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Card Games: Banking Games

In these games, instead of all the players competing against each other there is one player, the banker, who competes against each of the other players individually. These are typically gambling games, played for cash or chips. They are often played in casinos but many are also played as home games in which case they are sometimes played for tokens such as matchsticks or sweets (candy) rather than for money.

Casino games are often designed in such a way that the banker has a slight advantage over the other players. In this case the banker usually plays on behalf of the casino. Although players may win or lose, in the long run the banker will make a profit for the casino. Games with an advantage for the banker may also be played as home games. In this case players take turns to be banker, so that no one has an unfair advantage.

There are some banking games in which the payouts exactly reflect the chances of winning, so that the banker has no advantage. When this type of game is used as a casino game, the casino needs to make an hourly charge, or take a proportion of the winnings as a fee (sometimes called the rake), in order to be profitable.

In some casino games, it is traditional for the players to take turns to be the banker. In this case too, since they get no profit from the game itself, the casino will charge a fee for running the game.

Gambling games played with cards or tiles in which there is no banker, but the players compete with each other on an equal basis, are listed elsewhere according to their mechanism. There are showdown games in which players simply compare hands to decide the winner, vying games (including poker) in which players first bet on who has the best hand, with the possibility of bluffing, and partition games, in which each player's hand is divided into parts, which are then compared with the corresponding parts of other players' hands.

Banking games played with cards or tiles fall into four main types.

Addition Games

The cards have point values. The banker and each of the players has a hand of cards, and adds up their values. The player wins if the player's total is closer to the target than the banker's total.

Comparison Games

In these games the result depends on comparing single cards. Players will win or lose their stakes depending on whether certain cards match, or whether one card is larger or smaller than another.

Casino Poker Games

In these games players try to form card combinations, typically similar to poker or brag hands, and win or lose according to how good their combination is, or whether it beats the combination held by the banker.

Partition Games

In these games, players must decide how to divide their hands into two or more parts, each of which is compared with the corresponding part of the banker's hand.

Other partition games in which the players compete against each other rather than each against the banker are listed on the partition games page.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy