By Ryan McLane and Vin Narayanan
Slot machines may dominate casino floors, but from social atmosphere to sheer excitement, it's hard to beat the fun you
get at table games. Here's a list of Top-10 games, and why we like them so much:
This game is on the list for three reasons:
A. James Bond plays it.
B. Most casinos separate the baccarat room from the rest of the table games with a different room and velvet ropes. How
cool is that.
C. Players get to deal cards. How cool is that.
How to play: This game is real easy. Number cards are worth face vaule. Face cards are worth zero. Aces are worth 1.
Before the cards are dealt, you bet on the player, banker, or a tie. Two hands of two cards each are dealt. One to the
player, one to the banker. High point total wins. Note: You can't bust in bacarat. If you are dealt and 9 and a 6 for a
total of 15, you take the second digit as your score (5). After the cards are dealt, game play is fairly automatic. If the
player or banker has and 8 or 9, they stand. If the player has 5 or less, he hits and gets a third card. If the player hits
and banker has 5 or less, then the banker has to hit. Otherwise, the banker only hits according to a chart you can find at
the table. That's it. Top point total wins. It's an easy game. And you feel like James Bond while you're playing it. --
9. Casino War
Yes, this is the game you grew up playing. It's insanely easy. And weird things can happen at the table -- like a
complete stranger chatting you up, bankrolling your Casino War session and offering you a job to run his factory. I'm not
kidding. This actually happened to me. So the next time you wander past a Casino War table, don't roll your eyes and walk
away. Sit down, play for a bit and see what happens.
How to play: This is the easiset table game imaginable. The first thing you do is place your bet. Then the dealer deals
two cards face up. One for you, one for the dealer. The high card wins. If it's a tie, you "go to war." The dealer then
discards three cards, and gives one card to the player and one card to the dealer. Once again, the high card wins. It's
mindless fun. And good way to catch up with friends because you don't have to focus on the game. -- VN
8. Three-card poker
This is good way to get your poker fix in without having to win any money from your friends. It's you, and the rest of
the table, vs. the dealer. And the rules are very simple.
How to play: Before the cards are dealt, you have to bet the ante and/or the Pairplus wager. The dealer then gives each
player (and himself) three cards. If the player bet the ante, he now has two choices -- raise or fold. If you fold, you lose
your ante. If you raise, you have to make an additional bet, equal to the ante. Then the dealer flips his cards over. If the
dealer qualifies with queen or better, the best poker hand wins. If the dealer doesn't qualify, then the player can only win
on the ante bet. The second "play" bet is a push. If you made a Pairplus (pair or better) bet, then you get paid out
according the Pairplus pay table. -- VN
7. Spanish 21
I walk right up to the dealer and say hola when playing this game. It usually results in me getting involved in an
intense staring match and eventually finding another table, but c'mon, it's Spanish baby y esta bueno! This infuriating
game of 21 differs from blackjack in two ways…there are no Ten cards and you can double down at anytime. Thus, you have the
ability to win or lose twice as much on EVERY hand. Plus, if you hit 21, you get paid upfront and different combinations of
21 pay more than 1:1 odds. It's a game of streaks and math, but I normally chose the former and usually leave the table
mumbling oy! Alas, the gambling fervor in this game is great and I am reluctant to say it's one of my favorites.
How to play: It's like blackjack, where a tries to make a hand as close to 21 as possible without going over. A player
is dealt two cards face up and is competing against the dealer's hand. The dealer only has on card showing. Depending on
the strength of the player's hand, he or she can choose to hit or stand. If they player goes over 21, he or she busts. If
she stands, the dealer reveals his or her cards and must hit until he or she hits a certain number (usually 17) or busts.
If the dealer busts, the player wins. If not, the highest point total wins. -- RM
6. Let It Ride
This is the ultimate sucker's game, but the power of its social atmosphere and the pull of its "what hand might I see
next" possibilities makes it one or my favorite table games. The great part about this game is when you're dealt a pat hand
to start (Tens or better). Of course, you let all the bets ride and gleefully trash talk the dealer about their bad choice
to let you in the game. This game is a great option for when a player first arrives at the casino. I like to let a couple
of hands ride before moving on to play my normal poker. Sometimes, it's possible to catch lightning in a bottle.
