Online skill games can be played with people from around the world.
Depending on which games you have in mind, there’s a chance it will be hard to find what you’re looking for. Some of the niche games such as rummy and dominoes are only offered by a select few skill game sites. Popular games such as poker are can be found at hundreds of gaming sites. My job today is to help you find the best skill game sites for real money players.
Best Skill Games Sites for Money
With these recommendations, I tried to cover as many different games of skill as possible. The above skill gaming sites cover everything from poker to Yahtzee. They are safe, reputable, have a nice variety of skill games, and each one is dependable when it comes to withdrawing.
How Online Skill Games Work
After you choose a skill game site, sign up for an account and log in. Most of the skill gaming sites that I recommend offer multiple forms of online gaming so you’ll need to visit the area dedicated specifically to skill games. Inside that area you can choose which game you want to play for real money.
Choose the skill game you want and you’ll be taken to a lobby area for that game. There, you’ll see a list of all open games along with information such as the entry fee, how many players are accepted, and any special rules that are in effect.
Online skill games can run at stakes ranging from $1 to $100 or more. Online poker games can involve hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have the bankroll. For the most part though, the stakes are reasonable. Most of the people you play against are just normal people like the rest of us looking for a little fun.
Games are hosted as either heads-up contests or multi-player tournaments. In both cases, you pay your entry fee and the game begins as soon as everyone else does the same. It’s pretty much the same thing you’d see in the real world. If you have any experience with a real world game of skill, you’ll have no problem making the transition to the internet.
You can also usually find free games of skill if you want. This is always a good option if you need to brush up your skills before you make the switch to real money. Most real money skill game sites also offer free-play games for just that purpose.
Skill Game Formats and Variations
Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular games of skill. The one thing these games all have in common is that you’ll need to outplay your opponents to succeed. We’ve got pages dedicated to each, so follow the links if you’d like more in-depth information about any particular game and where to play it at.
Online Poker Sites
Poker is the king of skill games. It has been around in some form or another since the 1800s and continues to grow in popularity to this day. Poker has just the right combination of skill and luck that it keeps the casual players coming back for more while providing the pros with a reliable income. This is by far the most popular skill game of them all.
Poker is frequently classified as gambling by lawmakers, but serious poker players know better. This is just as much a pursuit of skill as investing in the stock market. There may be an element of luck in poker, but it is undoubtedly a pursuit of skill over the long run. Any professional can attest to that.
Online Backgammon Sites
Backgammon is played by two players and is generally accepted as one of the oldest board games in the world. Luck does play a prominent role in backgammon, but the game has a deep strategy element that ultimately determines who wins and loses.
In recent years Backgammon has enjoyed increased exposure due to the introduction of online backgammon sites that allow you to play the game online for real money.
It is very simple to bet on backgammon, online backgammon sites allow you to play against other players from across the world at various stakes.
Best Backgammon Sites
Certain backgammon sites and apps offer particular advantages over others so it is important to choose wisely when deciding where to play Backgammon online for real money.
Not all backgammon sites are of an equal standard and you will get a much better experience at some than you will at others. Choosing which online backgammon site you are going to join is an important decision. If you are going to be wagering real money then you want to be playing somewhere that has the games, limits, banking options, and rewards programs that will suit your tastes.
We strongly suggest looking at our recommendations of the best online backgammon sites. As always, we’d be grateful if you contact us with your opinions on our ratings and reviews to help improve our pages.
Below, let’s take a look at the various factors we consider when rating and reviewing online backgammon brands.
Popular Backgammon Games and Variations
Most backgammon sites will just offer the basic form of backgammon, which is the most popular. There are quite a few different Backgammon variations such as Acey-Deucey, Hypergammon, Tabula and Tapa – but these formats are not particularly common.
In its standard format, Backgammon is not a complex game; the rules are easy to learn. The basic principle is to get your pieces home before your opponent does while avoiding being captured.
Players move in opposite directions around the board and make alternate moves based on the roll of a dice. Remember, backgammon is a game of skill, so study and practice will make you a better player.
