Some people go to a casino to have fun, and only want to play the games they like the most. But if you want to improve your chances of walking away with more money than you went in with, you need an edge. Before you sit down at a table, know which casino games have the best odds so that you can spend your money wisely.
Before you start, know that none of the casino games have good odds for players. There's a reason for the phrase, "The house always wins." Every casino game is designed to give the house a better chance of winning, but some of them are more tilted than others.
The Three Best Casino Games to Play
If you walk into a casino and can't remember the details of this article, keep one thing in mind: you have the best odds of winning at a table game. They may be more intimidating than slots, but they usually work out better for the players.
Here are the three best casino games to play if you want decent odds of winning money:
Blackjack's Odds of Winning: 49%
Blackjack is a simple card game with an element of skill to it. The odds of winning aren't too bad. You play against the dealer; more people can play at one time, but each is only trying to beat the dealer, not each other. The person whose hand comes closest to 21 without going over (which is called a "bust") wins.
Winning blackjack takes luck and a relatively small amount of skill. The dealer relies as much on luck as the players do, so the odds of winning are pretty even. In most casinos, the advantage to the dealer is about one percent.
If you want to brush up on your blackjack skills, check out these Blackjack Tips for Beginners from Business Insider.
Craps' Odds of Winning: Nearly 50 Percent
Craps is a table game played with dice. One person is the "shooter," who rolls the dice, and the other players make wagers on the results of that roll.
On the first roll, called "coming out," the shooter wins on a seven or an eleven. If the shooter rolls any other number, that number is now the "point." The shooter needs to hit the point before he rolls a seven to win.
The simplest bet to make is: Will the shooter win or lose on his roll? You can also place other bets. For example, you can bet that the shooter will hit another number before he rolls a seven.
If you make a "pass line" wager to bet whether or not the shooter will win, your odds are approximately 50/50. If you make more specific bets, your odds of winning drop but your payouts rise.
You can read more about craps strategies and rules in PokerNews.com's Craps for Dummies Guide.
Roulette's Odds of Winning: Nearly 50%
Roulette is a wheel with 38 numbers on it. The numbers 1 - 36 are either red or black and the number 0 (and in American casinos, also 00) in green. The croupier, as a roulette dealer is called, spins the wheel and the ball falls on one of the numbers.
There are several ways to place roulette bets. The simplest is to bet on whether the ball will fall on a red or black piece, which has odds of almost 50/50 ("almost" because of the one or two green tiles at 0 and 00).
You can increase the payout — but lower your odds — by betting on specific numbers or ranges of numbers (like "1 to 12" or "1 to 18").
If you'd like to learn more, check out the Best and Worst Roulette Strategies from RoulettePhysics.com.
Note that the three games with the best odds of winning still have odds that mean that you'll win less than half the time. That means to walk away with more money than you started with, you need a good amount of luck.
The Two Casino Games with the Worst Odds of Winning
The two casino games that are hardest to win also happen to be two of the most popular games to play. They're easy to understand and require little to no skill, so a lot of people play, making lots of money for the casinos.
Now, there's nothing wrong with playing these games if you enjoy them. After all, you went to a casino to have fun, right? But keep in mind that the chances are high that you'll lose the money you play with.
Big Six Wheel/Wheel of Fortune: Odds of Winning: 26% - 39%
When you play the Big Six Wheel, you bet on whether the wheel will stop on a segment labeled $1, $5, $10, $20, or a joker. The segment that the wheel stops on is the amount you'll receive if you win.
Placing a $1 bet has the best odds of winning, with only an 11 Percent edge for the house, but also the worst payout. The Joker offers a 36x payout but has a 24 percent edge for the house.
Slots: Odds of Winning Around 1 in 49,836,032
You play slots by putting money into a slot machine and pulling a lever or pushing a button to spin a wheel. Depending on where the wheel lands, you win or lose.
Slot machines have various odds of winning, and the odds are printed on each machine. Be sure to read them before you select a machine to play.
Generally, the more money you need to spend to play, the better your odds of winning are. You may also have better odds of winning smaller payouts than a jackpot prize.
If you want more tips, check out this Strategy for Winning at Slots.
The Wildcard — Odds Are Hard to Calculate
There is one casino game where the odds are wildly variable because skill plays as large a part in winning as luck does:
Poker: Odds Vary Dramatically
Poker is a game where you have more control over whether you'll win or not. Luck plays a role, since you receive random cards, but how you play those cards does a lot to determine whether you win or not.
Obviously, playing poker at a casino is a very different beast than playing at home with your friends. You will be up against other players who may be total beginners or vicious sharks.
If you want to win money playing poker at a casino, make sure your skills are good before you start. Then find a table that meets your budget and skill level.
UpswingPoker.com recommends playing at night, when there may be more recreational players and when the drinks have been flowing for a while.
These tips will help you make informed bets at a casino, but remember that the house always has the advantage. The more often you bet, the higher your chances of losing are.
There's a difference between not winning and being a loser. You can enjoy a casino and accept that it will cost you some money to be there. After all, you'll spend money if you go to an amusement park, too.
But be sure to walk into the casino with a firm budget of how much money you are willing to lose, and never let yourself cross that boundary.
Furthermore, be aware of the warning signs of gambling addiction and know how to get help, if necessary.