Most popular casino games in the usa ranked

We're going to delve into the world of casino games and rank the most popular ones in the US today. You might be surprised by some of them and perhaps even eager to try a few you haven't experienced before. That's great, as there's so much more to casinos than just slots! 

Here's a list of the top ten most popular casino games in the United States right now:

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1. Blackjack

  • Origins: France/Italy, 18th century
  • Objective: Beat the dealer without going over 21
  • Skill involved: High
  • Odds: Good

Blackjack, or Twenty-One, is hands down the most widely played banked card game in the world. It is also one of the few casino games where a player can obtain an edge through the use of basic strategy and optimal count in blackjack.

In other words, when players play perfectly and choose to play in a game with multiple decks, they can reduce the house edge to less than 0.5%. In comparison, most slot machines fail to surpass double digits, let alone hit this benchmark. 

How to Play Blackjack

The object of the game is simple: beat the dealer. But how do you do that? There are three ways:

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  • Get 21 points on your first two cards (also known as a "blackjack").
  • Get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over, even if you exceed 21 ("bust").
  • The dealer busts while your hand is 19 or more.

Cards numbered 2 through 10 are face value. Pictures (Jack, Queen, King) are all worth 10 points each. Aces can be worth either 11 or 1 - whichever works best for your hand. For example, if you have an 8 and an Ace as your first two cards, the ace will count as 11, giving you 19. If you're dealt the Jack and an Ace, you have "Blackjack" and automatically win unless the dealer has a Blackjack too.

There are several types of blackjack games, including:

Classic Blackjack

Classic Blackjack uses 4, 6, or 8 vegetable decks (a deck is a complete set of 52 cards). Players take turns playing until everyone has had two cards apiece, at which point they can opt to stand or hit. Once everyone at the table has finished their turn, it's the dealer's chance to play. They must follow strict guidelines called 'Hitting STPF' (Soft Total Compulsory Figures), which dictate what moves they're allowed to make based on the total value of their card regardless of what the cards are.

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Example: The dealer shows a 6, and their hole card is a 6 as well, giving them a Soft 12 (a soft total means there's an Ace in the mix). According to Hitting STPF rules, the dealer must draw to a Soft 16 or harder. Hard totals (no aces) require hitting on 11 or less.

After the dealer plays out their hand, anyone who hasn't busted wins according to the payout table (usually 1:1). If you have blackjack, you get paid more - typically 3:2. 

FreeBet Blackjack

Free Bet Blackjack is a variant where players can place side bets on the value of their first two cards. This can include pairs, runs, suits, or other combinations. If the player wins the wager, they receive a free betting token worth twice the amount of their original stake. These tokens can then be used to place another bet without having to risk any additional money.

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This version of blackjack is often played with six decks and follows classic rules regarding hits, stands, and dealing procedure. One key difference is that players are not required to announce "hit" or "stand." Instead, they simply wave their hand horizontally for a hit or vertically for a stand. Some casinos allow free bets on any total, while others restrict them to specific values like 12, 13-16, 17-21.

Note: Although Free Bet Blackjack can be an exciting variation due to the extra wagering opportunity, it should be noted that the house edge is slightly higher than traditional blackjack.

Blaze Blackjack

Blaze Blackjack is a fast-paced variant that adds an element of risk and reward to the classic game. It is played with eight standard decks, and the goal remains the same: beat the dealer's hand without going over 21. However, there are a few key differences that set Blaze apart.

First, each player starts with three boxes instead of just one. This allows you to make multiple bets per hand and increase your chances of winning (or losing...). Second, there's a timer involved. Each player has 20 seconds from the moment the cards are dealt to make their decisions (hit, stand, etc.). If you run out of time, the computer will make the decision for you - usually to stand, regardless of your hand.

Here's where it gets interesting: you can use a feature called "Blazin' Bet" to double your initial wager and trigger a bonus round. To do this, you drag your chips to the Blazin' Bet spot on the table before the timer runs out. This puts your regular bet to work, but if your hand results in blackjack, you'll enter the bonus round.

The bonus round is a quick game of flip matching. You're presented with several facedown cards and must flip them over, trying to find three of a kind. If you succeed, your Blazin' Bet pays anywhere from 5 to 50 times your initial wager depending on the rank of the matched cards. However, if you fail to find a pair of kinds, you lose your Blazin' Bet.

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Overall, Blaze Blackjack is a high-energy version of blackjack that appeals to players who enjoy a little adrenaline with their gambling. Just be sure to keep an eye on that timer...

Are There Blackjack Tournaments?

