Skill based games, also known as cash games, are a special kind of games found in the gambling niche. As their name suggests, the results of these games are determined not by mere luck, but by the skills of the player. This is something that adds to the benefit of these games, because certain states and jurisdictions tend to legalize gambling on a game of skill, compared to gambling on a game of chance (which is illegal).
In this article, I have illustrated some of the important differences between a game of chance and a game of skill. I have also listed the different categories of the most popular games of skill, and where you can play them. You will also get an understanding of certain prominent online companies that produce these games.
What is the difference between a game of chance and a game of skill?
Before we begin, it is important to mention that the line between games of skill and games of chance can be blurry at times. There are some games like checkers and chess in which players cannot rely on anything other than their own skill to win. Since all the decisions in these games are made by competing players, there is no question of any element of randomness being involved in the outcome of the game. Similarly, some games are based purely on chance, such as the card game War or Candyland.
On the other hand, there are games where skill and random chance have a bearing on the outcomes.
A notable example of such games is poker. Although you are dealt cards by chance, it is your skill at making decisions which determines the outcome of the game. You might lose at poker despite playing all your cards well, but you will become a winning poker player in the long term by consistently making the right decisions. Similarly, the outcome of fantasy sports depends on both chance and skill. Although seasoned players tend to pick their teams more successfully than inexperienced ones, a match can take an unexpected turn anytime.
Types of Skill Based Games
Speaking of online skill-based cash games, they are generally divided into various categories, which have been discussed in detail below.
Basically, these are vintage 80’s and 90’s games like pinball and various video games. Although they are not particularly widespread today, they are still reasonably popular in certain online places, such as the real money skill games market. Tetris Burst, which is based on the classic Tetris, is one such arcade style game which is played against online opponents for real money. Another good example is Bejeweled, a free game whose real money version is especially popular. Apart from these, there are other interesting titles like Swipe Hype, Swap It, and Big Money as well.
People generally believe that card games are based on luck alone, and cannot be classified as games of pure skill. However, that largely depends on the way these games are played. There are a number of sites which host card game tournaments, where all the players play against the computer but are given points based on their individual performances. There are also games like Spades and Catch 21 which combine popular gambling games like blackjack with a solitaire-styled gameplay.
A number of online cardrooms and sites like Merge, Party Poker, and PokerStars claim that their games are mostly skill-based, even when chance is clearly an important factor in them. Rummy, Poker, and the traditional form of Spades are examples of such games. It is important to note that the laws regarding these games obviously might not agree with such views.
One card game, in particular, relies almost fully on skill is FreeCell. All games of FreeCell, but one, are winnable. This means you can play millions of games of FreeCell, and test your ability to solve the game, which is like a puzzle, based on time or the number of moves. The version of FreeCell on Solitaired comes with a leaderboard, allowing you to see how your skills stack up against others.
Land-based casinos tend to feature game show-themed games that are almost always purely chance-based. On the internet, however, there are a number of game show based games that are primarily skill-based. Good examples of such games are Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. In all these games, you basically need to play against online competitors, after which your score is converted into a point system by the site that hosts the game. Player over the age of 18 can then exchange these points to buy tickets for withdrawing cash. Players under the age of 18 can often avail some non-cash rewards as well.
Keep in mind that playing a game show based game at a real money skill game site is very different from gambling on slot machine which has been designed after a game show. You are actually playing the game in the former, whereas the latter involves you gambling for real money directly. Also, you are betting real money and aiming for a jackpot while gambling. However, in the case of skill-based games, you are aiming to gather points to win a prize in the future.
Word games like acrostics have been popular since the dawn of writing in the human civilization. Today, a number of sites host word games like Boggle and Scrabble under tournament systems, where the prizes and results are influenced by the players’ skill at playing the game. These formats require players to pay an entry fee, and the winners are paid a part of the total prize pool based on a tournament rubric that all the players are already familiar with.
There are other sites which reward one’s performance at word games by giving out tokens or points based on their final score. Eventually, you will have sufficient points to exchange for raffle tickets, tournament entry fees, and other prizes. Unlike in the tournament format, you will be able to earn points at a pace you are comfortable with, and thus you will be able to play wherever and whenever you want.
Real Money Skill Game Sites
There are plenty of online sites which feature a number of games that you can play to win various prizes. Given below is a detailed list of ten such real money skill game sites, which is a good representation of the overall cash game market.
World Winner does not have a particularly large list of available games. As of now, it features 22 games divided into the following categories:
- Arcade games
- Card games
- Game show games
- Strategy games
- Word games
You will find some vintage titles like Tetris, Spades, Solitaire, the Price is Right, and Wheel of Fortune over here. For fans of traditional skill games, this site is a great choice. However, it does lack somewhat when it comes to the variety of games offered.
World Winner features two standard formats for real money competition. You can enter tournament-styled competitions in any of their featured games after paying a deposit of $10, or compete at a slower pace and earn tokens to exchange for rewards and cash in the future.
