It's hard to make a list of the "worst" of anything. Most people would agree that The Godfather, Part Three was the worst of the Godfather trilogy – but I know younger people who enjoy it because it's the most modern of the three films. What we're talking about here is subjectivity. One man's trash is another man's treasure and all that. Generally-speaking, the simpler a game is, the longer its odds.
The games listed here are among the worst of all time because they're designed to bleed your bankroll dry in a short amount of time. These are the games and wagers with the highest house edge. They may be a lot of fun, but if your goal is to play games that give the casino the smallest possible advantage, you should avoid them at all costs.
Keno's house edge is usually printed as 25%. That means the casino wins a quarter of every dollar you bet on the game. But that's not the whole truth – depending on the rules of the game and how you play, you could be giving the house an edge of as much as 35%. The only regulated game I know of that offers worse odds would be the lottery, but at least some of your lottery losses are going to charity.
Keno isn't one of the worst casino games just because it's a huge money-maker for the casino. It's also an awful game. Basically, players pick numbers and hope that they match the numbers drawn by the casino. Its part bingo, part lottery drawing, and it moves at the speed of cold molasses compared to other casino games.
If you MUST play keno, stick to video versions. These games have slightly better odds. Just make sure to pace yourself – video keno has drawings every few minutes, compared to a few times an hour for the live game. Don't give up your odds advantage by over-playing.
Casino War is another of the worst casino games in the world – like keno, I'm putting it on the list for multiple reasons.
Bad odds. One of Casino War's three wagers, which pays 10 to 1 if the first two cards in a set are a tie, gives the casino an edge of more than 18%. That makes this bet about on-par with the long odds available on keno. The game's other wagers aren't nearly as dangerous to your bankroll – the house has an edge of about 8% against you overall, which isn't as bad as 18%, but is still far too much for my money.
The second reason this is one of the world's worst games is more important in my opinion. Casino War is a boring game. It's based on the old children's game that we all played before we knew what poker was. Basically, you place a bet, then the dealer lays out your card and his card. If your card is higher, you win even money. If your card is lower, you lose.
The final reason I loathe this game – not only does it give the house a huge edge, but it's the fastest game in the casino. A good dealer and an active player could easily get in 40 or 50 hands per hour. Combine that fast pace with a hefty edge, and you see why this bankroll-drainer made this list.
Okay, so this isn't a specific game, per se. But side bets in blackjack are so awful, I just had to put them on this list. Let's take a look at some popular blackjack side wagers and their odds for an idea of why you should never take these dangerous wagers:
21 + 3 – This bonus bet pays out based on the value of the three-card poker hand formed from the player's two upcards and the dealer's first card. If those three cards form a flush or better, you win a payout of 9:1. House edge is 3.2%, or about fifteen times worse than a standard blackjack bet.
Over/Under 13 – A bet placed on whether the sum of the player's first two cards is either over or under 13. The edge for the over bet is 6.5%, but it's the edge on the under bet that should really surprise you – a whopping 10%.
Super Sevens – Players are paid out based on the number of 7's in their hand. Three suited 7's leads to a payout of 5,000:1. The house edge on this bet is 12.6%, or about 45 times worse than the standard game.
Bonus Blackjack – A bet on whether or not the player and dealer will both get a blackjack. If the bet is placed, and two blackjacks occur, the payout is usually progressive. This popular online side bet is now available at casinos in America, and it gives the house an edge of 24%. At that point, you'd be better off playing video keno.
Not all slot machines are among the worst casino games ever. Slots have varying payout percentages that make it impossible to say that all slots across the board are bad games. Having said that, some titles in the slot banks of Vegas and Atlantic City are long-odds affairs that are best avoided altogether. Many penny slots give casinos an edge of 10% or more. Here's a quick guide to picking the slots least likely to empty your wallet:
That jackpot has to be built from somewhere, right? That somewhere just happens to be the bets of all the suckers that came before you.
I'm not trying to tell you what denomination to play – but if you're looking for slots with a low house edge, they tend to require low-to-mid-range pay-ins.
These cards were designed for slot players. They earn you comps. Those comps are the casino's way of paying you back all the cash you've handed over to them. Use this card every time you play a slot to increase the value of your time at the slot machine.
You may not see much Sic Bo in the US, since it's a favorite in Macau and other parts of the Asian gambling scene. It's available, though. All the big casinos in Vegas and Atlantic City are home to at least one table. It's also one of the worst games in the casino.
Sic Bo's house edge varies wildly, between 3% and 34%. The game is played with three dice and there's a ton of betting options for the outcome of each dice roll. The two most basic bets – small and big – are a decent wager compared to other casino games, with a house edge of just under 3%. But that's where the decent odds stop.
The worst bet in the game is the Double bet. This is a wager that two of any specific number will appear on the next roll. It gives the casino an edge of 34%, making it about on par with the worst keno games.
I don't knock Sic Bo as a game – it's a fascinating blend of roulette and craps and it moves pretty fast. If you can stick to the big and small bets, you aren't facing that hefty of a house edge. But then again, who would want to spend all day placing those same two bets over and over?
Sometimes called Big Six Wheel or any of a dozen other cutesy names, the Wheel of Fortune is the simplest game in the casino. If you've been paying attention, you know that also means it's one of the worst to play in terms of odds.
This game's main prop is a big vertical wheel marked with numbers or prize amounts. The purpose of the game is to wager on the number you think the wheel stops on. The payouts are based on the number, for simplicity's sake. If you bet on 5, your payout will be 5 to 1, etc.
The edge on these games ranges from 11% to 25%, depending on how you bet and the specific rules of the game you're playing. Yes, it's an entertaining game, and you can win a good deal of money, and it's a favorite of people who don't like gambling and all that. But at those long odds, you'd probably have more fun playing a casino-style poker game or even keno. If you're going to burn money, why not have fun while doing it?
You may choose to play some of the above games or place some of the above bets just for fun. That's totally acceptable. It's easy to forget that casino gambling is a form of entertainment. If you get a kick out of playing keno or spinning the Wheel of Fortune, go for it. So long as you're having fun and not betting the rent money, more power to you. Just know that you're going to lose money even faster than you would with other casino titles.