Best real money casinos you need to try (and some games too!)

If you're ready to level up your casino game, it's time to play with real money on the line. But where do you begin? Which of the best real money casinos should you pick first? And which games are worth playing once you get there? Put your money where your mouth is with this guide.

Real Money Casino vs. Free Play

You can't talk about real money casinos without mentioning their free counterparts at least once. After all, the chance to win real cash every time you pull a virtual lever is what draws most gamblers in. Still, if you're new to online casinos or unfamiliar with the games they host, free play mode can be an awesome education. 

Most real money online casinos offer free versions of their top slots and table games. You can tinker around with betting ranges, read up on paylines and rules, and even score some imaginary wins without risking a dime. Once you know how a game works—and you've been lucky enough to hit a few bonuses—you might feel more confident dropping some dollars.

If you choose to keep things free, however, that's totally cool too. In fact, many seasoned slot players never wager a penny of their own cash as they hunt for big wins. This strategy—known as "bonus hunting" or "balance boosting"—lets you take advantage of welcome bonuses and other promotions without depositing a cent.

Here's how it works: You create an account at a real money online casino (like any of those listed below). As a newbie, you'll likely qualify for a generous welcome bonus. Once you've met the necessary playthrough requirements—i.e., wagered a certain amount of your own deposit—the casino will credit your account with additional funds and/or free spins.

Rather than risking that bonus on a small banking option (more on these shortly), you opt for the max betting option on a high-paying slot machine. If you lose everything, no biggie: That welcome bonus should still be waiting for you in your account.

However, if you hit the jackpot—or even just a handful of free spins—you can parlay that balance into even bigger wins at other casinos. Many real money casinos offer smaller bonuses to players who sign up using a special referral link, so maximizing your complimentary credits makes good sense. Best of all? Since you weren't actually playing with your own dough, every cent of your winnings is pure profit.

Of course, balance boosting requires both skill and luck. Knowing which slots to play when (and how much to bet) is key. We won't lie: It may take some practice before you get the hang of it.

In the meantime, here are some of Slotomania's top free-to-play slots.

  • Western Gold
  • Big Vegas
  • Family Guy
  • Quick Hit Platinum
  • Wheel of Fortune On Air
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Playing for free is lots of fun, but let's face it: The real action happens when cold hard cash is involved. These days, you don't have to hop a red-eye to Las Vegas to get in on the thrill; hundreds of reputable online casinos now accept players from all over the world.

We can't endorse specific sites, of course, but we can give you some tips for finding the right one. Look for casinos that feature games vetted and vouched for by reputable developers like IGT and WMS Gaming.

Once you've identified a shortlist of potential winners, drill down to find out whether the site offers trustworthy banking options, speedy payouts, and support staff who can answer your questions 24/7. If all systems are go, it's time to choose a game and place your bets!

When browsin' the selection at a real money online casino, you'll encounter lots of enticing options. Some gamblers gravitate toward hot drop jackpots, while others prefer games with high RTPs. If you ask us, the best real money casino games strike a nice balance between these factors. Here are some of our favorites. 

Slot Machines 

Everyone knows that slot machines are the lifeblood of modern casinos, and that holds true whether the establishment in question exists wholly within the ether or occupies a few acres on the Las Vegas Strip. The best real money casinos understand this, which is why their lobbies burst at the seams with one-armed bandits of every size, shape, and age. 

  • Crazy Tiger 
  • Diamond Queen 
  • HappyLujack Pot 
  • Fu Dao Temple 
  • Jade Wins 
  • China Rivers 
  • Golden Olympus 
  • Pixie Wings Fortuna Sky Wheel of Luck 
  • Sizzling 6: This 5-reel classic from High 5 Games features locked wilds, tumbling reels, and plenty of opportunities to double or quadruple your win. 
  • Hercules High & Mighty: Based on the classic IGT slot Hercules: The King of Kings, this updated version boasts flashy new graphics, expanded wilds, and random win multipliers. 
  • Hot Air Queenz: Reel Symbols, rows, and other features in this queensball-themed slot from High 5 Games inflate or deflate on every spin, providing endless variety and tons of ways to win. 

