The Best Casino Poker Games and Sites in the UK
Online casino poker games come in all shapes and sizes these days. You can play these cards games at most of the best online casinos in the UK, but some are better than others for this varied, modern table game. When we talk about casino poker in this industry, what is being referred to is a collection of games that are based around playing poker against the house. Some variants use two cards, some use three or five. For a game to fall under the casino poker banner it must at least use the standardised ranking of poker hands to determine winners and losers. Let’s look at some of the best poker casinos and games playable today.
|Casino||Games||Special Variants||Minimum Bets||Bonus||To the Casino|
|*||11||–||Three Card Poker Gold Series||£1||£1,000||Play Now!|
|*||6||–||Play’n GO Casino Hold’em||10p||£300||Play Now!|
|*||4||–||Live 3 Card Brag||£1||£100||Play Now!|
|*||5||–||Caribbean Stud Poker||50p||£500||Play Now!|
Casino poker should not be confused with video poker. In fact, the most popular variants online today more closely resemble PvP poker such as Texas Hold’em than video poker variants which do not involve as much strategy. Another important factor in choosing the best poker casino is the developers. Casino poker games are made by software developers, not the casinos themselves. For poker players, this means that choosing the right online casino requires more than a little bit of research and industry knowledge, and that’s where I come in.
How to Spot the Best Place to Play Casino Poker Online
If you’ve ever delved into the online casino world or tried to navigate your way through Google to find a place to play casino poker, you may have quickly realised what a minefield of a market this is. Hundreds of operators, all shouting as loudly as possible in an attempt to grab players. Filtering the noise from the real information is not easy, especially for the untrained observer. However, with a bit of practice, and these expert tips, you too will be able to decipher the good from the bad in this industry. These are the factors that I consider to be most important when choosing a good casino poker online operator.
Find the Best Variants
As I mentioned in the intro, casino poker is not a game, it’s a genre. A good online casino will offer several variants of casino poker, so you really shouldn’t be accepting anything less than two or three versions of the poker-against-the-house format. The most popular in the UK right now are Casino Hold’em and Caribbean Stud Poker. Both are streamlined version of traditional five-card poker that have been adapted to allow play against the house. Oasis Poker is also available in the UK and is picking up speed in terms of popularity.
There are a few classic casino poker games out there that have been popular for some time now. Games such as Texas Hold’em – which rose to fame during the poker boom of the mid-00s – has been adapted for play against the house as well. The most popular poker variant has been developed by several software companies and thus is playable in a couple of different formats. Each developer has its own pros and cons, some go big on the visual side of things, others focus on gameplay and bonus features, but each has produced quality games over the last couple of years. You try one of the most popular casino poker variants, Caribbean Stud Poker, in my free demo version below.
The different casino poker games vary quite a lot in terms of how many cards are drawn by either the player or how many community cards that can be used by both player and deal, but all use the poker hands table that should be learned by heart. The best hand is a royal flush, but don’t expect to see too many, they are super rare. Having a good idea of the ranking in your mind saves a lot of time and allows for faster and more exciting gameplay.
Look for the Casino Poker Game Payouts
As with any casino game review, we need to talk about house edge. When you play casino poker online or at a land-based venue, your opponent is the house. There’s no psychological element to the gameplay here and no bluffing. Unlike player versus player poker where weak hands can still win the pot, casino poker works more like blackjack. There is still room for strategy and players must make good decisions to be successful, but the dealer plays by a strict set of rules and therefore a house edge can be calculated. House edge is a term to describe how fair a game is. The higher the edge, the bigger statistical advantage the casino has over the player. The house edge in most casino poker games is low, but not great for the player. Three Card Poker, for example, is played with a house edge of anywhere between 2% and 8%, depending on the player’s decision. This is a little higher than blackjack, for example, where the house edge can be brought down to under 1% with optimal strategy.
|Payout Rates||RTP Overview||Features|
|Up to 99% Casino Hold’em||Bonus Payouts|
|Up to 99% Oasis Poker||None|
|Up to 98% Ultimate Texas Hold’em||Trips Side Bet|
|Up to 98% Three Card Poker||Pair Plus Side Bet|
|Up to 97% Caribbean Stud Poker||Progressive Jackpot|
Caribbean Stud Poker comes in at around 5%, but with a good strategy, that figure can be brought down to around 3%. Casino Hold’em, a popular variant in both the software-based space and the live dealer market is one of the most favourable with a house edge that can be as low as 0.35% when played with perfect strategy. Oasis Poker has a house edge of around 1% whilst Ultimate Texas Hold’em, probably the most popular live variant, comes in at just over 2%. These are theoretical payouts and therefore should only be used as a guide. They are not definite, however, they do give you an indication of how much you can expect to lose whilst playing casino poker games online.
Try Live Dealer Casino Poker
Casino poker is now also available at live dealer casinos from both Evolution Gaming and Playtech studios. The sheer fact that these live dealer studios have invested in this table game speaks volumes of how far it has come in terms of popularity. The technology used to deliver these live casino poker games will be familiar to anybody who has played live blackjack online. The dealer and the cards are real, but the chips are virtual. Evolution Gaming currently offers UK players a wider selection of live dealer casino poker games including Three Card Poker Live, Live Casino Hold’em and Live Caribbean Stud Poker. Three Card Poker, in particular, is an interesting variant. Played using three-card poker instead of the traditional five-card hands, there are no community cards in Three Card Poker and therefore no post-flop play. The game is stripped right back to basics, and as result is fast-paced and easy to follow.
