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Play Card Games Online: The Best Card Games South Africa

Card games can be tough to navigate: each game has a different set of rules and a different RTP (Return To Player) so finding the right one for you is a challenging task.

Online gambling sites in South Africa offer some of the most recognised games including poker, baccarat, blackjack, and bridge. This guide will take a close look at the most popular online card games to play. It will also cover the best card games and how to play them. Read on to find out more.

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🥇 The Best Sites Offering Card Games in South Africa

Real Money Card Games vs Free Card Games

Many online gambling sites give players the option of either playing for free or playing with real money. If players play online real money casino games for free, they do not risk their own money but they also don't get the thrill of big wins. Let's have a look at the benefits both options offer.

💸 Real money card games
🆓 Free card games
Win bonus payouts
You don't risk any of your own money
You can win real money
Learn the game without stress
Earn bonus points for VIP programs

You can apply betting strategies

Blackjack Online

It is thought that Blackjack originated around 1700 in the casinos of France. French colonists brought the game to America in the 18th century where it flourished in the casinos of New Orleans, where gambling was legal. Although there are many easy card games, blackjack is particularly popular for its simplicity.

How to Play Blackjack

The idea is to beat the dealer by reaching 21 first or by getting the closest. While players will receive 2 cards face up, the dealer receives one card face-up and the other face-down. Players then need to decide whether to draw, stand, split, or double down. Anyone reaching 21, otherwise known as blackjack, wins the game.

Most Popular Blackjack Variations

Over the centuries, many versions of this game have developed. Let's take a quick look at the most popular ones.

  • European Blackjack — This form of the game has a few unique features. For example, the dealer does not get their second card until the players have made their first choices. Also, the players can only double down on hands valuing nine, ten, or eleven.

  • American Blackjack — This is one of the most prevalent forms of the game. Here, the dealer gets both cards at the same time, one face up and one face down. Also, there is no restriction on doubling down.

  • Black Perfect Pairs — This is an optional side bet where players can place an additional bet on whether the first two cards dealt will be the same rank or the same colour.

What Is Blackjack Basic Strategy?

Four US army engineers created a basic strategy in the 1950s. They realised that there were patterns in the way the cards worked. This meant that strategies could be devised to gain an advantage over the house. Players need to memorise the basic strategy chart. This chart shows the best possible moves (mathematically) a player can make once they have received their two cards and the dealer's up card has been revealed. 

It contains the four options: stick, double down, request another card, and split. The charts can seem difficult to learn, but with practice, they can be mastered. Some players use computer simulations and online strategy trainers! However, the strategy needs to be followed throughout the game, even if there are losses.

Baccarat Online

Baccarat Online

The history of this game is a source of debate. While some say the Italians introduced it to the French during the Franco-Italian war in the 15th century, others claim its origins lie in ancient China. Wherever it originated from, it has become a hugely popular game both online and in land-based casinos.

How to Play Baccarat

The aim of the game is to guess the value of a hand. Both the player and the banker start with two cards each. The player must then bet on the hand that has a value closest to nine. Therefore, players can bet on their hand, the banker's hand or a tie. The bettor places their wager on the table and indicates which of the three options they choose. 

The dealer then deals two cards for the bettor and two cards for their opponent. Whoever comes closest to nine wins. If they go over nine, they lose.

Most Popular Baccarat Variations

This game features several variants that have developed in different casinos all over the world.

  • 3-card baccarat — This variant is very popular in Macau. Instead of the customary two cards, the dealer distributes three cards each round.
  • Chemin de Fer — Particularly popular in France, this variant of baccarat can be played with 12 players.
  • Mini baccarat — Unlike Chemin de Fer, up to seven players can wager on mini-baccarat. It is a fast-paced game that can see up to 150 hands per hour.

Poker Online

Online Poker South Africa

This game is world famous and played in numerous casinos, both online and offline. It mirrors its popularity in its massive online presence. There are many varieties of poker to choose from and players spend years learning and specialising in them.

The history of the game can be traced back to Germany in the 16th century when the game was known as 'Pochen'. It spread across Europe and became popular in France, where it was known as 'Poque'. When the French colonists came to America, they bought the game with them and it found its way onto riverboat casinos of New Orleans.

How to Play Poker

Although there are many varieties of poker to choose from, the one most commonly played is Texas Hold'em. Therefore, we will use this as our basic game and have a look at its rules.

