Considering the large number available at Pennsylvania’s brick-and-mortar casinos, PA online casinos are expected to offer a relatively huge variety of table games.
This, of course, includes popular casino games like blackjack, roulette, and craps. But it also means a choice of alternative table games will be available as well.
One thing is sure, PA online casinos will be rolling out a selection of traditional and nontraditional table games that are fun to play and offer players the chance to win big.
Where can I play table games online in PA?
All of the PA online casino sites launching in 2019 will likely be offering a variety of table games. Here’s a list of PA online casino operations already approved by the PGCB:
- Mount Airy/Stars
- Sands Bethlehem
- Valley Forge
- Presque Isle Downs
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
Additionally, MGM Resorts and Golden Nugget NJ are in the process of getting approved by PGCB to offer online casinos as well.
Real money vs. free table games
PA online casinos will most likely offer a demo version of all the table games they offer that you can play for free.
These demos can be a great way to learn. However, you can spend a ton of time playing demos and you won’t earn a dime. Of course, you won’t be risking anything either.
Live dealer table games
Live dealer games bring the live casino experience online.
The games play out the same way they do inside PA casinos. The only real difference is players place real-money bets on the games online using an electronic wagering interface. Plus, they are watching and betting on a live stream of the action.
The games look and feel the same as they do inside PA casinos. In fact, they are the same games.
Live dealer games likely to make their way to PA online casinos include:
- Casino floor roulette
- Casino Hold ’em
- Three-card poker
What are the most popular casino table games in Pennsylvania?
Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. This certainly holds true at Pennsylvania’s brick-and-mortar casinos, where gaming board-mandated rules keep the house edge low.
The main reason for blackjack’s popularity is that it offers players the best chance to beat the house.
In PA, blackjack rules mandated by PGCB include:
- Blackjack pays 3:2
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Double down on any two cards
- Split up to three hands (except aces)
- Double down after splits
- Late surrender, allowing players to give up half the bet when the dealer doesn’t have blackjack
These rules lower the house edge on PA casino blackjack to around 0.40 percent, giving the game a theoretical return to player rate (RTP) of 99.6%.
That means PA casinos ultimately return $99.60 on every $100 bet on blackjack back to players. Should PA online casinos offer blackjack under the same rules, the online blackjack tables will be as popular as the live ones, if not more.
Three-card poker is a card game where players try to make a better poker hand than the dealer by using just three cards.
Players make a bet, and the dealer deals three cards to each. Players can fold or continue by making a play wager equal to the initial bet. Then, it’s about making a better hand than the dealer in to get paid. However, the dealer must have queen-high or better or all bets get paid.
The game has a theoretical RTP of 96.6% at PA casinos, and the same should hold true online.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a casino game version of Texas Hold’em poker that also goes by the name Casino Hold’em or Texas Hold’em bonus poker at PA casinos.
The big difference from traditional poker is that players go up against the dealer instead of each other. However, the goal of making the best five-card poker hand using two dealt cards and five community cards remains the same.
The game has a theoretical RTP of 97.84% at PA casinos and should be the same at PA online casinos.
Let It Ride
Let It Ride is a poker-style casino game where players try to make the best five-card poker hand with three cards of their own and two community cards.
The game starts when players place three equal bets on three spots on the table. Two community cards are dealt face down, and each player receives three cards.
Players are then offered two opportunities to withdraw one-third of their bets and fold. The first comes after the cards are dealt allowing players to take two bets back. The second occurs after the first community card is turned over enabling players to take the third bet back.
Payouts are based on the strength of the hand but begin with a pair of 10s. The game has a theoretical RTP of 96.49%.
Craps is by far the loudest and usually the most social game inside most PA casinos.
Unfortunately, developers have yet to find a way to bring all the fun and excitement of craps to PA online casinos. The online game lacks the social atmosphere of live craps. However, online craps is a great way to learn the game at your own pace.
It’s a dice game where players bet on the outcome of each roll.
The game starts with players betting on the pass line or don’t pass. Then the dice are rolled; the outcome of that come-out roll determines what happens next.
If it comes seven or 11, all pass line bets are paid and don’t-pass bets lose. Any two, three, or 12 is known as a crap out; all don’t-pass bets are paid, and pass-line bets lose.
If the player rolls any other number, it establishes the point. The shooter then continues rolling until the point is hit again or the shooter craps out with a seven.
