Don’t have the time or money to book a flight to Las Vegas? No problem – online casino games bring the Vegas experience to your living room. All you need is a computer and an internet connection to get your real money gambling fix.
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Best of all, you don’t even have to spend an arm and a leg to get the heart racing. Online casinos don’t have crazy minimum bets like you see at the biggest brick-and-mortar establishments. You can test your luck for pennies if you’re not ready to join the big leagues. However, high stakes wagers are always accepted if you’ve got the bankroll to back it up.
Real money online casinos work just like their live counterparts minus the travel expenses and smoke-filled rooms. You get all the same odds, same payouts and same game selection when you play online at the best gambling sites.
One of the big advantages you get when playing online is access to a great game selection. Unlike brick-and-mortar casinos, online gambling sites aren’t confined by space and seating limitations. Every online casino game can host an unlimited number of players any time of day or night. On top of that, the best gambling sites host more than a hundred unique real money games.
These days, you have options galore between the hundreds of online casino sites out there that each host upwards of a hundred games. The only challenge is figuring out just which casino and which game seems like the best fit for you. Our goal here at OCS is to help you find the perfect casino and best game for your individual needs.
So, where do we start? Well first of all, take a look at our recommendations above. If you don’t have a specific game in mind, the above casino websites will give you a wide range of games to try. All you need is a single account at any of these sites and you’ll have access to all the most popular table games, slot machines, video poker games and more.
Most importantly, the brands that we recommend here are all safe, respected names in online gambling. As you’ll come to see if you hang around for a while, we’re obsessed with safety. Trust is the lubricant of the online gambling engine. Without trust, the whole system breaks down and nobody can have any fun. So our number one factor when ranking sites is always security.
Other factors we take into consideration include betting limits, deposit methods, quality of the software and generosity of new player bonuses. Basically, our aim is to recommend the best all-around gambling sites for real money players. A few of the factors we take into consideration include the following:
- How well the games are presented (graphics, usability and features)
- Betting limits
- Ability to clear deposit bonuses with the games
- Overall casino reputation
Game Specific Rankings
If you’re anything like us, you may already have a favorite casino game. Whether it be craps, roulette, a certain slot machine or any of a hundred other games, there’s one that we always keep coming back to for more. The following pages are dedicated to specific games. Each page in this section lists the best casinos for that game and goes on to explain the basic idea of each game. You’ll read about the rules of the game, tips for playing and more.
- Let It Ride
- Caribbean Stud
- Pai Gow Poker
- Three Card Poker
- Video Poker
- Scratch Cards
- Specialty Games
- Table Games
Each of the above pages ranks operators individually based on that one game. However, we do not ever sacrifice overall quality or safety when ranking casinos by game. Some random casino might have the best blackjack, but we won’t list that operator if it can’t even process withdrawals in a timely manner or guarantee the safety of your funds.
Beyond that, the betting limits and game variations are important factors. The greater the range of betting limits, the more flexibility you have to try different things and find your comfort level. It’s kind of a pain to sign up at a casino and find out it has very restrictive max bets or uncomfortably high minimum bets.
Game variations provide more variety, and variety is always a good thing. For example, the best online blackjack sites host about a dozen unique variations on blackjack. You’ll find standard blackjack, single deck blackjack, Pontoon and more. Not every game has multiple variations, but for the games that do, we try to find the best online casinos that have lots of variety.
When you sign up for an account any of these online casino websites, you always get some sort of deposit bonus. In order to release the bonus, each casino site asks that you wager a certain sum of money. The catch is that not all casinos let certain games count towards those clearing requirements. Blackjack, for example, is often barred from bonus clearing because the house advantage is so low.
And to reemphasize, we always make sure to check the reputation of each company before we recommend it. Safety is just as important as any other factor discussed so far. There’s no point in playing at a site that is unable to offer a fair, honest game no matter how great it may be in other areas.
If you decide to play at any of the casino sites on these pages, you’ll find yourself playing at the best casino for that game. And if you ever happen to get tired of that casino game, you’ll still have a whole list of other games to choose from. Besides, if any of these online casino websites make the list for one game, the odds are that it’s a quality destination through and through.
Playing for Real Money
The first time you make the switch to real money play can be a bit daunting. If you have problems trusting that you’ll get a fair game, it’s best to think of it like doing business with any business over the internet. The only way to ensure you get a fair game is to always stick with brands that are well-known and highly regarded among their customers.
There are two things you need to do to get started with real money. First is to sign up for an account at a casino site. We’ve already covered that, so hopefully you have a good idea of where you’d like to play. The second step is to make a real money deposit.
Deposits are typically processed via credit/debit card, cash transfer, electronic funds transfer or e-wallet service such as Neteller or Skrill. Your country of residence is largely responsible for determining which deposit methods are available to you. Banking laws vary around the world and some deposit methods work in some countries but not others.
