Games, games and more games! You might be surprised to find that many of your favorite land-based casino games are available in virtual form at PA online casinos. In fact, you’ll probably encounter many unique and exciting titles available exclusively online.
With iGaming sites offering hundreds of games of all types, you might not be familiar with the rules of play for each variation, much less the best strategies to reduce the house edge and win big.
But we’re here to help! Our in-house gambling experts have broken down each game by category, and crafted comprehensive player guides which we hope will give both beginners and advanced gamblers the information they need to play both confidently and intelligently.
The first thing most patrons hear when walking into a casino are the digital sounds emanating from rows upon rows of slot machines.
Just like at brick-and-mortar venues, slots are the lifeblood of Internet casinos. The so-called one-armed bandits are hugely popular online and make up the bulk of online casino game libraries. In neighboring New Jersey, for example, Golden Nugget online casino spreads over 550 total games, and more than 500 of them are slot machines.
Slot developers are known for their creativity, releasing titles based on countless themes, movies, TV shows, and even rock bands – you’ll have no shortage finding entertaining options.
In general though, there are two types of online slots, progressive slots (also known as jackpot slots) and traditional slots.
Progressive slots are mostly identical to traditional slots, but with one big difference – jackpot slots give users the chance to win a massive payout on a single spin. These jackpots are generated by pooling a small fraction of each bet made on the machines into one main kitty, which is released when activated by a lucky player. Often times, smaller, more accessible jackpots, are also offered alongside the grand salami.
These types of slots usually offer worse odds than traditional slots, but can boast jackpots that climb into the millions of dollars.
A few examples of progressive online slots include:
- Divine Fortune
- Captain Nemo
Unlike jackpot slots, traditional machines don’t offer dynamic progressive jackpots, although they may offer static jackpots, which are clearly laid out in advance on the paytable. You can still win plenty of cash playing traditional slots, but six- and seven-figure scores are less likely unless you wager big.
Some popular traditional slots include the likes of:
- Gonzo’s Quest
- China Shores
If you’re looking for a better return on your dollar, you might want to try table games over slots. Of course, you’ll need to know how to play in a manner that maximizes your potential to win.
We expect to see a wide variety of table games being offered at PA online casinos, perhaps even more than what is currently spread in New Jersey, due to the fact that table game revenue is taxed at a much lower rate in the Commonwealth.
Let’s break down the table games that we are most likely to see in the Keystone State.
Blackjack is one of the best casino games to play in terms of return-to-player percentage (RTP), if you play your cards right. Players who manage to play perfect strategy (making the established mathematically correct decision for every circumstance) can shave the house edge down to a razor thin margin. Playing blackjack with a welcome bonus can potentially eliminate it completely.
In blackjack, both the player and dealer receive two cards; the player’s cards are dealt face up while the dealer shows one face up and the other face down. To win the bet, players try and get as close to 21 as possible without going over by either taking more cards, or standing pat.
Sometimes, even if a player is dealt a low hand, it’s advantageous to stand, hoping that the dealer will be forced to draw extra cards and “bust” by exceeding 21.
The game is quite simple to learn, and by following charts readily available online, players can ensure they make the best decisions at every turn. We expect several variations of blackjack to crop up in PA, which will all share the same core rules but differ in other aspects, such as the following:
- Minimum and maximum bet
- Amount of decks used
- When a player can split and double down
- Max number of hands that can be played simultaneously
Roulette features an iconic spinning wheel instantly recognizable to those who have ever stepped inside a land-based casino. Near the wheel, you’ll find a matrix of numbers laid out on green felt featuring all of the different types of bets one can make on a spin. While this may look complicated to a newcomer, it’s actually extremely easy to get the hang of.
There are nearly a dozen types of bets gamblers can make on a roulette spin, which vary wildly in terms of potential payouts and RTP. Betting on a single number is a long shot, but can yield a handsome return, while betting on either red or black, for instance, is safer, but pays out much less.
To play, patrons simply place their bets on the felt and wait for the betting window to close. Once that happens, the croupier spins an ivory ball around the outer edge of the wheel, which eventually decreases in speed and settles into one of the wheel’s slots. If the slot coincides with one of your bets, you’ll be paid out according to the game’s pay schedule.
At PA online casinos, we expect to see three or four types of roulette games, which mostly differ in how many 0 slots are included on the wheel. The more zeros on the wheel, the worse your odds of winning.
