The Ultimate Casino Strategy Shortcut Guide

Casino gambling is a contest where each side wants to make more money than the other. The casino wants to take as much of your money as possible and you want to win as much money as possible. The problem is that the casino has the odds stacked against you.

You can use gambling strategy to help you fight the stacked odds. Casino gambling strategy is a combination of playing the right games with the right rules the right way. This might sound difficult, but as you’re getting ready to learn, it’s not as hard as most gamblers think.

This guide is designed to help you get started playing in a casino as quickly as possible while giving you the tools you need to play with a low house edge and make your bankroll last.

The House Edge

The house edge is a way to express how much the casino expects to win by offering a casino game. It also shows how much you can expect to lose when you play a casino game. The house edge is based on long term results, so in the short term there tends to be quite a bit of variance.

As a gambler, you need to focus on the long term, and find ways to lower the house edge as much as possible. The only thing that matters is the long term house edge. In other words, whether you win or lose during a particular playing session doesn’t matter, because in the long run your losses are going to line up with the house edge.

Here’s an example of how the house edge works:

The house edge for the banker wager in baccarat is 1.06%. This means that over time the casinos makes a profit of 1.06% on every dollar wagered on the banker bet in their baccarat games. What this means for you can be illustrated by running some hypothetical numbers.

If you bet $20 per hand on the banker hand and make 100 bets, you can determine your expected loss. $20 times 100 hands is $2,000. Multiply the total amount wagered of $2,000 times the house edge of 1.06% and your expected loss is $21.20.

You can use this simple mathematical equation to determine your expected loss for any casino game that you know the house edge for.

The casino games offering the lowest house edge are listed below. You need to find games with the best rules or with the best pay tables, but in general, these are the games you should stick with when you gamble.

  • Blackjack
  • Video poker
  • Baccarat
  • Craps
  • Poker

While the house edge is important, it’s not the only thing you need to consider. In the following sections I cover the other strategy and playing considerations you need to be aware of.

Using Strategy


The casino games that offer the lowest house edge tend to be games where you can use strategy to alter the results. Games where there isn’t a strategy available, like slot machines and keno, have a house edge that is much higher than most other games.

What this means is if you want to gamble with a low house edge you have to play games that have a low edge and learn how to use the best strategy for your chosen game. Once you learn the best strategy, you must never deviate from it, no matter what.

Some games have simple strategies that anyone can use, and others require more work. Here’s a quick overview of the most popular casino games where you can use strategy.

  • BlackjackBlackjack strategy is hard if you try to do it all on your own. But it’s easy if you pick up a strategy chart and use it when you play. The rules also have a great deal to do with the house edge, so take a few minutes to learn which rules are good and which ones are bad.
  • Video poker – Just like blackjack, pick up a strategy card for your favorite video poker machine and use it every time you play. The pay table sets the house edge, so learn which pay tables are best and only play on machines offering good tables.
  • Baccarat – Baccarat has a simple strategy and it’s a great game for first-time gamblers because it’s easy to play. The best strategy is to always bet on the banker hand.
  • Craps – Craps offers many betting options, but you should only make two bets. Start with either a pass line or don’t pass line wager and then make an odds wager. All of the other bets have a higher house edge and should be avoided.
  • Roulette – The only strategy you can use with roulette is to avoid playing on any wheel that has a double zero space. A single zero roulette wheel still has a higher house edge than the other games on this list, but it’s almost half the edge a double zero wheel offers. On a single zero wheel, every bet available has the same edge, so it doesn’t matter what wager you choose to make.
  • Poker – Poker games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha offer something that is rare when it comes to casino games and gambling. You can actually play with a long term edge, which means you can make money in the long run instead of losing. The problem is that it takes a long time and a great deal of work to become a winning player, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Here’s a list of gambling games with results that can’t be altered using strategy. You should avoid playing these games.

  • Slot machines
  • Keno
  • Bingo
  • Lottery

Bet Sizing


One simple fact is all you need to understand when it comes to the size of your bets when you gamble. The simple fact is that every casino game is designed to make money for the casino and take money from you.

Once you accept this fact, it means that you should always bet the minimum allowed amount when you gamble. If the table minimum is $10, then you should always make $10 wagers. If you play at an online casino and the minimum bet is $1, then you should always bet $1.

The only games where this isn’t true are blackjack and poker. In blackjack, some players learn how to count cards and can get a small edge against the house. In order to do this you have to raise your bets in particular situations.

When you play poker you’re actually competing against the other players instead of the house. If you’re able to learn enough poker strategy to become a winning poker player you’re going to understand proper poker bet sizing.

The other advantage of making minimum bets is it makes your bankroll last as long as possible. When you play a game with a house edge, eventually you’re going to run out of money or be forced to add money to your bankroll.

Pace of Play

The faster you play the more money you risk. The more you risk the faster you lose. If you want to make your bankroll last as long as possible, you need to make the smallest bets you can and play as slow as you can.

When you gamble online, you have complete control over your pace of play. You can play as fast or as slow as you want. When you gamble in land based casinos, you usually don’t have control over how fast or slow you play, unless you’re playing video poker or another machine based game.

Offsetting the House Edge


While most games have a house edge that’s impossible to overcome, there are a few things you can do to help offset the edge to some degree. The two main things that help offset the house edge are bonuses and comps.

Many online casinos offer bonuses on deposits. These bonuses come with a long list of conditions, but they’re the best way to increase your bankroll. Most of the time you can at least double your starting bankroll with a bonus offer.

Almost every land based casino and some online casinos offer some sort of player’s club. Once you sign up for the player’s club, the casino tracks your play and you earn comps based on the games you play and how much you wager.

Comps come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and range from free meals or free play to free flights and hotel stays or cash back. You should always sign up for the player’s club before you start gambling.

Neither bonuses nor comps eliminate the house edge, but they both help offset it, which in turn helps your bankroll last longer.

Conclusion

The best games for gamblers who don’t want to spend months or years learning the best strategies are blackjack, video poker, baccarat, and craps. These games all offer low house edge and either simple strategies or access to charts that cover the best strategy.

You can start playing these games right now. If you want to have a chance to play with a long term edge and are willing to put in the work, learn as much as you can about poker strategy or card counting.

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Michael Stevens

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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