There are even brand-new titles such as the Evolution Gaming exclusive, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, that is only available via live dealer suites. The leading live streaming provider is also experimenting with Casino Hold’em, adding innovative new side bets such as Jumbo 7 – an optional wager that offers a huge progressive jackpot to participating players that land a seven-card straight flush whilst playing this game variant. Additional, smaller payouts are available for six card straight flushes, four of a kind, regular flushes and straights.
Favourable Bonus Wagering Conditions
Claiming a one of the UK’s casino welcome bonuses will leave you subject to wagering requirements, but if you plan on spending a large proportion of your playing time with casino poker games, I must urge caution. Wagering requirements are not always as they seem in this business, with some games counting less than 100% towards your goal. It is not uncommon to see figures of 10% or 15% for table games – which casino poker falls under – and therefore it can be very difficult to meet the requirements by playing these games. Be sure to check the terms and conditions before you commit to anything, or check out the best contribution percentage at a UK casino below.
- Up to £300 bonus
- 100% live game contribution
- Great live casino poker
If you see a contribution of 0% for table games, then I would recommend avoiding the bonus altogether if your main goal of claiming it is to play casino poker games. There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel here. Some of the best online casinos I’ve reviewed offer contributions up to 100% for live games. That means you can enjoy casino poker games whilst making a significant, or even total, contribution to the wagering requirements attached to your bonus if you opt for the live game options. Some online casinos offer a separate live bonus, but LeoVegas for example, will give you a huge welcome bonus that can be used for live casino poker games with a 100% contribution value. The regular, software-based casino poker games only make a 10% contribution towards any wagering requirements.
Casino poker online is delivered in various forms by several software developers. The big boys on the scene – Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech, all offer at least one variant. From Microgaming, Cyberstud Poker is a highlight, a rare version of the game which is played with traditional five-card poker hands. Playtech brings Caribbean Stud Poker and Casino Hold’em versions to the mix, whilst NetEnt adds Texas Hold’em, Oasis Poker and its own version of Caribbean Stud. It’s the smaller developers though, that really spark life into this area of the market. FELT Gaming offers a whole host of casino poker games to its partners including interesting variants and jackpot boosted games. Three Card Hold’em and Texas Hold’em Bonus are the highlights of these beautifully styled games.
The Advantages of Choosing to Play Online
Playing casino poker online is so much better than at land-based casinos or in betting shops on fixed-odds betting terminals. Why you ask? I’ll tell you. Firstly, there are no time pressures when you play online. Want to wait ten minutes between hands while you brew up? Not a problem. There’s also more variation. Casino poker is growing in popularity, but it has some way to go before it reaches the heights of blackjack. As a result, land-based casinos, especially in the UK, will rarely offer more than one version of the game, compared to online where multiple version are available 24/7. This advantage also spills over into the limits. With no human dealers to pay or lights to keep on, online casinos can offer the games at lower stakes than land-based venues. Not to mention the fact that you can take your games with you on the go with mobile casino poker games and apps. Plus, with improved live streaming technology, playing live casino poker games at home is almost the same as the real thing. Must I continue?
Casino Poker vs. Video Poker
A common confusion with casino poker is that it is similar or related to video poker. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is true that both video poker and casino poker use the same ranking system for the strength of certain hands, but so do several other card games. Video poker is far more basic than casino poker. There are often fewer decisions to make and more limited betting options. It is, of course, not available as a live dealer game either. If you’ve experienced video poker games before and have been put off but the old-fashioned visuals or lack of betting options, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the games. The two experiences are chalk and cheese in almost every aspect.
Both video poker and casino poker are great games, they’re just very different both in vibe and style. The best method of playing poker against the house depends on your own personal playing style and overall preferences. You can use the information above to help you make your decision. For more information about video poker, check out my dedicated page.
The Latest Casino Poker Developments and News
Keeping up with the latest game news can be tricky in this fast-moving market. The online casino industry is booming right now, and as more and more software developers and live providers up their collective games, new products are revealed all the time. To keep up to date with the latest developments, check our news hub regularly for professional reporting of casino, poker, sports betting and industry stories.
My Online Casino Poker Conclusion
If you’re new to the world of casino poker, there’s never been a better time to jump in and get involved. If the advice on this page has given you the confidence to go out and choose the perfect casino for you, our review of the best UK online casinos is a good place to start. If you’ve rather just head to a first-class casino and get started straight away, check out my top-rated casino poker site below. And if you’re more of a traditionalist and prefer the setup of the classic player versus player online poker, there’s a host of fantastic online poker sites you can check out as well!
- Major Strengths
- Low house edge
- Strategic gameplay
- Major Weaknesses
- Minor Strengths
- Lots of variations
- Live dealer versions
- Minor Weaknesses
- Low maximum bets