Different Types of Gambling

It's the age of the internet and mobile devices, and gambling is bigger than ever before.

Despite that, the ways to gamble haven't really changed that much, although the ways to access gambling games and services most definitely have.

If you're new to gambling, this snapshot of all the different ways to do so will serve as your guide through the jungle of gambling. Think of it as a sort of summary, taking all the different threads of betting and gambling and weaving them into one easy-to-understand tapestry which you can scan quickly to decide what's for you and what's not.

If you see something you like, feel free to delve further into it by clicking the associated buttons, where you'll find more in-depth information on each way to bet.

So, let's get started with casino gambling. We'll then look at sports betting, poker, numbers games, and even the global stock and commodities markets.

Casino Gambling

Playing casino games is without a doubt the most fun way to make and lose money ever invented.

Whether shooting dice, spinning reels, or playing card games, casinos both online and in the real world offer lots of ways to entertain yourself while giving you a shot at walking away with money in your pocket, too.

The move online has revolutionized casino gaming forever. It's now possible to play slots and other games from literally anywhere, whereas before you would have had to make tracks to wherever the casino was.

Some of the key differences between playing at online casinos and land-based ones are:

  • Online casinos almost always offer a much bigger selection of games. Some have literally thousands of slots titles alone.
  • The minimum bets are usually lower at online casinos. This is directly related to the lower cost of operating.
  • Online casinos give almost everyone a bonus and ongoing comps, whereas land-based casinos reserve those perks for the high-rollers only.
  • It's possible to jump around from one online casino to another, claiming bonuses as you go, without having to move from your sofa.
  • Despite these advantages, many players do still prefer the land-based casino experience. It's hard to beat the tasty food, cold beer, and the "vibe" in a fun, well-run casino.

Types of Games

Whether you decide to play online or at a brick-and-mortar casino, you'll need to know the differences between the various games. No two are exactly alike.

Casino Floor

This section will help you develop a better understanding of how each game works. If you see something you like and want to learn more, each game has a button linking to a much more detailed page on that game.


Slot machines are pretty much the same online as they are in the real world, with the objective of creating lines of matching symbols to score cash prizes.

The range of online slots today is incredible, from classic 3-reel games with one or two ways to win to flashy, movie-themed slots with hundreds of ways to win and multiple bonus features such as "free spins rounds" and "picking games" offering instant cash prizes.

Jackpots also vary greatly and can range from a few hundred clams to several million.

If you fancy something which doesn't require much thought or strategizing, but which can still get your adrenaline pumping, slots are the way to go.

To learn more about slots, such as how to pick the games with the biggest jackpots, click the button below.

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There are only a few games in the casino which involve skill, and blackjack is one of them. In fact, there are professionals who make a full-time living playing blackjack online.

If you don't know how to play already, you'll be glad to know it's incredibly simple. You play against the dealer and will be dealt a number of cards, and whoever gets closest to 21 without exceeding it will win the hand.

Of course, there's a little more to it than that, such as what number value each card is assigned in the quest to hit 21.

In all blackjack games, you'll initially be dealt two cards, and can request to either "hit," which means to take another card, or "stand," which means to play with the two initial cards you've been dealt. Be careful if you choose a "hit," because exceeding 21 means you automatically "go bust," or lose.

Learn more about the incredibly popular game of blackjack by clicking the button below.

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Sometimes it's nice to not have to think about your next move and to just relax, have fun, and let Lady Luck do her thing.

Roulette is the ideal game if you like the sound of that. The objective of this game is to throw a ball onto a spinning wheel and bet on which number, color, row, column, or square it will land in.

If that sounds complex, don't worry; it's extremely easy once you start playing. To begin, you can just bet on red or black and learn from there.

Most roulette players agree that there are few feelings more thrilling than going on a run and watching your money double several times in a row. On a streak of five wins, a $10 starting bet could be worth $320 in under a minute.

If you want to know more about this seriously fun game of pure chance, click the roulette button below.

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Gambling games featuring dice are about as old as civilization itself, and the undisputed king of casino dice games is craps.

To put it as simply as possible, the objective is to place your bets on the craps table, picking from a number of possible outcomes once the dice are rolled.

For example, on the "come out roll," you simply bet on either the shooter or the casino to win. The shooter then rolls the dice and either wins or loses, and that's literally it.

Be aware that the craps table is enough to make most people's heads spin when first encountered, but this game is a lot simpler than it first seems. Don't be intimidated by the slight learning curve involved, because this is one of the most rewarding casino games of all.

To learn more about how to play craps and the odds and intricacies of the game, click the button below.

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Video Poker

Video poker is one of the only games in the casino which, if the right variant is played with perfect strategy, can return over 100% to players in the long run.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can beat the house when playing these simple 5-card poker machine games.

