For as many ways that there are to win at casino gambling there are exponentially more ways to lose. I believe that when a player takes a less than serious approach to gambling or if they are just in it for the fun of the moment, they will pile up considerably more losses than the more prepared.
Fortunately, there are many games to choose from where the player create and develop a strategy that works to their advantage. Having an advantage is what we are all looking for when exploring different games at a casino.
Through the years I have played many different casino games–both table games and non-table games alike. There’s a casino game for everyone and anyone, and there is a strategy to deploy in almost every one of them, even if you’re the only one that believes in it. We all have the games that we like to play and I encourage you to find games that you enjoy, as well as games that you want to develop a strategy for winning.
If I am to be found in a casino, your chances increase dramatically if you search the table games. Chances are even greater if you troll the blackjack tables. Blackjack happens to be my favorite of all casino table games. One of the reasons I enjoy table games over the other style of games is the interaction with other players, as well as the strategy behind the game. I have played nearly every type of game the casino has to offer, but I always find myself returning to the blackjack tables
When playing any game, especially the table games, I encourage you to develop a strategy and practice it. All casino games are considered games of chance, but it is helpful if you take a strategic approach to your gaming. Over time players have developed strategies combined with the percentage chance of winning and have done quite well, myself included.
Baccarat. This is a card game where cards are valued as follows:
Ace = 1, 2-9 are their numerical value
10 and face cards = 0
At the start of the game the dealer will turn over one card that will determine how many cards the dealer will burn before dealing (a 10 or a face card will result in 10 cards being burned). Play will begin when the players place a bet on either the “player”, “bank” or a tie. After all bets are down, the dealer gives two cards to all players including the banker/dealer. The goal is to have the closest hand to 9. The score of the cards is always the right digit of the total cards. So if you are dealt a 5 and a 7 your total is 12 and your game hand is the right digit, a 2. There is an option where the players can take a third card. If the player or the dealer has an 8 or 9, the play stands and a third card is not dealt. If the player has 5 or less, then the player takes another card, otherwise the player stands. If the player stands, then the dealer will hit on 5 or less. The score of the cards are compared and the player with the total closest to 9 wins. In the event of a tie, both dealer and player push. The chances of winning at baccarat vary but the calculations trend towards players winning approximately 44% of the time.
Blackjack. Like baccarat, this is a two card game. The values of the cards in blackjack are not similar though. An Ace is worth 1 or 11, face cards are equal to 10 and 2-9 are equal to their numeric value. Once bets are placed the dealer deals 2 cards to each player (usually face up) and two cards to the dealer (one face up and one face down). The player then has a number of options. If the dealer has blackjack then the play is over and the players lose their bets. Aside from blackjack, players play out their hands by either taking additional cards, splitting or doubling down. If a player busts then their bet is surrendered and the game continues for the other players at the table. The goal of blackjack is not to try and get 21 or even try to be the closest to 21. The goal of blackjack is simply to beat the dealer. When using a basic strategy, a player has good odds at winning with blackjack. It has been calculated that a player can expect to win about 42% of the time.
Blackjack Switch. Here is a game that takes everything that we know and love about blackjack and adds a twist. In this game you will place two bets and be dealt two hands. During play you will be able to switch cards from one hand to the other. For instance, if you have an ace and 9 in one hand and a 10 and 2 in the second the player can switch into blackjack with one hand and a 9-2 hand in the second. The player can then double down in the 9-2 hand. In blackjack switch the dealer will bust after 22. A player with 21 will push with the dealer if dealer has 22. Otherwise, blackjack switch follows the same rules as blackjack. Since there are more chances to win, blackjack switch has enabled players to win over 44% of the time.
Craps. When this table is hot it is typically the noisiest table in the casino. Craps is played on a partially enclosed table with the same series of numbers on either end for players to be able to play their chosen numbers on the end closest to where they may be standing. The middle of the table has an assortment of bets that players can play independently of the rest of the table bets. In the game of craps, it is played with a pair of dice that rotates throughout the various players over the course of the game. The dice doesn’t change hands to another player until the shooter “craps out”. The general object of the game is to “make a number” with the “come out roll” of the dice. Once a number has been “made” the goal is to continue to roll until the shooter “craps out” which means to roll a 7. During the shooters roll of the dice there are a number of ways that players can win. The dealers at the table are there to help with not only the betting and placement of chips on the table but to also help you to understand and play the game. Craps may be one of the hardest games to learn on the go but it can certainly be one of the most fun to participate in while gambling. Once you learn how to play, craps has one of the most favorable player odds in the entire casino. The chances of winning at craps is approximately 49% and serves as a huge draw, not to mention the excitement that the table tends to generate.
Poker, Pai Gow. This is the classic western poker game that is blended with the ancient oriental game of Pai Gow. In the oriental version the game is played with tiles. The classic western version is played with a standard 52 card deck with a single Joker added. The Joker is only used as an Ace or to complete a straight, a flush, or a straight flush. When playing the game, the players have an opportunity to bet against the house and bank their bets. This is a progressive version of the game and it creates an option for the player to progressively bet that five of their seven cards will be a high enough poker rank to receive a progressive payout. This is a separate form of betting that wins or loses regardless of the Pai Gow poker bet. Winning this bet and you also have a pair in your two-card hand, you will win an even higher payoff. Pai Gow is a fun, active game that has a decent percentage of winning among players. On average players experience winning about 29% of the time.
Poker, Texas Hold’em. A game that has been popularized by television and movies can be played in almost every casino in their Poker Rooms. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck. Players at the table will three buttons displayed: Dealer, Big Blind and Small Blind. The buttons help to direct the flow of play and manage the opening bets. None of the players actually deal any cards. The dealer button serves as an indicator to the casino dealer where to begin play. In Texas Hold’em you are playing against other players at the table, not against the house. At the beginning of play the dealer will deal each player to “hole cards”. Only the player is to look at their cards. After dealing all the cards to the players a betting will begin and continue as a series of five total community cards are dealt for the table. The player will use their two cards and any combination of the five cards to create the best five card hand. After the round of betting is complete and there are at least two players remaining they show their “hole cards” and a winner is revealed. Since there are so many variables when playing Texas Hold’em it is very difficult to calculate the winning odds. So many of the variables come down to the player’s observation of the cards played and working out probabilities. The estimate is that an average player only wins approximately 17% of the hands dealt.
Poker, Three Card. With the same basic understanding of poker, three card poker is played with the dealer dealing three cards to the player and three to the dealer. Prior to the deal a player has betting options. First there is the ante and/or the “pair or better” option. Once cards are dealt, if the player played the ante, the player must fold or raise. If the player folds, then they lose their ante bet. If the player plays, then they must make a play bet which is twice their ante bet. When play begins the dealer must have a queen or higher to open. When both the player and the dealer are in play the best poker hand wins. When the player wins the ante is all bets are paid 1:1 and the “pair or better” poker hands are paid based on a casino specific table chart. The chances of winning are considered here if the player has a hand worth playing. Players fold their hands on an average of 31% of the time. Once playing, the percentage varies from 6% to 46%.
Roulette. This is the original casino glamour game. Roulette was originally played exclusively in Monte Carlo until 1933. Although the game today is not surrounded by players wearing tuxedoes and evening gowns, it still draws a crowd. The game is played at a table with a large wheel and small ball. The wheel is spun in one direction and the ball is spun in the opposite. Eventually the ball lands inside the wheel where there are a series of numbers. The series of numbers ranging from 1 – 36 are presented in alternate colors, typically red and black. Two additional spaces, represented usually by the color green, are marked as 0 and 00. All of the numbers are represented on the table. Simply enough, the ball spins and lands inside the wheel on a number represented on the table. Bets are placed on the table either as “inside” bets or “outside” bets. The bets on the inside of the table are each of the numbers corresponding to the wheel. The outside bets vary from playing a complete row of numbers, one-third of the numbers or simply selecting red or black. Since there are so many variations of how to play the game of roulette there are varying chances to win the game too. The chances of winning tend to vary from a low of 2.63% all the way up to 46.37%.
Gambling Away from the Tables
There are so many other games in the casino that are not table games. You can be entertained by playing Bingo, Keno, Slot Machines or Wheel of Fortune (The Big Six). Each of these games have varying degrees of chance and the odds of winning can vary from how many players are playing, like bingo.
With the non-table games there appears to be less conversation around strategies but don’t tell that to a seasoned Slots player or the blue haired lady that has been working a bingo card longer than you have been alive.
Bingo. Casino bingo is the same game as the game you played as a kid in school or in church. Bingo is played with a caller that announces the letter and a corresponding number like B-2 or O-56. Players typically, on a purchased bingo playing card, dab each of the squares that match what the caller calls out. Players win when, based on the game that they have chosen to play, fill the entire card or fill a complete row. The casinos have several variations from the basic game that allow you to raise the stakes by playing on game cards that are harder to complete. Winning at bingo can come in several forms depending on the varying game that you choose to play. The only way to know what your odds are at winning is if you know the total number of bingo player cards in play. Since there is only one card winning per session you would have a calculation of 1:100 if there are 100 cards in play.
Keno. In most casinos keno can be played either as a video gambling game or by filling out a keno card and submitting it manually to a caller. Playing this game is very similar to playing bingo, in principle. Players select 15 numbers at random based on the available numbers to select from on a keno playing card or video board. The game, either by the caller or on the video board, is played when 20 numbers are called for that session. The 15 numbers that a player plays have varying degrees of payouts based on how many of the winning numbers are matched. Additionally, there are side bets and side games that are played alongside the basic game. Much like playing bingo, there is a varying degree which a player can win. It depends on how many players are actively playing the game to determine the odds of winning a game. The average player chances are around 4.68%.
Slot Machines. As I mentioned before, I prefer table games for the interaction with the other players at the table. For me that is a personal preference. Some players prefer to play alone and not be bothered by others at the tables. Slots machines are the perfect game in a casino that allows a player to enjoy their gaming coupled with some isolation. When you walk into a casino there are no shortages of slot machines for players to choose from. Regardless of which particular set of blinking lights you chose there is a similar return, for the most part. Chances of winning when you walk up to a slot machine are approximately 3%. However, if you understand how slot machines work you won’t just walk up to a machine and play once or twice and walk away. Slot machines, like the tables, require a system and an element of patience. Players that are committed to their strategy and play slots often have yielded winnings in to 40% range.
Video, Rock Paper Scissors. When I saw this video game I could not pass it up. Having played this game while growing up and using it to decide who goes first in a game to the settling of disputes. It is played, on a computer, the same way it is played between two people. The player selects the option that it wants to choose and the game selects. Player either wins or loses. A tie is a loss. Chances of winning in this game should not even be considered. This game is a game for fun only.
Wheel of Fortune (The Big Six). This is the original Wheel of Fortune and has been a casino regular for decades. The odds of winning on this game are terrible and it usually serves as a place many players just throw away a couple of dollars. There are 54 numbers on the wheel and players lay down their bets on the corresponding numbers at a table near the wheel. Depending on the casino there are a variety of cash payouts and often times there are large prizes such as cruises and cars given away. The chances of winning on this game is less than 10%.
First and foremost, remember that the chances to win at any game are often (if not always) in favor of the casino. So if you are about to embark on your first ever trip to a casino it might be wise to look at the games that you can play online in advance of your trip.
Gambling can be more of an acquired skill where you are deploying strategies that you have honed over several years and multiple trial runs. Now that we have access to online sites and apps for our smart phones we have a greater opportunity to practice our strategies. More often than not we can practice without the cost associated with playing in a casino.
So find the games that you enjoy and play as much and as often as you like. If you chose to take a less caviler approach begin reading and studying how best to craft a strategy and begin practicing and practice often.often.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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