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Guide to Gambling on Skill Games

Most casino games are based on luck or chance. No matter how good you are, you can’t force the roulette ball or craps dice to land on a particular number.

Fortunately, there are a few casino games that require skills instead of good luck. There are also lots of other skill games that you can gamble on.

There are many online casinos with skill games, and there are other gambling sites where you can play skill-based games for money.

Keep reading this page to find out where to play skill games online for money, how these games are different from traditional casino games, and which skill games you might want to play. We also have guides to a number of popular skill games.

Where to Play Skill Games Online for Money

If you are ready to start playing real money online skill games, you need to find a quality casino site that offers the games you are interested in.

Here are our recommendations for the top online skill-based gambling sites. These online gambling sites are an excellent way to learn how to play games of skill, and they offer bonus money to get started.

Rank VA Gambling Site Exclusive Bonus Products Get Started
#2 250% Up To $5,000
  • Casino
Visit Site Wild Casino
#3 125% Up To $2,500
  • Sports
  • Casino
Visit Site BetUS
#4 50% Up To $1,000
  • Sports
  • Casino
  • Poker
Visit Site BetOnline
#5 50% Up To $250
  • Sports
  • Casino
  • Poker
Visit Site Bovada

We have chosen these sites because they offer an excellent variety of popular skill games. They also meet our standards for security, convenient banking, and overall quality.

If you are interested in playing a variety of games of skill for money, you might also want to check out our complete guide to quality online gambling sites.

Sports betting is another example of a type of gambling that requires a lot of skill.

It is not the same as the skill-based games we are going to cover on this page, as there are lots of things outside your control. But you can become skillful enough to consistently make money from betting sports.

The following guides will help you develop your sports betting skills and show you the best sportsbooks for betting online.

Other Skill Game Sites

Most of the sites we recommend are online casinos that offer both skilled games and games of chance.

We generally choose to recommend online casinos with skill games because they are better prepared to offer skill games online for money. They already have the banking methods and bonuses in place to offer the best value and convenient transactions.

You can also use the same online casinos to play skill-based gambling games for free if you want.

We think that online casinos are the best option, but we want to make sure you know about other places where you can play games of skill for real money and for free.

Here are a few other examples of skill game sites online.

Game and Brand-Specific Sites

skill game websites

The most common websites you will find are game-specific sites. They are perfect for you if you are only interested in playing a specific game of skill, like chess or rummy.

Game-specific websites are centered around that particular game. For example, Rummy Palace is a site that only offers online rummy games.

Some websites offer a variety of games under a specific category. Play Online Dice Games has several dice skill games, such as Yahtzee and backgammon.

Another category is brand-specific sites. Some gambling games of skill are branded, such as games based on TV shows. Because of licensing issues, only particular sites are allowed to offer branded skill games.

WorldWinner is an example of a brand-specific site. It is the only website authorized to offer skill-based games based on Game Show Network TV shows, such as The Price is Right and Deal or No Deal.

Game and brand-specific sites come in both free and real money varieties. Some of them offer free games, but they rely on ad revenue, so your screen will be bombarded with ads for other products.

If you are going to play skill games for real money, it is crucial to find a reputable site. Make sure you understand their banking methods and cash-out process before you make a deposit.

Sweepstakes Casinos

Sweepstakes casinos with games of skill

The next type of website that offers skill-based games is sweepstakes casinos. They are complicated because they are free sites, but they claim to offer cash prizes. That is only partially accurate.

Instead of winning cash, you can win sweepstakes entries. The only way to win cash from these sites is to win one of their sweepstakes contests.

So, you can win a cash prize, but it is not related to the outcome of the game you are playing. You get to play skill-based games for free, and you have the possibility of winning a contest.

Global Poker is an example of a sweepstakes site that offers poker games.

Sweepstakes casinos often have a variety of casino games. Skill gambling games are not their primary focus, so the variety of skill games they offer might be hit or miss.

Make sure you always read the terms and conditions on sweepstakes casinos. You don’t want to get into a situation where you think you have won, but your prize is jeopardized because of a site policy issue.

Free Play Sites

Free skill games sites online

If you do not want to play skill games for money, dozens of free play sites allow you to play skill-based games with play money.

Because you are not risking any money, you don’t have to worry about deposit security or other potential issues.

You cannot win real money from free play sites as they do not offer cash prizes in any form. These sites are just about having fun with games.

Here are some free play sites that offer popular skill-based games.

