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International Play More Cards Day – Top 10 Games with Cards

Posted by THEPOGG on Feb 28, 2019

Next week, on Monday the 24th of February, it is International Play More Cards day. It is a celebration of all card games and of the pleasure and the social interactions that playing with cards can create. The day is sold as time for family and friends to get together, to dust off old decks, find those forgotten poker chips, sit down and relax.

Without the humble playing card a number of industries would either not exist or they would exist in totally different form to the one that we know and love today.

Take a walk through a casino and imagine how empty it would be without the blackjack tables, without the various forms of poker, both table games and electronic ones.

What would magicians have to pull from their sleeves? What would cowboys get up in their downtime between herding cattle, shooting bad guys, drinking whiskey and kissing wenches? What games would Al Capone and his cronies sit down to play when they weren’t hiding from the law, shooting good guys and driving barrels of booze to illicit parties? Guess Who? Risk? Hungry Hungry Hippos?

Playing cards have existed for centuries in some form or another, with the genesis most likely coming from 9th century China. The playing cards we know today are known as the French-suited deck and are likely to have been derived from the German-suited deck at some point during the 15th century.

Two things stand out with the French-suited card decks: simplicity and the inclusion of Queens. Most of the other playing card decks would have used 3 male face cards, but the French suited decks all had queens, making them (if such a thing can ever exist) the more progressive deck of cards. Instead of multicoloured symbols the French cards went with the simple 4 symbols, two colours that were easy to replicate, making them the card of choice with the advent of the printing press.

In this list of 10 slots games we will be casting our eye over any games that use cards as part of a bonus feature or if there are high paying symbols that include cards in them. If both of those avenues lead us down a proverbial cul-de-sac then we will look primarily at thematic links to cards. We will look beyond the traditional playing card just once, casting our eyes over one game that includes tarot cards, which were themselves a derivative of the playing card. However, for the most part we will be looking at playing cards and for the purpose of this review we will focus on four main themes that have cards sitting at their centre.

We’ll take a look into the seedy world of the American gangster and the illicit gambling that accompanied that way of life. Whilst I hoped for an abundance of this type of game, I only managed to find one that could be used, with games like the Sopranos now almost impossible to find and the rest that were available failing to hit our high water mark of 7 out of 10.

It wouldn’t be a piece on playing cards if the spiritual home of the playing card didn’t make an appearance. Along with gangsters we’ll also be looking at games that are set in Las Vegas, with three games in total making it onto out list.

Then, as we’ve already mentioned we’ll mosey on down to the Wild West. This was easily the most plentiful theme on our list, with 3 games making it into our top 10 but with more waiting in the wings than any of our other choices.

Finally, we have our magicians. There will be two of these on our list, with one of the games already featuring in another of our themed articles.

For the purpose of this list of 10 games I have decided to group the games thematically, but there is no specific order to the games. This is a top 10 list of Slots games that include playing cards in no specific order, and without wasting any more of your time we’d like to get started.

Vegas Baby

Our first theme within the theme will be games that are set in Vegas. Naturally, there are lots of games that fit this bill but something I discovered when looking through the games that are available is that an awful lot of them don’t quite cut the mustard. The three games I have chosen are all very different, with the first game on the list being as far removed from the classic Vegas game as anyone could imagine.

Lost Vegas

When Microgaming released Lost Vegas back in 2016 we were instantly smitten. If we had a top 10 Hall of Fame for slots games (and we very well might do so) there’s no doubt in my mind that Lost Vegas would find itself a spot on it. We love the game so much that you can probably expect to see more of Lost Vegas on other lists that we do, with it already making an obvious appearance on the zombie list that we created last year. This game really does have it all; from its aesthetic, to the amazing features that at times have you convinced that you are actually playing a computer game. The link here is entirely thematic, making its inclusion one of the most tenuous on our list, but I believe you will forgive us if you go off and give the game a try.

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Weekend in Vegas

Betsoft’s Weekend in Vegas owes a lot to the Hangover franchise, as you oversee a group of 3 very different party-goers who seek different levels of the thrills and excitement that only a weekend in Vegas can deliver. What I love about this game is the fact that when you trigger the bonus you can choose which of the three revellers to hit those tables with. You have your loose canon who you either win big with or leave with nothing. There’s your uptight gambler who will win you something but it won’t be all that much and then you have your guy in the middle. Each character has their own personality, all created specifically to clash with each other in the high-octane environment that only a weekend in Sin City can deliver. As for playing cards, again we’re tying those in through a thematic link, opposed to anything concrete.

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Sin City Nights

Again, we’ve opted to draw ties to playing cards through thematic links, something I promise we will change in our next entry. This is our second game from BetSoft, who clearly love spending time and hard-earned cash in Vegas. This game is all about the bright lights, glitz and glamour that only the spiritual home of the deck of cards can offer. The game looks fantastic and has plenty of features to keep you entertained but what we liked most about Sin City Nights was the low house edge. For a game that promotes the sort of fast-living, high-octane lifestyle that only a few night in Vegas can bring it came as something of a shock to find a game offering such good value for money.

