Online casino games provide players with more choices, lower table limits and 24-hour access.
This allows for game types, rule variations, and side bets that you won’t find outside your local casino. When you first join an online casino the choice can appear confusing. You will often find six or more blackjack tables, multiple roulette wheels, and many different casino poker variants.
This page covers all the different casino games available online in Canada. Below you will find the games with the best return-to player percentages, the easiest games to play, and an overview of games that include a strategy element. As such, we outline the factors that casino players should focus on.
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Online casino games: the types of game available
In terms of popularity, nothing comes close to online blackjack and roulette games for casino players. There are now multiple variations of each game, including live dealer games and options with big money side bets.
Card games including baccarat are regularly found in high-limit casino rooms — the low house edge attracts high rollers and ‘Whales’. Many other card games use elements of poker to determine winning hands; they include Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Let It Ride. A big draw in these games is that poker hand rankings work well for jackpot side bets. You can win a lot of money with a lucky royal flush.
Craps is a fixture at many Canadian casinos — and can also be played virtually. Other options include slots, video poker, and bingo games.
House edge of online casino games
The house edge shows what percentage of money bet the house will keep over the long run. Getting the best odds requires you to play the correct strategy. This is easy in some games (roulette, three card poker) and more difficult in others (Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Mississippi Stud). Making mistakes or enjoying side bets will cost you a lot of money over the long run.
Choosing a game with a naturally low house edge will give you the most play for your bets. Here are the scores for the most popular games:
- Blackjack: 0.5% (with the best available rules)
- French Roulette: 1.35%
- European Roulette: 2.7%
- American Roulette: 5.26%
- Baccarat: 1.06% (banker bet)
- Craps: 1.4% (don’t pass line)
- Three Card Poker: 3.37%
- Caribbean Stud Poker: 5.2%
- Mississippi Stud: 4.91%
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em: 2.18%
- Casino Hold’em: 2.16%
All these games compare favourably to online slots that can have a house edge as high as 10% in some cases. Note that the scores above are for the main bets only. Some games have low-edge bets, combined with some wagers that are terrible value. Examples include the ‘tie’ bet in baccarat, or the ‘Any-7’ bet in Craps.
Online casino games: blackjack and variations
You will find multiple versions of standard American and European blackjack online. In the American game, the dealer ‘peeks’ at her down card before the players act. In the European rules, the final card is dealt after all players have acted.
There are games with multiple hands, side bets including perfect pairs and blazing sevens, and different rules including early surrender or double after split. Blackjack has developed in many directions online, with variations based on the ‘21’ theme.
Here are some of the most popular casino games found at online casinos in Canada:
- Spanish 21: This game removes the tens from the deck, changing the basic strategy.
- Super Fun 21 Extreme: Win with six card 20s or five card 21s, with player blackjack always a winner.
- Blackjack switch: You get two hands and can swap cards between them to make the best possible blackjack hand.
- Pontoon: This UK variation uses different terms. Instead of stand and hit, you ‘Stick’ or ‘Twist’.
- Free bet blackjack: You can double down and split for free in this variation.
Blackjack is a staple at any live dealer casino in Canada. Here you bet on live games, making decisions on whether to hit, stand or double-down in real-time as real cards are dealt. Stakes are higher than for virtual games, with the social interaction with other players an added bonus.
Looking for roulette? Canada’s casinos have plenty to choose from
You have a wider choice of wheels and roulette rules at a casino online than you get when playing live. You can choose to play virtual tables, where it’s you against the dealer. Or, you can choose to play the live casino version, where the game is streamed live from the casino. With small stakes and quick-fire spins, playing roulette online is a great way to practice your betting strategy or try out the advanced betting options.
Here are the popular roulette variants:
- American roulette: This wheel has two zero slots, a single and double zero.
- European roulette: A single green zero makes the house edge smaller.
- French roulette: With 50% back for outside bets with zero, this is the smarter choice.
- 100/1 roulette: A novelty game that boosts the odds for single number bets.
- Live dealer roulette: You will find games with croupiers and auto-roulette wheels.
What about baccarat and punto banco games?
Baccarat games online take the form of ‘mini bac’ or ‘punto banco’ rather than the dealt games found in high-limit rooms at live casinos. Betting on these games is easy, despite the complex rules for when extra cards are drawn. The dealers know the drawing rules, leaving you to choose bets on ‘player’, ’banker’ or ‘tie’.
Note that the tie bet and any side bets that include pairs have a high house edge and are avoided by expert players. If you stick with the best bets, the edge is 1.06% for banker and 1.24% for player.
Baccarat is available in both live dealer and software format.
Opting for the craps tables
No other online casino game has as many betting options as craps. This dice-based game has two distinct betting rounds, plus a long list of side bets. Being honest, playing online craps is nowhere near as exciting as the live casino table. But, you can use the online version to test out different strategies. It’s also the perfect option if you’re new to craps and need to learn the basics.
