Getting to Know Table Games
Online casinos offer a huge range of game options, which can be quite daunting to newcomers, particularly if they don’t know what the differences are. One of the biggest game genres, both on and offline, is that of table games. So, what exactly are table games? The term table game refers to a series of card, dice and random number games such as baccarat, blackjack, poker, roulette and craps, though this is not the limit of this genre. These games can be played in live format in a land-based casino, live dealer games at an online casino, or through virtual table game offerings online as well. For many players, they are considered the traditional casino games as they have a longer history than, say, slot games. These games also represent more of a challenge, offering the need for a little more skill in order to be successful. Though luck still has a large part to play in whether players walk away winners.
Blackjack is one of the most popular table games available. This is a relatively simply card game that is played between the player and the dealer. The aim of the game here is to reach, but not exceed, the value of 21. Wins can also occur when the player is able to reach closer to the value of 21 than what the dealer’s hand shows. Draws occur if both the dealer and player have the same final value, whilst a loss happens when the player exceeds the value of 21 or the dealer’s hand is of a higher value while still being within the playable range. A standard card deck is used to play, though there are different values assigned to the cards. Numbered cards are the values displayed. Face cards, Jack, Queen and King are valued at ten, and the Ace can be played as either an eleven or as a one, and this can be changed by the player depending on which value helps more.
The game starts with bets being placed and the dealer dealing out two cards face up to each player. The dealer will deal themselves two cards as well though only one will be visible to the player. At this point, it is time for each player at the table to make a decision on the next round of play. Players can choose to stand meaning they make no change to their hand, or they can hit which means taking an additional card in the hopes of reaching that desired value of 21. This process continues until players are satisfied with their hand or they go bust (exceed the value of 21). At this point, the dealer will then reveal the second card in their hand and make a play accordingly. For the most part, a dealer must hit if the hand is valued lower than 16 and stand if it’s above 17. At this point the player’s hands will then be compared to the dealer’s and the bets paid out.
Roulette is another popular table game that is easy to pick up very quickly. This game offers a faster pace than many others but despite this, newcomers will find themselves catching on very quickly. Roulette has a simple goal – players must accurately guess the numbered pocket that the ball will land in. The game as a whole is comprised of a wheel with 36 or 37 pockets depending on whether the game is European or American roulette. The wheel spins one way, the ball is dropped and spins the other. Next to the wheel is the roulette table. On the table is a comprehensive and, to the newcomer, rather daunting set of betting options. It is on this table that all chips must be placed and it is the player’s own responsibility to ensure that they have placed their bets in the correct place on the table, for once the ball has been dropped, there is no changing the bets!
The sheer number of betting options is what helps newcomers enjoy this game. The more specific the bet, the higher the odds and the better the payout. On the flipside, the broader the bet, the lower the payout but the higher the probability is that it will occur. For newcomers we recommend this latter method making bets of odds/evens or red/black. These types of bets pay out at 2:1 meaning that players can instantly double their money. Braver players can try betting on lines, rows or blocks of 12 numbers, winning if the ball lands on any numbers within that line. For the truly determined, simply putting all bets on a single number will pay out the top prize, if it lands, of course. For other additional shots at winning, players can look for roulette games that offer La Partage rules, which will see players recover half their bet if the ball lands on the green zero, thus giving them better overall odds.
Baccarat is often mistakenly thought of as the game for high-rollers. It doesn’t help that the suave James Bond always plays this game and that a number of history’s biggest millionaires also play baccarat. Baccarat is actually one of the simplest of the table games when it comes to playing as there are limited choices that can be made by the player. Similar to blackjack, each round is actually just between the player and the dealer with no actual competition with the other players at the table. The only choices that a player has to make in this game is the bet amount and whether this bet is against the bank (or dealer), or against the player (themselves). For more experienced players, there is a third betting option, which is betting on a tie being reached. Needless to say, this is the most lucrative of the three betting options with the best odds, but that’s because it has the lowest probability of actually occurring!
Also similar to blackjack, the aim in baccarat is to reach a specific value. The magic number in baccarat is nine. Each of the number cards holds the value shown, with the exception of ten. Therefore, two through nine are exactly as they appear, with ten being a zero. The face cards, king, queen and jack also have a value of zero. The ace on the other hand is worth one. Bets must be placed prior to the game beginning. When play commences, the dealer will deal out two cards to each player and themselves, all face up. At this point the value of the cards are totaled and the hand with the total closest to nine wins. If there is a hand with a value greater than nine, the two cards are added together and the one at the start is dropped. Players that bet on the banker’s hand winning will receive 95% of the initial wager. If the player bets on their own hand, they’ll get double their original bet back.
