Casino Game Strategy Guide: Play This, Not That

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
Although there are some people who specialize in statistics who claim there is one or two games that give you an edge over the casino, the odds are usually stacked in the casino’s favor. Naturally,
most of us understand this and we simply play for fun. We set a budget and amuse ourselves for a while on our favorite game. Sometimes we lose a little and sometimes we hit the jackpot. Wouldn’t
it be nice if we could play a game we enjoy, but increase the odds of winning? It can be done and it’s simply a matter of finding a similar game with a lower house edge.

Understanding House Edge

Sometimes referred to as the casino advantage, the house edge is the percentage of money a casino will keep on any particular game over a long period of time. Another way to look at it is what
the probability is that the casino will win. For instance, if a casino game involves drawing a colored slip of paper from a bag, and the only way to win is to pull out the only gold piece, while the
other three pieces are blue, the house edge is 75-percent. If three of the papers are gold and only one of them is blue, the house edge reduces to 25-percent. Most games use the term house edge,
but slots typically go by the reverse, which is called the return-to-player (RTP), and it’s the percent of money the machine will give back to players over time. As one should expect, the RTP on a
slot game won’t vary from player to player because it’s based on chance. Most units use a random-number generator to ensure the machine will pay out exactly as expected. However, games like
poker involve skill as well, so an experienced player will skew the odds in his favor. In other words, a pro will play a game with a lower house edge and a novice can play the same game, yet it will
have a higher house edge. Because the odds will almost always be in favor of the casino, you should play a game you enjoy. However, if you can find a game that’s similar to the one you usually play,
but has a lower house edge, it makes sense to give it a go.

Play European Roulette, Not American Roulette


If you’re trying to stretch out the length of time you can play and the American Roulette table has a lower minimum bet, by all means go for it. However, do so knowing that the odds of winning
American Roulette are less than those of winning the European variety. The reason for this is that European Roulette has zero on the wheel only once, while American Roulette has zero on one end,
and double zero on the other. So, in a European game, the ball can fall into any one of 37 slots, but there are 38 slots in an American game. places the house edge of American
Roulette (double zero) at 5.3-percent, so you could anticipate that the casino will keep five dollars and thirty cents of every hundred you spend. On the other hand, European Roulette (single zero)
has a house edge of just 2.7-percent.

Make a Pass/ Don’t Pass Bet on Craps, Not a Hardways Bet

Craps moves faster than most casino games and the table is covered in markings. However, there’s really only one bet you need to know how to make if you’re trying to maximize your winnings and that’s
the pass/ don’t pass bet. When you make a pass bet and the come-out roll is 7 or 11, you win an amount equal to your bet. If you make a pass bet and a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled on the come-out, you lose. If any
other number is the come-out roll, you win if the person rolling gets the same number again before they roll a 7. If a 7 is rolled first, you lose. The house edge on a pass/don’t pass bet is only 1.4-percent.
Conversely, hardways bets are made when you believe the number 4, 6, 8, or 10 will be rolled and that the dice will be doubles. So, to win a 4 hardways bet, you’d need both dice to come up as 2’s. Yes, it’s
a little easier to follow, but the house edge on a hardways bet can reach over 16-percent.

Play Video Poker, Not Caribbean Stud

Video poker games typically fall somewhere between a 0.5 to 5-percent house edge, depending on the individual game. However, many of them are less than 1-percent and someone who is skilled and
playing the Jacks or Better full-pay variety can have nearly a .05-percent edge on the house. Caribbean stud has over a 5-percent house edge, no matter what you skill-level is.

On a final note, play anything else over keno. At its best, the game has an 8-percent house edge. At its worst, the house edge can climb up to 30-percent. Then again, if you’re playing for fun and you
expect the casino to keep 30 dollars for every 100 you bet, that’s certainly your prerogative.
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