Poker is one of the most popular card games around. The game of skill and chance has proven itself as a versatile and adaptable contest for all sorts of players. The online revolution has given it even more of an impetus, providing a new and versatile format for keen players to try their hand.
Poker games can tune into the popular trend of retro activities, what with the game being a classic leisurely pursuit. And ever since the internet emerged as a brand-new medium for the gaming industry, poker has adapted well to increased online activity.
Technology has transformed poker, offering different variations of the well-known game on the most advanced online set-ups available. Over the years, different variations of the game have grown popular. The adaptable basics of poker have led to new and exciting ways to play it.
This, plus the convenience and wide accessibility of online technology, has made poker even more fun. People can now play a wide variety of poker games online to test their skills. The following are five brilliantly diverting poker games to try out. They are sure to offer people a great chance to have fun while developing their playing style and experience.
The classic game of Texas Hold ’em is often the first game a new poker player will encounter. It is thought to have first appeared at the start of the 20th century in the state of Texas. In the game, players are first dealt two ‘hole’ cards face down. They are then invited to bet on those cards. Then three cards are dealt face up. These are known as ‘community cards’ as they can be used to form a part of any player’s hands.
Another betting round follows this. A fourth community card is then dealt, with another betting round coming afterwards. Then a fifth card is dealt—making a total of seven—followed by a final betting round. During the betting process, players can choose to bet, raise, call or fold. The mixture of tactics, skill and luck needed to be successful at Hold ‘em make it an excellent game to play for both beginners and experts.
During Stud Poker games, players are dealt a combination of face-up and face-down cards. They need to assess how good their hands are and bet on them. Stud games are usually 5-card or 7-card games. In 7-card stud, there are no community cards and the play includes one more round of betting than in Texas Hold ‘em.
As with all forms of poker, there are some valuable tips for being successful at stud games. These include the ability to watch an opponent’s moves and see how they react at different stages of the game. Having the patience and discipline to wait for a good hand are skills to learn from this game. Players can also read a lot into how their opponents react. That is because four of the seven cards dealt to players are face-up on the table. This provides common knowledge to give an insight into how people might play.
A wholly different opportunity for poker fun is offered with Snap Poker. The variant is based on the simple yet effective idea of fast play. While the main rules and order of play are similar to Texas Hold ‘em, the pace and format are completely different. In Snap, players can enact a ‘fast fold’. If they are not happy with their initial deal they can simply fold and be moved to a new table. They will then receive a brand-new deal and continue the game.
Snap Poker is a great game for players who want to keep the action going with little time for pause. It makes perfect sense online, where the gameplay and random allocation of a new table can be done instantaneously.
5 Card Draw is often regarded as the simplest poker variant to learn. This makes it a great choice for those new to the game. It is also an excellent option for online play, as the games can be reasonably fast without too much strategic planning.
The play starts with each player being dealt five cards all face down. There is then a round of betting. If there are still players on the table, they each say how many cards they wish to replace. They are then awarded new cards in place of the ones discarded totalling no more than five. Another betting follows, before the showdown where the best hand wins the pot.
There is also a type of 5 Card Draw that uses a ‘stripped deck.’ In this style of game, the cards 2 to 6 are removed leaving only a 32-card deck of 7s to Aces.
The acronym of H.O.R.S.E. stands for the variants of poker that make up its gaming style. The games are Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud hi-low split eight or better. As such, it is a multi-game type of poker contest that can offer all sorts of surprises and opportunities wherever it is played. It is regarded as a type of game suitable for the more experienced poker player.
It is also an excellent way for a player to test their all-round abilities at the different popular types of poker. Someone expert at one style but unfamiliar with the other four may well be challenged at this variant. On the other hand, a good all-rounder may well be successful at this game type.
Poker is such a popular game, largely because it is so adaptable. Online portals and new gaming formats only add to this. There are countless ways to enjoy the diverse excitement of the cards.
The world’s first-ever real money online casino was launched 25 years ago by InterCasino, a company that has subsequently struggled to compete with the companies that they, in turn, inspired.
The company, which was launched by William ‘Billy’ Scott, is an interesting case study of the development of the online gambling industry. In the early days, Scott recognised the potential of slot machines revenue and began using the lure of free spins to tempt new customers to sign-up to his fledgling site.
A decade after InterCasino was established, the business stood on the verge of bankruptcy after paying out a combined $9.7 million to two lucky slots players. To put that into perspective, those two payouts amounted to just under a quarter of the company’s total market value.
That example alone demonstrates the fine balance that online gambling providers have to navigate when basing their profit model around slot games. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into exactly how much profits slots make and why they are the beating heart of any casino, online or land-based.
The UK is widely regarded as one of the strongest gambling markets on the planet, with thriving land-based and online sectors. In the year running from April 2019 to March 2020, the entire gambling industry generated revenues of £14.2 billion combined.
The largest contributor to this figure was the online sector, incorporating remote betting, casino games and bingo to produce a combined revenue of £5.7 billion. Slots were the powerhouse behind this figure, accounting for £3.2 billion.
In land-based casinos, the figures are a little harder to decipher with the revenues from slot machines being combined with those of classic table games such as roulette and baccarat.
Conservative estimates suggest though that land-based slot machines generated just under £4 billion in revenues in the same period. This means, in total, that slot machines accounted for around half of all gambling revenues in the UK last year.
Individually, slot machines don’t generate that much revenue, their profitability is instead cumulative.
Slot machines are the biggest money-makers for casinos all over the world, on the Las Vegas strip and on your favourite mobile casino app. The reason for that is the consistent profits that they generate for their owners. When you are choosing a slot to play online, you probably take a minute or two to read the description and familiarise yourself with the different winning combinations. If you look carefully though you will find the Return to Player (RTP) percentage.
This number represents the amount of money you can expect to be returned to you on average for every £100 wagered. Slot machines on the Las Vegas strip usually have around an 85 per cent RTP, meaning for every $100 wagered a player will lose $15.
Here in the UK, the RTP tends to be a little higher with most games offering a 90-95 per cent return on investment to players. What’s important to remember in relation to slots is that they generate their profits through attrition.
If for example, it takes a player on average an hour to spend up to £100 on their favourite slot then the hourly profit of the machine could be as low as £5-£10. However, when you factor in that hundreds of these slots are being played at the same time, the profits start to stack up.
You may well be wondering after everything you’ve read, why people bother playing slots if the amount they will lose on average is there in black and white for them to read before they spin the reels? Well, apart from the obvious reasons for relaxation and fun, the biggest attraction to a slot machine for any player is the possibility of winning big. In order to entice customers to keep spinning those reels, casino owners tempt them with the allure of huge winnings.
This can be a double-edged sword for some providers though, as the example of InterCasino earlier in the article illustrates. However, this usually only becomes a problem when operators offer customers unsecured progressive jackpots.
These are jackpots that increase in value until they are won, although they are usually capped at a certain amount. If the jackpot climbs to too high a value or if a series of progressive jackpots are won in short succession, companies can quickly fall into financial trouble.
In order to offer more enticing jackpots and not risk their future financial stability, many online providers are diversifying their offering and branching out into online bingo. The game, which was a staple of British culture in the mid-20th century, is just behind slots in terms of profitability. It is also growing in popularity year on year in the UK and with a fair wind, could begin to rival slots within the next decade.
If poker and blackjack are the glamorous face of gambling, slot machines are the beating heart working hard under the surface to keep everything running smoothly. They account for almost a half of the UK’s total gambling revenues and nearly two-thirds of most individual casino’s profits.
Rational gamblers who don’t play for fun and focus only on profits would give slots a wide berth, but do you know anyone like that?