Casinos and card games: a long-lasting relationship

Casinos and card games: a long-lasting relationship

In this article we are going to see the long-lasting relationship between casinos and card games. 

Gone are the days when American cowboys crossing the vast prairie in wagons would entertain themselves with a game of poker or as it was called in the mid 1800’s “the cheating game”. 

Now, instead of the wild and unpredictable dangers of the prairie, ports and lawless towns, gamblers are able to play card games from the inside of an air-conditioned, glitzy, and secure casino.

Casinos and card games in history 

Fast-forward two centuries from when poker was first played on the prairie, and the idea that one can play poker online is impressive.

The boom in American poker playing was thanks in large part to the growing number of professional poker players setting up games in new cities and river port towns like New Orleans. The boom in poker today is thanks to the multi-billion dollar casino industry around the world and the growing online community of both novice and professional casino card games players. 

The casino industry, coming in at an estimated net worth of over $200 billion dollars, is largely supported not just by the players themselves, but other industry allies like the film industry. 

In recent years casinos and card games have become even more infamous and appealing as a result of the many movies made on the subject such as 21, Casino Royale and The Hangover to mention a few.

Movie viewers can agree they have all heard references to casino card games from Clooney’s quote in the notorious Ocean’s Eleven:

“Cause the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes. The house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along. You bet and you bet big, then you take the house.”

Extended all the way to the now infamous Star Wars film when Han Solo declares: “Never tell me the odds”. 

The correlation between card games and casinos is proven throughout history from the Dynasties of China to the saloons of South Mississippi and continues to play out with the thriving online gambling industry.

The most famous casino card games

The top three most popular casino card games we recommend our readers to know and to practice include:

  • Baccarat – is a card game resembling blackjack but deemed simpler. Made popular in French casinos and now equally popular online, Baccarat requires no skill and all luck. You have three possible outcomes, the player’s hand winning, the banker’s hand winning or there being a tie. The player bets on either the bank or the player hand, whichever they think has a value closest to 9, to earn a payout.
  • Blackjack – often considered the most popular casino card game, blackjack is a game where it’s the player against the dealer. The main objective is to beat the dealer’s card count while not surpassing twenty-one. A twenty-one count is considered blackjack.
  • Poker – One of the world’s most notoriously popular casino table and online game consistently proves to be Poker. Used with a standard card deck the objective is to win money by capturing the pot, which holds the bets made by all the players. Players wager over the hand being dealt and can decide to ante up or not based on what they believe the next players are holding. Players can then choose to raise the wager or to fold.  

But these 3 casino card games are only a few. We can also find other card games in casinos such as Teen Patti, Stud, Pai Gow Poker, Omaha and Let It Ride.

Counting cards in casino card games

Whether it’s Blackjack, Spades, Hearts or Bridge, counting cards is a practice that has been around since the days of the wild wild west. Involving the tracking, or scoring, of cards, counting cards allows the possibility of there being a slight advantage in understanding which cards to expect and which cards have already been played. 


Made popular and appealing thanks to movies like 1988’s Rain Man with Tom Cruise, and the 2008 film 21, counting cards makes for a great plot twist–in films! What the lead characters were doing was following the basic idea of the Hi-Lo system, which is the most common method to count cards and involves tracking of cards, and lots of invisible addition going on in your mind. 

The Hi-Lo system assigns all cards within a deck a face value. When low value cards are put into play, the tally increases, letting the player know there is a higher ratio of low-value cards in play. Once the high value cards are in play, the tally decreases, letting players know there is a higher ratio of low-value cards remaining. 

Pro tip is to remember that the higher the tally, the better the odds of doubling down or hitting blackjack. You want to avoid that lower tally and the odds stacked against which it brings. 

Another popular card counting strategy being popularized is a technique called wonging. Used as a method for counting cards in Blackjack, wonging is the sly maneuver of a player hanging on the sidelines, not joining in on the bets or game with the purpose of watching to count cards. 

The objective of wonging is to hold out waiting to join the game when the odds are ever in their favor. Once the betting count no longer holds strong odds, the player then will choose to leave that table in search of another. 

Interested in knowing more about counting cards? View this full guide on how to count cards.


The recent global pandemic has prevented the historic practice and play of in-person card games and casino games, pushing many to turn to the online casino card game space. 

With the increase in number of online casino platforms, like 888casino, as well as online gambling becoming a new favorite pastime with easily downloadable apps and bonuses that practically give away free money, there will be tremendous growth within this space, but we do look forward to the days when poker, blackjack, bridge and other casino card games can be played in-person alongside dealers and players.  

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash