Games That Should Be Added to Casinos

It’s great to be a kid again.

The range of casino games, from craps to pai gao poker, keno to blackjack, is wide and varied. In some casinos, both physical and online, you can even play that old childhood favorite War for real money. Or, better yet, believe it or not, Rodent Roulette, where in place of the normal roulette wheel there are numbered boxes, the wheel spun and a gerbil let loose. The box in which it hides being the equivalent of where the ball falls. Go figure. As strange as some casino games may be, there are still a host of games just waiting to hit the floor. Here we take a look at how a few more traditional board games could and should be adapted to real money casino play.

2 Player Games


How it works: The game that convinced small children everywhere that their dream was to be a surgeon, Operation involves fine motor skills and patience for jarring sounds. The “board” is an operating table with a 2D guy named “Cavity Sam” lying on top. His name is fitting – he has holes with random objects all over his body, and the goal is to use tweezers to get the objects out without touching the sides of the cavities. If you get it out successfully, you’re paid money – if you touch the cavity sides, a buzzer sounds, and Cavity Sam’s red, light bulb nose lights up.

It works much the same way on the gambling floor. Each object removed is worth a dollar amount, and removing it successfully means winning. However, for every mistake money is lost, and poor Cavity Sam is stuck with whatever is troubling him. Pretty soon, the clanging of Cavity Sam’s buzzer is lost in the sounds of shuffling cards and slot machines.


Battleship board game logoHow it works: A complete guessing game, Battleship’s goal is to sink your opponent’s ships before he sinks yours. The board is made of either paper or plastic and is a grid which either drawn or plastic ships are placed on, and these are hidden from your opponent by a barrier. Each square on the grid has a number and letter, and players call out a combination (D3, A5) to try and hit his opponent’s ship. The first person to sink all his opponent’s ships is the winner.

So, you place a certain amount of money on each ship, and if your opponent hits you, he wins that money. But you also bet money every time you make a shot – if you miss, your opponent gets that money as well. Brush up on some military strategy before getting into this one.


How it works: Chess is an elegant game played on a chessboard and involves a great deal of strategy. There are six types of pieces (sixteen total) on each side, and each piece moves differently than the next, because elegance equals complicated. The goal is to capture enough of an opponent’s pieces to put the king in a corner from which it can’t escape. This is called a “checkmate,” and means the other guy just got the beat-down in a most sophisticated manner. No touchdown dances or gloating here – just a friendly and patronizing handshake, followed by a “Well done, old boy.”

In the casino, chess is played in a separate room like baccarat. The amount of concentration and strategy involved requires peace and quiet. The players bet on the outcome, but other aspects of the game can be wagered as well – how many pieces a player will be left with, how quickly the game is won, etc.

2+ Players


Scrabble board game logoHow it works: Played on a specially made board, Scrabble is a word game in which players attempt to score points by creating words. Each player begins with a certain number of tiles, each with a single letter, and must place the tiles in crossword fashion (left to right in rows or downwards in columns). Each tile also has a point value, so when words are created, the points are added up. And every word made has to be defined in a standard dictionary – so “bae” and “fleek” are not permitted, but “muggle” is, and that’s what’s important.

On the gambling floor, points equal dollars. Make big words, win big money. If you have to skip your turn or draw more tiles because you can’t make a word, you lose money. And, if you try to put down a word that isn’t dictionary approved, you lose as well. Who knew that someday reading might actually pay?

The Game of Life

How it works: Exactly like it sounds – players go through the various typical stages of life, all while collecting and losing money. This includes careers, marriage, and possible children, beginning with college and ending with retirement. When players reach retirement, they all count their money and assets, and whoever has the most is declared the winner of life. Might as well spend it all in retirement – you can’t take it with you!

In the casino, this is also an easy transition. The game works much the same way, except real money is changing hands instead of the multi-colored bills that the board game uses. When the game is over, each player walks away with the amount of money that he or she gained throughout playing. Makes you take life a little more seriously, am I right?


Monopoly board game logo How it works: The cause of more than a few intense family feuds over the years, Monopoly is a game in which players buy, trade, develop, and sell properties as they move their game pieces around the board. Players can add houses and hotels, collect rent from opponents, and generally attempt to drive all other players into bankruptcy while reaping the sweet, sweet rewards. Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins.

Additional security around the Monopoly table is the first and most important necessity when it’s brought to the gambling floor. I can only imagine how cutthroat this board game would be if actual money was on the line. Whoever buys Park Place and the railroads walks away like a king, basking in his own monopolistic glory, while his opponents weep and plot their revenge (and possibly his murder). Like The Game of Life, authentic money makes the board game more serious. Don’t play with friends and family on the gambling floor – they know where you sleep at night.

Eliot Applegate

Eliot is a University of Kansas alumni, which is where he discovered his love of competitive games. The ultimate triathlon junkie, when he isn't on the track or in the pool he can be found playing poker and searching for the next major European casino tournament.