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If you’re looking to increase your knowledge of online casino games and how to play them, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll cover how to play casino games online, the different types of casino games, comparisons to retail casino games, and much more.

Table of Contents

How To Play Casino Games Online

Playing casino games online is less daunting than it may seem to beginners. Below, we break the process down into several easy steps.


Choose a Legitimate Online Casino

First and foremost, you should always choose a legal and licensed online casino. Doing this guarantees that your money or personal information won’t be stolen and that you won’t be playing rigged games. If you’re lucky enough to be in states that have legalized online casino gambling, such as Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, you can play at some of the best real money online casinos. If you don’t live in one of those states, you can still win cash prizes by playing casino-style games at sweepstakes casinos.

Our casino experts have vetted all of the options we recommend on those pages for safety, quality, and many other important considerations.


Sign Up at the Online Casino

Once you’ve found your casino, it’s time to get registered. We’ve created an entire guide on how to sign up for an online casino that you can follow.


Make a Deposit

Your next step is to make a deposit. If you’ve taken advantage of one of the casinos we recommend in the first step, that deposit should come with an additional welcome bonus. Understanding online casino payments is an important part of the process. Essentially, making a deposit at an online casino is similar to having cash in hand at a retail casino.


Explore the Online Casino

Now that you’ve signed up and made a deposit, it’s time to familiarize yourself. Think about it—you wouldn’t jump right into a new car and start driving without learning where everything is and how everything works first, and the same can be said for an online casino. Peruse the website to find the different sections (games, promotions, cashier, etc.), filter through the games on offer, utilize the search feature if you have a specific game in mind, and so on. Once you feel comfortable navigating the online casino, you can move to the next step.


Click the Game You Want to Play

By this point, you’ve likely found at least one game you want to play. It’s time to click or tap in and get started. Almost every online casino will offer two game modes: real money play and demo play. Demo play is a great option if you’re unfamiliar with a game. You can use play money to help familiarize yourself with the features and mechanics before staking your cash.


Set Your Wager

If you’re ready to gamble with real money, choose your first wager amount. Make sure you don’t immediately start playing upon launching the game, as the default wager can often be quite large. When setting your wager, always make sure to stay within your budget. Basically, always bet smartly by following responsible gambling practices. Read that last sentence again because that is perhaps the most important piece of advice we can offer here.


Cash Out or Deposit More

Your money is never your money until it’s back in your bank account (or hand or e-wallet). Make sure to cash out while you’re ahead. If you’d like to play more, you can make further deposits via the cashier page. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. The National Council on Problem Gambling is always available for help.

Types of Casino Games


How To Play Slots

Slots are the most popular games at online casinos for many reasons. Online slots boast countless features, themes, and mechanics, but they also include a chance to win large jackpots on certain slots. Playing slots is easy as all you have to do is spin, but actually understanding them can be more complicated.


How To Play Blackjack

Blackjack is another popular option at online casinos due to its low house edge and high RTP (return-to-player). Of course, minimizing the house edge in blackjack involves employing strategy in pursuit of beating the dealer. Your end goal is to get your hand closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand.


How To Play Roulette

Roulette is mostly a game of luck. Where strategy comes in is the ability to choose your level of risk. You can bet on the outside, meaning on red or black and even or odd (low volatility — frequent, smaller wins), or bet on the inside, meaning on individual numbers (high volatility — infrequent, larger wins).

Video Poker

How To Play Video Poker

Video poker is another online casino game with excellent odds, but it entails a more detailed and complicated strategy than games such as blackjack. Your goal here is to choose which cards to hold and which to redraw to create the best poker hand possible.

Pai Gow

How To Play Pai Gow Poker

The overall goal of Pai Gow is to create two poker hands that beat the bank’s hands. These two hands consist of a five-card hand and a two-card hand. Once you’re dealt cards, your task is to rearrange them to create the best hands possible.


How To Play Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the simplest table games and often overlooked. That said, online casinos almost always offer at least one variation of baccarat. The goal is simple. You choose to bet on the player, the banker, or a tie. When cards are dealt, whoever has the higher hand wins.

Casino War

How To Play Casino War

There’s a strong chance the first card game you ever learned was War. Well, then, you’re ready to learn Casino War as an adult. Players make a bet on whether their card will be higher than the dealer’s card. Then, both the player and dealer are each dealt a single card to determine the outcome.


How To Play Scratch-Offs

Online scratch-offs, or scratchers, are similar to real-life scratchers. You purchase a scratch-off card for a ticket cost of your choice and await the outcome. What makes online scratch-offs particularly exciting is their bonus features; you won’t find these on gas station lotto tickets.

Play Free Casino Games

Online Casino Games Vs. Retail Casino Games

As you can see above, many online casino games mimic or attempt to replicate retail casino games. However, there are some marked differences, and almost all of them are positive, thanks to how online casinos work. Online casino games often feature more variety and choices. For example, French Roulette (the roulette variant with the best odds) can be hard to find at retail casinos but is readily available at most online casinos.

Once you’re playing, online casino games often feature lower minimum bets and more accessibility than their retail casino counterparts. Many online blackjack games, for example, hold $1 minimum bets, while retail casino blackjack often features a $10 minimum bet per hand.

Where To Play Online Casino Games

Your state may not have real money online casinos, but it does have sweepstakes casinos, where players can win cash prizes playing slots, blackjack, and other casino-style games.

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About the Author
Craig Corbeels

Craig Corbeels

Craig Corbeels is a lead writer and gambling expert for He has been involved in the online gambling industry since 2013. Previously, he worked for Gamesys and Bally's Interactive as a copywriter and social media strategist for multiple North American online casinos.
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