When it comes to poker, most of us instantly think about a game among friends, a tournament or cash game session in which you compete against fellow players and show off your skills.
However, casinos also offer a fair share of poker games for the gaming enthusiast, so when you want to gamble and have some fun, other games might be a decent option, especially if you are a poker fan and want to try something new.
That being said, it is important to take these games for what they are. You should not be expecting to make money by playing casino games since there is no way to beat the house in the long run, as they have a built-in edge. However, if you approach casino gaming as a form of entertainment, I am sure it can offer a lot of fun and excitement.
In this article, I want to cover three of the most popular casino poker games and give you some tips on how to play those in the right way to reduce the house edge and give yourself a higher chance of success in the short term.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Unlike games like slots or roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold’em requires a basic understanding of strategies because you will be making decisions in every hand. That’s probably one of the reasons why it attracts players since it is more interesting to be involved in the hand than barely be an observer, like in most other games.
When you play Ultimate Texas Hold’em, you have to place “blind” and “ante” bets, which are of the same value and you can choose an option to make addition bonus bet on “trips,” where you will get a payout if you have three-of-a-kind or a better hand. The payout for this bonus bet is as follows:
- Trips: 3 to 1
- Straight: 4 to 1
- Flush: 7 to 1
- Full-House: 9 to 1
- Quads: 30 to 1
- Straight Flush: 40 to 1
- Royal Flush: 50 to 1
When the hand starts, you get two cards, as does the dealer, and have an option to “check” or bet 3x or 4x the amount of ante. If you check, the dealer will deal three community cards, and then you can either “check” or bet 2x the amount of the ante.
If you check, then the dealer will turn two more cards, and you have the final option of betting the amount that is equal to ante and seeing the showdown or folding your hand and losing what is invested. It is worth mentioning that if you choose to bet instead of checking pre-flop or on the flop, then the dealer deals all the cards, and you go straight to the showdown.
As you see, the game is very straightforward but could be a lot of fun at the same time, so if you have some time to kill, you might just try it.
Pai Gow Poker
If you ever played Chinese Poker, you will surely love the Pai Gow Poker game. While it does not have any strategy around betting options, you need to figure out the best way to arrange your cards and make the best possible combination in two separate hands.
The game starts when you place your “ante” bet and get seven cards dealt to you face-down. You then need to arrange these cards into two separate hands, one with five cards and another only with two.
The goal is to make the best possible combination in both of these since you only win if you beat both of the dealer’s hands. If you can beat just one it is a tie, and you get your bet back. Also, your 5-card hand always needs to be stronger than your 2-card combination, otherwise you “fault.”
This is why it is important to split even strong hands. Having quads in your 5-card hand, and only 6-high in your 2-card hand doesn’t make any sense since you basically have no chance to win both of these. If that is the case, you should split it and leave one pair in each of these hands. As you see, some strategic considerations are surely needed in this game.
You also need to know that this game is played with the full deck of 52 cards and a Joker, which could be used to complete a straight or a flush or will be counted as an Ace in all other cases.
Like in most other casino poker games, you have an option to make an additional bet and play for an extra payout based on the strength of your hand.
Caribbean Stud Poker
You also play Caribbean Stud against the dealer separately from other players, so their results do not influence the outcome of your hand even if you have several players at the table.
The games start by you placing a bet on the “ante” field, and then you get five cards to play, The dealer takes five as well, but places one face-up for everyone to see.
So you only know one of the dealer’s cards, your own hand, and there are no card exchanges like in 5-card draw or any other fancy options. You just have to fold your hand, or “play” it by placing 2x the amount of your initial bet and then comparing your hand to the final dealer’s hand
This is one of the simplest variants to play, but in order to have a qualifying hand, the dealer needs to have Ace-King high or a better holding, and you need to beat that combination.
If the dealer does not have a qualifying hand, then you only get paid on your initial “ante” bet, but the “play” amount is simply returned to you without any additional winnings.
As you can see, there are many different types of poker games to enjoy even in casinos, so when you want to take a break from regular poker and walk around the casino a bit, these three casino poker games might be a decent option to try.