There’s no shame in being a wide-eyed newbie at the casino. There’s a first time for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be a confusing and expensive mess the first time around. The advice I always give to newbies is to start with one or two basic games and then expand from there as they become more comfortable with the casino atmosphere.
The easiest way to get started is at an online casino site. That way, you can try each game from the privacy of home without looking like a clueless beginner (no offense). You can play the games at your own pace and take as long as you want to make each decision. There are no other players to rush you along, there’s no dealer in a hurry to take his next break and nobody will laugh at you if you do something goofy. It’s a win-win for everyone.
This list is not based on which games are the easiest to learn. If you want easy games, you can always just go hit the slot machines. Instead, I’m going to recommend a variety of the most popular games. My hope is that you find one or two games that fit your personal sense of what’s fun.
This is the classic casino game of all time and the epitome of gambling. Online roulette doesn’t even try to look like a game of skill; this is gambling at its most pure. It’s easy to get started and appeals to a wide variety of gambling personalities. Roulette has a surprisingly low house advantage (2.7% for European roulette) given how easy it is to play. Normally, games with simple rules are designed to fleece unsuspecting players.
The rules of the game are simple. A dealer will spin the big roulette wheel and then drop a ball into the spinning wheel. Eventually, the wheel will slow down and the ball will come to a rest in one of 37 numbered slots.
But before this happens, your job is to predict where the ball will land. You can place your bets by laying your chips on the layout next to the wheel. You can bet on individual numbers for high payouts or groups of numbers for lower payouts. Here are just a few examples of bets you can place:
- Straight up bet on one number: You win a 35-1 payout if the ball lands in that slot.
- A bet on a group of four numbers: You win 8-1 on your money if the ball lands in any of the chosen numbers.
- Red or Black: Pick a color and you get paid 1-1 (even money) if the ball lands in a slot with that color.
If you play roulette online, you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly. The betting layout is pretty self-explanatory. All you have to do is place your chips on the corresponding number, color or group of numbers. Click the “spin” button and the automated dealer will set the wheel to spinning and then drop the ball.
Read more here: Online Roulette
2. Let It Ride
Let It Ride is a good game for anyone with a thing for poker. It looks and feels like regular multi-player poker but is played only against the house. You get the poker experience but without the stress that comes with playing against devious human opponents. With a house advantage of around 3.5%, Let It Ride isn’t too hard on the bankroll.
One thing that makes this casino game unique is that it allows you take back wagers as the hand progresses. In most games, you’re locked in after you place your first bet. This is not the case with online Let It Ride.
To play, start by placing three bets of equal size on the table in front of you. The dealer will then give you three cards face-up and then place two cards face down in the middle of the table. Eventually, you will combine your three hole cards with the two community cards to create a 5-card poker hand.
You get the first opportunity to take back a bet after you look at your three hole cards. You can either “let it ride” or take back one bet. Next, the dealer reveals one of the face-down community cards. After seeing one card, you get a second opportunity to take back one bet or let it ride.
Finally, the dealer reveals the second community card. Your final hand consists of all five cards. If you have a pair of 10s or better, you get paid.
Read more here: Online Let It Ride
Blackjack isn’t the simplest game for newbies but it’s an awesome game that you might end up falling in love with. What makes blackjack great is that you have some control over your own destiny. If you learn the right strategy, you can eventually shave the house advantage down to less than half a percent. Some players almost turn it into a hobby to learn blackjack strategy and hunt for the best variations.
I won’t go into the full rules here (see the link below for that), but the basic goal in blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. You will be dealt two cards to start the game and then choose between receiving more cards or standing pat where you are. If you get a higher points total than the dealer without going over, you win an even money payout.
Numbered cards are worth their face value in points, face cards are each worth 10 points and aces are worth 1 or 11 points (whichever works best for your hand). Special bonuses are paid when your first two cards are an ace and a face card. This totals to exactly 21 points and is called a “blackjack.” The payout for a blackjack is 3-2, or 1.5 times your original bet.
Read more here: Online Blackjack
4. Video Poker
Online video poker is a fast-paced game with frequent payouts and the potential to win large jackpots. It’s easy to learn but open to so much strategy that you could spend a lifetime learning new things. Like blackjack, video poker is one of those games that some people take up as a personal hobby.
There are many variations of video poker, but the general idea in all versions is to get the best possible five-card hand. You place a bet and then the machine gives you five cards dealt at random from a standard 52-card deck. You then get one opportunity to discard any number of cards and receive new cards at random from the deck. You get paid if your final hand is ranked high enough to earn a payout. In many video poker variants, payouts are issued to a pair of jacks or better.
Read more here: Online Video Poker
Craps is definitely the most intimidating game to newbies, especially at any brick-and-mortar casino. Visit the casino on a busy night and you’ll have no problem finding the craps table: it’s the one with all the loud people bunched together. It looks and sounds like a complex game, but I can assure you that playing a few rounds online will be more than sufficient to get you started.
There are two things that make craps look like a confusing game. One is the sheer number of betting options. There are about a million bets you can place during the course of this game. Almost all of them are optional, so we’ll forget about those for now. We’ll just focus on the main wager you need to know. This one will set the stage for every other bet.
Second, craps appears complex until you understand how the come-out roll works. Once you have that part down, the game gets a whole lot easier. I’ll refer you to my craps guide next so you can get all the basics. If you give craps a chance, you just might find your new favorite casino game.
Read more here: Online Craps
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.