If you have a deck of cards in your possession, then you have the opportunity to play hundreds upon hundreds of different games. From blackjack (in both of its variants) to poker, rummy, and crazy eights, there are essentially endless permutations of different card combinations and game types, so in theory, you should never be bored if you have cards. Of course, we know it isn’t quite that simple; some card games are better than others, and that’s true in the world of video games as well. Some card-based video games offer better experiences than others do, so without further ado, let’s take a look at the best card games you can play right now.
Online casino card games
There’s no better way to get the authentic casino card gaming experience than by visiting an actual online casino. Online casinos offer all kinds of card games; you’ll find blackjack, poker, and anything else you could care to bet on if you look hard enough. Just make sure that when you are shopping around for an online casino, you pick a good one, because if you end up saddled with an inferior casino, you could lose a lot more money than you need to. Be careful when you’re shopping around for a site; keep an eye out for security assurances, beginner bonuses, and overall web design quality.
Thomas Was Alone and Volume designer Mike Bithell clearly set himself a task with The Solitaire Conspiracy. That challenge must have gone thus: “how can I make a game of solitaire exciting and tense?”. What he came up with was a thrilling variation on classic solitaire with a spy aesthetic. You play as a tactical analyst, and you’re playing games of solitaire in order to try and gather together the fractured remnants of the Protego spy agency. It’s all rather silly, but Bithell infuses it with an earnest commitment that makes The Solitaire Conspiracy a joy to play.
Much like The Solitaire Conspiracy, Prominence Poker adds a narrative element to a classic card game. This time, though, you’re playing a rags-to-riches tale of a poker upstart who must work their way from the nosebleed tables all the way through to the high rollers’ club. Eventually, your goal is to battle the Mayor of Prominence himself, but you’ll battle a series of colourful opponents along the way, too. Prominence Poker’s best asset is its excellent AI; you won’t be outfoxing these clever gamblers unless you bring your absolute A-game.
While it’s true that The Four Kings Casino and Slots isn’t a dedicated card game, that doesn’t make its casino card sims any less compelling. Here, you’ll find all the usual suspects; poker, blackjack, and other card games are on offer, and they all take place inside a fully-realised casino MMO, complete with avatar customisation and the ability to chat to other players. Casino gaming is, after all, a social experience, and it’s no fun if you can’t share it with like-minded gamblers. Check this one out if you want a little more from your card gaming experience.
Just as the name suggests, Pure Hold’em is a pure, simple evocation of Texas hold’em poker. You won’t find any bells or whistles here; the devs have concentrated on making the poker sim itself as realistic and compelling as possible, and it shows. From the gorgeous visuals all the way to the career structure that sees you starting off at the Joker table and working your way up to the penthouse, Pure Hold’em is the only game you need if you just want a great poker sim. You won’t find any other casino games on offer here, but as a card game, it’s unmatched.
Alright, we’re cheating slightly here; after all, Card Shark isn’t a straight card sim at all. Rather, it’s more of an adventure game based around cheating. You must work your way through 18th-century France, swindling a diverse series of opponents in order to get your hands on a huge amount of money. To do so, you’ll need to use all the tricks at your disposal; from false shuffling to card marking, you’ll have to be on your toes if you want to outfox French society. Again, this isn’t a game for you if you want a pure card sim, but if you’re looking for something a little different, you should check this out.
After games like Blizzard’s Hearthstone showed that there was a rich audience waiting for a digital card game to blow them away, Magic: The Gathering showed all of the upstart whippersnappers how it’s done. For many, card games don’t get much better than Magic, and so it stands to reason that digital adaptations of card games don’t get much better than Magic: The Gathering Arena. It transposes all of the exciting, beautifully-drawn action of the card game into the digital space, taking up less real-world room without compromising on any of the mechanics.
Another great poker sim with in-built progression and a sharp attention to detail, Governor of Poker 3 is more cartoony and light-hearted than many of its compatriots, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the best poker games you can play right now. As you can probably imagine, this game is all about Texas hold’em, but you’ll also find blackjack on offer, as well as lots of different variants on the classic poker game. This is all wrapped up in a delightful package that never stops being pleasing to look at. If you want a more fun poker game, start here.