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Which Casino Games Have the Best Odds?

When you hit the casino floor or log onto a virtual, online casino, and the casino in question is at all worth its salt, you will be confronted with a wide variety of games on offer. You may already have your favorites and might know exactly which ones you want to play, but the truth is not all casino games are created equal in terms of the odds they offer. 

Before going any further, it should be said that playing casino games with the express intent of making money, especially serious money, is a fool’s errand. Aside from poker and e-sports tournaments and the like, casino games are literally built to make sure that you lose in the long-term. The phrase “the house always wins” is a cliche because it is true. The more you play any of these games, the more likely it is that you will lose money and if you play both for a while and for a lot of money, you may well find yourself in huge trouble. 

This doesn’t mean that you necessarily should play casino games (though you absolutely shouldn’t if you’re a gambling addict of any sort) or even that you shouldn’t want to win a few bucks doing so, but your first and primary purpose when visiting a casino should be to have some fun and enjoy a night out. Obviously you don’t have that “night out” aspect with an online casino, so it’s especially risky if you don’t practice responsible gambling, but the basic idea remains the same: play for fun and if you happen to win, great.

What this means is that the first thing you should be looking for with casino games is which one you will enjoy most, not which one will pay out the most. But if you are looking to maximize your chance of winning at least something, which you probably would if you don’t find losing to be tons of fun, here’s a list of some of the most common casino games from those with the absolute worst odds to the best.

 

Slots

 

 

Look, there’s no two ways about this: the only reason to play the slots is if you happen to enjoy it and/ or want your budget to last as long as possible. Slots are by far the cheapest casino games of them all and they pay out just enough to keep you glued to them for hours, even within a tight budget. 

If, however, you’re looking to actually come out on top, you have to keep your gameplay as short as possible and to quit the minute you find yourself ahead. You absolutely, one-thousand percent should not play with any hopes of winning the progressive jackpot as the odds for this could be as low as 50 million to 1 depending on the jackpot and the casino. 

Smaller winnings actually have much more decent odds to them, with the specific odds varying from machine to machine. There is one statistic that you should be very beware of, though, and that’s the payout rate: this simply means the amount of times it will payout something rather than nothing. Even if this is 75% to the high 90s like it is in some online casinos, remember that this more likely means that you will win 10c on the dollar with each spin, on average, which obviously will leave you very much out of budget by the end of the night. Which is why if you suddenly find yourself, say, $20 up on a $100 budget, you should probably leave the slots area immediately.

Again, if you don’t have any intention of winning and for some reason enjoy the actual gameplay of slots then feel free to stick around, but keep your eyes on your budget.

Slots are the main source of income for casinos for a reason. Approach with severe caution.

 

Big Six Wheel/ Wheel of Fortune

 

Big wheel of fortune spinning

 

The second worst game you can play at a casino in terms of odds is definitely the Big Six Wheel or, as it is more popularly known, the Wheel of Fortune. Your odds of winning range between 26 and 49 percent and the house advantage is a whopping 10%.

The thing is, though, that very, very few people play this game expecting to win much – which they often do with slots, despite that game having much worse odds. This is arguably THE game for casual casino goers. It’s bright, it’s fun, and it has a gigantic wheel spinning around that with that immortal click-clack sound of it slowing down as it slowly, and tooth-bitingly comes to rest on the winning number. 

You can play plenty of rounds by keeping your bets to $1 or $2, but you can also be more adventurous and play the $10, $20 or Joker bets with their lower odds and higher payouts. But no “serious” gambler would waste their money here, and for good reason. It’s super entertaining but it almost definitely won’t pay out on the long haul.

 

Roulette

 

Close up of roulette table

 

Roulette, like the above games, is one of pure chance. It’s a game where the player has absolutely no control on the outcome and doesn’t even get to decide when to hit or stand, like in blackjack. And yet, weirdly enough, though it has some of the worst odds of any game outside of the slots, it also has hands down some of the best too.

Betting on a certain number gives you very low chances, as it is, by definition, 38 to 1 in the USA and 37 to 1 elsewhere as there are 36 red and black numbers and a green zero (and in the US a green 00) on the wheel. Betting on a corner or a row, on the other hand, gives you much better odds as you’re selecting a group of numbers with the ball only needing to land on one of them. 