  • Game Twist is a free online casino. They have skill games, slots, poker, bingo, and other casino games. You must create an account to play,
  • Game Duell is an excellent skill game site because it has a large variety of card games, including rummy and hearts. It is free to play, but you do have to create an account.
  • Card Games.io is a free play site with several skill games, including backgammon, Yahtzee, hearts, and rummy. You don’t need an account, but there are ads on every game.

Free play sites usually offer unlimited free games. You might have to deal with ads that interrupt your game regularly.

Sometimes, they are advertisement banners on the sides of the website. Other times, a video ad will pop up in the middle of your gameplay.

Sites that require you to create an account typically have fewer ads than sites that let you play without registering.

We recommend caution when you use free play sites, sweepstakes casinos, or game-specific sites. These sites do not need to be licensed because they do not allow real money gambling. The same is true for most social casino apps.

Because they are not licensed, they are do not have as many rules to follow. For example, they often sell data about the games you play to advertisers.

In some cases, they may use your social media profiles for advertising to your friends. Be mindful and use standard internet safety practices when you use these sites.

What Are Skill Games

Before you start gambling on skill games, you need to know how we define that term. What are skill games, and how do they compare to traditional gambling games in the casino?

When you consider all of the different types of games you can gamble on, they can get separated into three categories.

On the one hand, you have games where the outcome is entirely based on the luck of the draw. No amount of skill or strategy can affect the game’s outcome.

Skill games represent the other end of the spectrum. They are games where you have to rely on strategy and skill to win. There is some variance, but strategic players know how to play the hands they get dealt.

Then some games fall somewhere in the middle. Blackjack is an example of a game in the middle. It requires skill to know when to hit or stand, but the outcome still largely depends on the luck of the draw.

Here is an overview of the gambling games that fall into each of these three categories.

Games of Chance Mixed Games Gambling Games that Require Skill
Slot Machines Blackjack Poker
Keno Video Poker Rummy
Bingo Casino Poker Games (like Caribbean Stud Poker) Chess
Casino War Roulette Dominoes
Instant-Win Games Craps Backgammon
Scratch Cards Baccarat Puzzle Games

You might be surprised to see games like chess and backgammon listed as skill games for gambling. Chess is not a game you find in a casino.

That is because skill games are not limited to traditional forms of gambling.

In some cases, the gambling aspect is simply betting that you will win a game that may not otherwise involve gambling. For example, when you play rummy for money, you bet on the winner of each round.

Many online gambling sites are incorporating more gambling games that need skill because younger gamblers are less inclined to play games of chance.

Players who want to have some control over the game’s outcome strongly prefer skill-based gambling or mixed games. However, these games take longer to learn and master than simple luck-based games.

Is Poker Chance or Skill?

Poker is one of the most common games of skill in the casino because it incorporates betting as an integral part of the game.

The skill aspect of poker is learning how to put your opponent on a range of hands, and then using that information to induce mistakes. Skilled poker players make fewer mistakes than amateurs.

Some people claim that poker is a game of chance, but that is usually an issue of interpreting gambling laws. You can find out more about why we think poker is a game of skill on our website.

Now that you know the difference between games of chance and skill-based games, we want to introduce you to some of the best skill games.

All of these games are popular options on gambling sites with real money skill games.

Rummy

rummy games

Rummy is undoubtedly one of the most prevalent card games in the world. That is partially because there are so many different ways to play rummy.

You can play gin rummy, canasta, pinochle, Rummikub, 21-card rummy, and contract rummy. Those are just a few of the many rummy variants that are available worldwide.

No matter which rummy variant you play, the objective is to create melds known as sets and runs.

A set is three cards with the same value, such as three jacks. Runs are three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order, such as 8-9-10 of spades.

Typically, each round of rummy lasts until one player runs out of cards by creating melds. After the round has ended, you tally up the score according to the variant rules.

You can learn more about rummy and the different variants by checking out our rummy guide.

Chess

Game of skill - chess

Understanding the basic concept of various games and knowing how to win at skill games are two very different things. Chess is the perfect example.

It is a two-person game where each player takes turns moving pieces across the board. They have sixteen pieces each, and each piece has specific types of moves it can make.

The objective is simple; capture your opponent’s king in checkmate.

Once you understand the various moves each piece can make, you know enough to play chess. You might even know enough to win a few games.

That is not the same as mastering chess strategy. Grandmasters know how to think of several moves at a time and how to adjust their strategy based on their opponent’s moves.

The only way to master the game of chess is to practice. Gambling sites with skill games can be an excellent resource.

Chess is not traditionally a gambling game, and professional chess players typically earn money by winning tournaments. However, some gambling sites have developed chess variants that combine chess and gambling.

You can learn more about this game by checking out our chess guide.

