot experience, both live and online, is miles beyond the old “metal arm and three fruits” standards of the past.
From head-spinning 3D graphics to gigantic, multi-million progressive jackpots there are an endless array of bells-and-whistles to entertain any age or type of player.
Some are even occasionally poker-themed.