Casinos are filled with betting opportunities–hundreds of them, in fact.
Some bets are better than others. Some are (roughly) the same.
I realize everyone isn't interested in playing the same games. But almost everyone I know is interested in winning more money.
The main way to accomplish this is to avoid the worst bets in the casino. That's why I've put together a list of 7 casino bets you should never make.
American roulette wheels are the ones with both a double zero space and a single zero space.
French and European roulette wheels don't have double zero spaces. The difference in the house edge between the two is over 2.5%. American roulette wheels have a house edge of 5.26%. The other wheels only have an edge of 2.7%.
It doesn't matter if you place a bet on black, one of the columns, a single number, two numbers, or an odd number, the house edge is the same.
If you lose an average of 5.26% per bet and are betting $100 per spin, you're effectively losing $5.26 every spin. If you play 40 spins per hour, you're giving away over $200 an hour.
The next time you get the urge to play on an American roulette wheel, walk on by and find a better bet elsewhere.
Many casinos have both types of wheels, so ask a casino employee if they have a European or French wheel in a different location.
A hard way bet in craps is a wager that a total will be rolled with doubles. You can place a hard way bet on a total of 4, 6, 8, or 10.
You win a hard way bet on 4 if both dice land on 2. Both dice have to land on 3 for a hard way 6 to win. A roll of two 4's wins a hard way 8 bet and a pair of 5's is the only way to win a 10 hard way wager.
The house edge on the 6 and 8 hard way wagers is over 9% and the edge is over 11% on the 4 and 10 hard way bets.
The other two wagers on the baccarat layout don't offer a bad house edge, but don't let the higher potential pay out of the tie bet fool you. The average house edge is over 14% on the tie wager at baccarat.
This is almost 13% higher than either of the other two possible wagers.
The tie wager on casino war is even worse than the one in baccarat. The war tie has a house edge of over 18.5%. This makes it one of the worst bets you can find in a casino. The only game that offers worse payouts on a regular basis is keno.
The problem is that at least keno only gets drawn a few times an hour and you can play for as little as $1 per draw. Casino war plays much faster and is usually at a higher minimum bet. So you lose more money (on average) per hour than playing keno.
Insurance might seem like a good idea, but it's always a bed bet unless you count cards. Even when you count cards, it's usually a bad bet.
Insurance is a side bet on whether or not the dealer has a 10 valued down card. It doesn't have anything to do with your hand or anyone else's hand.
If the dealer has a 10 as her down card, you get 2 to 1 on your wager. This sounds good, but here's why it's a bad bet:
The deck has 13 different ranked cards of 2 through ace. Four of these cards represent a 10 value; nine of them don't.
In order for a 2 to 1 payout to be a break even bet, you need the odds of the down card being a 10 value card to be 2 to 1. The odds are only 9 to 4, which breaks down to 2.25 to 1.
Most popular video poker machines have the option of playing for one to five coins per hand. The pay charts are laid out showing the possible wins for each coin amount. If you notice, they almost always offer a larger pay out for the top hand if you wager the maximum amount of coins.
Though you rarely hit the top pay out, the higher amount when you do reduces the house edge. By not playing maximum coins you give the casino a higher advantage than necessary.
When you see the expected low edge on a game like Jacks or Better, it's based on playing the maximum coin amount. The difference in payback percentage when playing max coin is 1.24%. Over 600 or so hands per hour, that adds up fast.
This one is probably the worst bet on the list.
Casinos introduce new games all the time looking for the next blackjack or slot machine to take the gambling world by storm.
Most casino players like to try new games, but the problem is you have no idea what the proper strategy is for a new game to reduce the house edge as much as possible, and you have no way to know how big the edge is in the first place.
The difference in blackjack between playing proper strategy and not can be as high as 2 or 3%. This might not seem like much but it quickly adds up.
If you decide to try a new game play for the minimum bet available and make sure you completely understand the rules before playing.
I simply pass on any new game until I learn the best strategy and the house edge.
Slot machines are different. If you're a slots player there's no need to wait. You might never have the opportunity to learn about the house edge and usually you won't be able to alter the outcome using any type of strategy. When you see a new slot machine you want to play jump right in and start playing.
Instead of placing any of the 7 bets listed above, here are a few alternatives that offer a better chance to win.
You can find blackjack games in almost any casino that offer a 1% house edge or less. Pick up a basic strategy card to use at the table so you can keep the edge as low as possible.
The bet on banker at the baccarat table has a small house edge of just over 1%. The best thing about it is you don't have to make any strategy decisions. Just bet on banker and let the dealer do everything else.
Any Bet On European Roulette
While you'll still have a house edge over 2%, it's roughly half the size of the edge when you play American roulette. So if you love the spinning wheel play on a single zero table to have the lowest edge available.
Max Bet On Video Poker
Pick up a strategy card for Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild and find machines with good pay tables. A 9 / 6 Jacks or Better game or a Not So Ugly Ducks Deuces Wild game both offer less than a 1% house edge if you use a strategy card. Just make sure you use the max bet. Don't hesitate to move down to a lower coin amount if you need to make lower wagers.
Learn how to play Texas Hold 'em and you have the chance to play with an edge. You play against the other players instead of against the house. The best way to start is don't play many hands and play at a low level so you don't risk too much as you're learning.
Craps Pass Line
Instead of betting the hard way bets mentioned above, stick with the pass or don't pass line wager. They offer a house edge of around 1.4%, over 7% better than hard way wagers.
Don't make the mistake of placing any of the 7 bets listed above. Each of them will drain your bankroll too fast and they don't give you a fair chance to win.
When you play games like blackjack you have a chance to leave a winner between a quarter and half the time. In the long run you'll still lose, but it's always nice to leave a winner from time to time. This'll almost never happen when you play the hard way craps bets or take the baccarat or war tie bets.