As the casino industry goes from strength to strength, gambling fans (and even those who don’t gamble) might be wondering what the most popular casino games were that kept people coming back in 2020.
In this article, we take a look at the most-played games in both virtual and brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as some of the prominent differences between playing online and at a land-based casino – and which might be best for you.
For many casino players, nothing beats the exciting atmosphere of a “real world” casino. With its mesmerizing lights, bright, flashy colors, and bustling activity, the casino offers many players an escape into a vibrant and thrilling world.
With that in mind, here are the casino games that many players enjoyed during 2020:
While baccarat may not be as popular as it once was (particularly when a certain fictional British spy was all the rage,) it’s still one of the most enjoyed card games at casinos – possibly because the game is basically quite easy to understand and play.
In a game of baccarat, there are two “individuals” taking part: the player, and the banker. Gamblers place bets on whether the player’s or the banker’s cards will be the closest to a total value of nine. The dealer reveals cards for the player and banker, and whoever has the highest value, without going over nine wins the round. (If you’re wondering how this all adds up, cards of two to nine carry their numerical pip value, while 10s and all the picture cards have a value of 0, and each ace is worth one.)
If they wish, gamblers can also place bets on whether the player and banker will tie, or whether the player or banker will receive a pair of cards with the same value. These bets have a greater payout, but are also riskier.
The game of blackjack, also known as 21, has been enjoyed by millions of players all across the world due to its simplicity, affordability, and the social atmosphere it creates between players (who each play the dealer but are not directly pitched against each other.)
In this iconic casino game, players compete against the house to achieve a score that’s equal or as close to 21 as possible. Any player whose hand has a total of more than 21 at any point in the game is “bust” and loses the game (and their bet) immediately.
The game begins with each player receiving two cards. Players assess whether they want to “hit” or “stand.” Hit means the dealer will hand them another card, while stand means they wish to keep the cards they currently have. The anticipation of each hit not only brings each player closer to victory, but also closer to defeat, as the chance of tipping over 21 increases with each card. Another reason blackjack captures the zeitgeist is that the games can be played so swiftly. This makes sense for many players who might have shorter attention spans or less time on their hands amid so much media fragmentation in the modern world!
If we only judged a game’s popularity by how often they appeared in movies, poker would undoubtedly be the clear king of the casino. While this casino table game is undoubtedly popular across many areas of society, it doesn’t quite reign supreme in the real-world casino space, thanks to other, more user-friendly card games that many land-based casinos offer players. It is, however, still an incredibly popular choice among slightly more competitive and experienced players, because they know what they’re doing!
In a game of poker, players attempt to gather the right combination of five cards to build the strongest hand they can (according to a set hierarchy.) They place bets depending on how strong they think their hands are, or (if they’re bluffing) how strong they want their opponents to believe their hands are. Ultimately, of course, the best hand still in play wins the pot.
A lot of what makes poker such an exciting experience is the bluffing aspect of the game. Experienced players work on developing the skills necessary to see through bluffs, whether that’s having a good understanding of their odds, or simply by reading other players’ “tells.” One thing’s for sure: you’ll need to perfect your best “poker face” if you want to triumph at the felt in real life!
There are few casino experiences that are as mesmerizing as the game with the spinning wheel of 36 numbers (plus a zero or two) in the center of the table. Yes, roulette has captured the attention of players around the world for many centuries now, and it has continued to do so in 2020 and beyond!
In this thrilling game of chance that takes on another dimension when you see it played in the flesh, players can choose to bet on a variety of options, including the first, second, or third 12 numbers, odds or evens, as well as the black or red pockets on the roulette wheel. Your payout, should you win, depends on the type of bet you place, and reflects the odds of this outcome occurring.
However, these are not the only betting options. More experienced players know that they can make more advanced bets, such as corner or street bets, which again, offer a different set of odds.
After players have placed their bets, the dealer will close the betting and start the game by setting the ball in motion around the roulette wheel. Fate will then decide which players have won, and which have lost, once the ball stops and lands in a pocket on the wheel. If you’ve not played roulette at a real casino before, you’re in for a real treat!
Since their invention in the early 20th century, slot machines have become a key part of casino culture. They’re extremely popular for the simple reason that they’re super easy to play! Gamers insert a certain amount of money into a machine, pull a handle or push a button to spin the reels, and hope for the best. If the right combination of symbols appears, players might take home the jackpot (or some part of it.)
