Want to know what the best and worst odds for casino games are?
When it comes to taking a punt at the casino, it’s not obvious what kind of chances each game offers. Placing a bet at the bookies is more straightforward, odds are calculated for sports and race markets that give punters an idea of how likely any outcome is. However, with a dizzying range of games available to play at the casino, how do you know what kind of odds you are playing with?
In this guide we take a look at the odds of some of the most common games you can pay at a casino so you can play with the knowledge of which offer the best chances of winning.
Knowing the ‘House Edge’
The ‘house edge’ is a term used to describe the advantage that any casino has on a particular game. It is based on the almost mathematical certainty that the house will always come up smelling of roses….as long as punters pay long enough. And this is one of the first keys to being successful at the casino; knowing when to walk away. If you have made a big win at any one of these games then your chances of repeating it are slim so it is always to your advantage if you pocket your winnings, get up from the table (or machine) and simply walk away.
All casino games have their own odds of winning but payouts don’t always match the winning odds and this is referred to as the ‘house edge’. The greater the house edge, the less you will win irrespective of the odds. These two factors combined make decided which games to play a lot easier if you want to max out on your potential winnings.
For example, the chances of picking the right number in a standard game of European roulette is 1 in 37 (36 numbered black and red pockets and the green zero) yet the house payout is generally 35 to 1. This means the house will naturally profit.
So, remember the higher the house edge the faster you will lose money and the faster you lose money, the less chance you have of winning it back; the house edge combined with time played making casinos one of the most profitable businesses in the world.
Getting your Own Edge
So, we know that the casino has the upper hand in all games with varying degrees of advantage. In some games, this remains reasonably constant with the inevitability of chance playing in their favour. However, in games of skill you can increase your odds by boning up on how to play the games as well as formulating an optimum strategy.
Even in games of chance you can increase your potential wins by adopting a combination betting approach. Like spread betting, such a strategy can increase the number of ways you can win.
Casino Games with the Best and Worst Odds
House edges can vary by casino, by game and even by play within a game but we’ve put together a simple guide to give you some idea of the best and worst odds when playing in a casino in Australia.
Just remember that the house edge only increases with inexperienced play or a poor strategy.
House Edge: 2.63 % (return of 97.4%)
The American Roulette features 36 numbered pockets and two green zero pockets, ‘0’ and ’00’ which can make your chances of getting a straight win just 37 to 1. European Roulette is similar but with a single zero pocket.
Other bets include selecting a colour, odds and evens or from a column of numbers; these can reduce your odds significantly but also payout less.
You can increase your chances by laying combination bets such as choosing a colour and a column; this gives you the potential to double your payout on a lucky spin. As long as you stay within the minimum table limits this kind of approach can pay off.
House Edge: 1.4 % (return of 98.6%) up to 16%+ (returns of under 84%)
The key to beating the house edge in craps is to carefully select your bets (duh, you think?). Hear us out. Of course, with any form of gambling, the longer the odds the better the potential payout but with craps, the house edge is low on a lot of bet types which can make it one of the best games to play in the casino.
Just remember that, like Roulette, Craps is a game of chance rather than skill meaning you have little control over the end results.
House Edge: 2-3% (return of 97-98%)
Partially a game of skill but with a lot of chance thrown in, Blackjack may seem to offer good odds with 0.5% often mooted for many tables.
However, the house always has the advantage in a game of Blackjack because the punter draws first meaning the chances of winning on the basis of a player going bust is increased.
The chances of winning in Blackjack comes down to a probability of 46% depending on your skill and your luck.
House Edge: 5%-15% (return of 85%-95%)
Every state has different regulations on the payouts on their machines and these can vary on a sliding scale depending on the machine. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a machine to payout $90 for every $100 paid in. This means that if you were to play for long enough, you will always walk away with less than you put in and when you do win, it’s prudent to walk away.
Regular pokie players are known to shark other machines, carefully watching how much each is being ‘fed’ before sniping them sniping them when they are ripe.
House Edge: Less than 1% (returns of over 99%)
Video Poker is a game of skill and though there is a small house edge built in, this can be eradicated and even reversed if you play a good strategy.
For professional gamblers, playing at a full pay game, video poker offers the chance to walk away with good winnings.
Housed Edge: 1.06% up to 14.36%
Like Craps, Baccarat can offer some good odds depending on the type of bets you make, and an optimised strategy can see the house edge reduced ot just over 1%. However, compared with craps, the odds in Baccarat are generally higher and are more so for inexperienced players.
House Edge: Up to 25%
Like the lottery, Keno offers the chance to secure some huge payouts, but the advantage lies entirely with the house. In fact, Keno has one of the worst odds in the casino yet still attracts large numbers of players; each convinced that they are ‘due’ a win.
If you enjoy playing the game then fine but if you are in it to win it, pick any other game but Keno.
House Edge: 1.5% to 2.84% (returns of up to 98.5%)
Pai Gow is a game of strategy and chance and can offer some great odds particularly if you know what you are doing. If you can bank, then your chances are significantly increased and the house edge is reduced to around 1.5%.
The bonus payouts in Pai Gow are part of what makes the game attractive and, depending on the size of your bet and your hand, you can win big. Whilst straights generally payout at 2 to 1, a straight flush can be 50 to 1 or a 7 card straight flush with no joker banks you 8000 to 1.
House Edge: 2.78% up to 16.2% (potential returns of lower than 83.8%)
Similar to Craps, Sic Bo is a dice game of chance where wins are made by selecting the outcome of the rolling of three dice. The probability of winning in Sic Bo ranges from 0.4% up to 48% depending on the type of bet you make.
Payouts also vary with the higher payouts being on the least likely outcomes (180 to 1 on a triple roll).
Jackpot vs House Edge
The last thing to consider is the potential wins vs the statistical advantage the house has over you. Many people counter that whilst Keno and pokies offer less chance of winning, the potential gains are much bigger. That is true and whilst you can get lucky and turn $1 into thousands on just one spin, you’d have to spend a minimum of $10 at a blackjack table to potentially turn it into $20.
The consideration is twofold; how much fun you are having playing and for how long vs how much you are winning (or losing). Slots can deplete your cash just as fast as a table game can and you can win big money on a winning streak vs a single jackpot which may have cost you significant sums to reach it.
You know the odds and you know the potential gains so the decisions on which games to play are yours, just remember to always know your limits and when to walk away; when the fun stops, stop.
Featured image via Pixabay.