Spades

Spades game guide

Spades is a unique skill-based game because the skill you need is the ability to estimate how many tricks you will win correctly.

Each turn in a game of spades is called a trick. To win a trick, you have to lay down the highest card of the matching suit. Spades always beat other suits.

Before each round begins, the players will bid on how many tricks they think they will win. The scores are based on how accurately you bid.

Scoring a game of spades is the most complex part of the game. You can learn more about spades scoring by checking out our spades guide.

As with most games of skill, there are several different ways to play Spades. For example, you can play with jokers that trump all spades, or you can play in teams.

Poker

Poker - a game of skill

Poker represents the most extensive collection of gambling games that require skill. There are dozens of different poker variants, including Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, Razz, five-card draw, and seven-card stud.

The goal in each poker game is to have the best hand or to convince other players to fold because they think you have the best hand.

In some variants, the best hand is actually the lowest-ranked hand.

You can learn more about each poker variant by reading our poker guide.

Traditional poker games are different from video poker and casino poker variants. Video poker is an electronic game that randomly deals five cards that you use to make the best poker hand possible.

Casino poker variants are games like Caribbean stud poker or Let It Ride Poker. These games have you compete against the dealer instead of other players.

You need some poker skills to win video poker and casino poker games. But they are not skill-based games because they are more random than traditional poker. They have a built-in edge against you.

The primary skill in traditional poker is using your bets and actions to influence other players. Poker variants that have you compete against the house lack that aspect.

Other Games of Skill

So far, we have covered four of the most popular skill games you can gamble on. You don’t have to limit yourself to those games just because they are more prevalent than others.

Here are a few other skill games that you might want to consider.

  • Fantasy sports betting allows players to effectively bet on sports using teams they create with their favorite athletes. Successful fantasy sports betting requires a thorough knowledge of athlete statistics.
  • Backgammon is a popular board game that uses dice to determine which moves you can make. Gambling is often incorporated into backgammon games.
  • Dominoes is a popular skill game because there are many variants. These variations are divided between blocking games and scoring games.
  • Tonk is a card game where players try to get the most points based on the values of the cards in their hands. It is similar to rummy games, but betting takes a more prominent role.
  • Yahtzee is an exciting dice game where players have to use their dice rolls strategically to get the most points possible.
  • Bridge or Contract bridge is a team card game similar to spades and whist. The primary skill is bidding on the number of tricks you think your team of two will win.
  • Checkers is the classic board game that is based entirely on skill. The objective is to capture all of your opponent’s pieces before they capture yours.
  • Word games, like Scrabble and Boggle, are incredibly popular. They can be played for money in a tournament-style or where the player with the most points wins the pot.

All of these skill-based gambling games are entertaining and challenging in their own way. You are unlikely to get bored playing any of these games because the more you play, the more new skills you will learn.

Popular Casino Games Involving Skill and Strategy

As we mentioned earlier, many casino games are mixed games that involve both elements of chance and skill.

Here are some ways you can use your skill to increase your odds of winning while playing popular casino games.

  • Blackjack – The most crucial skill in blackjack is knowing when you ought to hit or stand. Knowing when to split and double down are also essential blackjack skills.
  • Video Poker – When you play video poker, you need to know which cards are worth holding and which ones to re-draw. Basic poker skills come in handy, but you also need to know how to modify your strategy based on the specific video poker variant you’re playing.
  • Casino Poker Games – Most casino poker games are heads-up poker games where you compete against the dealer. You can use your knowledge of poker hands to win, but you need to adjust your strategy based on the dealer’s rules.
  • Roulette – The most critical skill in roulette is knowing which bets have the best odds of winning.
  • Craps – Craps is another game where betting strategy is imperative. Some bets have better odds than others, and you need to know how to combine betting options to maximize your payouts.
  • Baccarat – The results of baccarat depend on which cards get dealt. But, you can use various strategies to determine when to bet on the banker or player to increase your odds of winning.

Many gamblers prefer mixed games because they offer the best of both worlds. They are easier to learn than skill-based games, but they are not as random as games of chance.

For more information about casino games, including detailed guides to each one, check out the following section of our website.

Competitive Video Gaming (Esports)

video game tournaments

Anyone who plays video games knows that they require an entirely different set of skills than other games. Those skills are even more critical during video game tournaments.

The first-ever video game tournament took place in 1972, not long after the first modern video games were invented. Approximately two dozen players competed in a Spacewar tournament in Palo Alto, California.

Competitive video games have come a long way since then. Today, esports competitions attract thousands of players and even more viewers. Competitors are essentially playing skill games for money, as these tournaments award prizes to the winners and top finishers.