As with all poker games, the aim of video poker is to make the best possible 5-card hand, combining cards you start with and cards you trade for. As always, the Royal Flush is the best possible combination and will pay most relative to your initial bet.

Winning video poker depends on A) which variant you are playing, and B) your video poker strategy. Get started learning about both by checking out the in-depth video poker page below.

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Baccarat is a simple card game which has been preferred by the rich, aristocrats, kings, and people of importance throughout history. It's known as a favorite game of high-rollers. Yet today, anyone with any sort of bankroll can play baccarat online.

It's a remarkably simple game. You bet on either the player, the banker, or a tie, and when the cards are dealt, whoever has nine (or the closest to it without exceeding it) wins. Tens and face cards are worth zero, so if you got a King and a five, your total would be five.

This is one of the few card games you don't participate in but simply bet on the outcome of.

There are a few little intricacies, such as the banker's cut and baccarat card values, that are worth knowing about before you start playing. Click the button below to learn the rules, the odds, and how to play baccarat.

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Sports Betting

Man Betting on Sports Online

Sports betting is probably the oldest form of gambling of them all. From early cavemen betting on fights and horse races to ultra-modern stadiums packed full of elite athletes, sports betting has evolved into a global mega-pastime.

These days, it's possible to bet on just about anything sports-related. The most popular sports to bet on are horse racing, soccer, American football, basketball, baseball, cricket, and combat sports.

Sports betting has taken on a new lease of life in the mobile era, and it's now possible to bet on all sorts of propositions through "in-play" betting. For example, when a soccer team gets a penalty kick, it's possible to bet on the outcome in real time.

Types of Wagers

There's a little bit more to sports betting than simply throwing your money down on an outcome. There are a few different types of bets you need to be aware of. Let's take a look at some of those now.


This is the simplest form of bet and the one you're most likely already familiar with.

All that needs to happen for you to win a moneyline bet is for the team or athlete you pick to win.

For example, if Arsenal FC is playing Manchester United and you pick Arsenal, who then wins 3-1, you win.

Pay attention to the odds of any moneyline bet you are thinking of placing. Bets on the underdog will always pay more than bets on the favorite.

Continuing with our previous example, if Arsenal is 2/1 (+200.00) to win and you bet $10 on it, you'll win $20, whereas if they had been 4/1 (+400.00), you would have won $40 from the same $10 bet.


Total bets are sometimes called over/under bets, and the concern here is what the combined score/points will be at the end of the game or match.

For example, in the Manchester United vs. Arsenal example, a total bet could look like this.

Arsenal +6 (Over/Under 3) - Manchester United -6

You'll need to pick whether Arsenal is likely to score more than three goals in the entire match. You can pick over or under, and bets will pay accordingly. If they score exactly three, this is called a "push," and the bet is refunded.

Total bets are notoriously hard to predict, but some betting wizards sift through historical data and notice opportunities. It's your call as to whether or not you engage in this type of betting. It's always optional.

Point Spread

When you first encounter point spread betting, it can seem a little confusing, to say the least.

Yet once understood, this type of bet is both popular and highly lucrative.

Let's say the Steelers are playing against the Cowboys in a football game.

The point spread might look something like this.

Dallas Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers
Point Spread
Cowboys (+6)
Steelers (-6)

In this case, the Steelers are the favorites. Don't worry about how realistic this scenario is; it's just an example!

So, if you bet on the Steelers to win, they'll need to do so by a margin of more than 6 points for the bet to come good. For example, they'll have to win 40-33.

Likewise, if you back the Cowboys and they lose the game by less than 6 points, your bet will still pay. It will also pay if they win outright.

Point spread betting is a little more complicated than straight-up moneyline bets, but this type of betting is incredibly popular because there are lots of hidden opportunities for knowledgeable bettors.

For example, if you see a team marked as the clear underdog with a large point spread and you definitely don't agree, then that's a good opportunity to make some money. Bet that the game will be a lot closer than the bookies indicate with their spread, and if you're right, then count your cash.

Prop Bets and Specials

Live betting has changed the nature of sports betting forever, making it possible to bet on an endless number of outcomes while the game or match is still unfolding.

For example, going back to our Arsenal versus Manchester City example, let's say Arsenal is awarded a penalty kick in the 80th minute. You can place a single bet, unrelated to any other bets you've made, as to whether or not they'll score the penalty.

This definitely adds an extra element of excitement into sports betting. Suddenly, a boring corner kick or standard tennis serve becomes a potentially profitable betting opportunity for those ready to capitalize.

Specials bets are a different animal altogether and don't even necessarily revolve around sports betting. For example, you can bet on which city will have the coldest weather this weekend, or whether or not a certain celebrity couple will announce a pregnancy before the end of the year, or who will win a TV talent show.


