Gamblers looking for a bit of casino fun don’t necessarily have to head straight to the poker room. Over the last several years, table game manufacturers have added alternatives for those looking for poker action on the casino floor.
These poker-based casino games are casino-backed, meaning a player is still gambling against the house. That means they also carry a casino edge.
But if you’re looking for some poker options on that next trip to the casino with friends, here are a few alternatives.
1 – Video Poker
This popular game makes use of poker hands in a casino-style game. Most games listed here have a casino edge. But those who master basic strategy can slightly tip the odds in their favour in this game.
- Video Poker games are generally a version of draw poker.
- Players receive five cards and can then determine which they wish to keep.
- Players can select all the cards or keep none and draw all five.
Once the hand is final, a player must have a specific level of hand to win, which depends on the game a person is playing.
The amount a player receives for a winning hand depends on the payout table. Payouts increase depending on the amount wagered and how big of a hand the player gets.
A player paying on the “max pay” line has an opportunity to, fittingly, win the maximum amount. This number can be many multiple times lower paylines for bigger hands.
- Jacks or Better is one of the most popular Video Poker variations. Players must have a pair of Jacks or higher for a qualifying hand to win.
- Deuces Wild is also favoured by those who enjoy plenty of action. As the name implies, all Twos are wild.
There are several other options. But make sure to learn the basic strategy before heading to the casino to play.
2 – Let It Ride
This variant may be one of the oldest poker-style casino games, along with Video Poker.
- In Let It Ride, players start by placing a wager in each of three betting circles labelled 1, 2, and $.
- The wager on the “$” is the one bet that each player is committed to wagering. The mechanics of the game allow for an option on the other two bets.
- Players then receive three cards each and can decide to remove one of their wagers at this point.
- The dealer then flips one of two community cards for all players to use.
The goal is to try and make a pair of 10s or higher.
After the first community card, players can then decide to take another wager back.
At this stage, the player’s bets are committed.
The “$” bet is always part of the bet, even if the other two bets are pulled back.
The dealer then deals the final community card, and players reveal their three cards. They use their cards and the two community cards to make their best five cards.
There is no dealer hand in this game.
Those with a pair of 10s or higher are paid even money.
Higher hands pay out at better odds.
Two pair pays 2 to 1 all the way up to a Royal Flush, which pays out 1,000 to 1.
Let It Ride has a house edge of 3.51%.
3 – Caribbean Stud
This game is based on five-card stud poker, with players receiving five cards and placing an ante bet before each hand begins. Like many casino-backed poker games, players also have the option to place a side bet offering a shot at a progressive payout. The odds for that payout depends on the type of premium hand a player may receive.
- All players and the dealer receive five cards.
- The dealer then turns over one of their cards, and the players can look at theirs.
- You can then decide to play or fold.
Those who play can then make a wager of up to twice their ante in an area marked “Bet.”
Those who fold lose their ante.
After all players have made a decision, the dealer reveals all his cards.
There’s a qualifier to the showdown - the dealer’s hand only “qualifies” if he has either has both an ace and a king or at least a pair.
Otherwise, all action for the players remaining becomes a push.
Those who have a winning hand over the dealer’s qualifying hand then receive payment for the ante and bet, as well as any winning progressive wagers.
The house edge for this game isn’t too player-friendly, coming in at 5.2%.
4 – Mississippi Stud
Like Let It Ride, this game is based only on a player’s hand. There is no dealer hand, and players start by making an ante wager.
- Each player then receives two cards, and three community cards are also dealt face down.
- After reviewing the two cards, a player can make a “raise” bet between one and three times the ante.
- The player can also fold at this point.
- The dealer then turns over a community card, and a player can make another “raise” bet or fold.
The same actions continue on the second and third community cards. If the player stays until the end of the hand, players are paid according to a pay table.
A pair of 6s to 10s brings a push. A pair of Jacks or better pays even money.
Those lucky enough to earn a royal flush are paid out at 500 to 1.
There are no side bets in this casino poker game. Once the bets are paid, another hand commences.
Players jumping in the Mississippi Stud action face a tough 4.91% house edge.
5 – Ultimate Texas Hold’em
This poker game hoped to take advantage of the Texas Hold’em boom of the 2000s, So, many casinos have added it to the gambling floor.
Like some other games here, players are just squaring off against the dealer to make a winning hand.
- Players make “blind” and “ante” bets of the same value to start a hand.
- Players can also place a bet on a “trips” area allowing for larger payouts when making three-of-a-kind or better.
Players can even play the “trips” only bet if they prefer. There is often a progressive wager where players have the option of betting as well.
- Players and the dealer receive two hole cards, and the flop comes next.
- After reviewing their cards, players can bet up to four times their ante bet.
- After the turn, players can bet as much as twice their bet.
- On the river, players can bet an amount equal to the ante.
A player’s hand must beat the dealer's hand to score a win.
Payouts are based on the pay tables. Higher hands pay out at better odds. The Trips bet pays out based on a pay table.
There’s quite a lot of action in this game, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em players face a reasonable house edge of 2.2%.
6 – Three Card Poker
This poker-based game is pretty straightforward.
- Players must make the initial ante bet and can also make an optional “Pair Plus” bet.
- Players then receive three cards.
- Those who like their cards can choose not to fold and make a wager matching their ante on the “Play” area.
The dealer also receives three cards. The goal is simply for your hand to beat the dealer’s.
There are a few caveats –
- The dealer must have at least a Queen-high for a qualifying hand.
- If not, the Play bet is a push, and the ante is paid at even money.
- If the dealer has a qualifying hand and the player has a winning hand, that player is paid even money on the ante and “Play” bet.
- If a player making the “Pair Plus” side bet doesn’t make a pair, that bet is also lost.
But players can win bonuses on the Pair Plus based on a pay table.
The higher hands a player makes, the better odds they get as a payout.
Three Card Poker generally has a 3.37% house edge. But that can be lowered to 2.01% using the basic strategy of the game.
7 – Pai Gow Poker
In this popular game, players receive seven cards. The goal is to make one five-card hand and one two-card poker hand, hoping to beat the dealer with both.
- After getting dealt the cards, the player arranges his cards in order and the dealer reveals his cards.
- To win the bet, both the player’s hands must beat both the dealer’s hands.
If a player wins on one hand and loses on the other, the hand is a push.
In rare cases where the player and dealer have the same hands, the dealer wins the hand. Players can also make an optional progressive wager, where they get more significant rewards for big hands.
The payouts come from a pay table as part of a completely separate jackpot-style wager. These side pots can become huge - sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There are many bonus payouts from the side bet wager.
For a natural royal flush and a pair of Aces, a player gets 20,000 to 1 with the lowest side bet payout for three-of-a-kind at 2 to 1.
The game generally has a house edge of 2.84%, but that can be lowered to slightly under 2% with specific strategies. This house edge is relatively low compared to other house-backed casino games in general.
Another interesting note about Pai Gow Poker is that a single joker is also part of the deck. You can use this card as an Ace or as part of straight or flush.
Poker fans looking for some gambling action now have this option in almost every casino.
These casino games offer games similar to the ones players have come to love.