Once the point is established, players can make odds bets up to a posted maximum. This bet is paid at true odds when the point is rolled before the shooter craps out. Odds bets have no house edge. Therefore, the bigger the maximum, the better the game is for players.
Players can also bet on various propositions, numbers, and groups of numbers before each roll. These bets pay out at rates displayed on the table.
The RTP on craps bets vary by the bet, but the basic pass-line bets have an RTP of 98.59%.
Asia Poker is a card game based on an ancient Chinese gambling game called 13. It combines elements of both poker and pai gow poker.
Players place bets, and three dice are used to determine the dealing order.
Each player and the dealer are dealt seven cards. These cards must be used to make three poker hands. This includes a four-card hand which must be the strongest, a two-card hand that must be the second strongest, and a single-card hand. The dealer sets his or her hand according to the house rules.
Players win if any two of their hands beat the dealer’s hands. Ties go to the dealer. The game’s RTP is 95.18%.
Four-card poker is a table game similar to three-card poker.
Players place a bet are dealt five cards. The dealer gets five cards face down and a sixth card face up.
Players can fold once the cards are dealt, or play by betting up to three times the original bet.
The object is to make the best possible four-card poker hand and beat the dealer. Ties go to the player, and there are bonuses available based on the strength of the player’s hand.
An optional aces-up side bet is also available paying when the player makes a pair of aces or better. The RTP varies from 98.02% to 93.85%.
EZ pai gow poker
EZ pai gow poker is similar to pai gow poker but with a few rule changes.
There is no commission, and if the dealer makes queen-high on either hand, it is automatically a push. There are also various side bets available.
The dynasty bonus pays if the player’s best five-card hand is three of a kind or better. The bonus bet is similar.
Protection is like pai gow insurance, paying if the player’s best five-card hand is an ace high or less.
Red/Black pays if the chosen color represents the majority of the player’s cards.
Progressive pai gow pays out jackpots based on the strength of a player’s hand.
Pai gow poker is basically a card game where players try to beat the dealer with both a five-card and two-card poker hand.
Each receives seven cards. The player then splits the cards into a five-card and two-card poker hand. The five-card hand must be the best.
The dealer does the same according to house rules. Players win by beating both the dealer’s hands and push with one win.
EZ pai gow poker’s RTP is 97.53% compared to pai gow’s 97.15%.
Mississippi Stud is a poker-based table game where players try to make the best five-card hand.
A bet is placed, and players are dealt two cards. The dealer places three community cards face down on the table.
Players can either fold or make a bet of up to three times the original bet to continue. If they continue, the dealer turns over the first community card. The entire process is repeated prior to the reveal of the next two community cards.
All bets are paid according to a pay table that starts with a push for a pair of sixes through tens and 1:1 on a pair of jacks or better. A royal flush pays 500 to 1.
The game’s RTP is 95.08%.
Spanish 21 is a variation of the popular table game blackjack. It is basically blackjack under the player-friendly PGCB rules.
However, Spanish 21 also pays player 21’s and blackjacks. Plus, four 10s are removed from each deck in the shoe.
Additionally, the game features various bonus payouts, including:
- 3 to 2 on a five-card 21
- 2 to 1 on a six-card 21
- 3 to 1 on a seven-or-more-card 21
- 3 to 2 on A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 with mixed suits (2 to 1 on suited cards and 3 to 1 for spades)
- $1000-$5,000 on suited 7-7-7 when the dealer has any seven showing
The removal of the 10s is offset by the bonuses and player-friendly rules giving the game the same 99.6% RTP as PGCB blackjack.
Pai gow poker
Pai gow poker is a casino card game where players try to beat the dealer putting together both a five-card and two-card poker hand.
Each receives seven cards. The player then splits the seven cards into a five-card and two-card poker hand. The five-card hand must rank the highest.
The dealer performs the same task according to house rules. Players win by beating both the dealer’s hands. One win means a push. Since a push is so common, players often refer to the game as a great way to break even over a lengthy period of time while profiting off free drinks from the casino
Pai gow poker’s RTP is 97.15 percent.
Roulette is among the most popular casino games in the world. Payouts are healthy and the rules are easy to follow.
Roulette games use either an American or European wheel. The difference between the two is there’s just a single green zero on the European wheel and both a green zero and green double zero on the American.
This has a major impact on the game’s house edge.
The house edge for American roulette is typically 5.26%, giving the game a theoretical RTP of 94.74%.
The house edge for European roulette is typically 2.7 percent, giving the game a theoretical RTP of 97.3%.
