Online Casino Games 101: The Basics

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Since the rise of the internet, online casinos have skyrocketed in popularity the world over. Today, you can find all sorts of different casino games online, from classics like blackjack and poker to quirky, unique titles like game shows, Slingo and even Minesweeper. You can play all of these games for real money or just for fun.

However youre choosing to play, its always important to understand the game youre playing before you start, especially if youre opting to put money down.

If you reside in Canada, once you have read this article, check out the Best Casino Games in Canada.

So that you can feel confident and have fun as you play, lets go through the rules of some of the most popular online casino games:


Youll notice pretty quickly that the vast majority of online casino games are slots. Theyre super accessible, with straightforward gameplay and attractive interfaces, and theyre easy to develop with a lot of room for creativity. It doesnt hurt that they offer some of the biggest payouts, too.

Playing slots is often as easy as choosing how much to bet and pressing go. Put down your wager, click to start and watch the reels spin! If the symbols fall into a winning combination, also known as a pay line, you win!

You can find winning combinations listed in the games paytable, usually displayed beside the reels. This paytable explains what different symbols are worth and how you trigger additional features like multipliers and free spins.

These are the basics for slots, but this can change depending on the slot youre playing. For example, grid slots function differently than reel slots, and other games have extra gameplay features to make the experience more engaging. As such, its always worth reading through the rules of the game youre playing.


Blackjack, sometimes known as 21, vingt-et-en or Pontoon, is the most commonly played casino game in the world. The goal is simple: get your hand as close to 21 as possible without going over, which is called going bust. In blackjack, players dont play against each other but against the dealer.

To play, the dealer first deals two cards to each participant. As a player, you then have four choices. The basic two are hit or stand, where you either take another card or keep your hand. You can also double down, take another card and double your bet, or split, where if youre dealt two of the same card, you can split them and play two separate hands.

The dealer will draw cards until they reach 17 or higher. If the dealer goes bust or your hand is higher than the dealers, you win. If you draw, its called a push, and your bet is returned to you.


The roulette wheel is one of the most iconic images we associate with casinos. Its a simple game where players place bets on where they think a ball will land on a wheel. If youre correct, your bet pays out.

Roulette wheels come in different varieties depending on which type of roulette youre playing. The most common roulette types are American, European and French. The differences lie in wheel size, betting options and house edge.

To play, you place your bet on the table of betting options, also known as the layout. You can bet on one or a range of numbers, a colour, or evens vs odds. The host, called the croupier, will then spin the wheel to roll the ball. If the ball lands according to your bet, you win.

To start playing online roulette at online casinos, click here.

Video Poker

Dont get this mixed up with the classic game of poker. Video poker is a single-player experience more akin to a video slot in how it plays. The goal of the game isnt to outwit your opponent but rather to build the best hand possible.

Youre dealt five cards at the top of each round. You then choose which cards to hold and which to discard to improve your hand. Those cards are then replaced, and your hand is matched against the paytable (the list of winning hands) to see how much you potentially win.

The paytable lists various poker hands, such as flush, four-of-a-kind and full house. The rarer your hand, the bigger the payout. Video poker comes in a handful of varieties, all with slightly different rules and paytables. Because of this, be sure to take a look at the rules for the video poker game youve selected before placing your first bet.


Baccarat is a curious card game in that the participants arent playing at all. Instead, participants bet on whether the dealer or player will win a given hand.

The player and banker are both dealt two cards, at which point they hit (take another card) or stand (keep their hand). The hands are then compared, and whoever's total is closer to 9 is the winner. Determining the total of a hand is simple: cards are totalled, and if the total goes above 9, the first digit is dropped. For example, you count 16 as a 6.

Participants can bet on whether the banker or player will win or if there will be a tie. When the player wins, the payout is double the bet, but when the banker wins, the bet is matched by less than 100% to account for the house edge, usually around 95%. Finally, a tie pays out 8 to 1, with the most significant risk versus reward.

Other popular online casino games

Of course, there are many, many more games to find at online casinos, like craps, keno, bingo, scratch cards and even game shows.

All of these games will have instruction windows when you start them, so read through them before you play. Many online casinos also provide additional information about these games and their specific selections.

Tips for playing online casino games

Now you know how to play some of the most popular online casino games out there. But thats only half the battle! So here are some general tips for playing at online casinos to keep the experience fun and safe:

  • Set a budget ahead of time and stick to it

  • Dont chase your losses

  • Take frequent breaks dont let yourself get swept up

  • Dont make a bet until you understand the rules of a game

  • Take full advantage of any promotions on offer this could include free play

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Everest Market Insights journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.