Craps has started to appear in live dealer casino format. You bet on the roll of dice taking place in real-time at a remote studio. In live casinos in Ontario and British Columbia, you can choose from a regular craps table, ‘crapless craps’ or electronic versions of the game including ‘bubble craps’.
Casino poker variations at Canadian online casinos
Games that use poker-style gameplay and hand rankings have been available in casinos for decades. They are often collectively called ‘carnival games’. The advantage of this format is that a strategy element can be included. While they have a (small) edge in favour of the house, learning the strategy for each game will keep this to a minimum. Some of the games have huge payouts for strong hands, adding excitement compared to the single unit wins in other games.
Here are the most popular casino poker variations found at Canadian casinos:
- Caribbean stud: Beat the dealer’s five-card poker hand with your own five cards. You see the dealer’s up card and decide whether to raise or fold based on the strength of your hand.
- Mississippi stud: You can bet over three streets, with between one and three units each time in this strategic game. Jacks or better win, and winners receive big prizes for the best poker hands.
- Let It Ride: This game starts with three bets; you then either remove two of them, or ‘Let It Ride’ to the end of the hand, depending on how your three-card hand and the two community cards work out.
- Casino Hold’em: This game uses a Texas Hold’em poker format in casino form. You get two cards and decide whether to continue after seeing the flop. Big prizes available for top hands if you beat the dealer’s hand.
- Three card poker: A popular game with an easy strategy. You compare your three-card hand to the dealer’s hand. The ‘Pair+’ side bet is considered an essential part of this game.
- Texas Hold’em Plus: Another game that uses a flop, turn, and river. This game works like Casino Hold’em and has a ‘Plus’ side bet to give it plenty of big win potential.
Slots, video poker, and other casino games
Table games are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of ways to gamble at online casinos. Most of the casino games you’ll find at online casinos are slots.
Online slots and progressive jackpot slots are covered in detail elsewhere on this site. You will find a mix of the classics from live casinos, plus games created for online play.
Video poker games online include many favourites from VLTs. You will also find unique titles with bonus features and additional bets.
Keno and bingo games are available at online casinos too. Slingo games are a hybrid of slots and bingo and make for an entertaining change for fans of either format. Alternative games include virtual betting and game show-style novelty titles.
Can online casino games be beaten?
No, but there are ways to minimize the house edge. The house edge is built into the mathematics of the games.
Here are the steps to maximize your chances of winning:
- Choose games with the smallest casino house edge. Examples are baccarat, blackjack, French Roulette, and craps.
- Learn the correct strategy (mistakes will cost money over time). Charts are available for blackjack games, and casino poker variants have a fixed strategy for each street.
- Avoid expensive wagers and side bets that have a huge house edge compared to the main games.
- Employ bankroll management, moving down stakes if you lose and up if you win. Splitting your casino bankroll into smaller units keeps you playing for longer.
- Avoid ‘systems’ that double after losses or press wins. They will not beat the house over the long term.
- Take advantage of bonuses, comps, and loyalty rewards. These are offered by both live and online casinos and will help offset the house edge.
Are online casino games fair?
The shuffle or spins for online casino games is powered by ‘random number generator’ software. Each time you hit spin, or deal a new hand, a new random outcome is provided. This is independent of the outcome of previous hands.
Legitimate casino brands stake their entire reputation on providing a fair deal. They have their RNG software regularly audited. These audits involve third parties playing millions of hands or spinning slots millions of times. Software is certified as fair when the published house edge matches the outcome over millions of hands.
As long as you stick with the biggest and best-known casinos, the deal/spins will be completely fair. If you still have any doubts, then the live dealer casino rooms have games dealt in real-time that are streamed directly to your desktop.
What about sweepstakes casinos?
Sweepstakes casinos are popular in Canada. These brands turn online casino games into sweepstakes contests. You will find 100s of slots, plus a small selection of table games, video poker, and keno at brands including Chumba Casino, Luckyland Slots, and FunzPoints.
To stay legal, sweepstakes casinos do not sell you chips (called sweeps) to gamble with. Instead, they give you them ‘free’. You can receive free sweeps by joining, logging into your account or making a request through mail. Sweepstakes casinos are open to all residents, except those in Québec.
Many slots at sweepstakes casinos have big progressive jackpots. If you win with the premium coins, you can swap your wins for real cash prizes.
Wrapping up: online casino games in Canada
Online casinos allow to you play many of the traditional casino games found in Canadian casinos. Blackjack, roulette, and baccarat can be enjoyed on casino software, or in live-dealer format, and usually with multiple variations too. You can choose different roulette tables, enjoy blackjack variants, and play one of many casino poker games online.
Getting the best from these games involves learning the strategy and avoiding bets that have a higher house edge. Games can be enjoyed in demo mode, allowing players to practice the strategy before hitting the real money tables.