Ranking the Major Casino Games in Order of Skill
Both online and live casinos offer a range of different games to players. In essence, these games have the same principle. You make a bet, and the bet pays out according to the odds. Of course, each game offers something unique, from the excitement of roulette, the simplicity of slots and the patience of poker.
The skill level is a big factor. Some players prefer to see casino gaming as a way to switch off and don’t want to have to make meaningful decisions. Others want to maximize their chances by opting for games with elements of skill so that they at least have partial control over the outcomes. Here, we rank the major online casino games in order of skill.
Go to any casino, and you will see that the walls lined with hundreds of flashing slots and video slots machines. Online casinos also have thousands of slot games to offer.
Slots are one of the easiest casino games to play. You pick the number of paylines and wager, according to what you want to and can afford to bet. Then you push the button and watch the reels spin around. If the symbols line up, then you get a payout.
There is no skill involved when it comes to playing slots. Some games may have bonus features that you should be aware of, but they should be self-explanatory and ultimately, will not require that you make any meaningful decisions.
The only consideration when it comes to playing slots is choosing the right machine. Each game offers a return-to-player percentage (RTP), which typically varies from 92–99 percent. A higher RTP means a smaller house edge, so look to choose the games that are as close to 100 percent as possible always. You will find the best slots odds at online casinos, as the landscape is quite competitive.
As with any game, bankroll management is also crucial. Always make small bets compared to your overall bankroll while playing on machines that offer the highest opportunities for payouts according to the RTP.
Skill level: 1/5 – Choose the games with the highest RTP, and then spin away.
Roulette is well-known to be a game of pure chance, and that’s the appeal for many people who only want to make a spin and see if they win. Players place bets on whatever numbers or combinations they choose. The ball spins around the wheel, and eventually, comes to a halt on a number, and players receive payouts according to their bets.
The number(s) that you pick make no impact — the odds are the same no matter what you pick. Spreading bets evenly across more of the board leads to lower variance, whereas betting big on one number makes for a bigger payout, but there is less of a chance of that happening. In the end, this is a matter of betting preference, not “strategy.”
Some people believe that you can beat roulette and may record the outcomes of previous spins hoping to look for patterns, wheel bias or numbers that are “due to come out.” In reality, each spin is independent and has the same odds as the last one. Recording numbers does nothing but give the illusion of control.
Using complex betting systems like the Martingale system is also irrelevant to the odds. Roulette is a game with no skill, and there’s nothing a player can do to increase their odds other than choosing European roulette over American roulette. European roulette has odds of 2.7 percent, whereas the extra green “00” increases the edge on American roulette to 5.4 percent.
Skill level: 1/5 – Play European roulette, and that’s about it. All bets have the same odds.
Although sometimes touted as a game of part skill and part chance, baccarat does not have any real elements of skill. Popular in Macau and an increasingly vital part of the Vegas economy, baccarat is now one of the most popular casino games in the world. It looks complicated, but baccarat is indeed quite simple, and the player does not have any control over what happens.
The object of baccarat is to bet on the winning hand. The dealer deals a “player” hand and “dealer” hand, but in reality, these names may as well be “blue” and “red,” as the player can choose to bet on either hand. The winning hand is the one that reaches closest to a value of “nine” without going over. Face cards count for zero while aces are one.
There are specific rules for dealing and drawing out the cards, but the player doesn’t need to be aware of these rules. It’s only pure chance what hand wins, and the game effectively plays itself out. You may as well bet on a simple coin flip: heads or tails. The only other factor is the “tie” bet, which pays out at 9–1 odds. It’s a bad bet to make and increases the house odds.
Stick to betting on either the “player,” which has a small house edge of 1.2 percent or “banker,” which has a house edge of around 1.1 percent. After that, there’s no skill.
Skill level: 1/5 – Avoiding the “tie” bet is the only knowledge you need.
Now, we get to the business end of the table. Blackjack is one of the most skillful games in the casino. It doesn’t require depths of strategy like the board game Settlers of Catan, but nevertheless, player’s decisions do impact the game. It’s possible to reduce the house edge from an average of around 2 percent to as little as 0.5 percent, using only a basic strategy on when to “hit,” “stand,” “double” or “split.”
The object of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by getting closer to 21 without going bust. You will receive a two-card hand and must make a logical decision on what to do with it based on your cards and the cards shown by the dealer. Strategy charts will tell you what move you should make to maximize your chances, so study them to improve your game.
For instance, you should always split aces and eights and always stand on a hard 17 or over. However, there is much more knowledge to learn to reduce the edge. If you want to beat the house, then you will have to use card counting, though this is not possible online.
Skill level: 4/5 – Blackjack is the first game on the list that requires a relevant input of knowledge and skill from the player. The more statistically sound your decisions, the lower the house edge becomes.
The final game on the list is poker. There are dozens of varieties of this card game, and the skill level depends on the exact variations. Usually, there is at least some relevant input required from the player, and in more complex games, the skill level is quite high.
Games players against the house tend to have a modest skill level. One example is three-card poker. You receive a three-card hand, and so does the dealer. You pay an “ante” bet and must decide on whether to continue with a “play” bet. The basic strategy is quite simple: Make the play bet with Q–6–4 or above and fold the worse hands. Never make bonus bets. Such reduces the house edge to 3.3 percent.
Texas Hold ‘em is a whole different kettle of fish. It’s played against other players, meaning it is possible to become a winning player by making better decisions than your opponents. Of course, there’s still a huge element of chance, but you can gain your edge with solid play.
Skill level: 5/5 – Certain variations of poker require significant amounts of learning: the rules, the hand values, the betting. They also allow the player to make relevant skill-based decisions to improve outputs and odds.