While we love a wide range of different skill games in practically every format available, we can’t help but notice how this doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone. Specifically, in the instances of online casinos, many classic games like rummy and cribbage don’t have much or any representation among the otherwise broad array of choices available.
This might not turn us off playing entirely, but it does raise questions of preparedness. With this in mind, we want to examine which skills learned in our more traditional games can transfer to iGaming, how might we utilize these skills, and why most traditional skill games haven’t (yet?) made the leap to online as other games have.
Understanding the Odds
Perhaps the most fundamental part of skill games, and a part which can be very useful in offering transferrable skills, is the ability to understand odds. Whether making up a board in rummy or figuring out where to put your next tile in dominoes, understanding the mathematical basis of the experience forms its backbone.
When making a move, you don’t just calculate what could give you the biggest score now, but also what to save now for future moves, what your opponent is likely to hold and play, and how you might prevent them from achieving a better score. This on-the-fly calculation is a skill which, while not identical, is still largely transferrable over an enormous range of different iGaming entries.
For example, games on Mr Gold online casino such as slots, baccarat, and video poker all require understanding probabilities as a baseline. From here, in poker especially, being able to match these probabilities with different winning combinations will massively increase a player’s odds of success.
The Human Aspect
Games like rummy and dominoes are, after all, about defeating your opponent. For the head-to-head games within iGaming, this gives a straightforward comparison. No matter how well you know the odds, the human aspect of gaming can always throw an additional element of unpredictability into the mix.
That said, human behavior, especially when it comes to a competitive will, can be learned, understood, and played to your benefit. Forcing people into getting frustrated in rummy will work much the same as it does in classic poker, and the same can be said for other games and forms of manipulation.
The basics of these ideas can be brought to the competitive iGaming arena with little fuss, with the only caveat coming from the indirect nature of play. When playing in person, understanding the way a person feels can be as simple as looking at their face. Online play, on the other hand, normally lacks this level of interaction, so judgments must be made on player actions and against previous experience. This makes gaining advantages here more difficult, but far from impossible.
A Question of Access?
As for why more skill-based classic games haven’t come to iGaming, this is a much more difficult question to answer. Fundamentally, it is likely down to legacy. The most popular head-to-head games in land-based casinos revolve around poker and poker, unlike many of our favorite skill games, has a strong historical basis in casino gambling. From riverboats to Macau, poker has always been a mainstay, and most new casinos embrace this.
Also contributing to this success is the relatively low cost of cards for games such as blackjack, baccarat and indeed poker – which, combined with their place in history, means picking up the game is simple, and desirable for millions of newcomers. It could also be true that rummy is simply far more fun on a casual level, whereas games like slots, blackjack, and roulette have been built around having money on the line to give them an edge.
Looking at the big picture, the answer to the question of if skill game expertise can translate to iGaming success is a resounding yes. The caveat here is this transference applies far more to some games than others and can rely on the slight expansion of existing knowledge. While it won’t give players a guaranteed win, there is little doubt that those coming from a background of skill games will do better than those starting fresh.