Those all sound like great slots, but how do you know which one to try first? If you're looking for the very best real money casino games, you'll want to start with the hottest titles du jour. At the time of this writing, these were the top slots on Caesars Casino. 

  • Aloha Islands 
  • Dancing Drum Pro Wealth 
  • Buffalo Longhorns 
  • Jingle Win Slots 
  • Spirit Cavern 
  • Double Happiness 
  • Hotter than Blazes 
  • Panda Fortunes 
  • Tiki Tower 
  • Nightshadeland

Of course, hot drops aren't the same thing as hot . 

Some slots may spend weeks in the "extreme heat" range without rewarding anyone with a big prize, while another game could pay out multiple six-figure jackpots on the same day. If you're looking for hot drops progressive jackpots, your best bet is to pick a well-regarded title from a reputable developer and hope the gods smile upon you. Here are a few good choices. 

  • Bubbles a Lot 
  • Stampede 
  • God of Fire 
  • Spinning Dragons 
  • Jumbo Joker 
  • Jackpot Devil 
  • Fire Lightening 
  • 3x Wild Blast 
  • Diamond Tropicana 
  • Lightning Leopard 

These progressive jackpot slots from IWG boast daily drop times and randomly awarded mega prizes that routinely top $1 million. Available at several major gaming sites—including DuckyLuck Casino and El Royale—they offer plenty of bang for your buck. 

  • Stampede 
  • God of Fire 
  • Spinning Dragons 
  • Jumbo Joker 
  • Jackpot Devil 
  • Fire Lightening 
  • 3x Wild Blast 
  • Diamond Tropicana 
  • Lightning Leopard

Which of these should you play first? Why not try the one with the biggest jackpot? At the time of this writing, the haul stood at more than $1.2 million. 

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Thrillist Daily Drop Jackpots

If the idea of daily jackpots tickling your gambler's bone, you may wish to explore the Thrillist selection from Scientific Games. Like the offerings from IWG, these slots feature random, timed jackpots that land several times each day. Here are 10 of the hottest Thrillist games currently available. 

  • Gloria Moon: This 94.1% RTP slot from Bally Technologies features cascading reels, free spins, and four different jackpots (mini, minor, major, and grand). Gloria herself serves as both a wild and a scatter symbol, making it easy to rack up combinations and win extra credits.
  • *Mega Buffalo - With an RTP of 96.00%, this high-volatile slot from AGS Features free spins, stacked wilds, respins, and four potential jackpots. Players can also choose to purchase their way into the free-spin round at certain qualifying casinos.
  • Great Rhino Deluxe - This updated version of developer Pragmatic Play's popular Great Rhino slot boasts the same 96.50% RTP, medium volatility, and 20 paylines—along with four jackpots (mini, minor, major, grand) that can award huge wins. Free spins, 2x multipliers, and respins only sweeten the pot.
  • Wolf Peak - A 5-reel, 10-line slot from AGS, this game boasts a 96.04% RTP, medium volatility, and plenty of winning opportunities. The howling wolf is both a wild and a scatter symbol, and three or more of either trigger free spins and win multipliers.
  • Golden Chief - With its cartoony Native American motif and four potentially lucrative jackpots, this slot from AGS should appeal to history buffs and gamblers alike. Featuring 1024 ways to win and an RTP of 96.00%, Golden Chief also offers free spins, stacked wilds, and win multipliers.
  • She's a Good Wildcat - This buxom homage to the classic country song "Ten Little Banks of Blue" features two jackpops (mini and grand) along with free spins, respins, and win multipliers. With an RTP of 96.04% and 10 paylines over five reels, Good Wildcat is a solid choice for fans of rockabilly music and hot blonde slaves to snakelike creatures.
  • *Chief Magical: Set deep in the enchanted forest, this 5x4 slot from AGS features cascading reels, expanding wilds, and free spins. Match six or more breathing potions anywhere on the grid to win a prize, with multiple wins adding together for larger rewards. *
  • Eagle Effort - Another 5x4 slot from AGS, this game features an RTP of 96.02%, medium volatility, and 1024 ways to win. With eagles serving as both single- and multi-stacked wild symbols, Eagle Effort offers plenty of chances to fly away with a big prize.
  • *Golden Wins: Features Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and other ancient Egyptian icons across its five reels and 243 paylines. Win multipliers, free spins, and random Gold Coin awards add to the excitement. *
  • *Buffalo Bar X - With a 96.01% RTP, medium volatility, and retro art style borrowed from classic slot machines, this game has something for old-school gamblers and newer players alike. Buffalo symbols serve as both wilds and scatter symbols, triggering respins and win multipliers when matched. Bonus symbols launch a picking game where players can win instant credits or access the free-spin round. *
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Which of these Thrillist slots should you see first? If quirky artwork and off-kilter animations are your thing, you may enjoy Buffalo Bar X. Here's a look at the title screen.

