There’s nothing quite like the glamour and sophistication of a night at the casino, and for centuries, a wealthy clientele have frequented some of the world’s most iconic land-based establishments to rub shoulders with the rich and famous and take their chances on a table game or two for the chance to win big.
These days, you don’t need to fly to Monaco or frequent the bright lights of Vegas to get your fix of the best casino games, and as the online casino market continues to boom, more and more players are opting to get their adrenaline hit online instead. A popular choice during the lockdowns that have come with the past year, innovation in the field has led to the creation of a string of intelligent, high-performing apps that come complete with live games and all of the old classic games, as well as plenty of new ones. Best of all, you can log on from wherever you are in the world – with a lucky few occasionally walking away with a substantial jackpot.
So, which games should you try your hand at if you fancy yourself as the next high-rolling icon? Here, we take a look at some of the most popular casino games of all time, both online and off – and just what it has taken for some of the biggest whales to gain their winning status.
How it works
A game that has become synonymous with the glamour and sophistication of a night at the casino, this simple game of chance attracts crowds of onlookers who come to cheer one another on – and has become equally as popular online. As it’s a game where each person plays for themselves, as opposed to against one another, there is no competition – which makes it one of the most sociable and exciting games to be a part of.
All players must do is place their bets on where the ball will land when the wheel stops turning. The best way to win is to focus on outside bets to improve your chances – though you’ll need to be more of a risk taker if you’re eager to scoop the jackpot.
The biggest roulette win of all time
In January 2017, Pedro Grendene Bartelle hit gold at the Hotel Conrad casino in Punta del Este, Uruguay during a game of French roulette. Already a wealthy businessman, he opted to forego the even-money red/black bets, stacking the majority of his chips in or around number 32.
With a starting wager of 35,000, he effectively walked away with 100 times that amount – not bad for just a few hours at the table.
How it works
An iconic game that has featured in many Hollywood blockbusters – from James Bond flick Casino Royale, to heist movie Ocean’s Eleven.
With various different styles of game to try your hand at – from Texas Hold’em to Three Card Poker – online, you can once again play live against your opponents. That poker face is just as important online as it is off, so if you haven’t perfected it yet then it might be time to get practicing.
Poker is a game that relies on an element of strategy more than others, many of which are based around little more than luck alone. In poker, players must decide when to bet, and how much, and must learn how to bluff effectively in a bid to throw other players off their game. So, if you’re looking to become a poker pro, then it’s wise to learn the ropes before you go all in to avoid being the player who falls victim to this kind of manipulation.
Volatility in poker can vary, depending on the type of game. You’ll need more money to play with if indulging in a game with a high variance to prevent yourself from going broke. A tip is to check out the pay table for the game and see how high the pay-outs are for the top hands – as if they are elevated when compared with those at the bottom of the table, then the game is likely highly volatile.
Biggest poker win of all time
In 1992, Archie Karas began one of the greatest winning streaks in gambling history, taking him from $50 to a $40 million jackpot – which he then promptly lost again. Beating poker great Stu Ungar, it took him 30 months to amass his fortune – and only three more weeks to gamble it all away again. It’s a prime example of how money and success can go to some players’ heads, and makes for a cautionary tale for future winners.
How it works
Blackjack has been a favourite amongst seasoned casino players for many years, and entails each player drawing a hand of cards which must total as close as possible to 21 without exceeding that number. They can then choose to ‘stick’ with their initial hand, or ‘twist’ and swap a card with the dealer.
Often known as ‘21’ in UK casinos, it’s one of the simplest games that exist, yet still it remains one of the most sought-after both online and off.
Biggest Blackjack winner of all time
In 1995, high-roller Kerry Packer walked away from the MGM Grand, Los Vegas, with an eye-watering $40 million win after getting lucky in a game of Blackjack. Already a billionaire before he began, it was likely only a drop in the ocean for the tycoon – but for most, it would be enough to change their entire lives. Wagering a whopping $250,000, it was clear from the off that he had money to burn – but rather than burn, it came back to him multiple times over.
In fact, this wasn’t Kerry’s only notable win at the casino, as he had already scooped a $7 million jackpot back in 1991. He was so thrilled that he dished out over $1 million of that in tips to casino staff on the night.
How it works
Slot machines are one of the simplest games you could possibly play at a land-based or online casino, and contain random number generators that can generate thousands of numbers per second. These numbers determine the sequence of symbols that will come up on your screen, with jackpots awarded to players who are lucky enough to match a full house. Very much a game of chance, all users must do is put their money into the machine and start spinning. Jackpot wins are rare, but the odds for smaller wins tend to be good, which is one of the reasons they have become so popular.
Biggest slots winner of all time
An unnamed man referred to only as a ‘young engineer’ made history when he headed to the Excalibur in Las Vegas in the 90s to splash a modest $100 on the slots, and ended up leaving with considerably fuller pockets. Scooping a jackpot win to the tune of $39.7 million, he rather sensibly opted to split his win into $1.5 million payouts that would span 30 years – which at the age of just 25 would see him go on to retire early in serious style.
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