Poker is the archetypal gambling game. If a film character, particularly a hero, is going to wager then it’s a 2/1 bet that they’ll end up sitting at a poker table – if you want to see one of the great gambling films watch House of Games, a great poker film.
But online poker is tough to play. The game isn’t a one-on-one contest, it is dependent on a group of players sitting together at a table. Poker rooms were the first online gambling platform to really take off. But then US laws stomped on them and stymied the growth of that part of the market.
You can still play poker online of course, in a variety of ways, but should poker players check out more standard casino sites. We say yes, and this is why.
Slots are Poker Electrified
The first slot games were made to get around laws outlawing gambling on poker. The game is basically a variant of poker. You hit a button and reels spin, but the mechanic is actually exactly the same as dealing a set of five cards – the most common set up in the slots world. So those thousands of slots you see at every casino site are actually delivering something very like a single-deal game of poker.
Video Poker is the Best Value on the Web
All online gambling comes at a cost to the player. On average, that is. Games are set up to play completely randomly, but with inputs that pretty much guarantee the house wins. This house edge is usually known and shared with players, only it’s generally called theoretical return to player.
This figure – also the RTP – is just the House Edge turned on its edge and written in a way that makes it look more attractive to players because it contains very high percentage figures. Most slot games offer an RTP of around 96%.
But if you can find the video poker games on a slot site then you’re in for a treat because the RTP is almost always much higher than that – up around 99% in some cases. And, you’ll get a game of poker automated.
Of course, it’s cut down and you don’t get the head-to-head experience of raising and checking and psyching out your opponents, but if you want cards dealt, a choice of which ones to hold and the chance to win big on the best hands then video poker is a great fun game. Its returns to the player are so good that in casinos it is one of the few games where players can occasionally have an advantage – in certain very specific circumstances that you won’t find d online – over the house. Maybe that’s why video poker games are so hard to find and why they’re never included in welcome offers!
What about a Poker Simulation?
Again, you won’t get the feeling of sitting around a table, but there’s a huge number of dealer poker variants available in most online casinos. Most are now available to play as simulations or as live casino games.
Simulations are just computer game versions. But the quality of graphics and of experience, with some games now including live footage from streaming games, is really top quality and gives you a very realistic game. These are dealer games, but you’ll soon learn to love variants like the many Texas Hold’em games or Caribbean Stud Poker. And then you can head to a live table!
You can play poker against a dealer, and against a table of fellow players, or you can branch out and try some other card games. Everyone should try blackjack once in a while – it’s another great value game and one that might offer some reward for studying the game and the cards. Playing simulations is a great way to practice the game, and you can even play on demo mode without risking any money on these machines. What a great way to understand the game before you start to make big wagers!
Live casino games are the big boom area of the industry at the moment. The variety of games is increasing all the time, as are the features and presentational options: simulation to live play, party games, watch along with games, game show games, the choice is enormous.
Poker Around the World
You also might like to open your mind to some poker variants from around the world, not least from East Asia, where poker has been adapted to local tastes to produce a load of interesting games. But one of the most famous poker variants that has an East Asian look was in fact invented in the USA.
Pai Gow Poker takes the mechanics of pai gow, a Chinese tile gambling game, and throws them at a western pack of cards. The result is a compelling game of hand creation that has taken off around the world – selling Pai Gow back to China!
And the Poker’s Next Door in Any Case
All or most of these games are available at most online slots sites. These sites specialise in slots most commonly, but it’s rare these days that you won’t find a big live casino on offer too.
Many gambling companies are big conglomerates, and if you enjoy the casino play you’re very likely to be able to pop to another part of the site to get your poker fix too. This is an industry of sister companies, mergers and conglomerates, and gambling sites are keener and keener to offer players a one-stop-shop where they can play slots, bingo, lottery, gamble on sports and maybe enjoy a hand or two of poker in one location.
Make sure you shop around and only play at safe licensed sites, and make sure you keep your own health at the front of your mind while you’re playing and you’ll have a great time. From traditional poker it’s only a short step to a whole world of fascinating gambling games, so open your mind, open your eyes and ask for a deal!