How to play: This is one of the few games where you don't play against the dealer. A player places three equal sized
bets to start a hand and is dealt three cards face down. There are two cards dealt to the dealer, but they represent
community cards that every player at the table can use to make their best five-card hand. A pair of Tens or higher makes
the player a winner and multiple payouts are granted to better hands like two-pair, trips, flushes and the mighty royal
straight flush. Players have the option to pull back his or her third bet after seeing the first three cards. After the
first community card is revealed, players again have the option to pull back a bet. The last bet is binding. -- RM
5. Pai Gow (poker)
This game is a ton of fun and much more low-key than poker. If you buy in for a small amount, you can last a long time.
And the game is easy enough to play that you can spend plenty of time socializing.
How to play: You're dealt seven cards. With those cards, you have to make a five-card hand and a two-card hand. Your
two-card hand can't be better than your five-card hand. If both your hands beat the banker's hand, you win. If you split,
it's a push. And if you lose both hands, you lose. This is a great way to pass a lot of time and hold onto your money. And
that's a great combination in a casino!! -- VN
This is easily the most exciting table game of the bunch. It usually features lots of gamblers yelling, cheering, jumping
up and down and generally having a good time. If you've never played it, make it a point to try the game at least once. It's
worth the experience.
How to play: Here are the basics. One player rolls the dice to establish the "point." Before he rolls, almost everyone
places a bet on the pass line. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 before establishing the point, you win. If he rolls a 2,3 or
12, you lose. Any other number is established as the point. If the shooter hits that number again before rolling a 7, you
win. Once the point is established, then you can bet on a bunch of dice combinations. But the bottom line is with everyone
rooting for the shooter, craps is simply a fun game to play. -- VN
3. Caribbean Stud
It's not real poker, but I like it anyways. And yes, the blinking jackpots lights do entice me. Imagine winning six
figures for a sucker wager of a dollar. Can you picture yourself counting the money? Don't because imagination time is
nice, but reality says you have a better chance of making Britney Spears normal. I like Caribbean Stud because it's a very
social game, one where you and your buddies can sit down and enjoy the casino's free booze. It's true, Caribbean Stud will
slowly drain your money, but with reasonable wagers and the right attitude, it can make for an enjoyable night. For added
fun, pretend you're playing heads-up against the dealer and be wicked obnoxious when your monster hand defeats their lowly
How to play: An ante is required to start the action. Players are dealt five cards face down and the best poker
combination players. The dealer is dealt the same amount of cards. If a player chooses to continue playing after seeing
their hand, they must double the ante in the betting box. If a player folds, they forfeit their ante. Once the bets are
made, the dealer reveals his or her hand. Best hand wins! Warning: The dealer must qualify for a player to win their bet
amount. If the dealer doesn't qualify, the player only gets paid for their original ante. This can really suck when you're
sitting on a full house. Dealer's usually need a K-Q high or better to qualify. -- RM
There is only one way to head to the casino to play the king of all table games. Throw in the movie Rounders, play a
little home-game sit-n-go while obnoxiously repeating every quote in the movie, then jump in the car with your buddies and
find the table with all the grouchy guys playing low-limit Stud games. All you have to do is simply be in a good mood and
these guys will hate you for it. Use their anger to your advantage and you can win some good coin while sipping on those
free drinks - you know - the ones with the fruit and umbrella on top.
How to play: I won't insult your intelligence…unless we're at the same table. -- RM
This is the king of all table games. It's so simple anyone can play it. If you can play basic strategy and get a little
lucky, you can walk away a winner -- or a modest loser. Because you're playing against the dealer, players are rooting for
each other. And the game promotes social activity. Players talk to each other. They talk to the dealer. And they're
generally having fun. You can't ask for much more out of a table game.
How to play: It's probably not necessary, but here are the basic rule. Each players is dealt two cards face up. The
dealer is dealt one card up, one card down. Aces are worth 1 or 11. Face cards are worth 10. Number cards are worth face
value. The goal is to get as close as possible to 21 without going over. If you're dealt 21, you win automatically. If not,
you have a chance to draw cards to get as close to 21 as possible. If you go over (bust), you lose automatically. Once all
the players have played, the dealer reveals his hole card. The dealer generally has to hit until het gets a hand of 17 or
better. Then he has to stand. There are more rules and specials bets, but those are the basics. So get yourself to a casino
and try playing the game. And if your lucky, you'll get a dealer who will teach you the finer points of the game. That's
what happened to me (hey, I was the only person at the table that spoke English!!), and I've been doing well at the game
ever since. -- VN