- American roulette: Features a 0 and a 00 slot
- European roulette: Features a single 0 slot
- French roulette: Offers the chance to get half your bet back
- 3 Wheel Roulette: An online-only variant which features one wheel with three rotating outer rings
The area surrounding the craps table tends to be the liveliest inside a casino, with players high-fiving and celebrating wins together. That said, craps games don’t translate as well to online play, due to the complex graphics involved, as well as the lack of gambler-to-gambler camaraderie. In New Jersey, craps isn’t offered at all online casinos, although it is carried by a handful. We think that most PA online operators will host a virtual craps table, due to the low tax rate applied to table games.
Unlike roulette and blackjack, craps is a bit more complicated, but nothing that can’t be learned relatively quickly using our game guide as a foundation. Craps bets can vary significantly in terms of return-to-player percentage, so it’s important to brush up and find out which bets are the likeliest to come in, and which to avoid at all costs.
Online craps tables usually only come in one flavor, the type you would find inside a real-life casino. While game makers have developed creative variations for other games, operators usually stick with just one online craps format.
Apart from being James Bond’s favorite casino game, Baccarat is exceedingly popular with Asian gamblers, especially in the Chinese enclave of Macau.
Baccarat’s popularity is due, in part, to the fact it carries a low house edge, and that it is very easy to play.
Baccarat tables are somewhat rare at NJ online casinos, but could be more prevalent at PA gaming sites, due to the low table tax burden.
In reality, most baccarat games offered in the U.S. are of the Punto Banco variation. In Punto Banco, players don’t need to make any decisions at all during a hand; everything is handled by the dealer.
Gamblers can either bet on the Player, Banker or wager on a Tie. The goal of the game is to get closest to the number nine.
All players need to do is place their bet, and the cards will be dealt out automatically according to the game’s rule set. If your chosen wager is closest to nine, then you win the bet.
Carnival games are not as popular as table games like blackjack and roulette, and usually offer odds which are more unfavorable to players.
As such, carnival games aren’t widely available at NJ online casinos, but can definitely be found by shopping around.
The most common carnival games are:
- 3 Card Poker
- Let It Ride
- Casino Hold’em
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Caribbean Stud
Live Dealer games are made possible by high-speed Internet connections, and allow players to gamble and interact with real-life dealers through a live, streaming broadcast.
The Live Dealer format has proven incredibly popular in New Jersey and will surely create a splash in PA as well. Live Dealer games are usually broadcast from studios located inside the land-based partner of an online casino. It’s also common for several different gambling sites to use the same studio, while simply switching in their own branded chips and cards.
Most Live Dealer operations feature the following games, some of which are offered on several different tables, depending on popularity and traffic:
- Casino Hold‘em
- 3 Card Poker
To counter the fact that only a limited number of players can play at blackjack tables, some studios offer what’s known as a “Bet Behind” feature, which lets gamblers piggyback on other players active at the table. Those left behind can wager on specific players, but have no say in what moves that patron makes.
Video poker is attractive to players who enjoy poker, but don’t necessarily want to play in a live game. What’s more, in video poker, you can reduce the house edge significantly when you discard and hold cards using an optimum mathematical strategy. We cover this, in part, in our dedicated game guide.
Nearly all online casinos carry a modest selection of video poker games. These can include:
- Bonus Poker
- Jacks or Better
- Triple Play Draw Poker
- Double Bonus Poker
- Double Double Bonus Poker
- Deuces Wild
- 3- and 5-line variants
Sports betting is all the rage, not just in PA, but across the country, where several states have legalized or are looking to regulate the industry.
But before widespread legal sports betting came to the U.S., game makers released Virtual Sports games, which somewhat filled the gap. Even though sports wagering is now legal in PA, some might prefer the quick action of Virtual Sports, which are computer-generated sporting events whose outcomes are determined in advance by a random number generator.
PA gamblers are likely to see the following Virtual Sports games at their favorite iGaming sites:
- Car racing
- Greyhound racing
- Motorcycle racing
With the sheer number of games offered at PA online casinos, it can be hard to know which titles are worth your time and which are notoriously weighted in favor of the house. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving, and games which seem to pay back more actually give back much less on average.
With our detailed game guides, you will learn step-by-step how to play each game, and how to play optimally in order to maximize your win. Armed with that information, you can make the most informed choices before you put your hard-earned cash at risk!