Basic Backgammon Betting Strategy
Backgammon has a strong element of luck, as to an extent you are reliant on the roll of a dice. However, there is also plenty of skill involved. It is all about choosing the right moves and trying to get the better of your opponent.
In order to become a successful backgammon player, it is important to learn some basic strategies.
One of the first things you should learn as a backgammon player is the best opening moves. Most Backgammon experts would agree that there is a correct way to play certain rolls as part of your opening strategy.
If you learn strong opening moves then you will have a head start on your opponent and control of the game. In addition to learning beginner betting strategy, when playing online you should practice good bankroll management.
Online Dominoes Sites
Dominoes is one of those “minutes to learn but lifetime to master” games that are beloved by gamblers. The basic premise of the game is easy enough but there are intricate strategic considerations once you get past the learning stage.
If you’re looking for a game that is easy to pick up and play but still loaded with strategy, dominoes is worth a look. It takes all of five minutes to get the hang of the basic idea, but that does not make it a shallow game.
The funny thing about dominoes is that the more you play, the more you realize just how much you don’t know. There’s quite a bit of subtle strategy that only becomes apparent with experience.
Best Dominoes Sites and Apps
Dominoes is most definitely not a game of chance like so many other betting games. Yes, the first “deal” of the bones comes down to luck, but what’s more important than what you get is what you do with what you get.
The only truly annoying thing about dominoes is the severe lack of people to play with. It may be different where you live, but where I live, nobody plays the game. That’s why basically all of my experience comes from playing games online with people around the world.
Dominoes betting sites are a godsend for those of us who lack any serious competition.
One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the results that appear when you search for dominoes betting sites are junk. It’s hard to find a decent place to play Dominoes online for real money. A lot of the sites that come up in searches are badly outdated, void of active players, and outdated security standards.
Online Rummy Sites
Rummy was one of the first skill games to hit the internet for real money play. The game has a long and storied history, but it has fallen out of favor of late thanks to poker. Rummy does still have a dedicated following, however, and there are a number of places to test your skills online.
Rummy should not be mistaken for a game of chance. It may have some elements of chance such as random cards drawn from the deck, but skill is the overriding factor in determining who wins and who loses.
Real Money Rummy Online
It’s tough to find a decent place to play Rummy online. I’ve done plenty of looking and was able to find a grand total of one real money rummy site that I know well enough to feel confident in recommending.
There are other Rummy sites and apps that host real money rummy games, but they are just a little too sketchy looking for my taste. That may or may not be a fair assessment, but sometimes that’s all you have to go on with these smaller, no-name sites.
Online Spades Sites
Spades is a game for all walks of life. Betting sites with spades alter the rules just a bit in order to let you play against a single opponent rather than matching you up with team members who may or may not be competent. You don’t hear much about spades these days, but it’s a very fun and strategic game in which you try to achieve your own goals while simultaneously blocking the opponents from reaching theirs.
Play Spades for Money
The card game involves just enough strategy to make it appealing to a wide audience, and now it’s available for real money stakes at some popular skill games sites and apps.
Spades looks complicated on paper, but it’s actually quite easy to learn. Most people will get the basic idea after observing a few games.
There are several competing goals in Spades: you need to predict how many tricks you’ll win, try to hit that number and also prevent your opponents from doing the same. Spades is one of those games that are easy to learn but difficult to master.
There are quite a few websites that host spades games, but real money spades is a different story. Real money Spades sites must have hack-proof software, fair games, and secure payment processing.
Skill game sites are the best to partake in spades games at because they already have everything they need to provide a fair and secure gaming experience. Additionally, these online spades sites have the most customers, which makes it easier for you to find games at all stakes.
How To Play Online Spades Games
There is one key difference between online Spades and playing in person. When you play online, you are only paired against one other person. There is no 4-player Spades online.
Teamwork plays a big role in face-to-face Spades, but it doesn’t translate well online. For one, you have absolutely no control over who you are paired with. If you get stuck with a terrible teammate, that’s just too bad. A bad teammate in online Spades will cost you money.