At the beginning of the game, the players must place their bets before they receive two hole cards face-down. Before the next round of cards is dealt, players bet again, and the dealer places five cards face up, over several rounds in the middle of the table. These cards are called the 'community cards'.

Players can use these cards to make the best five-card hand they can, or they can bluff. Some players will fold because they believe they do not have a good hand. If only one player remains, they win the game.

When there are two players left, the one with the highest five-card hand wins.

Most Popular Poker Variations

Texas Holdem

We can divide poker variations into three main groups:

  • Stud poker: The player gets a mixture of face-up cards and face-down cards.
  • Community card poker: Texas Hold 'Em is an example of this type of poker
  • Draw poker: A five-card hidden hand is dealt to the players. They then try to improve it over a number of rounds.

Here are a few examples of each category.

High Low Chicago

Derived from Seven-Card Stud, this is an exciting and engrossing game. The player with the highest spade wins the game and there can be two winners who share the pot.


This game is similar to Texas Hold'Em. However, players receive four cards instead of two, and they only have three community cards. Also, no one folds, so everyone plays until the end of the game.

Five-Card Draw

The game begins with each player being dealt five cards. They then place their bets and can change up to three of their cards. Ultimately, the player with the highest hand wins.

Poker vs Video Poker: What’s the Difference

Bettors play video poker on a machine, similar to a slot machine. However, it doesn't have the full functionality of live poker card games, so it isn't as complex. Video poker is a draw version of poker. The computer program deals five cards to the player. They can then request different cards or stick with the ones they have. Consequently, the player wins depending on the value of their hands.

Let's look at the key features of both games.


Video poker

Played against live opponents.

You play alone against the machine

Many game variants to choose from.

Very easy to learn.

Games can be complex and use a lot of strategies.

No need to learn different strategies.

💰 How Can You Win Money Playing Online Card Games?

With practice, you can become quite good at card games. However, it is essential to learn how to play the game before you wager any money. Some games are simpler than others. For example, games like blackjack and baccarat are far simpler than many of the poker variants. This means it's worth putting the time in to get to know these games and choose the one you like best. For example, if blackjack is your game, then learning basic strategy will tip the balance in your favour.

Another winning strategy is to set a budget and stick to it. It's vital to keep your wagering within sensible limits, as this allows you to judge if you are losing too much on a game. These limits prevent bettors from risking too much. After all, the house always wins in the end.

Live Card Games

Casinos set up live card games in a studio along with a dealer and other players. This gives players the impression of being at a brick-and-mortar casino table. One of the great advantages of these games is that they combine the excitement of live casino games with the convenience of playing from your mobile device.

📱 How to Play Card Games on Mobile

Most online casino sites are either optimised for mobile phones or offer a dedicated mobile app. It should be straightforward to download the app. We will walk through the basic steps below.

View a Mobile-Optimised Site

Simply visit the site on your mobile phone browser, as you would on a PC. The phone should display the optimised version of the site.

⬇ Download the App for iPhone

  • Select the App Store
  • Search for the app in the search bar
  • Click on the app you want to download
  • Select 'install'
  • The app should download and install automatically

⬇ Download the App for Android

  • Select the Play Store
  • Find the app using the search function
  • Choose the app you want
  • Click on 'install'
  • Allow the app to download and install

🃏 Can You Play Card Games Online With Friends?

Playing games with friends online is great fun. With the rise of computer game consoles, it has never been easier to play against friends. Playing card games is no different. Friends can join live poker games or they can meet at an online baccarat table. In fact, as long as the game is for more than one player, there is plenty of room at the table for friends.


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What is the most popular card game?

Blackjack is the most popular online card game. It has many popular variants and offers great odds for the player. By learning basic blackjack strategy, you can improve those odds even further.

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What is an easy card game to play?

Blackjack and Baccarat are both quite easy to learn. Perfecting them might be a little harder but learning the basic rules shouldn't take you too long. Poker, on the other hand, has more nuance and complex rules.

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Are online card games rigged?

No. All games use a Random Number Generator (RNG) to ensure they are fair and unbiased. Independent external bodies also licence and test reputable games.

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What card games have the best odds?

Blackjack is a card game with the best odds. The player has roughly a 42% chance of winning each hand.

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