The Most Difficult Games To Master

A person in a suit stands in the center of a maze.

There’s an online casino game for every kind of player. There’s poker and blackjack for strategic thinkers and slots for fun lovers who want something effortless. But there are also some truly hard games to play – games that have stumped players with their complex moves and tactics for centuries. If you’re ready to put your mental skills to the test, check out our list of the hardest games to play. Let’s give you a headstart and show you exactly how to play these intimidating games.

The world’s hardest games to master

There’s a big difference between learning a game and mastering it. While many people know how to play poker, few can say they’ve actually mastered the game. The following games might have easy-to-understand instructions and rules, but you need time and dedication to understand what’s happening beneath the surface to beat your opponent and win.


Go is not only one of the oldest board games but also one of the most complex games in the world. The game was invented in China over 2,500 years ago in the Zhou dynasty. But what makes this game one of the hardest games ever? Mind-blowing complexity. 

Go is a two-player abstract strategy board game in which each player tries to occupy more territory than their opponent. This might sound simple enough, but the trick is that there is an almost infinite number of possible moves. There are more possible Go games than subatomic particles in the known universe. Unlike other games, all moves are possible at all times during a round, making the game even more unpredictable and dizzyingly complex. It’s no wonder a Go game can last days.

How to play go

A game of Go uses a 19×19 grid board game. Each player chooses to play with black or white pieces called stones. The stones form territories and collect points on vacant sections on the board. Once you’ve placed a stone, you can no longer move it. You can use your stones to surround your opponent’s stones and take them out of play. But once the board is filled and there are no more possible moves, the game ends and points are collected. Players win points for every empty space inside their territory and for every stone they’ve surrounded or captured. 


 Chess pieces against a bright yellow background.

Chess is famous for being a difficult game to master. Professional players dedicate years to learning all the different strategies in the game; they need to study continuously to keep up with the competition. Chess has baffled players for centuries. It probably first appeared in India in the 6th century CE. This is where the earliest version of the game, chaturanga, was played with a similar 8×8 grid board and different game pieces similar to the ones used in modern chess. 

But if school children and families play chess, what makes it so hard to master? Chess features millions of possible move combinations, with players constantly needing to think two to five steps ahead. Even with your moves mapped out, you need to be ready to adapt and react at a moment’s notice. Much like poker players, chess masters can bluff and use misdirection to distract their opponents and catch them off-guard. 

How to play chess

The goal of chess is to trap your opponent’s king and force them into a checkmate. To do this, you move strategically across the board to get closer to and compromise your opponent’s king. Each type of chess piece has its own way of moving. No piece other than the knight and castling can jump over another piece. A piece is captured when you take its place on a square. 

There are many known strategies and chess moves to weaken the opponent and clear a path to the king. The duration of chess games varies based on skill level and game type, with games lasting anywhere from a couple of minutes to several hours.


Don’t be fooled by this game’s reputation as a retirement home favorite. Bridge is actually one of the hardest games ever and can be traced back as far as 16th-century England. 

The game is tricky to master mainly due to the complicated bidding system. Bridge is a four-player card game in which players are divided into two partnerships. Two players make agreements or bids based on the quality of the 13 cards on the table. The bidding is then followed by playing the hand and finally scoring. Think you can keep up? Let’s show you how to play. 

How to play bridge

The goal of bridge is to win the most points after taking the greatest number of tricks and rounds. Every round can be split into four phases: dealing, bidding for tricks, playing the hand and scoring. During the bidding stage, every player will bid for the minimum number of tricks they think they can take based on their cards. There can be several bidding rounds where the bids are raised, but the final bid becomes the contract. 

The playing stage follows in which players must try to claim the tricks in their contract. Players must win tricks and score 100 or more points to win the game. Bridge games can be very fast-paced – so much so that a round can last 15 minutes or less. 


A hand moves a piece on a shogi board.

If chess is a little simple for you, give shogi a try. The game probably originated in India about 500 years ago before it spread to Japan and became increasingly popular. This two-player strategy game is the ideal game for couples to put each other to the test. In terms of difficulty, what separates shogi from chess is that the game builds in intensity as it progresses. Unlike chess, when a player captures an opponent’s piece, they can use it as their own. This makes the game much more competitive.

How to play shogi

Shogi uses a 9×9 checkerboard. Much like chess, the goal of shogi is to capture your opponent’s king. Every piece moves uniquely, with most unable to move backward. When a piece reaches the end of the board or the opponent’s territory, it is promoted – which means it can move in even more ways. 

Captured pieces can be dropped and replaced by players when they need them. Thanks to the recycled pieces, shogi games never end in a draw and there’s almost always a possible next move. Shogi games usually last anything between 30 minutes and two hours.

You don’t need to look far to find something new and challenging to play. You don’t even need to keep up with the best upcoming video games of the year or play every new release. The Borgata Online casino has thousands of games to explore. 

Put your skills to the test with Borgata Online

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