The 3 Most Influential Casino Card Games

min read
A group of friends playing card games around a table.
BetMGM Jul 27, 2022, 5:22 AM

Playing card games is a hobby that has stood the test of time. Every generation has embraced card games, whether they enjoy them with family or against their friends online and in casinos. Online casino games may be cutting-edge and innovative, but they are also the continuation of an old tradition with the added convenience of playing online on a mobile or desktop device. Let’s explore the history of card games, pay tribute to their appeal, as well as cover three of the most influential card games you can play over the internet. 

The history of casino card games

Casino card games are loved the world over. So it’s no surprise that multiple regions claim to have been the first to play them. The only way we can paint a picture of the origin of card games is to tell you three different versions and let you choose your own adventure. 

First, we start in Central Asia. Before 1000AD in the 10th century, Chinese people used a kind of paper to play games like dominoes. These paper symbols – or cards – could have been an ancient precursor to the modern card deck. 

Perhaps card games were instead invented by the Mamluks, a group of ethnically diverse slave soldiers who served the Arab dynasties in the Muslim world. The soldiers created a game called Nayb. Nayb used a particular deck or set of cards known as Muluk Wa-Nawwab. The slave soldiers are believed to have come up with the original idea and pattern of a card deck. 

Another version of the story attributes the invention to the Europeans. When the Europeans invented the card deck, instead of having diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades as their suits, they used sticks, swords, coins and cups. However, it’s unlikely that these cards were the first playing cards to be used. 

You might be wondering where casinos fit into the history of card games. Gambling predates the invention of card games and can be traced as far back as 600 BCE. The two worlds collided when casinos were legalized in the 1930s and were no longer confined to backstreets and shady saloons. This freedom allowed people to choose cards as the casino game to play to earn winnings. 

Why are cards so appealing?

Card games are here to stay. They are a staple hobby and continue to evolve and adapt to changing times and technology. But what makes them so appealing and universal?

Portability

A deck of cards can easily fit into your pocket or bag, ready to be whipped out at the first available opportunity. This portability explains why card games were played in trenches during the war, at schools, or even by prisoners and slaves in the past. 

Adaptability

There are set casino card game rules for certain games, but games can easily be modified to suit different age groups, regions or types of players. Players can even modify some games to make them more challenging and exciting for their circle of friends. With multiple variations for every game, it’s easy to find one that works for you – and if you think you’ve already played the most obvious ones, check out the most obscure card games you’ve never heard of

Combination of luck and skill

Luck-based games are great because everyone gets a chance to play. But if you’re dedicating a lot of time to your favorite game, you’ll want to start using strategy to win. Card games are perfect because most of them combine luck with skill in varying proportions, which can increase your chances of winning if you become good at playing! 

The element of mystery and surprise

In board games, it’s easy for players to predict your next move since they can always see your position on the board. By contrast, card games add an element of mystery and surprise because opponents can’t see each other’s cards and easily predict upcoming moves. And you get to enjoy the thrill of the “big reveal” too.

Building relationships

Card games are the perfect way to bond with friends (or indeed strangers.) And because they’re easy to set up and the rules take a minute or two to explain, there’s always room for one more. Everyone is welcome. So why not include your long-distance friends and invite them to play some casino table games online with you?

The oldest and most influential casino card games

Traditional casinos provide the opportunity to play card games in an authentic gambling atmosphere, but online casinos offer a longer list of casino game options, often with many variations of the same game for you to try. And the gameplay doesn’t have to be fully automated by a random number generator or feel impersonal, because now you can interact with real dealers in live dealer casino games too! 

Here are three of the oldest and most popular casino games available to play at the BetMGM live casino online. 

Blackjack

Blackjack is believed to have been first played by the French in the 17th century. It is still the most popular casino card game to play in casinos, not least because its house edge is relatively small. The game’s influence is evident in the fact that in 1985, blackjack accounted for 77% of all casino activity. Times have changed, but in 2018 blackjack still dominated with a 49.15% share.

Today, you can find many variations of blackjack online, including live dealer blackjack titles such as Infinite Blackjack, Lightning Blackjack and Unlimited Blackjack, as well as regular (non-live) versions based on random number generators such as Blackjack Millionaire Pro. Many fans take their chances against the house and play the title favorite, Premium Blackjack Pro, at BetMGM. 

Poker

There are an estimated 60 million poker players in the US alone. As widely loved as poker is, it was only developed in the 19th century by the Americans. In this early variation, players would get five cards from a deck of 20. The game was popular with boat workers and inside saloons, as it included betting against the other players at the table. Even though it was a late starter, poker has developed more than any other game to become what we play today. It’s even branched out into many exciting variations. There are high-level tournaments such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP) with eye-watering buy-ins at one end of the spectrum and friendly home games between friends at the other. 

The reason it’s so popular is that there’s always a chance to improve your game if you apply enough time, effort and practice. After all, poker is not just about your luck and whether you win, but so much more, including how you bet, when you choose to play, and how you adapt your actions to your position around the table. 

Why not play this old-school classic in a modern poker powerhouse? BetMGM offers a wide selection of poker games and variations including four-card poker, Texas Hold’em and many more. You can even sign up to join one of our 70 daily poker tournaments. 

Baccarat

Baccarat is the earliest recorded card game that you can still play at casinos today. A version of the game was described by the Italians in the 1400s before it moved to France. It was there that it became a popular game to play among noblemen in private gambling rooms. Given it’s one of the more underappreciated casino card games out there, it’s certainly one that’s worth a go, because it might just become your next favorite. Like blackjack, you play just against the dealer (as opposed to other players,) but that’s where the similarity ends because in baccarat you can bet on either your own hand winning… or the dealer’s!

You can play Baccarat Live, First Person Baccarat, and First Person Lightning Baccarat on the BetMGM app, among other titles. Or why not switch things up with our unique side bet options in Baccarat Dragon Bonus? 

Experience the fantastic digitization of card games with BetMGM

Cutting-edge technology available at BetMGM is enhancing the casino card game experience so it’s almost as if you’re playing at a brick-and-mortar casino. As well as playing traditional casino table games online, you can also play mobile-optimized games with real live dealers. With us, you’re spoiled for choice with our huge and ever-growing selection of games and variations. Register at BetMGM to take part in the casino gaming revolution!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.