Easier Money

Casino Card Games for the Gentler Gambler


Card games have a remarkably varied reputation. From gritty saloons to posh casinos and from Kenny Rogers to James Bond, games involving a 52-card deck can be as alluring as they are intimidating, especially for the neophyte, would-be gambler. Rather than sit down to what looks like an exceptionally complicated way to lose money, many of us will stick to the slot machines. But no longer.


If you fall into the aforementioned category, take heart. New and popular table games are providing easier, less threatening entries to the world of cards. It’s never been easier to “play your cards right.”


Caribbean Stud

Though more seasoned poker players may sneer, Caribbean Stud is a faster, less complex version of traditional stud poker, and should be easier for inexperienced – or simply impatient – players to pick up. Caribbean Stud players only need worry about the “house,” or dealer, and only for a single hand. That means there’s no deciding what cards to keep or throw away, no “bluffing” or multiple decisions about how much to bet. Nope. In this game, you play the hand that’s dealt you.


Sitting down at the table, you’ll be expected to pay an ante, or a minimum bet to enter the game. Just like in traditional stud poker, the dealer will provide each player and himself with five cards, all face down, before revealing one of his own cards. You’ll then look at your own cards and either try to make your best poker hand (pair, three-of-a-kind, full house, etc.) or fold, forfeiting your ante. 


If you decide to play, remember your cards well! Once you lay them down on the playing surface, you won’t be able to touch them again. In order to keep playing, you’ll have to bet double the amount of your ante. Once all bets are in, the dealer reveals his cards. Moving right to left, the dealer compares his or her hand to that of each player, and the best hand wins. Depending on just how lucky you are, beating the dealer can pay you even money or up to 100 to 1, if you happen to get a royal flush on one deal. 


Sound easy enough? If not, Let It Ride may be more your style, at least at the beginning of your gambling career. 


Let It Ride

Like Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride pits players against the house, except players receive three cards instead of five. From those three cards and two “community” cards, each player attempts to fashion their best poker hand. Let It Ride employs three rounds of betting, and players’ hands are compared with a specific payout chart, rather than with the hands of other players or the dealer. 


Players place three separate bets on the playing surface. After looking at their initial cards, players can retract their first bet, or choose to “let it ride” and continue. The dealer then exposes the first community card, and players have the opportunity to retract their second bet, after which all cards must be placed face down on the playing surface and not touched again. Once the dealer turns over the second and final community card, it’s all over except for the crying or cheering, as the case may be. The dealer collects the losing wagers and pays winners according to the payout schedule. 


The rules and individualistic nature of Let It Ride give the game a more leisurely, thoughtful pace than other forms of poker, a characteristic which should be of particular appeal to beginners. 


Now place those bets!

Let us be clear: if you’ve never played the tables at a casino, you’re missing an exciting, possibly unforgettable experience. While lack of experience or the inability to maintain a poker face may have frightened you away from poker before, games like Caribbean Stud and Let It Ride are true games of chance. Despite being less complicated than other forms of poker, however, these games do offer a more personal engagement with other players and with the casino atmosphere than sticking to the slot machines.


So, resist no longer. Place your bets!


by Susan Campbell

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