Casino slot games have evolved to offer a more in-depth experience for those who want more variety in their slot-gaming experience. Today, many video slots offer bonus games that alter the dynamic. For example, a “cascades” feature changes the game so symbols fall from the top of the screen, whereas a “free spins” bonus offers players additional spins of the reels at no extra cost.
While virtual casinos may not offer the excitement of leaving your house to immerse yourself in the casino experience, they do have one major advantage: convenience. Whether you want a quick game over lunch, or just feel like playing during your downtime at home, online casino games are just a few clicks (or taps) away.
Here’s what digital gamblers enjoyed in 2020:
While most people are familiar with the expression “bingo,” not all of them have actually played the game – but there’s plenty of time for that in future, of course!
In bingo, players have cards with numbers randomly assigned in a grid. A bingo caller announces numbers that are chosen at random, while players mark off each matching number. If players have a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line of matching numbers, they’ve won the game, which is usually followed by the iconic victory cry: “Bingo!”
The simplicity of the game, as well as its greater accessibility, has made its online counterpart a popular alternative to the traditional game – and you can now play every imaginable type of bingo over the internet!
Apart from being more convenient, online blackjack typically offers players greater variations on the standard rule set, as well as greater variety in terms of betting. And it’s as fast – or slow – as you like!
Online casinos typically offer more bonuses and VIP rewards for all of their games, including blackjack. They also offer greater privacy for players who don’t necessarily want to be distracted by other games or people on a live casino floor.
Three popular online blackjack titles that you can play are Premium Blackjack Pro, Multi-Hand Blackjack, and Vegas Downtown Blackjack.
Given that poker has been a global favorite for decades, it’s unsurprising to find that this popularity has spilled over into the online casino arena – with one of the world’s biggest tournaments offering a $75 million prize pool!
Like online blackjack, online poker offers players more variations on the game, making it easier for players to mix things up. Combine this with the ability to play multiple tables at once, and it’s no surprise that hardcore poker players are flocking to online casinos!
Some online poker titles include Casino Hold’Em Poker and Double Double Bonus Poker.
Roulette is another popular online casino game that continues to thrive. Like many games available at online casinos, players have access to a greater variety of options, such as American or European roulette.
Another major benefit of playing this casino table game online is that you don’t have to play at the dealer’s pace, but rather as quickly or slowly as you’d like. This is a key advantage for players who enjoy speedy games or who like to think about their decisions without being pressured into reacting.
Two popular online roulette games are Black & Yellow Roulette and American Roulette Pro.
If there’s a genre of casino games that epitomize the scope of online casinos, it’s online slots, with gambling sites offering literally dozens of titles for you to play, as well as the chance of greater winnings, incentives, and bonuses. These games have unique themes, from Ancient Egypt and jungle quests to film franchises and underwater worlds, as well as a variety of unique features and differing return to player (RTP) percentages, making them fit for any and all interests and bankrolls.
Slot tournaments, which are sometimes offered in traditional casinos, are also becoming more regular online, and offer players higher winnings than regular play. The online versions of these games also have a much more flexible buy-in, allowing players to spin the reels for as little as a few cents per game.
A few of the many titles available are Starburst, 88 Fortunes, and Mercy of the Gods.
Online vs land-based casinos
Playing online and playing at a land-based casino both have their advantages. While many people enjoy the traditional casino experience, which includes a vibrant social scene, buzzing atmosphere, and in-house excitement, there are a number of unparalleled benefits to playing online.
From the convenience of being able to play where and when it suits you, and the absence of time-related pressures, to the bonuses and promotions on offer to both new and loyal customers – and of course, the sheer variety of what’s on offer – online casinos are trailblazing the way we interact with games. Live dealer games have also bridged the social aspect that some may feel was lacking in virtual gaming, by seating players at a live, real-time table with other players, and having a human dealer host the game and entertain players, just as they would at a brick-and-mortar casino. Thanks to advancements in technology, players are offered a high-quality, authentic gambling experience from the comfort of their screens.
Play the best online casino games with BetMGM
At our online casino, you can enjoy many digital versions of the classic games that you love, including online slots, and casino table games such as roulette, craps, and blackjack. However, if you enjoy the classic casino experience, we also offer live dealer casino games in an online format, which allow you to take part in real games with real dealers, no matter where you are.
BetMGM also has a casino games app, so you can enjoy many of these services from the comfort of your mobile phone or tablet. Register with us for a premium online gambling experience!