Game guides: what they are and how to use them

Game guides: what they are and how to use them

What Are Game Guides?

Part of the charm of gambling at an online casino comes from the dance with chance: who knows what’s going to happen? Who knows when you might strike gold? Online casinos have randomised systems to make sure they are playing fair, which means that the jackpot could have your name on it at any time. But you can still learn how to play the game; you can do just that little bit of research that puts you in charge, even if you can never know for sure what the night holds. 

Understanding how a game works gives you the upper hand and leaves you making decisions that are informed. And game guides are a great way to learn about any game you’re thinking of investing your chips in.

A game guide, simply put, is a combination of instruction manual, tips to help you play the game to your best advantage, and background information. It should take you through the rules of the game, any variations, and any application-specific notes like bet limits, gaming specs and so on. In this section, we take a look at some of the most popular types of games played in online casinos, and explain what the relevant game guides should include.

A casino is a casino is a casino, right? How different can one casino be from another? All they do is exchange money for chips, offer games, and then exchange chips for money.

Well, no. No story goes, “Once upon a time, everything was simple, everything was the same, and everyone was happy. The end.”

Every casino – both brick and mortar and online – is unique. Yes, there are similarities, both legislative and game based, but there’s no way to summarise all casinos with just a few simple sentences.

Luckily for you, we have taken the time and effort to really get into the foundations of online gambling: what makes it tick, how it works, what players can expect, and so much more. Here, we offer you all the in-depth guides to online casinos and gambling you’ll need. And we take that promise seriously, which is why we are constantly working to add more guides that cover every aspect of the online casino experience.

In this series of guides, you will find information about jackpots, variance and volatility, online casinos, casino bonuses, withdrawals and deposits, and more.

Why should you use guides?

Casino guides like these can really help enhance your online casino experience. For example, jackpot guides don’t just tell you what a jackpot is; they explain the various types of jackpot, how they work, how to play to win, where to find games with different jackpots, and even who the game developers are.

Casino bonus guides are another super useful way to figure out which online casinos will work best for you. We don’t only look at the types of bonus offered, but explain how they work, the hidden pitfalls to look out for, and ways to make the most of your wagering requirements.

You’ll find enough information here to keep you busy longer than a great game of poker, so dig in, and come out the other side a little more knowledgeable. And if there’s anything you’d like to learn more about that you don’t find here on CasinoPlay, let us know. Happy reading!


Slot machines are an enduring feature of a casino, including online casinos. These were among the earliest types of games to easily transition to the online casino environment, and are still one of the most popular, partly due to the fact that pretty much anybody can sit down and spin a slot without doing too much homework first. As a result, there are thousands of slot games on offer. Because of the incredible variety that is available for both regular and progressive slots, each game guide should include information or instructions about:

Grid – An online slot game usually includes three to five reels and can have anything from three to ten payout lines. 

Type – There are two types of slot game: regular and progressive. Progressive slots contribute to a jackpot pool, which you could win.

Style – Slot games can come in a variety of styles, like a fruit machine or classic slots, themed games, or adventure-style games.

RTP – The return to player percentage, or the percentage of all bets placed that the online casino pays back to players over a period of time. It’s usually in the 90-98% range, and you can definitely find plenty of slots whose RTP is over 95%. This doesn’t mean that you will win back 95% of what you bet in one betting session – it’s an averaged out return over all players over more than a million spins. 

Game play – Each slot game is unique in its play specifics like wilds, bonuses, free spins and more.

Playing blackjack or twenty-one online can be just as exciting as playing it at a table in a casino. Blackjack is a true casino classic, popular among gamblers around the world, and certainly online. Online, blackjack is available as both a live game and a video game. That means you can play live with a dealer, or you can play solo against the computer. Either way, the game guide should include information and instructions about:

Dealing – In some versions of the game, cards are dealt face-up, while in others, one or all cards may be dealt face-down.

Game play – How to tell the dealer or computer what you want to do – eg, stand (get another card), hit (stick with what you’ve got), split (split your hand of two equal-value cards into two separate hands and build on them to double your chances), etc.

House rules – The dealer, whether live or computer, will usually stand on 17 or more and hit on 16 or less. House rules should include this type of information and any other variation specifics.

Betting – Minimum bets, payouts and so on.

Roulette in its current form has been around for well over a century and, as a result, is a very well-known and simple to understand game. The basic premise is that you choose a number, a colour, a group of numbers, or a line of numbers on which to bet. The dealer spins a wheel and releases a ball; wherever that ball lands is the winning number. Online, you can play roulette live or as a video game. Most of the variation in the game comes from different groupings or betting options, although the variation is minimal. That’s why your online roulette game guide should include information and instructions about:

Betting options – Each roulette table includes a series of numbers in red and black that you can bet on individually, surrounded by various grouping options you can bet on, like colour, each row of 12, high or low and more. Groups offer lower returns on your bet, but higher chances of winning.

House numbers – All roulette tables include the number 0. Some also include 00, depending on where the game was designed and by whom. Typically, when the ball lands on 0 or 00, the house wins.

When to bet – In a live casino environment, the croupier will tell you when no more bets are allowed; this is usually once the ball has been released, and this can vary online.

Poker is one of the oldest games still played in a casino today. This card game, in which players receive a set number of cards, and bet according to how well they believe their hand will fare against others’, comes in a variety of styles. Online, poker is available as a live table game, or as video poker. Because of the immense variety within poker games, game guides should include information and instructions about:

Type – Poker comes in many forms, including stud, hold ‘em, Omaha, Horse and even Pineapple. Each type has its own unique rules, as well as the standard poker rules.

Wilds – Jokers, deuces, and one-eyed jacks are just three examples of cards that can be designated as ‘wild’. These cards can stand in for any other card. Wild cards have to be specified before playing.

Game play – How to bet, call, raise and fold

Betting – Minimum bets and raises

Payouts – Payouts can be scaled according to your hand, depending on the game.

Despite being built on a very basic premise, baccarat is one of the more challenging games to get to grips with in a casino, as it has some fairly complex dealing rules. In this game, the dealer deals two pairs of cards – one for the player, and one for the house. A score of eight or nine is a winner, but if neither total appears, the dealer plays additional cards according to these rules.

Online casino baccarat comes in live table versions and video games. Once you understand the rules of the game, it can be a fun, exciting and immersive game that’s extremely easy to play. Most of the complexity is handled by the dealer, which is why the game guide should include information and instructions about:

Dealing rules – There are very clearly laid-out, albeit complex, rules for how the cards must be dealt, and how to calculate totals. It is critical that these appear in a game guide, otherwise you will find yourself a bit lost as to why you’re winning or losing.

Unless you are a seasoned expert in all the games an online casino has to offer, using a game guide should form part of your play experience – especially when trying out a new game. By familiarising yourself with the rules, how to play and bet, and how to win, you will be in a much better position to make the most of your money, rather than being caught unawares.

A good game guide will help you play the game well, and it shouldn’t be confusing. Before trying a new game, or if you are new to the online casino environment, we strongly recommend finding and reading or watching the game guide.

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