Video Casino Games
Table games remain extremely popular at brick-and-mortar casinos, but it’s clear that video machines now occupy the most prominent sections of the floor. Once video slots took off in the 1990s, the revolution was underway—and today you can also play video poker, blackjack and keno at traditional casinos.
Online casinos allow you to play any game in a video-style format. Clever recreations of table games capture the same fun found on casino floors, with audio and text-based chat boxes to enhance the experience. If your device and connection can handle streaming video, many casinos now even give you the ability to play with a live dealer who shuffles and deals cards manually!
The Player's Guide to Video Casino Games
In this guide, we'll take a look at how the most popular types of casino games change when they are reinterpreted into video. We'll also provide some tips on how to take advantage of the video versions of these games.
Slots have always been an iconic symbol of the casino, and have recently become even more popular. The development of video slots reshaped the category entirely, and the game has become an enormous money maker for casinos. In fact, video slots are the highest-grossing game by far in any online or traditional casino.
Before the development of video slots, mechanical slots were confined to three reels and a limited amount of possible symbols and winning combinations. Theoretically, video slots have no limits, but the most popular format has proven to be five reels with 15 to 20 total symbols in the playfield on each pull.
In addition to a large number of symbols, video slots add the following to the mix:
- Bigger jackpots and wagers
- Progressive jackpots fed by multiple machines
- Up to 100 pay lines (though 25 is a much more common amount)
- Interactive bonus games
- Periodic free spins
- Themed slots based on licensed pop culture properties
Licensing enables marketers to unite the world of video games and video casino gambling. Some classic video game properties such as Pac-Man, Centipede, Space Invaders, Street Fighter, Call of Duty and Tomb Raider now have licensed slot machines. Some even allow you to play a version of the game during the bonus rounds!
So how do you take advantage of video slots? The primary tactic most players use is comparison shopping for progressive jackpots. If a jackpot is guaranteed to hit at a certain amount, savvy players start wagering when it gets close. Online play makes it quite easy to browse around through different games and monitor progressive jackpots.
The development of video casino games like poker coincided with the creation of video slots. In fact, the first slot game ever (Liberty Bell) performed a lot more like video poker than a modern slot game. Video poker is based on a five-card draw, which was played as a table game at some casinos, although more people favored complex games like Texas Hold 'em. Five card draw didn't take off in casinos until the 1970s when the first video machines appeared.
Video poker has not changed as much as slot machines. New twists to the games are periodically introduced, but they don't feature licensed properties or bonus rounds. Nevertheless, they are popular among casino players because it is a solitary experience—like a slot machine—but with a better expected return.
Playing video poker well means knowing the most mathematically sound play for each set of cards dealt. You can memorize the formulas, but playing online allows you to use a strategy card that tells you what the best play is (something that live casinos frown upon, especially if you start winning big money). Through this practice, experienced players can whittle down the house’s edge to less than a percent. In some cases, the advantage can favor the player slightly if the game's pay table is generous enough!
If you don't want the table experience, video blackjack is your best option. You need not worry about hand signals or the behavior of other players. It's just you and the dealer, and your entire focus is on playing your hand.
As with video poker, keeping a strategy card on hand is extremely beneficial. It tells you the best possible play for every situation. Just be aware that the optimal strategy changes depending on the table rules and its pay out for a blackjack, so you may need to keep several different cards on hand.
On a live casino floor, keno is a relaxed affair where players enjoy the game while eating a meal or having a drink in the lounge. Video keno speeds everything up significantly. Of course, you may take it at whatever pace you’d like—and from the comfort of your own home!
Whether you're playing online or offline, keno is a pure lottery that doesn't have strategies that improve your odds. You will see a small difference in expected return over time by sticking to 5-spot or 7-spot tickets, as well as finding the best possible pay table. It's much easier to browse different games online than it is to go from one casino to another!
Video Table Games
What you lose from the social experience of a live table game, you gain in more favorable rules when playing online. Since players don’t socialize as much, online casinos make these games appealing by offering bigger pay outs. Additionally, there’s no pressure to master table customs or wait your turn to get a seat at one.
The Video Casino Game Advantage
The primary advantage of the video versions of all of these games is the ability to take things at your own pace, and in some cases use reference materials to make sure you're playing as well as you possibly can.