10 Most Popular Casino Games in Las Vegas

Table of Contents

Get ready to be dazzled by the neon lights, top casino games, and a gambling experience like never before!

Las Vegas, aka “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” is no doubt one of the top cities to visit. It is the commercial and financial center of Nevada. Some arrive with a mere $1000, hoping to double their cash, while others, skilled in the art of high-stake gambling, aim not just to play hard but to walk away with millions.

Aside from gambling, it’s a great place to enjoy fine dining, shopping, and roaming around, watching other people fulfilling their passion for games.

When you’re talking Vegas, you know you’re in for a wild ride. Packed with some of the biggest casinos and stunning resorts, the nightlife there is a total blast, drawing in gamblers from everywhere.

Whether you want to try your luck in a slot machine at a local casino or go big at blackjack at Caesars Palace, Vegas provides opportunities for all sorts of gamblers. Before you dive in, it’s important to figure out which game suits you and learn about the basic rules. Remember, it may depend on your luck, but a lot of these games require strategic play.

Check out the top 10 casino games on the list that you can’t miss on your next Vegas trip!

1. Blackjack: The Card Shark's Classic

If you have visited Vegas, you know that blackjack dominates the casino tables. The game can go on from a few minutes to several hours, depending on your moves and wager. Blackjack, aka twenty-one, is played with a deck of 52 cards. Sometimes, casinos use more decks with constant shuffling.

Originating in French casinos in the 1700s as “Vingt-et-Un,” the game evolved, making its way to Sin City’s 150 casino tables, and now rules as the king of casino table games.

How to play: The goal is to outscore the dealer without exceeding a total of 21. Each card has a value, with numbered cards representing their face value, face cards counting as 10, and the elusive Ace acting as a game-changer, worth either one or 11. Plan your moves wisely by considering your cards and the dealer’s face-up card – decide when to split pairs, double down, hit, or stand. It’s like a strategic waltz with Lady Luck.

Fun fact: Bill Kaplan and his MIT Blackjack Team won between $50 and $100 million in the 90s, taking the prize for the highest blackjack win in history.

2. Baccarat: James Bond's Favorite

Before casinos legalized gambling in 1907, Baccarat was the top game played in private rooms. Nobody’s sure where it came from, but some say it goes way back to the 15th century. Today, it’s one of the most popular games, generating high revenues in American casinos. 

Gambling enthusiasts from all around the globe hit up Vegas to get in on high-stakes action. As per a report, they threw in almost $8 billion in the baccarat game. Some of its variants include punto banco, baccarat chemin de fer, and baccarat banque.

How to play: Baccarat is a showdown between two participants, the player making the wager and the Banker. Wager on the hand that comes closest to a nine. The value of each card is determined, with numbered cards assigned their face value, face cards counted as 10, and Aces as one. The strategy lies in making calculated bets based on the initial two-card hands dealt to the Player and the Banker. It's a game that requires minimal decision-making and the simplicity of chance.

Fun fact: Even if you're not a big aficionado of fictional novels, you can still picture the famous character James Bond in your head. In original Ian Fleming novels, Bond's character is often found enjoying a game of baccarat or one of its famous versions, Chemin de Fer.

3. Roulette: Betting on the Wheel of Fortune

Roulette evolved from an Italian game, Birbi, and was first played in the 18th century. Roulette gained widespread popularity in the 19th century, becoming a favored casino game in both Europe and the US.

However, casinos have their own risks, like players trying to clock the wheel for mechanical glitches and timing the ball for predictions. But all in all, houses mostly have the upper hand. As the biggest genius, Albert Einstein, once said, “The only way to beat roulette is to swipe the money when casino folks aren't looking.

How to play: The game is quite simple to understand. Stake your bet on the layout. The dealer spins the wheel in one way and tosses the ball the other way on a tilted track. The ball slows down, bounces around a bit, and finally drops into one of these red and black colored pockets.

You can find numbers ranging from 1 to 36 labeled on the wheel. In the American version, the green pocket contains a 00, while the European version has a single 0 written on it. Have fun placing bets on any number, group, or color of your choice. If your bet aligns with the pocket the ball lands in, you win!

Fun fact: The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel totals 666, often ominously referred to as the ‘Number of the Beast.’

4. Craps: High Energy Dice Rolling

If you want to try your luck with a pair of dice, then Craps is the most recommended game for you. It became one of the most played games during the times of World War II. Since then, its popularity never experienced a decline. Bank craps, crapless crap, and New York craps are some of their variations with distinct rules and house edges.

How to play: Craps is a game where players roll two dice. You can bet on the outcome of the roll, like predicting if the total will be 7 or 11. If it's 2, 3, or 12, you might lose. If a point is set, the shooter keeps rolling until they hit the point or roll a 7. You can also make additional bets and explore various betting options.

Fun fact: While playing craps, if you get a 7, you’re considered super-lucky. However, if the dice rolls “one” on each die, also known as “snake eyes,” – say goodbye to Lady Luck! 

5. Poker: The Card Connoisseur's Game

Poker is a game of mind. You must strategize and make the right move at the right time to win. It originated from an old Persian game, “As-Nas,” in the 17th century, later transforming into the “Poque” (a French game).

One of the most iconic casinos in Vegas – The Golden Nuggets, hosted the inaugural World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 1970. The series resulted in an increased popularity of the game among locals and high-stakes gamblers.

What makes poker so awesome is the wide range of variants you can find in different places. Among the popular versions are Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and the Seven Card Stud. 

