Casino games, as you may or may not know, are designed to keep casinos profitable. The thing is, we’d be kidding ourselves if that wasn’t the case. They don’t build those huge gaming emporiums by giving away money, do they?
Well, the great thing is, if you know what you’re doing, you can take advantage of a little thing called ‘house edge’ — and that’s exactly what we’re going to teach you. In this guide we’re going to look at the best — and worse — games available at the casino (online and regular). Before we start though, it’s probably best we explain what house edge is.
What exactly is house edge?
Basically, we’re going to rank the games you should play by their house edge.
House edge is a number we give to individual games to determine how much money they’re set to make the casino in the long run. For example, if a slot game has a house edge of 5%, for every $100 you stake on that game, the casino is set to make $5. Your expected return then, as the player, is around $95. That’s not to say you’re guaranteed to lose $5 for every $100 — you could win a lot more — it’s just the average.
So, this way, we’re able to see which games are better for the player, and which games are not. If you’re heading to the casino just for fun, it’s not really worth your time reading this — honesty is the best policy — but, if you’re looking to cash in and potentially profit, it’s well worth reading this guide.
It’s also good to know which games are more difficult than others, so we’ll point beginners in the right direction as well!
1. Games with a high house edge!
Keno is essentially a quick-fire variety of bingo, where you pick one or more numbers from a grid of around 80 (sometimes more, sometimes less). The house will then select 20, 15 or 10 (depending on the game) numbers via a random number generator and prizes are paid out in accordance to how many numbers you’ve matched.
Honestly, this game is by far the worse to play if you want to make serious money, with a house edge of around 20 to 40 percent.
Slot Machines: Easy
House edge in slot machines is referred to as RTP, and ranges from 1%, all the way to 20%. Progressive slot games, such as the extremely popular Mega Moolah, has a RTP of 88%, which, for a progressive game, is great.
Of course, in terms of house edge, slot games are poor and should be avoided for serious gamblers. If you’re looking for a casual game though, slots are ideal!
2. Games with a medium house edge
The house edge in roulette depends if you’re playing American or European roulette — this effects the amount of zeroes that are on the table (the number that wins the casino money). When a wheel has both a zero and a double zero, the total house edge comes in at 5.26%. On the contrary, when the table has one zero (European roulette), the house edge plummets down to 2.7%. Now, if you play in France, and the ball lands on zero, all your bets are ‘en prison’ (imprisoned), which means you get a second chance to get your stake back. This reduces the house edge to an even tastier 2.7%!
Most of the bets will return the same amount on the roulette wheel, so of course, there’s no skill involved. The skill comes from finding the roulette table with the best rules. For example, you don’t want to play a table with a house edge of 5.26%, when you can play the same game with a house edge of 1.35%!
3. Games with a low house edge
Baccarat is a game of many formats, often coming with many side bets. The basic game requires you to essentially bet on the player or the dealer. The player bet comes with a house edge of 1.2%, where the banker comes with the house edge of 1%. That’s pretty much it — there’s no skill involved!
The rule which determines whether or not extra cards are taken is a little complicated, but the great thing is the dealer manages all of this. After a while, you’ll learn these rules anyway. It’s better to learn the rules of baccarat, in case the dealer does a mistake, but that won’t happen regularly. The most difficult part of the game is avoiding the other bets — a tie, for example, or a pair — which brings the house edge up to 10/11%.
The craps bet comes with a variety of exotic bets that should generally be avoided, but if you limit yourself to PASS or COME, and take the full odds, you can’t really go wrong. Of course, you can bet on the DON’T side of the table with better odds, but these bets should be avoided if you’re new to the game. The base-line house edge is 1.4%, but afterwards you can take odds, which has a house edge of 0%. Ultimately, taking the odds reduces the house edge, which works out better for you in the long run.
If you’re planning on taking the exotic bets, then don’t — the odds are terrible!
Blackjack with basic strategy: Medium
By using basic blackjack strategy, which you can find here, you can improve (decrease) the house advantage. Basically, you make decisions based on the dealer’s face card. This does depend on the amount of decks used — as strategy is dynamic in regards to this.
When it comes down to it, there are hundreds of combinations for you to memorize for each basic strategy. If you want to know more about card counting, or just general blackjack strategy, then head on over to our dedicated blackjack guide. If you do manage to learn basic strategy, you can bring the house edge down from 2% to 0.2% — awesome!
4. Games that good players can take advantage of!
Poker: Very Difficult
Sure, poker is found in casinos everywhere you go, but it should be avoided if you’re not a top poker player. You’re not playing against the casino when you play poker, you’re playing against people – and people can be good! If you’re much better than other people, you can overcome the house rake and make a tasty living playing poker. The great thing is you can learn poker strategy pretty quickly — the bad news is that implementing it is rather tricky. There’s great potential to earn plenty of cash playing poker — shame it’s so difficult! Pros have invested hundreds of hours into developing the skills needed to succeed — so do you!
Blackjack — Counting Cards
Counting cards is a rather tricky affair and should only be attempted if you’ve put plenty of practice in — like these guys here! Card counting requires you to keep track of the ratio of high cards (tens and aces) against the lower cards (2 to 6) — all of which have been played. When there’s a surplus of high card, the odds are in favour of the player. When there’s plenty of low value cards in the deck, the advantage swings to the dealer. Depending on how skilled the player is, professional card counters can get up to a 2% edge — so don’t make any mistakes.
Casinos also frown down upon card counters, so don’t get caught doing it. Of course, since the vast majority can’t really card count properly, casinos won’t stop someone bad attempting to card count.
Sports betting: Rather Tricky!
Unless you know everything there is to know about sports, you’re going to struggle to profit. Sure, we’ve all seen Ace in Casino bashing the bookies, but that doesn’t happen in real life. There’s no house advantage in casino gaming, you just get a price from the bookie. It’s one of the best ways to make a living by gambling — but awfully risky when things start to go wrong.
So, there you have it, the best and worst games to play at the casino! Why not head on over online and put this into action! Good luck!