Video Poker 

For many gamblers, video poker isn't really casino gambling at all—it's just a fancy variant of five-card draw. We can't argue with that logic, which is why video poker games regularly appear on lists of the best real money casino games. There are hundreds of video poker variants to choose from, but these nine rank among the most popular. 

  • Jacks or Better 
  • Bonus Deuces Wild 
  • Double Bonus 
  • Double Double Bonus 
  • Loosest Deuces 
  • Super Double Bonus 
  • SupaJax 
  • Three Card Poker 
  • Deuces Wild 

Which of these should you play? Truthfully, it doesn't matter much: All of them offer solid returns and interesting variations on standard video poker rules. For a completely different experience, check out Three Card Poker. 

Though classified as a banking option, Three Card Poker shares more with video poker than it does slots or keno; like its cousin, it allows players to make strategic decisions that affect the size and likelihood of their wins. Plus, with hot drops jackpots and an RTP rating north of 96%, it's tough to beat.

Designed by Mobias Creative, Three Card Poker invites players to participate in one of three ways: bet on yourself to land a premium three-card hand, bet on yourself to beat the dealer's hand, or bet on the dealer to win. You can adjust your bets and risk levels on every hand.


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Not to be confused with , keno is another simple lottery-style game that often appears on lists of the best real money casino games. Your goal is to select between one and 10 numbers between one and 80; each game of keno features a set of 20 numbered circles, with one caller.

After you’ve made your picks and placed your wager, the caller will randomly generate 20 numbers between one and 80. If you correctly picked any of those numbers, you’ll receive a payout based on your betting level and the exact number of matches. Check out this breakdown for more details. 

  • 0 matches: This may seem like a losing hand, but most keno tickets include the house ball control, which guarantees a minimum credit win for one or more house ball selections.
  • 1 match: Most tickets pay 3X for one number, although some may pay less.
  • 2 matches: Payments typically range from 12X to 20X.
  • 3 matches: Most tickets pay 30X, but some can reach 40X or higher.
  • 4 matches: Expect payments between 60X and 80X.
  • 5 matches: This is where things get interesting. Most tickets pay 300X or 400X for five matches.
  • 6 matches: Some keno tickets pay 1,000X or 1,500X for six matches, while others scale all wins on this hand.
  • 7 matches: Scaled wins might range from 2,000X to 3,000X on a seven-match hand. Unscaled tickets usually stop at five matches.
  • 8 or more matches: In most games, eight or more balls guaranteed the player a jackpot. Payouts ranged from 20,000X for eight balls to 100,000X for 10 balls and up.

It's important to remember that no two keno tickets are exactly alike, so your mileage may vary. Though many experienced players consider keno "the poor man's lottery," huge wins are possible under the right circumstances. Check out the ticket below, which features a top prize of $1,381,843.13.

