Casino games are usually associated with larger-than-life Vegas casinos or realistic virtual platforms. However, anyone who enjoys classic PC and console titles is well aware that casino games have a way of popping up in major hits. Rockstar Gaming, for example, is known to use poker as a popular minigame and side quest in multiple titles.
In its GTA series, players can enjoy a game of three-card stud—which they can play before taking on a daring adventure involving a heist. In its Red Dead Redemption series, players can venture into saloons to play poker. This allows them to accrue money and other valuables before they hit the road again.
Even when video games invent their own titles, like The Witcher’s Gwent, there’s a callback to the card games popularized in casinos. These games, though different than traditional video games in terms of objective and gameplay, often complement the gaming experience. In other words, they’re titles that never seem to get old or fall out of fashion.
But which are the absolute best? And which new variations are taking hold of the market?
Poker has a longstanding history as one of the world’s most popular card games. But what, exactly, makes Texas Hold’em or Omaha so much different than others like blackjack and craps? After all, both involve multiple shoes and require players to do a bit of mental math—but neither game has the global reach that poker does.
There are a few reasons that poker has a global reputation and following. First, the margins for winning tend to be a bit higher. While players aren’t guaranteed any type of winning, those who succeed in professional poker can earn a living doing their thing. On top of that, the game has a history.
Starting in the 1970s and 80s, the World Series of Poker and, more recently, the European Poker Tour have helped develop the game. They provide a spotlight on the action—and a framework for legacy. For example, Doyle Brunson—considered the godfather of poker—recently passed away. Since then, players have flocked to learn more about the pro, eager to pick up a few tips and understand more about the game they love and its history.
Let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to casino games. While poker is often categorized as its own game, slots are the world’s most popular casino title. In the early 1900s, slots were born in the San Francisco area, where players pulled a physical lever to send a reel spinning.
Today, slots are almost unrecognizable in their digital form. Players can select a variety of bet amounts, peruse through dozens of slot options, and then find which suits their needs. So what’s all the fuss about? Similar to poker, slots have benefitted from a bit of competition.
In other words, there is a hand full of top-tier slots developers active worldwide. These developers, including names like Net Ent, Yggdrasil Gaming, and Play’n Go, act like major game studios, toiling away to create the next big hit. And players are sure to keep a lookout for games from their favorite developers, which adds an element of fanfare to the experience.
The Latest Classic: The Big Six
Poker evolved in the city of New Orleans throughout the early 1800s, while slots were created by a German immigrant in California in the early 1900s. Clearly, the world’s most popular titles have a bit of history behind them—but that’s not always what players are looking for. One recent hit developed at the turn of the 21st century: the Big Six or the Wheel of Fortune.
The game began popping up in brick-and-mortar casinos and has since moved onto virtual platforms. The Big Six Wheel is exactly what it sounds like: a spinning wheel that lays out different prizes for players. Sounds more like a festival game than a casino title, right? Maybe that’s half the magic. Since 2002, it’s been regulated in the UK and has since spread into places like New Zealand and Australia.