A list of games that are found in almost all casinos
To keep things simple, in this article I will use the "house edge" as the primary criteria of judgment, but I will mention the speed of the games as well, to give you a more complete picture. And I will limit my list to games that are found in almost all casinos.
The 10 Worst Bets
- Keno – Yes, this is probably the worst bet you will find in most casinos. The average house edge hovers around 25 percent, which is better than state lotteries, but that's not saying much. Still, the pace of the game is slow and if you only make one bet per game you won't lose much money.
- Any Seven (Craps) – This is a one-roll bet that the next number rolled will be a seven. The house edge is a monstrous 16.67 percent. If you make this bet on every roll, even if you only wager a measly dollar, you can lose about $20 per hour!
- Progressive Slot Machines – Yes, those gigantic multi-million dollar jackpots sure are tempting, but progressive games are the very worst machines in the casino no matter what the denomination is. The house edge ranges from 12 to 17 percent. This means you lose between $12 and $17 for every $100 you wager in the long run. Making the situation even more brutal is the fact that people tend to play these games very fast. How much can a $1 slot player lose on an inter-casino linked progressive? Upwards of almost $400 per hour. Yikes!
- Tie Bet at Baccarat – This bet comes with a house edge of around 14 percent. With traditional baccarat, played in the high roller rooms, the game is relatively slow; at mini-baccarat, however, the speed of the game is very fast. This bet is bad in both games.
- 2 and 12 (Craps) – Snake eyes (2) and boxcars (12) have house edges of 13.89 percent. These are one-roll bets for the unwary and unwise craps player.
- Whirl or World (Craps) – This is a multiple number (2, 3, 7, 11, 12), one-roll bet that has a house edge of 13.33 percent. Steer clear of this one.
- The Horn (Craps) – Another multiple number (2, 3, 11, 12) one-roll bet that comes in with a house edge of 12.5 percent. There is a saying, See a horn, bet a horn. The real saying should be, You have to be an idiot to bet the horn.
- 3 and 11; Hard 4 and Hard 10; Any Craps (Craps) – Ironically, the 11 has an 11.11 percent house edge, as do the rest of these bets. These bets should hold no interest for you, since making them on each and every roll will cost you $11.11 per $100 wagered.
- 5-Cent Slot Machines – The low denomination, non-progressive slot machines also have high house edges around 10 to 12 percent and most people play them fast, causing their losses to add up quickly.
- Hard 6 and Hard 8 (Craps) – At this point we ve left the double-digit house edges behind us, but these two bets are still pretty bad with a house edge of 9.09 percent. They are not active on every roll, which helps a little.
The 10 Best Bets
- The Pass, Don't Pass, Come, Don't Come with Odds (Craps) – Some casinos in America are still offering craps games with 100X, 20X, 10X and 5X odds. Here, the house edge is a small fraction of a percent on these games if you utilize the odds bets. Without odds, the house edge on the above bets is about 1.4 percent still very good. Also, not every roll impacts you, so that's a good thing too. Most players will be on about 50 percent of the decisions betting this way.
- Blackjack Basic Strategy – If the game you are playing is a traditional blackjack game with the house paying 3 to 2 for blackjacks, with the dealer standing on soft 17, and with the right to double on any first two cards, split and double after splits, the casino will have about a half percent house edge. That means you lose about 50 cents for every $100 wagered a very good bet indeed. Blackjack is a moderately fast game, but with such a low house edge you still have a very good shot at winning some money on any given session.
- The Bank Bet at Baccarat – The house edge at this bet is 1.06 percent. Remember that traditional, high-roller room baccarat, where the players deal the cards, is a slow game. Mini-baccarat is a fast game.
- The Player Bet at Baccarat – The house edge on this bet is a mere 1.24 percent. See #3.
- Blackjack Pays 6 to 5 for Natural (Basic Strategy) – This new game is three times worse than traditional blackjack, as it pays only $12 to $10 for a blackjack as opposed to $15 to $10. Usually these games also have the dealers hitting their soft 17s. The house edge on these games is around 1.5 percent, depending on the casino's rules.
- Place the 6 or 8 (Craps) – This bet must be made in multiples of $6. It pays $7 on a win since the house has a 6 to 5 edge on the bet. The house edge is 1.52 percent and the bet is active on 11 of 36 decisions, which means most of the time you will not have your money acted upon.
- Spanish 21 (Basic Strategy) – In this variation of blackjack, the 10-spot cards are removed but there are all sorts of special awards for premium hands built into the rules. With the proper basic strategy, the house edge is around 1.8 percent, give or take, depending on rules of the casino.
- Three Card Poker – There are two games in one here. The main game of ante and wager has about a 2 percent house edge. The secondary game, called Pair Plus, has about a 2.3 percent house edge. The game is relatively fast, so you might want to sit out some hands every so often.
- Lay the 4 and 10 (Craps) – Here, you are betting that the 7 will appear before the 4 or 10. The house edge is 2.44 percent.
- Caribbean Stud and Pai Gow Poker – Two of the first carnival card games are still going strong in casinos. The house edge is about 2.5 percent if you play your hands properly. These are relatively slow games.