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Wild Wild West

With this theme we have 3 games to take a look at. We could have found more but we felt it wouldn’t be fair on the magicians, gangsters and the spirit of Baron Samedi to take up any more places on this list. Western games tend to be better than most and will certainly be featuring in an exclusive list at some point in the future. Because we had so many to choose from I’ve made sure that all the games on this list feature the use of playing cards, either within symbols or as part of a bonus feature.

Gunslinger/Gunslinger Reloaded

How lucky are you? 2 games for the price of 1! These two entries from Play ‘n Go are proof that cowboy games are some of the best out there. Let’s get the important part out the way first. There are symbols that are playing cards and there is a Collect feature that uses playing cards in a version of Play Your Cards Right. What makes these games so much fun to play are the features. You get to shoot bottles to get your free spins turning and you also get to shoot bad guys. The game’s main bonus feature is one of the best out there. Totally immersive and playing out a bit like a computer game. I’d go as far as to say that if we were to make up a list of games with the best bonus features that these two beauties would find themselves on it.

Play Gunslinger here for free

Play Gunslinger Reloaded here for free

Wild West

NextGen’s only release on any of our lists so far is set in a saloon and have a number of character symbols (a horse included) sitting round playing cards, trying to win huge wads of cash. This game fits our card theme perfectly because everyone involved is doing exactly that. The game looks great, taking a light-hearted cartoon look at the theme. This is good fun and a game well worth checking out.

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Golden Colts

What’s that? You’re missing Play ‘n Go already? Well, if having 2 games from them already wasn’t enough here is a third. Golden Colts takes a sort of steam punk look at the western theme, with bronze bulls, blazing smoke from their nostrils, zombie cowboys and enough thunder and lightening to keep Bram Stoker going for a long time. Playing cards are brought to us through the Gambler symbol who also triggers the Poker Play bonus for you. The game looks amazing and has enough features to keep even the most attention challenged amongst you focused throughout.

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Swimming with the Fishes

As I have stated already, the gangster theme has left me a little disappointed. Only managing to find one game that met our standards was not what I was expecting, but the one game you get is a good one so hopefully that will make up for it.

Kings of Chicago

This Net Entertainment game is an old one but a very good one. When we first reviewed it, way back in the day, it received one of our first ever 10 out of 10 reviews. The playing card element of it is obvious, as they make up most of your symbols and in order to form wins along your paylines you actually need to form poker hands. This game is without doubt the best example of game that uses playing cards on our list. It might have aged a little, in terms of how the game looks, but the inventive gameplay is still up there with all the very best games being released today.

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It’s a Kind of Magic

Are you ready for some magic? Cards and magic go together like rabbits and magic or beautiful assistants and magic, or sawing in half and magic. Anyway, the point is that playing cards play a big part in the games we are about to bring you and whilst there may have been more magic game we would have added to the list, we left that these ones were the ones making best use of playing cards.

Street Magic

Play ‘n Go have only gone and done it again. 4 games in one list might be a record for us but there as no way we were going to have a list of card related games and not have Street Magic on it. Released last year, Street Magic is an excellent looking game with a few very interesting features. Your magician comes with cards in his hand, primed and ready to bamboozle you with his tricks and illusions. Cards are everywhere in this game. The wilds are gold cards. The number of free spins you earn is presented to you on a playing card and there is even a symbol with an ace of diamonds speared by a shiny dagger. The symbols move on the reels, the features are bold and dynamic, so what are you waiting for?

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The Great Albini

Whilst you might not be able to find any obvious trace of playing cards in the Great Albini outside of some of the basic symbols, you know that a magician of his calibre will have more than just a few up his sleeve. This entry from MicroGaming is one of the best releases of 2019, and whilst we are only in February, it is difficult to see this game not being one of the best releases come the end of the year. There really wasn’t much to not like about this game; from the aesthetic to the features and the “big bet” option. The game also has a relatively low house edge, making it good value for money and amazing fun to play.

Play the game here for free

Baron Samedi

Our final game on this list will centre around tarot cards and not playing cards. This shouldn’t really be a problem as the two varieties are very closely linked to each other. Baron Samedi is brought to us by Yggdrasil and is, as you would expect, a stunning looking game. Released at the end of 2018, this is a hugely complex game that uses lots and lots of different cards to make for one of the most immersive gaming experiences you could ever hope for. There is so much going on here that you might find your head spinning along with the reels but for anyone looking from something that is worlds apart from the traditional fruit machine you really do need to look no further than Baron Samedi.

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Conclusions

I started this list thinking it would be easy to find 10 games that use playing cards in some way. But, the reality was far from it. Yes, I found a lot of games, but I struggled to find many that I would consider to be very good. The result of this is a list that is a little tenuous at points. However, it is still a list of great games, each one offering something different and all offering you plenty of fun. If there are any you haven’t tried before we don’t think you’ll be left disappointed. Also, if there is anything not here that you think we should have included then please do not hesitate tot let us know.

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