That's the kind of scratch that can change a person's life, but your odds of achieving similar success are pretty slim. According to Lottery Post, a player's chances of hitting all five losing numbers in a keno drawing are approximately 1 in 324. (Your odds of winning the Powerball jackpot, meanwhile, are roughly 1 in 292 million.) Of course, most keno players don't buy 25 tickets at a time, which means their individual risk and reward levels differ dramatically from those examples.

How many numbers should you pick on a keno ticket? That depends on your tolerance for risk and how fast you want your results. Here's a quick look at historical win percentages for different types of tickets.

  • 1 Spot: 84.70% 
  • 2 Spots: 56.80% 
  • 3 Spots: 37.40% 
  • 4 Spots: 24.20% 
  • 5 Spots: 14.90% 
  • 6 Spots: 9.10% 
  • 7 Spots: 5.60% 
  • 8 Spots: 3.30% 
  • 9 Spots: 2.00% 
  • 10 Spots: 1.00%

These figures don't tell the whole story, of course. Tickets with more spots generally offer higher payouts when they hit, which helps mitigate overall loss. Newbies often begin with one-spot tickets due to their higher win percentage and lower likelihood of immediate bankruptcy.

For the absolute best chances at profit, however, experts say you should focus on tickets with eight spots or more. Assuming you maintain consistent betting levels across all eight (or nine, or ten) spots, a steady diet of multi-ball keno tickets can return 18% or more to the astute player.

Whether that seems too boring to contemplate is up to you. If you'd rather chase the thrill of five or six spots, we can't blame you—go forth and have fun. Just remember that keno is a long game and may require significant financial investment before you see a return. These two games from Slotomania should give you a good taste of what to expect.

Table Games 

Let's face it: For many players, the card table is the very heart and soul of any casino—real or otherwise. Whether you're a seasoned pro with years of experience on the felt or a wide-eyed newcomer eager to learn, table games offer unique excitement and potential profits you just can't find elsewhere. Here are 10 of the best real money casino games for card slingers. 

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  • Blackjack: Also known as , vingetaine, and twenty-one, this classic comparing-card game places you against the house with the goal of reaching (or surpassing) a score of 21 without busting. Several variants of blackjack are available, including Face Up 21, Zapp It Blackjack, and Pi Gao Wang.
  • Baccarat: One of the simplest casino games, baccarat pits the banker hand against the player hand—or the banker hand against the player hand and the banker hand—with the highest scores winning. Try Chartwell's Super 6 Baccarat or Binary Baccarat for different spins on the classic formula.
  • Craps: Though its origins remain somewhat muddled, craps is widely believed to have evolved from an ancient English game called hazard. Today, shooters roll a single die against the house, with a range of bets available regarding the outcome of each roll. Popular craps variants include Simplified Craips, Easy Craips, and High Point Craips.
  • Roulette: Meaning "little wheel" in Gallic, roulette sends players 'round the circle when they attempt to guess which of a numbered wheel's pockets the ball will land in in response to the dealer's spin. Try 3 Wheel Roulette for a novel twist on this classic casino game.
  • Three Card Poker: Similar to blackjack, this comparing-card game sees you compete against the house to see who can get the better three-card hand. Anchored by a hot drops jackpot, Three Card Poker promises plenty of excitement.
  • Francois et INdit: Released by Electronic Arts, this simulated game of baccarat lets players go head-to-head against renowned French baccarat expert François Bl Pierini—or take on the role of the house and challenge computer-controlled opponents.
  • Texas Cheese: Using just one die, shooters attempt to roll a total sum equal to ten with a combination of the die's faces. Because higher scores are penalized, players must strategize carefully to avoid going over the top. Try Feeling Lucky for a different spin on this fun game.
  • Pai Gow Poker: This exciting tile game uses traditional poker hands to determine the winner in rounds contested between the player and the dealer. As the oldest casino game in China, Pai Gow Poker brings a rich tradition to the virtual tables.
  • Ultimate Texas Hold'em: An extension of the beloved variant of stud poker, Ultimate Texas Hold'em invites players to raise the stakes on this popular comparing-card game. With a progressive jackpot and flexible betting structure, it’s easy to see why this game is a hit.
  • High Card Phoenix: In this comparing-card game, the player and dealer reveal one card at a time—and you can bet on up to four hands simultaneously. Whoever shows the highest-ranked card, suit, or combination of cards at the end of six rounds wins.