The United States, for example, is very strict enforcing a separation between banking and online gambling. For this reason, e-wallets are almost universally prohibited from taking American customers.
Other countries such as the UK take a much more relaxed approach. Those of you in other parts of the world have access to a dozen (and sometimes more) deposit methods that include everything from credit cards to pre-paid cash vouchers that you can redeem online.
In any case, you can figure out which deposit methods are available by logging in to your betting account and visiting the cashier. Casinos always work to make it easy to get started. If you choose a deposit method and follow the instructions on the screen, you’ll be gambling for real money in no time.
Casino Gaming Software
Every interaction you have with an online casino game is facilitated by software. Generally, software takes the form of either a downloadable program that you run on your computer or an instant-play option that displays the games online through your browser. Both options work well, but are designed for different situations.
The full software download is optimal because it actually saves the games on your hard drive. You still have to be connected to the internet of course, but less time is spent loading graphics and displaying images. This results in a faster, more aesthetically-pleasing experience.
Instant play games deliver the game through your browser so no download is necessary. This comes in handy if you’re working from a Mac or Linux, or have some reason you can’t download the software. Instant play casino games don’t run quite as smooth as full download games, but high speed internet is quickly closing the gap. If you have a solid internet connection, it can be hard to tell the difference between instant play and full download software.
In either case, your casino site still runs certain processes on its end. For example, the random number generator (RNG) that’s responsible for ensuring randomness in your games runs from the casino’s side. This prevents people from tinkering with the RNG to get an advantage over the house.
The majority of operators outsource software development to established companies that specialize in gambling. Companies such as Microgaming, Boss Media and Real Time Gaming collectively power hundreds of casino sites. Whenever you see similarities between two different casinos, it’s probably because they used the services of the same software development company.
As you get more experience with online gaming, you may eventually come to prefer certain software setups. Some people just love Microgaming casino games for example, while others prefer Rival Gaming. Each software company has its own style and unique games. Don’t be afraid to get out there and try casinos based on different platforms. You may one day come to find out you’re really fond of a certain software provider.
You can take a look at our software page to learn more about the biggest software providers and find lists of casinos that operate on each platform.
Expanding Your Horizons
It’s easy to get comfortable with one or two casino games and lose sight of the fact that there’s a whole world of online casino games out there. In our opinion, it’s worthwhile to occasionally branch out and try something new. Not only does it keep the gambling experience fresh, but you may find a new favorite if you give new games a chance.
Expanding your horizons is good for your long term development as a player anyways. We like to think of the brain as a muscle that needs exercise just like any other muscle. Trying new games forces you to learn new strategies and chalk up new experiences. This makes you a more well-rounded and educated gambler. Learning how to succeed in new games will improve your overall development.
This is especially important for the strategically minded gambler. If you’re one of those types who love to test new strategies and find new ways to reduce the house advantage, learning new games will help you think like a gambler. New experiences teach you new ways to think and expose you to new math concepts. Plus, it’s just fun to try new things. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and try something new occasionally.
Strategy vs. Luck
As you become comfortable with different types of casino games, you’ll come to see that some games are more compatible with strategy than others. Games such as blackjack give you multiple opportunities to make decisions after the initial bet has been placed. The more decision-making opportunities you have, the more strategy plays a role.
Some games are so rigid that there is little room for strategy. For example, Casino War rarely requires any player input after the initial bet has been placed. The only decision you make in Casino War occurs when you tie the dealer and must choose between going to war or forfeiting.
Games like craps and sic bo fall somewhere in the middle. In these two games, you don’t make any decisions after you choose your bets. Once you pick a wager in either of those games, you enter “wait and see what happens” mode. However, you do have lots of options when choosing which bets to place. The proper strategy for these types of games revolves around knowing which wagers have the highest and lowest house advantage.
Over the long run, the casino has the advantage no matter which game you play. Casinos just aren’t in the business of handing out money. Play any casino game long enough and eventually the casino will take your money. There may be certain decisions you can make that reduce the house advantage, but you will never completely eliminate it.
This is why it’s best to look at online casino games as a source of entertainment. Keep it in perspective and only play with money you can afford to lose. It’s always possible you’ll get lucky and win a life-changing jackpot, but nothing is guaranteed. The best we can do is minimize our risk, play smart and know when to quit. Remember: gambling should always be fun, not stressful.
What about casino tournaments?
We have created a guide to online casino tournaments including game-specific ratings.
Mike Murphy founded OnlineCasinoSites.com and brings 15 years of experience in the regulated online gambling industry to the team, with a mission statement of helping gamblers navigate the rules and laws of playing at legal online casinos world wide.