From fat cats in pinstripe suits smoking cigars while enjoying a game of high-stakes Texas Hold'em to Joe Poker playing against players from around the world in an online tournament, poker is more popular today than ever before.

This is one of the most exciting games of them all since it's possible to win based on pure psychology and/or skill, rather than having a winning hand.

More on Poker
Different Types of Poker

Despite its popularity, many people don't understand at first that there are different types of poker. Texas Hold'em is definitely the best-known, but it's not the only game in town.

Let's take a quick look at some of the most popular poker games and how they work.


This is the mac daddy of all poker games, played by legions of fans all over the globe.

The objective is simple enough - you need to make the best possible 5-card hand, according to Texas Hold'em poker hand ranks, using the two cards you are dealt and five community cards on the table.

The best possible Texas Hold'em hand is a Royal Flush, which would consist of a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit, whereas the lowest is a high card, which would be something like a King versus your opponent's 10.

Playing Texas Hold'em is a lot of fun, and unlike many other gambling games, it's one where skill and psychology are involved. This is what allows professional poker players to make a living playing it.

7 Card Stud

This is a stud variant of poker, and while not as popular as Texas Hold'em, 7 Card Stud is still played at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) events every year.

Each player is dealt 7 cards, three facing down, and four facing up. The aim of all poker games is to make the best possible 5-card hand, so you'll need to decide what your chances of winning are by peeking at your down-facing cards as they are dealt and assessing what hands you have or are likely to make when the up-facing cards are factored in.

Unlike with Texas Hold'em, there are no community cards in 7 Card Stud. The seven cards you are dealt are the cards you will play with.

While all players will be able to see your up-facing cards, only you can see your down-facing cards, and vice versa. This is where the intrigue and excitement lies and what allows for "bluffing" and other poker tricks.

Ultimately, the poker hand ranks are the same, with a Royal Flush being the best possible outcome. If you have one of these, you'll want to bet big.

Sound complicated? Play a few hands, and you'll soon pick it up.


Omaha has some similarities to Texas Hold'em, but there are some definite differences, too.

In this game, there are five community cards and four "hole cards," which are your own individual cards no other players can see.

The objective is the same as other poker games - you need to make the best possible 5-card hand. In Omaha poker rules, this has to be done using three community cards and two hole cards. No other combination is accepted.

Having four hole cards, as opposed to the two in Hold'em, changes the game quite dramatically and makes it possible to make big hands more often.

If you understand Hold'em, you're 90% of the way there to understanding how to play Omaha poker.

Lottery Games

NYS Mega Millions Ticket

You've probably played the national or state lottery at least a few times, but thanks to online gambling, you don't have to wait for the weekly draw anymore.

It's worth noting two things here. First, there are a few different types of lotto games. Second, these almost always offer the worst odds in the house, with only the luckiest players making any money.

Unlike some card games and sports betting, lottery games are down to pure and simple chance. There's nothing you can do to alter the outcome or improve your odds.


It's estimated that in the UK alone, , and the average player spends $416 annually on them.

That's a heck of a lot of money for such a small country, and when the view on scratch cards is expanded globally, there's a truly phenomenal amount of money being spent on them.

The objective of scratch-offs is to find matching symbols - for example, three of the same car symbol - after scratching off a layer of (usually silver) film. Of course, when playing online scratch cards, this is done automatically by clicking a button.

Scratch-offs are so popular specifically because they don't require any thought or strategizing. They're just a fun game of pure chance, with prizes ranging from a few bucks all the way through to hundreds of thousands.

State Lotteries

State and national lotteries are a well-known phenomenon, and those who win them can instantly join the leagues of the mega-rich.

The idea is simple enough - you pick various numbers (usually five or six) from among a pool of possible numbers. If your numbers come up, you win a share of the available prize money. The more numbers you match, the more money you win. If all your numbers come up, you win the jackpot.

The rules of each state lottery will vary slightly, with the UK lottery being slightly different from the New York State lottery, for example.

Again, your odds of winning are low. Think one in millions, depending on the game.

More About State Lotteries

Keno is found at lots of online casinos, but it falls squarely into the lotto games category because that's exactly what it is.

There are multiple different variants of keno with a few unique twists such as extra or special balls, but the objective of all of them is the same. You make various number picks from 1-80, place your wager, and wait for the keno hopper machine to make the draw.

The more numbers you match, the more money you win. The hopper machine will make 20 picks in classic keno, and the top prizes are reserved for those who match 15. It's possible to get paid for matching just two, though.

Despite the poor odds, keno is a highly enjoyable game, and that's why so many people play it.

More About Keno

The days of old ladies with blue rinses holding up bingo cards and collecting on them are still well and truly alive, but these days it's much more common to find people from all walks of life playing online bingo.

There are a couple of different variants of bingo, with 80-ball and 90-ball variants being the most common, depending on whether you're in North America or Europe.