How to play: Whether you're playing Texas Hold'em, Omaha, or Seven Card Stud, the goal remains the same: to have the best hand at the table. Players take turns dealing, marked by a button. Forced bets start the game, and cards are dealt clockwise. Bluffing is an important part of the game. The last round ends in a showdown if more than one player remains, revealing their hidden cards. The best hands, like straight flush or four-of-a-kind, win.

Fun fact: Can you imagine a poker game that continued for 8 years! This marathon poker session was held at the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona, from 1881 to 1889.

6. Slot Machines: Spinning for the Jackpot

Bright lights, jingling music, and whirling numbers and symbols – slot machines are the most common casino games found worldwide and are considered one of the most popular games of chance. The 19th century marked the debut of the first slot machine with 3 spinning reels and a few symbols. Today, you’ll find a variety of themed and high-tech slot machines on every casino floor.

How to play: It's as easy as inserting your money, choosing your bet, and hitting the button or pulling the lever to set the reels in motion. The main goal is to align the symbols in winning combinations, and the machine showers you with coins or electronic credits.

Fun fact: The first fully electromechanical slot machine was invented in 1963 and was called Money Honey

7. Keno: Game of Luck

For those who trust their fate and crave to play a game of chance, Keno is the game for them. Spanning over two millennia, Keno boasts a rich history. Originating as “baige piao” meaning “pigeon tickets” in China, this game of fate made its way to the United States in the 1840s, courtesy of Chinese immigrants, captivating enthusiasts under diverse aliases.

The game made its debut in 1933 in Reno, Nevada, swapping numbers on tickets for the names of horses. Today, this global sensation is offered as a thrilling lottery game with a blend of ancient roots and modern excitement. 

How to play: In Keno players are allowed to choose numbers from 1 to 80 (Keno spot). After all the wagers have been made, 20 cards are selected at random. It depends on how many matches you get and your bet. Keno often carries a higher house edge, ranging from 20-40%. 

The game can be played online with a random number generator, but it's not as much fun as enjoying it at a real live casino.

Fun fact: Keno is an ancient game that has been around since the time of the Han Dynasty. The game has played a role in financing numerous construction projects, including one of the wonders of the world, “The Great Wall of China.”

8. Pai Gow: One Card Can Make a Difference

Did you ever imagine a joker can actually win you a game? Well, it's true! Pai Gow Poker is a popular casino game that is played with 52 52-card deck and an additional joker that acts as an ace or becomes a substitute for any card needed to complete a straight or a flush. 

Incorporating the joker into your strategy radically enhances your chances of winning. Pai Gow is a low-risk game that originated in China and was originally played with 32 dominoes. But as it entered the Western world, it took a card-based twist.

How to play: In Pai Gow Poker, both sides receive seven cards. Players form a “low” hand with two cards and a “high” hand with the remaining five. The goal is to outperform both hands held by the dealer.

Winning both hands results in player victory, losing both means a loss, and winning one while losing the other leads to a push, with players getting their stake back. Players may win double their initial wager but do keep in mind that a set percentage of commission is deducted from your win (usually 5 %).

Fun fact: Sam Torosian, facing challenges with his struggling club in California, devised Pai Gow Poker as a solution. After its debut in 1985, the game gained widespread popularity, becoming a favorite of many.

9. Video Poker: Gambling for Introverts

If you enjoy gambling all on your own, then you should head over to video poker. The computerized version of the classic poker is one of the top 10 popular games played at casinos. If you know how to calculate odds, your chances of losing are reduced significantly.

How to play: After inserting money or a ticket into the video poker, players begin by placing bets, and after pressing the “deal” button, they get 5 cards. The strategic element comes into play as they decide which cards to keep or discard, aiming to form the strongest hand possible.

Payouts are determined by the hand’s strength, following standard poker rankings with variations like two pairs, three-of-a-kind, and royal flush. Some machines feature unique elements, such as wild cards and progressive jackpots, allowing players to engage more actively.

Fun facts: For some killer video poker action, take a trip to Boulder Highway in Las Vegas.

10. Texas Hold’em: Testing Your Skills

It is one of the most popular poker variants played on casino tables. Originating in Robstown, Texas, during the 20th century, it rapidly gained hype and made its way to Las Vegas in 1963.

Soon, people were seen playing the game in big casinos like Golden Nugget and Stardust, for which the credit goes to Corky McCorquodale, who first introduced it at California Club. Due to extensive media exposure, the game's popularity surged, overtaking seven-card studs.

How to Play: In Texas Hold’em, a standard 52-card is used, and players aim to form the best poker hand. The game involves betting rounds (pre-flop, flop, turn, river) and includes actions like folding, checking, betting, calling, and raising. Blinds (small and big) and possible antes start betting with a rotating dealer button. The winner is determined at the showdown, where the best hand takes the pot. 

Fun Fact: In Texas Hold ’em, you're quite lucky if you get four-of-a-kind because the odds of having those is 4164 to 1.

Conclusion

Now that you know the top casino games in Vegas, use this list to pick the one you want to try for your next trip. If you enjoy cards, go for blackjack; for a more solo experience, slot machines and video poker are also great options. Roulette and keno may not have the best odds, but they’re fun.

With over 39 million visitors annually, Vegas has something for everyone. The city’s culture revolves around gambling and beautiful casinos, drawing tourists from around the world. If luck is with you, your dream of hitting that big jackpot could turn into a reality.

In Vegas, the game choices are diverse, keeping you entertained and promising you a night you won’t forget!

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