As varied as they may be, there is one thing that every casino table game has in common: they all come with a house edge. This, put simply, is the degree to which gamblers are likely to lose their money over time to the casino.
It’s true that some table games proffer more favourable odds in this respect than others. That in mind, here are the best casino table games that give you the best bang for your buck.
The seemingly complicated setup of craps, combined with the somewhat intimidating arena in which it’s played, is often enough to make many casinogoers (novice and seasoned alike) give it a wide berth.
This is a great shame really, as along with being a genuinely thrilling game to play, craps can offer some of the best odds around. Indeed, even inexperienced punters playing a fairly rudimentary game can knock the house’s edge down from a standard 5% to an enticing 1-1.5% with the right approach.
While there are numerous ways to do this (including mastering the ever-popular PASS and DON’T PASS bets), betting behind the pass line – also called an ODDS side bet – is often the key as the house edge for this is 0%. That’s right, the casino has absolutely no advantage when this bet is made.
Moreover, some casinos will allow up to 100x odds when betting behind the pass line so it has the potential to be hugely lucrative if your luck’s in.
If you want to avoid the rowdiness of craps, then why not try the most sedate and elegant game on the floor: baccarat. Perhaps because of its long-standing association with James Bond, baccarat enjoys a somewhat sophisticated reputation, something that possibly puts off as many punters as it turns on.
The truth is, though, baccarat isn’t a sophisticated affair at all, it’s just a straight-up game of chance that offers some really favourable odds, even to unskilled players. There are only three outcomes that can be bet on in baccarat: the player wins; the banker wins, or it’s a tie.
The casino’s edge on the banker bet is just over 1%. However, this comes with a hefty 5% commission attached that needs to be paid to the casino if a player wins by betting on the banker. The house edge on the player bet is around 1.25%, although no commission is levied on this wager.
The casino edge on a tie is more than 14% so it’s not worth bothering with. Thus, there are really only two bets to make: banker or player. So baccarat is essentially a coin toss, albeit beguilingly elegant one.
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The real beauty of blackjack from a gambler’s point of view is its relative simplicity. A simple game to play and, if you’re even just a little bit savvy, an easy game to pull the house edge right down with.
While an average punter (someone who thinks getting as close to 21 as possible is the goal) is likely to face a house edge of around 2%, a smart player (someone who’s only trying to beat the dealer) using basic strategy can get the odds down as low as 0.5% – the lowest of any table game.
It’s important to note that the house edge will only go this low when playing European blackjack, where one or two decks of cards are utilised. Do yourself a favour and keep away from American blackjack – where six to eight standard decks are used – if you have the choice.