Heading to a traditional casino with friends for a night out can be great fun – but for pure value for your dollar, online betting wins hands down every time. Leading online gambling sites host hundreds of virtual tables and pokies with great bonuses and player-friendly rules. The following casinos are our recommended sites to play at. We have relationships with these sites and can vouch for their authenticity.
Online casinos with biggest game variety
What is an online casino game?
Some players assume that any betting option found inside a gaming house — virtual or otherwise — is defined as a casino game. This is incorrect. In order to be a true casino game, the player needs to be in direct competition with the house in some manner. If you win, the house loses money; if you lose, the casino wins.
That is why options such as online bookmakers or online poker are not placed in this category. In these two examples, the casino will get its cut of the action either way (known as the ‘vig’) so your wins or losses have less of an impact on house takings than in other games.
Online slots in 2018
There is a growing concern that land baed casinos, pubs and clubs are being shafted out of money by slot players migrating to online sites. This is no surprise given they offer better odds and a much better opportunity to walk away a winner. For instance our no.1 casino sites return over 97% of money put into pokies games on their website, while a land-based slot machine in Sydney for instance is usually programmed to return around 85% of the money put into it.
Coupled with the huge welcome bonuses players receive for depositing and then gambling at online casinos, it is a no-brainer to play online, instead of your local pub, although it’s important to remember to gamble within your means. Some leading online casinos have got on the front foot with problem gambling and allow players to exclude themselves from playing, or put limits on the amount, or number of deposit they can make in a month.
Pokies, or slots as they are known globally, are consistently in the top earning games in casinos around the world and this, while official statistic are hard to come by, probably rings true at online casinos too. Three big features of online pokies are:
- Progressive jackpots: These bad boys allow you to win millions of dollars from one spin. The basic premise is that a small amount is taken from every spin on the chosen progressive game. Hundreds of casinos could have the same game, allowing the pot to build into the millions. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is the biggest jackpot available.
- Casino bonuses: You don’t get your money doubled for nothing at the local pub. Online casinos jockey for your business by offering incentives to sign up. This could be in the form of a match deposit bonus, or even free spins. Claim a $1200 welcome package at Royal Vegas Casino.
- The selection: One of our favourite pokies casinos is Slots Million. This leading casino boasts over 1800 real money pokies games – the biggest selection on the web. Some other casinos are powered by just one software provider, but will still have upwards of 500 games. These include the Microgaming-powered Jackpot City and All Slots.
Some handy pokies guides:
Online casino games
Let’s take a look at the games you can expect to find at a typical Internet gaming establishment. All these popular casino titles are available at the above leading gambling sites:
Blackjack – This classic casino card game requires players to get as close to 21 as possible without going bust. Small modifications to the rules can result in an entirely different game, which is why 7 Sultans currently lists 19 different options including European High Limit Blackjack, Single Deck Vegas Blackjack, Atlantic City Multi-hand, and Perfect Pairs.
Baccarat – An international game of chance where players attempt to get a higher card total than the dealer. The most common version, punto banco, requires little skill to play. Versions of this game have featured in numerous James Bond films, and regular and high-stakes baccarat tables are usually available online.
Video Poker – One of the better bets in any casino, this cousin of the slot machine deals the player a five-card poker hand. The player decides which cards to keep and receives replacements for the rest. The payout is then based on the player’s final hand, which normally requires a pair of jacks or better. Examples include Double Joker Poker, Bonus Deuces Wild, Aces & Faces, and Tens or Better.
Roulette – A wheel with red and black pockets is spun, and then a ball is set in motion in the opposite direction. Players wager on the colour or number that the ball will eventually land on. The European version of the game has 37 pockets, while the less player-friendly American version has 38. Popular online options include European Roulette Gold Series, Premier Roulette, and Roulette Royale (the latter being a progressive game).
Craps – This casino classic requires the “shooter” to roll a pair of dice down the length of the craps table. Players wager on the success or failure of the roll, or they can choose to bet on the resulting total (at odds determined by the house).
Pontoon – Derived from Spanish 21, which is itself a variant of blackjack, pontoon is most popular in Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. The goal is still to get to 21, although it has enough differences to qualify it as a different game.
3 Card Poker – The player and the dealer both receive three cards, and the objective is to have a stronger hand than the dealer. An optional side bet rewards players who get a pair or better. Read over the full rules and our in depth guide of how to play three card poker, and what the best strategy to use is.
3 Card Rummy – This game is a poker variant that is played against the house. In many ways it is similar to three-card poker, although cards are scored differently and the ante bonus is not present.
Keno – A draw-style game where players choose a series of numbers and are rewarded based on how many of their selections are drawn at random.
Casino War – This is a simple game where the player and dealer each receive a single card. The high card wins, although ties can result in additional play and an increased wager.
Sic Bo – Popular in Asia, this game involves three dice being rolled from a cup. Players wager on the result of each roll, and dozens of betting options are available.
Live dealer online casinos
Live online gambling is an exciting development that allows us to play our favourite table games in real time, with real croupiers casino equipment. This is the best of both worlds, combining the authenticity of land-based casino games with the unparalleled convenience of Internet gaming. There are no random number generators (RNGs) here, but proper playing cards, genuine roulette wheels, and real-life human dealers – all linked to your computer screen via High Definition video streaming.
Popular live dealer games include blackjack, baccarat, roulette, three card poker, and casino hold’em, with both single-player and multi-player versions available. For the most eye-catching croupiers on the Web, we suggest the Playboy Live tables at our recommended live dealer casinos. Live blackjack dealt by pretty girls in bunny costumes – what more could you ask for?
Online casino gaming software for PC & Mac
How do you play casino games on the Web? This is where online gambling software comes in. There are companies all over the world specialising in developing digital casino games and betting platforms for the Net, but the undisputed king of the hill is Microgaming. This UK-based enterprise has been in operation since 1994, making it one of the oldest and most venerated names in the business. Microgaming has created 1000+ online games and is renowned for its reliable, user-friendly casino interfaces – as evidenced at top-ranked casino sites like Royal Vegas, 7 Sultans, Casino-Mate, All Slots, Platinum Play and Jackpot City, all proudly ‘Powered by Microgaming’.
In recent years, however, the best of the rest have got their acts together and started producing some truly entertaining casino games to rival the Microgaming catalogue. Most impressive among this crop of improving developers is BetSoft, whose innovative ‘Slot3’ range of 3D online pokies makes for the the most immersive and visually stunning real money slot games on the market. Other leading brands include Net Entertainment (NetEnt), NYX Gaming (a branch of NextGen Gaming), OMI Gaming, IGT, Leander Games and QuickSpin.
Desktop download suites
As far as actually accessing casino games online, there are two key options. The first is to download the full casino package and install it on your PC’s hard drive. This is free and only takes a minute or two to complete. Once you’re up and running, you can completely customise your online gambling experience from your Windows desktop. Download games individually, so there’s no trawling through filler to get to your favourites; tailor the visual and display settings for maximum immersion and enjoyability; and access a range of special features you only get with the complete download, such as video clips and news feeds.
Instant play online casinos
The alternative to downloading the casino suite is to play games through the Web browser. This is done using Flash, Java Script, HTML5 and other common coding languages, and is becoming increasingly popular due to the compatibility benefits. For where the vast majority of desktop downloads are tailored for Microsoft Windows PC, instant play casinos work on just about every operating system in existence. Hence, Apple Mac users love this format, as do online gamblers who enjoy the increased flexibility and instantaneous access you get with no-download casino games. So popular is the browser-based casino format, the below gambling sites offer their entire game libraries exclusively via instant browser play.
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