How Casino Games Differ from Poker Games

Differences Between Poker and Casino

When you hear the words “casino games”, don’t think of every game that takes place under a casino roof. The phrase “casino games” generally refers to table games, electronic gaming machines, and random number games. Table games, like blackjack and roulette, take place on specially designed felt tables. Electronic gaming machines are things like slot machines. Numbers games are games like Keno. There are some further shades of meaning in the casino games definition–for instance you may think of roulette as a table game but it is more accurately described as a random number game. But in general, that’s how they’re defined.

Poker games do not fall easily into any of these categories. Sure, they are table games, but you wouldn’t want to lump poker in with craps. Poker games are very different from the standard casino games found in most casinos.

Beating the House

The most obvious difference between poker games and casino games is that poker games are always played against other players. Casino games are always played against the house. Think of a game like blackjack or roulette–there are other people playing, but the outcome of your hand or wager has nothing to do with the outcome of theirs. Casino poker is every man for himself. You have to beat everyone else at your table to win.

Skill vs. Chance

Another important difference is that most casino games are games of chance, while poker games involve strategy. There are some casino games that include an element of skill, but of all the casino games, only video poker and blackjack offer any kind of positive expectation. Even those games provide a positive expectation only when played at a very high level with near-perfect strategy.

All poker games offer players a positive return provided those players are skilled enough to beat their opponents. There is an element of chance in poker, as far as the cards you’re dealt, but remember that a good poker player can bluff his way out of a bad set of cards.

Casino games are way more profitable for casinos than poker games–that’s why slot machines take up so much of the casino floor. For example, The Venetian in Vegas has over 2,500 slot machines but just 39 poker tables. The biggest difference between poker games and casino games is the fact that poker is played against other players while all casino games are played against the casino. The casino makes more money when more people play against the house, thanks to odds tilted in favor of the house.

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