Poker is – mistakenly, I must say – often considered to be a form of gambling. To be honest, it is similar to gambling (at least on the outside) as it does involve playing cards and real money bets, a lot like the vast majority of table games and casinos. And casinos do often host high-profile poker games, either in their back rooms or in their lobbies, in a more or less organized form. To add a lot more to the confusion, casinos are filled with games inspired by, similar to, or simply called “poker”, even if they have little or nothing in common with the game. These games, often commonly referred to as “casino poker”, are sometimes similar enough to poker to deserve their name, other times almost completely different in gameplay. But do they have a raison d’etre – and should we care for them?
Well, here at Cardplayer Lifestyle our focus is obviously on poker, but there’s more under the general “poker” umbrella than just live poker and online poker that we’re all familiar with, whether it’s plain old Hold’em, mixed games, or even wild games. Casino poker is familiar to anyone who has ever gambled online or in a casino. The difference, of course, is that in casino poker games, you’re always playing against the house, which has a built-in mathematical edge.
Some websites claim that casino poker games can help you learn the optimal poker strategy to increase your playing skill. One might think that the people writing these words have never ever played a game of true poker in their lives. Casino poker games, like the ones you can play at Vegas Palms Casino, are missing the very essence of a poker game: the betting. Because this is where strategy is needed the most – the rest only depends on the random order of the cards in the deck.
While playing video poker at the Vegas Palms (not to be confused with this place, by the way) can help you recognize good poker hands easier – it’s a game with a very fast pace, with the machine holding the cards for the player – speed is not necessarily the most valuable skill in a game of poker.
If we are to point out a “raison d’etre” for casino poker, it’s the entertainment value it has. Poker is not about speed but casino poker games are, which makes them a fun pastime for many players. As I said above, video poker is a game with a very fast pace – you can play a hand in half a minute or less. Games like Triple Pocket Hold’em, Three-card Poker, and Pai Gow, are equally quick. These games can suck you in and, before you know, you may end up playing dozens of hands.
Do these games need skill? Not really – they rely almost exclusively on luck. They don’t have the betting rounds where players can measure their people reading skills against each other (this is what makes them so fast). They are fun games to play, with rules easy to learn (basically, anyone with even a rudimentary poker knowledge can play them in no time), which makes them an attractive way to kill time and spend (or perhaps win) some money.
I think the success of Casino Poker boils down to the final section — Entertainment Value.
Currently the online realm of casino is WAY behind mega platforms (Google/Facebook/YouTube/Twitter) in terms of doling out dopamine hits efficiently in ways that keep users coming back and perceived value. Until the gambling industry works on this, I don’t really see a huge wave of growth. Also, gambling elements are rampant in console & mobile games at the moment — but don’t have the regulatory hassle facing the traditional gambling industry.