Yes, there are many blackjack tournaments available both online and offline. In these tournaments, players start with a set bankroll and compete against each other at a shared table. The last player standing with the most chips wins the tournament and a share of the prize pool. Some tournaments also have re-buys and add-ons, allowing players to purchase extra chips if they bust or want to catch up with the leaders. Blackjack tournaments can be a fun way to test your skills against others and potentially win some big prizes.

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What's the Best Blackjack Movie Scene?

There are many iconic blackjack movie scenes, but one of the most famous is probably the card counting scene in Rain Man. The main character, Charlie, enlists the help of his autistic brother Raymond to count cards at the blackjack table, allowing them to win large sums of money. The scene showcases Ray's incredible memory and calculating abilities, as he keeps track of the cards dealt and signals to Charlie when to increase their bets. It's a tense and highly intelligent sequence that gives insight into the world of advantage play within blackjack.

Biggest Blackjack Wins

Some of the biggest blackjack wins in history have come from card counting and other advantage play techniques. One notable win occurred in the 1980s when a group of MIT students led by a statistics professor named John Chang honed their card counting skills and went on to win millions of dollars in casinos around the world. Another famous win was achieved by Don Johnson, a professional gambler who counted cards at an Atlantic City casino and won $15 million over the course of several weeks. While many casinos now have stricter rules against card counting, it's still possible to gain an edge and win big through skill and strategy.

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Credit: Pixabay

2. Roulette

  • Origins: France, 17th century
  • Objective: Predict where the ball will land on the wheel
  • Skill involved: Low
  • Odds: Varied
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Roulette is one of the most iconic casino games, recognized worldwide for its spinning wheel and tiny white ball. The French word roulette translates to "little wheel," which accurately describes the game's concept. Players place bets on where the ball will land after the wheel comes to a stop. Bets can be placed on a single number, a group of numbers, colors (red or black), or odd/even numbers. 

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American Roulette wheels have 38 pockets, while European and French versions have 37. The addition of the zero pocket (and, in American Roulette, an additional double zero pocket) gives the house a significant edge compared to blackjack or craps. However, roulette still offers decent odds compared to slot machines or many other casino games.

Different Types of Roulette

There are several variations of roulette, each with their own unique twist:

American Roulette

American Roulette is the version most commonly found in casinos outside of Europe. It features a wheel with 38 pockets - 18 black, 18 red, and two green pockets for 0 and 00. As a result, the house edge in American Roulette is slightly higher than European Roulette, coming in at 5.26%. Despite this, American Roulette is still a popular choice for players seeking a balance between entertainment and potential payouts.

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Fun fact: The number 14 is missing from the American Roulette wheel. This is because early roulette wheels in France also contained the number 13, leading some superstitious players to avoid the game. To combat this, the zero was moved to the wheel, and the number 14 was removed, making the game more appealing to those spooked by the unlucky 13.

European Roulette

European Roulette is similar to American Roulette but has one key difference: the wheel only has one zero pocket. This reduces the house edge to 2.7%, making it a popular choice for players seeking better odds. However, European Roulette wheels may use different color schemes for the number pockets, so it's important to check the specific rules before placing any bets.

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French Roulette

French Roulette is played on a wheel identical to the European version. However, some variations of French Roulete introduce two additional rule variations: La Partage and En Prison. La Partage requires a split bet to be divided by two if the ball lands on zero. En Prison allows players with an even money bet to leave their wager "in prison" on the table. If the next spin results in a win, the player receives their original wager back. These rules slightly improve the player's odds and can be found in some French Roulette variants.

How to Place a Bet in Roulette

Placing a bet in roulette is relatively straightforward. Before the dealer announces "No more bets," players can place chips on the table to indicate their desired wagers. Bets can be on individual numbers, groups of numbers, colors, or other combinations. Once the dealer spins the wheel and tosses the ball onto the wheel, no further bets are allowed. As the ball slows down and approaches a pocket, the dealer will announce the winning number and pay out any winning bets.

What's the Difference Between Inside and Outside Bets?

In roulette, there are two main types of bets: inside bets and outside bets.

Inside bets are placed on specific numbers or groups of numbers on the interior grid section of the table. These bets offer higher payouts but have lower odds of winning. Examples of inside bets include straight bets (betting on a single number), split bets (betting on two adjacent numbers), and corner bets (betting on four adjacent numbers).

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Outside bets, on the other hand, are placed on the outer portion of the betting layout. These bets cover larger groups of numbers and offer lower payouts but have higher odds of winning. Examples of outside bets include