Second, 4-player Spades would open the game to collusion online. One of the important aspects of 4-player Spades is not being able to verbally communicate with your teammate. This rule would be almost impossible to enforce online.
So, online Spades is always played in a heads-up fashion. It may feel a little weird at first but it’s a secure and fair experience and you won’t have to worry about collusion.
Everything else is the same in online Spades games.
You still call your tricks at the beginning of the round and try your best to hit that many tricks. Also, know that there are no penalties for catching too many tricks. The only time you get penalized is when you fail to catch the number of tricks that you called in advance.
One of the nice things about playing online is that players are not allowed to make illegal plays.
The software only allows you to select cards that can be legally played. This should be comforting because it means your opponents never have the option of acting like they are all out of a certain suit just so they can catch the trick with a spade.
The basic strategy for 2-players Spades is mostly the same as it is for 4-player Spades. The main thing to remember when you transition to 2-player games is that you don’t have a partner to watch your back. You cannot play anything weak and expect it to win in heads-up spades.
Online Yahtzee Sites
Yahtzee is a classic dice game with a unique scoring system. The game dates back to the 1950s and remains near the top of just about every “most popular games of all time” list. The basic idea in Yahtzee is to try to score points by rolling dice and achieving specific point totals and dice combinations.
Given the popularity of Yahtzee, it isn’t much of a surprise that online Yahtzee is now making the rounds on the internet. More recently, skill games sites have started offering real money Yahtzee online. These sites pair you up with other players and let you bet real money against one another in real-time Yahtzee matches.
Play Yahtzee for Money
Yahtzee is played at popular skill game websites. What I’ve found is that traditional gambling sites tend to offer the best skill games.
Your best bet is to check out some of the online Yahtzee sites mentioned here. If you visit one of those websites, you can visit the “skill games” section to play Yahtzee and other games of that nature.
How Does Online Yahtzee Betting Work?
Real money Yahtzee sites work by pairing you up with one other player. You and the other player put up wagers before the game begins. The player who wins that game wins the pot.
After the wagers have been placed, Yahtzee is played online just like it is played in person. You begin by rolling one dice to see who goes first, and then you each take turns rolling the dice and trying to score the most points possible in each category.
A total of 13 rounds are played and the player who ends up with the highest points total at the end of the game wins.
Online Yahtzee for real money is always played heads up. Yahtzee sites and apps do not offer single-player games for real money. This is important for two reasons:
First, single-player Yahtzee would be reduced to a pure gambling game. If you played against the house, the only way to win money would be to score a minimum number of points, and the casino would have to make sure it has an advantage over players.
Second, two-player Yahtzee keeps the skill element because the house has no stake in who wins or loses. The operator earns a profit based on charging an entry fee.
Isn’t Yahtzee All Luck?
The heavy reliance on dice may make Yahtzee look like a pure luck game, but there are actually significant elements of skill in this game.
The key to doing well in Yahtzee isn’t just about getting lucky dice rolls. The key is in knowing how to score your points and which types of scores to go after.
For example, let’s say your first roll comes up 4-4-2-5-6. You can either attack the straight by holding the 2-4-5-6 and hoping for a 3 or you can attack the three-of-a-kind and four-of-a-kind by holding the 4s.
The optimal play here is to hold the 4s and roll the dice two more times in the hopes of getting another 4. You are more likely to complete the set than you are to complete the straight.
That’s just an isolated example of how strategy comes into play in Yahtzee. The optimal play will also depend on which categories are still open, how far ahead (or behind) you are and so on. The dice may be random, but the path you take to scoring points is not.
Online Tonk Sites
Tonk may look like gambling to the uninformed observer, but those who play the game regularly know the difference. Tonk is a game of misinformation, odds and probability. The more you get to know Tonk, the more you come to see just how complex a game it really is.
Tonk is a rummy-style card game in which the object is to get rid of all the cards in your hand.
Online tonk is typically played with 2 players for an agreed-upon stake. The best tonk sites offer the game at a wide range of stakes in winner-take-all matchups.
