The Easiest Casino Games to Play

What makes a casino game easy to play? There are there three ways to judge these games: how easy it is to win money, how simple the rules are, and how few actions the player must make to play the game (also called "game mechanics"). Before we can decide on which games are the easiest, let's take a look at how these three factors are used in designing casino games.

Easy Wins for the Money

You will no doubt have noticed that some games pay more often than others. But some games pay less than others, too. You are seeing the effect of variance. Think of variance as the statistical probability that a win or loss will fall within a certain range (typically the Standard Deviation) of values. The larger this range, the larger the variance.

A quick way of estimating a game's variance is to look at the range of prizes it pays. If it has some big jackpots it has a larger variance. The larger the variance the longer it should take for, say, 100 of those biggest jackpots to be paid out. You might win 2 jackpots in a row on a slot machine, but 100? That's not going to happen.

Many gamblers say the best game to play is Blackjack because the house edge is so low (about 2% in most versions) and the game calls for some skill from the player. Baccarat offers a lower house edge (about 1.05%) but you as the player are just betting that cards will fall a certain way.

Simple Rules for Simple Games

The old slot machines had pretty simple rules. You pulled a handle and watched the three reels spin around. Then if 3 symbols of the same kind all lined up in the middle you won some sort of prize. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

The truth is that those slot machines were playing with far more slots than you knew. About half of the slots were represented by blank parts of the reels. For many years, players were shown "near misses" that were, in fact, complete misses. Slot machines now have to show you a symbol in every spot that stops on a pay line.

Older slots games are still pretty simple. You spin the reels and let the machines decide if the symbols line up in a winning combination on some sort of pay line.

Scratch off games also have simple rules. These games work against pools of money contributed by the players. The casinos just take a percentage of the money and redistribute the rest among a finite number of scratch off games. It's just pure random luck that determines if you get one of the better prizes.

Game Mechanics Make for Exciting but Confusing Play

Any casino game where you roll the dice introduces a level of game mechanics beyond simply placing your bet. Some players believe they have skill at rolling the dice, or maybe just very good luck. The casinos establish table rules that ensure the dice must hit a distant surface before they come to rest, to minimize the chance a player can actually influence how the dice will fall.

Over the past few years slot machines have added bonus rounds that require players to interact with the machines. You could be picking random boxes or shooting alien monsters. You may have to target something or just touch the screen. Slot games are adding mechanics to game play, making things more exciting but more complicated.

Which are the Easiest Casino Games to Play?

In no particular order of preference, here are the easiest casino games you can play.

Older slot machines with fewer prizes and low jackpots: Place your bet, spin the reels, and watch the game play itself out. However, all slot machines are programmed to converge on a theoretical return to player over time. This is defined as the percent of bets taken in that are paid back as prizes over some long period of time. Surveys have shown that some casinos set the RTP as low as 60%. The more competitive casinos may pay RTPs as high as 90-98%. The machines have to be physically reconfigured to pay different RTPs.

Older slot machines may only be easy to understand and play, but they may not pay the best return to player.

Baccarat is almost like playing slots with cards: In Baccarat the dealer takes care of the game mechanics and enforces the rules. All you do is bet on whether your card beats the dealer's cards, his cards beat yours, or they work out evenly. Like with slot machine games, you're just betting on random chance. You can learn to count cards in Baccarat but the casino may ask you to stop playing if they see you are any good at counting cards.

Pai Gow Poker is almost like playing Blackjack with Poker cards: In Pai Gow poker you play against the dealer, just as in Blackjack. The dealer and each player get 7 cards which are arranged into a 5-card hand a 2-card hand. You win if both your hands are better than the dealer's, you lose if both your hands are worse than the dealer's, and it's an even game if you each have one better hand.

Although the ultimate goal of Pai Gow Poker is simpler than Blackjack's, the rules governing the hands in Pai Gow are more complicated than in Blackjack. Pai Gow is easier than playing poker against a table full of experienced card players.

Roulette is the easiest of the common table games: When you look at Chuck-a-Luck, Roulette, Craps, and Wheel of Fortune, the odds are more in your favor and the rules are simpler with Roulette. And it has safe bets that pay almost even money. The house edge in single-zero roulette is the lowest. You place your bet, the croupier spins the wheel, and you win or lose. You win more often with low-paying bets and the odds are spelled out for you on the table.