The basic gameplay is easy to follow. The wheels feature numbered slots colored black, red, or green. Players place bets on a number, groups or range of numbers, and red or black. The wheel spins and a small ball is rolled inside in the opposite direction — the slot where the ball lands determines the outcome of all the bets.
The difference between midi-baccarat, mini-baccarat, and baccarat is mainly the size of the table.
Midi-baccarat is played on a table with nine spots, mini-baccarat tables have seven and baccarat 14. Also, players do not handle the cards in midi-baccarat or mini-baccarat. Plus, table minimums are also usually smaller.
The basic gameplay is always the same.
Baccarat dealers deal out two two-card hands: One to the banker spot and another to the player spot. Players bet on whether the banker or player hand will end up closer to a value of nine, or if the hands will be tied.
Face cards and 10s are worth nothing. Aces are worth one point, and all other cards have the value printed on the face. If a hand that adds up to more than 10 points, only the second digit is used.
If the player hand is five or less, another card is dealt. Finally, if the player hand is dealt a third card, the dealer draws again according to a prescribed set of rules for each card dealt to the player.
A 5% commission is charged on winning banker bets, although a no-commission version of the same game is also available.
The game’s RTP is 98.94% on banker bets, 98.76% on player bets, and 85.6% on ties.
EZ baccarat is standard baccarat with banker bets that pay even money, and push if the banker wins with a three-card seven.
Additionally, there are side bets available. These include the Dragon 7 that pays when the banker hits a three-card seven. Plus, the Panda 8 that pays when the player makes a three-card eight.
The game’s RTP is 98.98 percent. However, the Dragon 7 RTP is 92.39 percent and the Panda 8 RTP is 89.81 percent.
Big six wheel
Big six wheel is a large vertical wheel that is spun as players bet on the number where it will stop. The odds paid are the same as the number.
The RTP depends on the number of spots on the wheel. It is 97.96% with 49 spaces but only goes down from there.
Table game FAQ
How does the house make money on table games?
Simply put, the house makes money on table games when you lose. As you can see from the list of games posted above, the RTP on most table games hovers between 94-99%. That means the house is profiting anywhere from 1-6% of all the money players bet on table games. Less, of course, the cost of running the games and keeping the lights on.
Which table games have the best odds?
As you can see from the list of games posted above, blackjack has the highest RTP of any table game in PA. That means your odds of winning, or at least not losing, are better on blackjack than any other game.
Although, some craps bets that are even better, and baccarat is close.
Which table games have the worst odds?
The list above shows the house edge is highest on American roulette than any other table game in PA.
Although, some craps bets are even worse, and if you’re betting the tie in baccarat, you might as well tattoo born to lose on your forehead.
Are side bets a good bet?
For the most part, side bets aren’t any good. However, it does vary from game to game. For example, EZ baccarat’s panda eight side bet has an RTP of 89.81 percent, which is horrific for players.
However, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em has a bonus bet with an RTP hovering around 92 percent, which is a whole lot better.
Strictly speaking, the games themselves almost always offer you a better chance of winning than side bets.
Does strategy matter in online table games?
It’s game dependent, as sometimes casino table games are all about luck. However, for games where you can play an optimal strategy, you certainly should. In fact, the RTP’s listed above for games that involve both luck and skill are all dependent on the player playing optimal strategy.
Not doing so is akin to giving the house its edge back.
Do online casinos offer bonuses?
All PA online casinos will almost certainly offer a variety of new player bonuses when they launch to attract and retain customers.
The online casino industry standard seems to be a small, no-deposit bonus just for registering with an online casino. Plus, a 100 percent deposit-match bonus ranging anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.
Of course, most of these bonuses will come with wagering requirements attached that force players to gamble with the bonus a specific number of times before anything can be withdrawn.
Most PA online casinos should also offer a variety of customer retention bonuses that may include things like game-specific bonuses, deposit bonuses, and volume bonuses.
PA online casinos may also allow players to earn loyalty points with associated casino loyalty programs or rewards programs of their own.
Are online table games fair?
Some suspect PA online table games are rigged, particularly since they can’t hold the cards or check the equipment the same way they might inside a brick-and-mortar casino. This is absolutely not the case.
Online table games and the random number generators that determine the outcome of them are subject to rigorous testing by the PGCB. This makes the games as safe and fair as any you’ll see inside a PA casino.
Some of the biggest names in the US casino industry are behind the PA online casinos, and they aren’t about to risk their reputations to start fixing online table games in PA.