The Best Casino Games

The Best Casino Games

by Michael Wiesenberg

Several Las Vegas casinos cost over $1 billion to build. And those casinos, having been built, take in close to $1 million a day. Many casinos in other parts of the US and elsewhere in the world cost in that range. They have to make back their investment (and continue to be profitable), and they don’t get it by giving away money —despite what they may claim (or imply).

Casinos offer many types of games. The bigger the casino, generally, the greater the variety. The knowledgeable player doesn’t feel bad about playing the games with the lowest house edge. Let the suckers play the Wheel of Fortune, Big Six, keno, the numbers on the roulette table, many of the propositions on the craps table, and most of the slot machines. Your money will last longer playing blackjack, the come and pass bets (and the don’ts) on the craps table, and baccarat.

Except for blackjack, all casino games have a built-in fixed house edge. (And that exception applies only to card counters. Counting cards at blackjack is beyond the scope of this article.) Without counting cards, the house edge on blackjack is under 0.3%. If you want to play optimally, look up —and learn —basic strategy. It’s not hard to learn. Curiously, most players don’t want to make even that much effort. They feel that memorizing a moderately complicated strategy is too much work. It’s all a matter of luck, anyway, they say, and I don’t want playing in a casino to seem like work; I’ll just take my chances and if I get lucky I’ll win. While that last statement is certainly true, smart players will learn the strategy and their money will last longer. They’ll have more winning sessions, also. Beware, though: blackjack can also be a much worse game to play; the way most players play it is not among the “good” games, with a house edge of 2% and more. Among losing strategies are what is called emulating the dealer. That is, always hit any total 16 or less, no matter the dealer’s upcard. The other side of this “coin” is never hit a hand that could bust, again no matter the dealer’s upcard. That is, always stand on 12 or more. (One of the best sites for finding basic strategy is You can also Google blackjack basic strategy.)

You can find other games with low house edges —and most of them don’t require you to memorize any kind of strategy.

Baccarat has a low house edge. You may think that baccarat is a game played only for the highest of stakes, in a salle privée (private room) among tuxedo- and evening dress-clad members of the international jet set. Such rooms exist, particularly among the larger and more opulent casinos, but most also offer mini-baccarat, which is essentially the same game, except that fine dress is not de rigueur and the stakes are relatively much lower. The player who holds the bank has an edge of around 1.06% while the player hand has an edge of around 1.24%.

On the craps table, the pass and come bets have an edge of around 1.41%. (Interestingly, the exact figure is [the square root of 2]percent.) The don’t pass and don’t come bets are somewhat better, at around 1.36%. (But you won’t make any friends by rooting for the shooter not to make their point.) There are actually a number of bets on the craps layout that haveno house edge. Once a point has been made, you can make an odds bet. If the point (the first number thrown other than 2,11, or 12) is 4 or 10, the house pays true odds.(on that bet only; not on the pass or come bet itself). The odds against making a point of 4 or 10 are 2-to-1 against and the bet pays exactly that*. Say you start with a come-out bet of $10 and throw a 10. To win, you have to throw a 10 again before a 7. If you do, you get paid $10 on your original bet and $20 on the odds bet, for a total of $30. Of course, if you seven out, you lose $20. Points of 5, 6, 8, or 9 also pay true odds. Many casinos allow players to make odds bets of twice (or more) the pass or come bet. Odds are commonly offered at 2, 3, 4, or 5 times the original bet, and they can be much higher. Similarly, you can lay the odds on a don’t pass or don’t come bet; the house edge on that bet is also 0%.

Other games with low house edge include pai gow, pai gow poker, jacks or better full pay video poker (look it up; and it has the best house edge of all, 0.46%).

You’ve already seen how to get a relatively low house edge on roulette here.

*There are 3 ways to make a 4 (2-2, 3-1, 1-3) or 10 (5-5, 6-4, 4-6) and 6 ways to 7 out (6-1, 5-2, 4-3 3-4, 2-5, 1-6). True odds are then 6:3, which is equivalent to 2:1. Calculations are similar for points of 5 and 9 and 6 and 8.

If you’d like to try some fun online slots, you can visit online casino.

And you can find many of best USA online casino sites  at Best Casino Sites Online, one of the leading guides in USA for 2019.

Photo by Drew Rae via Pexels