Since the invention of online gambling in the 1990’s, online casinos have attempted to recreate the thrill and potential profitability of brick ‘n mortar casinos. Though resort casinos in places like Macau and Las Vegas are very popular, many people simply cannot sustain frequent trips to such destinations. Even among those who have the means to visit casinos on a regular basis are still limited by certain inconveniences.
Online casinos, on the other hand, give players access to casino games from the comfort of their own homes, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week. And because online casinos are based on brick ‘n mortar casinos, the same games most frequently associated with land casinos are available on the internet.
At a minimum, these include blackjack, slots, video poker, roulette, craps, baccarat, 3-card poker, stud poker games, casino war and keno. Online poker is often found at online casinos as well, though in many cases poker is played at standalone online poker rooms. Specialty games, such as scratch-offs and other lottery games, are also common at casinos online.
In some cases, such as that in European, players can contribute to the same comp account via both land-based and online play at casino games.
Online or Offline
The main obvious difference between online casino games and brick ‘n mortar games is that instead of playing in front of other players and a dealer, the player is alone. While this means fewer distractions, it is also means less social interaction. To counteract this, online casinos have recently added live-dealer games, which involves the streaming of a live video feed of casino games manned by dealers. Live chat software also allows players to communicate with the dealers and other real players who are “virtually” sitting at the table.
As technology develops, the future of online casino games is one that will come very close to actually stepping inside a brick ‘n mortar casino. Although this will not not happen until “virtual reality” systems are as common as smart phones, with the advent of 3D casino games, television broadcast and live dealer gaming, “online” virtual reality casino games are not too far away.
For players who are concerned about safety and security on the internet (a legitimate concern), the best online casinos of today are powered by software that use the same encryption technology and Web server protection employed by the world’s leading financial institutions for online banking activities. The casino games themselves are generally available as a download or via no-download Flash (compatible with Macintosh computers). Both methods are highly secure, and any broadband internet connection will suffice to stay connected to the casino server. However, if a disconnection is to happen while in the middle of a hand, software systems are designed to finish the wager and log results for players to view.
Casino games that are offered at traditional online casinos are said to be Random Number Generator (RNG) casino games. This means that the software platform powering the games uses an RNG to dictate all hand results. While there is no need to be concerned about the accuracy of an RNG that has been tested by a certified testing house, there are some bettors who still prefer to have a human deal the cards, and hence why live dealer casinos are popular with some players.
Types of Online Casino Games
Although each online casino may classify it’s game offering according to its own discretion, casino games online are generally grouped into the following categories:
Slots – The most prolific of online casinos offer hundreds of slot machines, which are generally subdivided as Video slots, 3-Reel slots and Bonus Slots. Five-reel video slots, many of which have twenty paylines or more, tend to dominate the selection of slots.
Video Poker – Popular with players who prefer to play with strategy, video poker can deliver a very low House Edge, and comes in many different variants. The most popular versions of online video poker include Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, Joker Poker, Power Poker, Aces and Eights, Looses Deuces and Sevens Wild.
Table Games – This is where all the most popular casino card games are grouped, including Blackjack, Baccarat, War and many poker games like 3-Card poker, Pai Gow, Red Dog, Let’em Ride, Caribbean Stud, Caribbean Hold’em, Caribbean Draw and Texas Hold’em.
Specialty Games – Roulette (American, European and French), Craps and Sic Bo are the most popular of the casino games deemed Specialty Games. Keno and scratch card games are often grouped in this category, although they are sometimes grouped in their own section.
Arcade Games – Not every online casino offer these, but of those that do, arcade games are hyped for their entertainment factor, rather than odds. Many arcade games are variations of casino games, while others are more similar to carnival “booth” games. One of the most popular arcade casino games of all time is Playtech Software’s “Derby Day” – a virtual horseracing video game.
Progressive/Jackpot Games – These are casino games that offer progressive jackpots. While the majority of progressive jackpot games tend to be slot machines, side-bet table games, such as Microgaming’s Roulette Royal and SupaJax Poker, are also common.
Online Poker is a popular online game, but is often found at separate online poker rooms rather than casinos. The poker rooms allow players to compete against each other. With online poker, there is no house edge and your odds are based on your own skill versus the skill of your competition. The online casino/poker room makes money off of the rake, which is a commission taken from all of the combined bets.