There will always be elements of luck in the draw of the cards, but skill is very much the deciding factor in determining the winner of any given match.
Experienced players moving to online Tonk for real money should know that there is almost always a play clock that requires you to make a quick decision. This rule is implemented to keep the game moving and prevent stalling.
Time limits aren’t intended to put pressure on the players, but to ensure the game comes to an end within a reasonable amount of time.
Once you get comfortable with the rules and strategy of Tonk, you’ll probably come to appreciate the built-in time limits. They keep the game moving at a quick pace so you don’t have to set aside large chunks of time just to play a few games. If one player fails to make a move before the timer expires, the game ends with that person declared the loser.
Skill vs. Luck in Tonk Games
There is still some luck involved in skill games, but skill plays the biggest role over the long term. In Tonk, that means knowing when to drop, remembering which cards have already been played, when to draw from the deck and how to block your opponents from completing sets and runs.
The subject of dropping alone involves quite a bit of strategy. A good drop is the fastest way to win a game of Tonk, but it runs the risk of running into a hand with a lower points total.
A familiarity with the math behind Tonk will take you a long way in determining when to drop and when to play on. See this discussion for an example of the math behind dropping.
There is also a good deal of strategy involved in interpreting your opponent’s actions. Note the cards your opponents take from the discard pile and use that information to figure out what your opponents are trying to do.
By the same note, consider how your own actions can be interpreted by your opponents. Every card you take from the discard pile gives an indication of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Skill Gaming Promotions and Bonuses
If you are a good player, there is potential to profit from playing real money skill games online.
Taking advantage of bonuses and promotions can add significant value, but take time to read over the fine print so you know exactly what you are accepting for claiming any offer.
Most skill game sites offer players a signup bonus as a way of attracting new depositing customers.
Most of these offers are in the form of a first deposit bonus or match offer: added to your account instantly, but released in increments as you play. Typically there is minimum play requirements before cashing out, but incentives are a great way of adding to your bankroll.
The best skill game apps don’t just reward new players, they take care of loyal players as well. Reload bonuses and loyalty schemes reward players based on how much they play, sometimes even break-even players can become profitable just by the rewards accumulated in loyalty or vip programs.
Skill Game Software Considerations
The quality of skill games sites and apps software can vary quite significantly from one site to another. Most backgammon sites will offer a play-for-fun option so it might be a good idea to try out a couple of apps and decide which suits you best before actually depositing and starting to play for real money.
Instant play software is accessible directly through your internet browser. Instant play software has advantages as you can login from any computer with internet access and you don’t need to worry about system requirements or compatibility issues.
The second option is a downloadable software client that you need to install before being able to play. Obviously, this means you can only play from a machine where you have the software installed, but downloaded software usually has better graphics and more features than any instant play version.
A growing number of skill game sites will also allow you to play from mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets via iOS and Android apps.
Real Money Skill Gaming Tips
That’s a basic introduction to some of the most popular skill games online. If we continue to see growth in this market, betting sites will most definitely add to the lineup and do more to cater to skill gamers. As that happens, we’ll update this page and let you know which sites are the best places to play those games.
Real money play is the only way to keep skill games interesting for any length of time. We’ve all gone through phases where we can’t get enough of our favorites. The novelty always eventually dies out because there’s no long term goal. You just play until you get bored and move on.
Playing these games for real money changes everything. It adds a new dimension of risk and opportunity that you don’t get playing with your friends for peanuts. That’s why traditional gambling games are so popular – they literally raise the stakes.. The big advantage of playing at skill games websites is you have some control over your own financial destiny.
Skill games for money are both fun and potentially lucrative. For example, you might already enjoy playing backgammon socially and be a very good player. Perhaps players avoid you because you are known as a skilled player. If you choose to play online you’ll always find someone willing to bet against you.
Having said that, I wouldn’t recommend quitting your day job just yet. The only game of skill that has the player base to support professionals is poker.
Wes Burns has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a writer, researcher, and analyst in the legal online betting industry and is co-founder of OnlineBettingSites.com. Wes approaches his work from the viewpoint of players.