Poker is one of the most well-known of all the table games and has spawned a number of different variants, each one catering to key aspects of the poker genre as a whole. Most casinos will offer a few different varieties with the most common options being Texas Hold’em, Casino Hold’em, Three Card poker and Pai Gow poker. For the sake of this article, we will focus our attention to the most popular of these – Texas Hold’em. The most played version is also arguably the most exciting and intense. It combines all the elements of what makes poker so thrilling – bets, raises, bluffs and more. Texas Hold’em, unlike the previously mentioned table games, is played against the other players. At the start, each player that wishes to join the hand must place an ante bet. Each player is then dealt two cards – the hole cards, which they keep hidden from the other players. The dealer will then deal three cards face up on the table – dubbed community cards.
At this point, players can look at their cards, comparing with what is visible on the table. The idea here is to create the best five card hand possible. This point is where players can choose to fold or to keep on going. Further bets are placed going around the table and the dealer will place down a fourth community card. Once again, the round of betting or folding commences until all players have made their decisions. A final community card is then placed on the table and this is where things really heat up. Each player now tries to create the best value hand possible using the five cards on the table and the two in their hand. A total of five only must be used though players can choose to create the hand completely out of the community cards if they so choose. There is a strict order of hand values, starting with a single pair and going through straight, full house and all the way to the royal flush.
Craps is the only dice game on this list and is also the most sociable of all the games. The game itself often scares off new players because its main table is covered in so many betting options. Some of the more popular ones will be briefly discussed now. A pass line bet is the fundamental bet in craps and is one where you want the shooter to win. If the dice reads 7 or 11, the bet is won. However, if they read 2, 3 or 12 the bet is lost. On the other hand, a don’t pass bet is a bet for the dealer to lose. If the dice read 2 or 3 you win, but if they read 7 or 11 then the bet is lost. Both bets pay even money. A field bet is one which is won if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 is landed. This pays even money too, unless a 2 or 12 is rolled, in which case it pays double.
Here are just a few of the things to avoid when playing craps. The most important thing to avoid as a new player is to pass on a turn as the shooter more than just the one time. There is a rule that states players can pass as often as they like, but with such a social game, it is actually considered to be bad form for a player to pass often in a single game. It is also bad form not to tip the dealer when the player is losing. Regardless of how long the player remains at the table, particularly if they are losing, they should tip every hour or so. Other etiquette rules involve not eating or drinking near to the rails. While food and drink isn’t really an issue when yoiu are playing craps on a Live Casino format, it is still good to be aware of the rule for times when you want to simulate the real experience as much as possible.
Virtual versus Live Table Games
We’ve outlined all the main table games that players might come across, now it’s time to briefly discuss the different formats that can be found at online casinos. For a long time, the only way these games could be played outside of a land-based casino was through virtual games. These are essentially video animated games operating through the use of a random number generator and some software, much in the same way that online slot games work. However, a new development has come in the form of live dealer games. These games involve real dealers and real tables, all interacting with online players. These setups are possible thanks to an improvement in technology. Online casinos set aside dedicated rooms and studio spaces, dressing them up to look like casinos. The room is fully covered with video cameras and these transmit the live feed of the game, directly to the player’s computer. In addition, the player is able to converse with the dealer and the other players.
So which is better? At the end of the day this of course comes down to personal preference as each has their high points. Virtual games, for example, can be played in demo mode giving new players the chance to hone their skills before putting any real money forward. They can also be played very quickly with sped up versions available. Virtual table games also do not need anyone else around to play. Live games on the other hand offer a much more immersive experience, one that is much more along the lines of a traditional casino. For those players that like the casino atmosphere but can’t travel to one easily, live games are the perfect way to bring the casino home. Live games also encourage interactivity, discussions with other players and potentially learning some tips directly from the dealer. However, they are more tense, which may not always be what a player is looking for during their downtime. Whatever the preference, both offer huge amounts of fun.
Are There Strategies to Win?
For most players, playing table games is all about winning. There are a few strategies for each of the games that can be employed that might improve winning opportunities, though they’re not guaranteed. Blackjack, for example, has numerous strategies in place for what to do with certain card combinations. These strategies can be found online with most professionals recommending that players memorise one of these strategy tables at a time. Roulette is much more luck based but players can improve their odds by playing European roulette over American as it has one less pocket in the mix. Playing roulette at a table that has the previously mentioned La Partage rule will also help. Baccarat and poker both have similar strategies that involve learning the game well. Craps is much harder to strategize on as it really comes down to the other player’s moves and is all about luck. However, there are a number of betting strategies such as the Martingale or Fibonacci Strategy that can be employed on all these games so as to minimise losses.
Final Words on Table Games
No matter which table game players choose to participate in, all of them offer endless winning opportunities and huge amounts of fun. With the advent of live games at online casinos, players have even more options with online table games, meaning that there’s almost no reason to even leave the house for a land-based casino. Most casinos will offer at least some of these games, if not all, with many online casinos adding a number of different variants in terms of betting options, number of decks used, rules, and more. Players should be mindful, though, that when choosing an online casino it is important to make sure that it is reputable and trustworthy, using top of the line providers for its games. It is also important that players gamble responsibly throughout all their online gaming, making sure to maintain their bankroll no matter how exciting the game gets. If players are careful in this manner, there is nothing to stop them having a lasting and potentially lucrative time on table games.