The best odds by far, though, is to play red/ black or odds/ evens. Neither of these are 50/50 odds as the green zero (and the green 00 in the US) gives the house a small advantage of 2 to 4 percent, but they’re the closest you will find. Their payouts are only 1:1, of course, but that makes sense considering how good the odds are.

 

Craps  

 

Players rolling a dice

 

When it comes to odds, craps is just as good or bad a game to play as roulette. Again, there are bets with low odds and high payouts, but there are also some near 50/50 bets that cautious players will be on. But this isn’t too surprising because though the bets seem more complicated than in roulette, they actually work by the same principle. The only difference here is that rather than the dealer spinning the roulette wheel, you or another player get to dice what will hopefully be the winning numbers.

 

 

The minimum bets for this tend to be a bit higher than roulette and it’s a much less newbie-friendly game, but it’s a terrific alternative that’s also one of the most glamorous games on the floor. It’s also the best for socializing so as long as you have a big enough budget and you have spent a bit of time learning how to play, this is one of the best choices for seasoned casino guests.

 

Baccarat

 

King of clubs

 

This trickier cousin of blackjack is definitely the second best game to play in terms of odds. It is a more complicated game than blackjack in many ways, but in most versions of the game, you also don’t have to know how to play the cards to win. That’s because the way it works is that you’re not betting on playing your cards, exactly, but between three possible hands: the dealer’s hand winning, the player’s hand winning or a tie. 

Betting on a tie has pretty lousy odds (though a higher payout), but betting on the other two possibilities brings with it very nearly 50/50 odds and a 1:1 payout. This is obvious, based on the fact that there are only three outcomes, with one of those outcomes being very unlikely. The house advantage on the two winning hands is 1.01 to 1.24 percent for the dealer’s and player’s, respectively. You will have noticed that the dealer has a lower house advantage, which is why it comes with a 5% (or so) fee when you win on it.

Either way, these are excellent odds, even better than betting on red or black on roulette. It’s also a fun game to play, especially on tables with lower minimum bets, as you will probably be able to play a number of rounds without too much risk.

 

The Best: Blackjack  

 

Hand of blackajck

 

Unsurprisingly, then, the big winner here is blackjack. As long as you know what you’re doing. This is because it’s the only game here over which you have direct control. If you know how to play your cards optimally by knowing exactly when to hit, stand, double or split to maximize your odds of winning, you will be up against a meagre 0.5% house advantage. Between the extremely low house advantage and the fact that it’s a casino game that you actually get to play, not just to bet on, it’s no surprise at all that blackjack is by far the most popular casino game outside of slots with most casinos having numerous blackjack tables with wildly varying minimum bets.

 

The one catch, though, is that the house advantage is only low if you know what you’re doing. The less you know how to play optimally the worst you’ll do and the exponentially higher that house advantage becomes. Playing optimally or even just close to optimally, though, isn’t actually particularly difficult and between building experience and spending a couple of minutes on Google learning what to do, you can become an optimal blackjack player in no time.

Just beware, though, that blackjack can be quite an expensive game and you can lose a lot of money in very little time. Play responsibly and play smart, though, and you should be in for arguably the best experience on the casino floor.

 

Special Mention: Poker

 

People playing blackjack

 

Eagle-eyed readers probably noticed that I didn’t include in this list the most famous casino game of them all: poker. And this isn’t just because poker is as often as not, not played on the casino floor, let alone in a casino at all. Though that’s part of it. The main reason is because poker is actually as much a game of skill as it is of luck. Even just looking at the basic cards you’re dealt, the odds vary wildly from hand to hand, all depending on what you’re dealt and what others are dealt, but the main reason not to include it is that as long as you’re playing against other players, the odds just aren’t anywhere near as important as how you play your cards, how good your “poker face” is, and how good you are at reading and psyching out your opponents.

Admittedly, there is a table version of the game that you might find on the casino floor, but because it loses so much of what makes poker so worth playing, it’s more of a footnote to this list than a contender. If you want to play poker, the best way to play, both in terms of enjoyment and totally annihilating even the worst odds, is to play it properly with others, be it in friendly games played with friends or a regular poker group that tends to be played for nickels, or in professional poker cash games or tournaments when you can win very big, but only if you’re as good as you are lucky.

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