Whichever type you choose to play, the objective of bingo games is to "mark off" numbers on your bingo card as they are "called." In the real world, this will be done by a bingo host, whereas online it is done by a computer program in most cases.

When you make a winning pattern, which could be a straight line across, a diagonal line, or something else entirely (depending on the bingo variant), you will win a cash prize.

Unlike in the real world, where you'll need to stand up and call out "BINGO!", online versions will pay out cash prizes automatically.

It's a game of pure chance, just like all lotto games, so don't worry about learning bingo strategy or anything like that. The objective of bingo is to have fun, and that's one thing that's guaranteed.

More About Bingo

Other Types of Gambling

We've already covered the most popular forms of gambling online above, but there a few others you won't necessarily find at an online casino or sportsbook.

These include the following.


Most people have encountered a raffle at some point in their lives. Schools, workplaces, and organizations of all kinds hold them to raise funds for good causes or other purposes.

The point of raffles is simple - you buy a ticket for a fee, and if it's drawn from the "hat," you win the associated prize. This could be a cash amount, a car, tickets to a gig, or a teddy bear, depending on the type of raffle.

Raffles are a lot of fun, but they're also a game of pure chance. You won't normally find them at online casinos as a game in and of themselves, but some casinos have regular prize draws for cars and holidays, which are run exactly the same way as raffles.

Flipping Coins

This is about as simple as gambling can get, and your odds are 50:50 - unless a trick coin is being used, of course!

Betting on a coin toss is as simple as choosing heads or tails. If you win, you double your money, whereas if you lose, you walk away with nothing.

We've encountered a few digital coin toss games at casinos online, but they're mostly played in the real world. Online casinos don't tend to like games where they don't have an edge.

Stock Market

Warren Buffett might strongly disagree with our inclusion of the stock market as a form of gambling, but even the Oracle of Omaha isn't always right.

The fact is, stock trading, commodities trading, binary options, spread betting, derivatives, and the countless other ways to play the stock market are exactly that - gambling.

There are now countless online brokerages and platforms to play the financial markets online, and some people have been seriously successful in making tremendous amounts of money doing so.

However, as of yet, nobody has devised a perfect system for predicting the stock market (not for a lack of trying, mind you). Until that day comes, there will always be an element of chance with buying and selling stocks and shares, trading commodities, and all of the other ways to bet money on the outcome of a stock or asset.

When chance is involved, it's gambling. See our logic?

Which Type of Gambling Is Best?

The best type of gambling for you really depends on what you're looking for.


If fun is your main objective, then it's difficult to go wrong with video slots or roulette. These games require little thought, and the rush of going on a winning streak is difficult to describe until it's experienced first-hand.


If making money is your objective, it's best to stick with a skill-based game such as poker or blackjack. There's no way to win any game every time, but these are games you can improve at over time, and there are many professional players who make a living playing these games.


If you just want a shot at the big time, with no thought required, then lottery games are your best bet. However, the odds of becoming a millionaire are terrible. The odds of winning the UK lottery, for example, are approximately 1 in 14,000,000.


If you're a sports fan with an encyclopedic knowledge of a given sport, then obviously sports betting is your best bet.

There are plenty of pro sports bettors (), and while nobody can predict the outcome of a sports event perfectly, the more you know, the more success you will generally have.

Unlike casino games, where the odds are always tilted slightly in the favor of the casino, no bookmaker can perfectly predict what will happen in the world of sports, either, and so it's definitely possible to win any given bet.

Problem Gambling

If you feel the fun has stopped and you're now gambling because you need to, rather than want to, you might be addicted to gambling.

Some signs of gambling addiction include:

  • Gambling money you don't have or borrowing to gamble
  • Keeping your gambling activities a secret from partners or loved ones
  • Strained relationships as a result of gambling
  • Feelings of shame or helplessness after gambling
  • Mood swings if you can't gamble
  • Financial problems as a result of gambling

If you recognize any of those symptoms or are suffering in any other way as a result of gambling, help is available. Click the button below to go to our resources for overcoming problem gambling page.

More About Problem Gambling


As you can see, gambling is a part of human life, and we as a species have invented a way to place a wager on the outcome of just about anything.

Just as with drinks, sports, travel, or anything else people do for fun, there are different "strains" or "types" of gambling to suit different tastes and types of players. Which one suits you best, only you can decide.

Remember that while it's entirely possible to make money gambling, in most cases the house will have an edge. This is especially true if you play casino games, rather than play poker or bet on sports or the stock market. The main reason to gamble is for fun, and not as a full-time money-making pursuit.

Whichever form of gambling you decide on, you'll need a little luck to walk away in the green. No matter what happens, though, you're sure to have a lot of fun along the way, and that's why there are so many ways to gamble.

We wish you the best of luck and hope you bring down the house!



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