Card Games: How to Play Smart the First Time

When it comes to gaming in the US, there can be confusion between what qualifies as gaming in the first place. After all, most people know how popular card games like poker and blackjack are, but what about sports betting and casino games?

These three sectors are clumped together for legal purposes. When it comes to US law, gaming is divided into three categories: card games, casino games, and sports betting.

While all three sectors are popular in their own right, their availability to the general public is determined by state law. At the moment, sports betting is enjoying a broad expansion across the US due to a recent 2018 Supreme Court ruling. Meanwhile, casino games and card games are moving to online platforms.

For those interested in hosting a poker night with friends or testing their math skills in a game of blackjack, knowing where to start can be difficult. Each game has its standard rules, as well as popular variations. And not only that, but there are also ample strategies that can be applied to each game.

Keep reading to learn the basics of poker and blackjack, as well as how to play each in an online and in-person setting.


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Poker: Valuating Cards

Many industry-leading poker sites offer information covering the basics of playing the game in an online setting. They also convey fundamental guidelines for those who may be new to poker altogether. Learning standard rules is a great way to start before advancing to other popular poker variations, like Deep Water Hold’em or Seven Card Stud.

Poker, at its most basic, is about each player valuating their hand and attempting to figure out the value of other players’ hands. There are two basic forms of poker that are recognizable by gaming enthusiasts worldwide: stud and draw poker. From there, variations get more creative, like those mentioned above.

In stud poker, players bid until someone is unwilling to match an opponent’s bid. In draw poker, players can try to improve their hand by trading up to three cards before revealing their hand. In both games, the best hand takes all the chips wagered.

Learning about the value of cards is vital to making smart decisions. Without understanding their cards, a player forfeits their ability to win. Be sure to look into the lingo that facilitates the betting, too. Poker players need to know what raise, fold, call, and check mean.


Blackjack: Knowing When to Hit

Blackjack is a bit simpler than poker in that it has fewer rules and variations. The goal is for a player’s hand to get as close to the number 21 without going over. They play against the dealer, who is also attempting to hit 21 without going over.

‘Blackjack’ happens when a player or dealer is dealt a 21 from the start. This occurs by receiving an Ace and 10. Usually, dealers are required to continue hitting until they hit the number 17, while a player can continue pushing his or her luck.

The dealer continues to deal cards until the dealer or player ‘busts’, which means they’ve gone over 21. Strategies abound regarding knowing which numbers to hit on. Much like with poker, knowing the lingo and the value of the cards is very important. Players need to know what hit, stand, and split mean.

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Playing Online vs. In-Person

As aforementioned, learning the basics of poker or blackjack is very simple to do online. The availability of free live games has become more and more common worldwide. Given that sites want visitors to understand the game, there are comprehensive guides to learning.

However, when it comes to winning online at poker or blackjack, strategies change. For online gaming, experts recommend keeping records of performance, studying other players and strategies, and playing one table at a time.

When it comes to in-person gaming at a casino, rules for etiquette are a primary consideration. Players are expected not to distract others, keep their phones away from the table, and refrain from touching chips while a game is active.

Live casino strategies are similar to online methods. No matter the game, a smart player keeps track of time, pays close attention, and knows when to leave the (real or virtual) table.