There are, of course, dozens of other table games to choose from. However, these tend to offer lower RTP ratings and less excitement for most players. If you're looking for the best real money casino games in this category, we recommend blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, and Three Card Poker. 

You can sample a few of those titles in this collection of top casino games from Pennington Gaming.


No list of casino games would be complete without a section dedicated to poker—both the holding-'em-up-high variation and the table game. Although many casual gamblers consider these interchangeable, they actually represent two distinct experiences. Let’s begin with video poker, which we discussed earlier. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the card table, where holding an ace high can mean something entirely different. This trio of poker titles ranks among the best real money casino games for serious players. 

  • World Series of Poker: Based on the famed tournament circuit, this poker variant tasks players with building the best five-card hand possible from a deck of 52 cards. World Series of Poker games can follow any of any number of rule sets, from Texas Hold 'Em to Seven-Card Stud.
  • Pai Gow Poker: See our notes above for a full description of this fascinating game, which uses traditional poker hands to determine the winner in rounds contested between the player and the dealer.
  • Ultimate Texas Hold'em: Another entry on our table games list, Ultimate Texas Hold'em provides ample opportunity to flex your poker muscles for a hefty profit. With a progressive jackpot and flexible betting limits, this game always delivers a good time.

Of the three, World Series of Poker probably comes closest to recreating the adrenaline rush associated with high-stakes tournaments—which is why it tends to carry higher minimum bets than other poker variants. If you're looking for more accessible poker titles, check out Pai Gow Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold'em. 

The Best of the Rest

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By now, you've surely noticed that this list of the best real money casino games could easily span a dozen pages—or more. To save space, we focused on the most popular and profitable categories before dipping back into the ether to pluck a few more titans. Whether you classify these games as slots, table games, or something else entirely, there's no denying their popularity with casino patrons young and old. 

  • Keno: Though we already covered keno above, it bears repeating: This lottery-style game boasts hot drop jackpots and solid RTP ratings, making it a solid choice for players of all stripes. Give Bingo Bonanza or Keno Megapays a spin—er, click—today! 
  • Scratch Cards: Combining the instant gratification of lottery tickets with the excitement of interactive gameplay, digital scratch cards provide loads of fun for gamblers of all ages. Among the best in the business are Big Foot Scratch Off, Fishin’ Payouts Scratch, and Guns n’ Roses Scratch.
  • Virtual Horse Racing: Using sophisticated algorithms to simulate the outcomes of thoroughbred races, these digital takes on America's favorite sport boast hot drops jackpots and excellent RTP ratios. Check out Virtual Prime Performer and Virtual Cambridge Races for a pair of champions.
  • Virtual Sports: Covering a wide array of athletic competitions—from soccer to auto racing—virtual sports titles pit the player against the house in simulated events designed to replicate real-world outcomes. If you enjoy gambling on sports, you'll love titles such as Virtual Soccer Nation and Virtual Football PRO.

Is there a difference between playing virtual horse racing games for free and paying real money to run the gauntlet? Duh. But that doesn't mean the former lacks value; indeed, learning the nuances of Virtual Cambridges Races (or any similar title) can help you refine your strategies and perhaps make better bets on actual racetracks.

Likewise, virtual sports offer armchair athletes a chance to experience the excitement of their favorite competitions without worrying about injury, bad calls, weather delays, and other problems that plague flesh-and-blood contests. Want to know the best part? You can crank through dozens of simulations in the time it takes to watch a single baseball game—or wait four hours for a rain delay to end.

Specialty Games

We saved the best for last—but you'll have to decide that for yourself. Despite their catchall moniker, specialty casino games offer plenty of unique experiences for gamblers willing to step outside the box. Sudoken, for instance, eschews traditional slot reels for a numeric pad and a few extra keys; after shuffling 60 numbered tiles, players use these controls to reveal nine matching numbers. 