Unfortunately, World Winner forces you to reload the title you are playing whenever you begin a new game, in order to maintain the accuracy of the dynamic high scores features. That, however, results in the overall gameplay getting slowed down. Hopefully this issue will be rectified in the near future.
King.com has one of the best game libraries you will ever come across on cash game websites. It is notable for hosting all the latest social games – a kind of skill game that is popular among younger players. There are 18 games currently available at this site, all of which are social games, such as:
- Candy Crush
- Diamond Digger
- Farm Heroes
- Paradise Bay
- Pet Rescue
There are no tournaments, but you can get points by defeating other players. You can exchange these points for a number of rewards, such as raffle tickets that will get you gift cards and cash prizes. King.com’s user interface is somewhat unsatisfactory as well. Hopefully, it will be rectified in the future.
William Hill is undoubtedly one of the best online casinos out there. It has truly raised the bar high for all the other online casinos out there. It offers a wide range of games and truly excellent customer service. Apart from sports betting and casino gaming, they also have a large section dedicated to skill games, including casino skill games.
These games range from dice and table to cards, and have been sorted into various categories. You will also find vintage titles like poker dice, gin rummy, backgammon, dominoes, and instant win over here. You can also participate in weekly Pennyroll tournaments over here. As of now, you can avail a New Play bonus of £20 for registering. You will also get £20 free for playing £20 in skill games.
This Germany-based multiplatform cash and social game provider easily ranks among the top two or three real money skill game sites on the internet. It features a vast library of games, a large community of active customers, and an excellent user interface. Its games are available in tournament-style and cumulative formats. The former requires you to score the highest point total within a time limit, whereas the latter you can keep collecting points to exchange for prizes later. Game Duell has one of the most visually appealing site designs you will ever get to see. It is simple to navigate and is highly functional.
Stargames is more of an online casino than a traditional real money skill game website. Thus, it mostly features traditional online gambling contests, although there is a skill games category in there as well. Here are the five categories of games featured in Stargames’ library:
- Slot games
- Casino games
- Skill games
There are plenty of titles in each of these categories, for a total of nearly 69 games. They include everything from contemporary games like Royal Crown blackjack to vintage titles like basic single-payline slots. You can play all of them for real money as “skill games”. You have the option of participating in skill-and-card-game tournaments, or simply playing in the traditional manner on bingo, slot machines, and table games. Stargames features a fairly decent user interface as well.
EazeGames, with its simple but striking “Play Games, Win Money” tagline, features a number of opportunities for players to participate in daily competitions using EazeCoins (which are free of cost) and win plenty of real cash prizes. As of now, the top three players can win €30 on a daily basis. As of now, EazeGames is in its beta testing stages, and thus the range of skill-based games it features is somewhat limited. However, we may very well witness it becoming one of the best skill-based gaming websites in the near future.
GameTaco is an upcoming website in its beta stages, where you can participate in free, cash-powered, skill-based tournaments in a wide variety of games. It aims to provide excellent opportunities for making money online and becoming the topmost platform for cash skill-based tournaments. It is also supported on various devices such as Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, and well-known consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
If you like to participate in cash prize tournaments based on vintage titles like Backgammon, GameColony is a great option. It is a long-standing website which has been in the business since 1999, and features skill-based tournaments in well-maintained and safe online surroundings. You will also find a massive international community of players participating in various skill-based games here.
At GameColony.com, you can buy entry tickets and participate in various online competitions and tournaments, where you can win prizes by using your skills. Winners are given rewards based on a specific portion of the overall tournament prize pot.
Play65 is one of the best online backgammon gaming sites with thousands of active players, featuring both Real Money and Fun Money games. You can also play in single tournaments, tournaments, or longer matches. The site is notable for its highly diverse tournament schedule, which features a number of tournament styles like Swing tourneys, Knockout, Satellite, Event, and Sit&Go. All of them involve different playing styles and payout systems. You can exchange the points you win for several exciting prizes.
Casinorip is one of the very few real money skill game sites which features both cash games and traditional games of skill and chance which are used for gambling. Thus, it is possibly illegal in some areas of the world where other games listed here are legal. Thus, you should ascertain about this before participating. It features a number of games like skill games, board games, lotto games, table games, and slots.
Board games and skill games include completely functional versions of classics like Monopoly and Uno which reward players with tokens. These tokens can be exchanged for prizes like tickets, cash raffles, and various merchandise. As of now, there are no skill or board game tournaments featured on the site. It is also one of the most well-designed skill game sites on the internet.
Cash games that give our prizes in exchange for player skill are legal in most parts of the world, even where gambling is explicitly against the law. Thus, it is important to differentiate skill games from games of chance. In the modern digital world, skill-based games have been getting more and more popular, and it seems like the trend will definitely continue in the coming days.