Esports is a broad term that incorporates many different video game tournaments. The most popular esports games include League of Legends, Counter-strike, and Overwatch.

In 2019, esports generated more than $1 billion in revenue. Most of that revenue comes from advertisements and sponsorships, but esports betting is another factor.

You can bet on esports competitions the same way you would bet on traditional sporting events. There are prop bets, moneyline wagers, and over/under bets to place. To be successful, you need to know about the video game players you are betting on and also master basic betting skills.

You can learn more about betting on esports by checking out our guide.

Tips for Playing Skill Games with Real Money

The more you learn how to play skill games, the more you will understand the importance of specific strategies that work for each game.

You might be a chess grandmaster, but your chess skills will not get you anywhere during a game of rummy. Our game guides are the best resources for learning game-specific strategies.

That being said, there are a few general strategies that can benefit anyone who wants to gamble on skill games for real money. Here are a few tips that will help you no matter what game you play.

Pay Attention to Your Opponents

Collecting information in skill games

Many amateur players base all of their decisions on the cards in front of them. Considering your hand is a fundamental part of strategy, but it also ignores a lot of other information.

Most of that other information comes from what your opponents are doing.

For example, in a game of rummy, you can see the cards that your opponent picks up from the discard pile. If they pick up multiple cards of the same suit or same value, it is easy to figure out what melds they are going for.

Once you know that information, you can choose not to discard it into their hand or adjust your strategy based on the cards you know they have.

Skilled players know how to consider their opponents’ actions and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Don’t Play the Predictable Way

While you are busy analyzing other players’ actions, they will be busy analyzing your actions. If your actions become too predictable, your opponents will be able to beat you every time.

Poker is the best example of a skill-based game where being too predictable gets you in trouble. Here are a few examples of moves that you could make that are a little too predictable.

  • If you constantly raise pre-flop when you have a pocket pair.
  • Raising significantly on some hands and only raising a little on other hands.
  • Only calling until you see the river or turn.
  • Betting the same way every time you have a particular hand.

Every one of these examples could be valuable in certain situations. It becomes a problem when you make the same moves in the same situations repeatedly.

Predictable moves give your opponent an edge over you. It makes it easy for them to guess what kinds of cards you have or what kinds of actions you will take.

Modify Your Strategy Based on the Game Variant

If you play several variations of the same game, you need to adjust your strategies based on the variant you are playing.

Some games of skill have multiple variants, while others only have a few minor differences. Either way, those differences should impact the way you play. Here are a few examples.

  • If you play the Joker Trumps variant of spades, you can’t assume you will win all of the tricks with a spade. You will need to adjust your bidding strategy to accommodate the fact that your opponents may have jokers.
  • Some rummy variants allow you to add on to other players’ melds, while other variants don’t. If you can play on other players’ melds, you may want to choose different cards to discard so that you can earn points in a different way.
  • Omaha Hi/Lo is different from Omaha because the Hi/Lo variant splits the pot between the player with the best and worst hand. Split-pot games require entirely different strategies because you could win with a hand that you would usually fold.

Don’t underestimate the difference that a few minor rule variations can make. You need to choose your strategies based on the exact variant that you are playing.

Manage Your Bankroll

Bankroll for playing games of skill

No matter what kinds of games you play, it is crucial that you understand the importance of bankroll management in gambling.

You should always have a loss limit. In most cases, loss limits are the amount of money you brought to the casino or deposited in your online gambling account.

If you are gambling online, you might want to set different loss limits for each day. That way, you don’t have to make a deposit every day or every few days.

It is also a good idea to set win limits. For example, you might say that it is time to quit or take a break after you have doubled your money.

Time limits are also a crucial part of a bankroll management plan. That is especially true for online gamblers that can get sucked into playing for hours or days at a time.

It is better to play for a few hours and then take a break to clear your head. You can always come back again later, but breaks and time limits can help you stay focused.

Start Gambling on Skill Games

Skill-based gambling is thrilling because it puts you in the driver’s seat. You can use specific skills to increase your chances of winning.

There are several different kinds of gambling games that need skill, including card games, dice games, puzzle games, and more.

Games like rummy and poker are categories in their own right because they have dozens of other variations you can play.

No matter what game of skill you decide to play, you will need to study it before you start playing. These are not the kinds of games that you can pick up as you go along.

You are going to need an in-depth knowledge of the game to become a master. Our game guides are an excellent place to learn about games of skill because they include the basics and essential strategy tips. When you play the best online skill games for money, the more you know the better.

To start enjoying gambling on skill games, you can check out one of our game guides that we talked about already. Here are some others we have, too.