Meanwhile, titles such as Flying Pigs and Carnival Cash leverage clever animation and sound design to deliver a more immersive experience. Other entries in this group—Hey Pauleen, The Incredible Balloon Machine, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, and Zombie Invasion, to name a few—offer more straightforward gameplay reminiscent of classic slots.

No single definition fits all specialty games, in other words. Instead, this diverse collection includes almost anything that doesn’t fit neatly into the other categories we’ve explored. Check out this sampling from Penn National Gaming to get an idea of the scope of specialty games.

Where Should I Play Real Money Casino Games Online?

If you’ve decided to dive into the world of real-money casino games, the next order of business involves choosing a reputable site to host your adventures. We’ve already touched on some of the criteria that separate the wheat from the chaff, including: 

  • Game Selection: Does the casino offer an adequate number of quality games in the genres you enjoy? If not, move along—there are plenty of other fish in this sea. 
  • Promotions and Bonuses: From welcome bonuses to loyalty perks, free chips and other forms of compensation can greatly enhance your bottom line. Read the fine print, though, as many promos come with restrictive terms and conditions. 
  • Banking Options: How does the casino facilitate deposits and withdrawals? Do the available methods suit your needs, and do they charge exorbitant fees? Consider these factors when planning your budget. 
  • Software Providers: Reputable game developers like IGT, WMS, and Bally don’t license their products to just anybody. Therefore, a casino lineup heavy on these brands may indicate solid management and secure software. 
  • Reputation and History: Last but not least, research the online reputation of any casino you’re considering. What do user reviews and news articles have to say? Have company executives been honest and transparent in interviews and public statements? Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect operator; however, glaring patterns of fraud, theft, and abuse are fairly easy to spot. 

Of the many casinos welcoming players today, these half-dozen stand tall in the eyes of gamblers everywhere.

  • Bovada: Founded in 2000, Bovada started as an offshoot of Bodog, which had become too large for that single brand to handle effectively. Today, it stands as one of the most trusted names in online gaming, offering a full casino, a comprehensive racebook, live dealers, and tons of unique promos.
  • Drake Casino: Specializing in slots and other buzz games, Drake Casino boasts a library numbering in the hundreds alongside a generous 300% welcome bonus (up to $6,000) and other fine promos for regular players.
  • El Royales: Hailing from the Same Side Group stable, El Royales puts a stylish spin on classic casino entertainment with titles from top dev studios, a 250% welcome bonus topping $45,000, and around-the-clock customer support.
  • Las Atlantis: With an undersea theme and a 280% welcome bonus topping $14,000, Las Atlantis aims to stand out in a crowded field of online casinos. Does it succeed? Have a look for yourself and judge the mermaids for yourself.
  • SlotsandCasino: Slots take center stage at SlotsandCasino, which boasts more than 3,500 titles from all the top development houses. First-time players can double their deposits with a 100% cash-back bonus worth up to $2,000, while ongoing promos give loyal customers a reason to stay engaged.
  • TrustDice: Known for its decentralized gambling applications, TrustDice also operates a fully licensed online casino offering provably fair games and a robust sportsbook. With millions of dollars in jackpays and other promotional opportunities, this is a fine place to roll the dice.

These recommendations shouldn’t be taken as gospel; plenty of other online operators deserve recognition for their contributions to the industry. However, the above casinos possess certain qualities—particularly in the areas of game selection and customer support—that put them ahead of the pack.

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Of course, you may discover other elements that sway your opinion one way or the other. Maybe you dig the sleek design at Las Atlantis, or perhaps you prefer the extensive banking menu at Bovada. Whatever the case, the only wrong choice is letting fear guide your decisions. 

After all, online casinos exist solely to facilitate your good time. By selecting a reliable provider and approaching the situation with maturity and discipline, you can enjoy all the thrills of real-money casino games from the comfort of home. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and win some coin!