When you step inside a casino or log onto one online, do you feel excited? Overwhelmed? Most people feel a little of both. For new players, all of the lights and games, the exotic wagers, and the noise can also be a little intimidating. We all want to be the self assured gambler, making the smart bets and beating the casino in true James Bond fashion, right?
While this article will not turn you into an expert casino busting gambler, it will show you five of the best bets you can make in a casino, online or off. These bets all have a very low house edge, and best of all, they take zero thinking on the part of the player. So you can toss your chips in and look like you know what you are doing. If you are playing live, you won’t have to worry about looking like a newbie or slowing down the game for everyone else. If you are playing online, you can have the satisfaction that your bets are almost coin flip, even money wagers.
Tip! Combine these low house edge bets with a no deposit casino bonus. Nothing beats practicing with the house’s money, eh?
Baccarat – Betting on the Banker
Baccarat looks like a complicated game. The premise is simple though. You bet on either the banker, dealer or a tie. The cards are dealt, and whoever has the highest point total, up to a 9, wins.
Betting on the banker is the best bet. Many players do not want to bet the banker, because a commission, usually 5%, is taken from the winning wagers. Even with the 5% commission, the house edge is only 1.06%. That means that if you wagered $100, you could expect to only lose $1.06 to the house.
Be careful, however. Many casinos will round up to the nearest quarter. If they allow small wagers like $1, then your commission on a winning bet is 25% (you keep 3 quarters and they keep 1, ouch!). If the bankers commission is 5%, then you want to make at least $5 bets so that the commission of 5% is truly just 5% of your winning bets.
Baccarat – Betting on the Player
If you do not want to worry with commission or want to make smaller bets, then bet on the Player. The house edge for this wager is only 1.24%, so on $100 worth of bets, you will only expect to lose around $1.24. There is no commission on this bet and each win is paid out 1 to 1, so if you bet $1 on the player cards and win, you will get your $1 back, plus $1 in winnings. The house edge is created by the hand drawing rules in place, much like blackjack.
I should note that betting on the Tie is not a good bet! Though the payoff is attractive, paying 8 to 1 or even 9 to 1, the house edge is significantly higher. If the tie bet pays 9:1, you are giving up almost a 5% house edge. If the payout is 8:1, then the house edge is a fat 14%.
You do not need to know a thing about the game to make the Banker, Player and Tie bets. Just choose one of the three and place your bet. For those of you interested, the game is similar to blackjack, but with 8 or 9 being the magic numbers. If you want to know how the cards are counted, send me an email and I’ll be happy to give you a quick explanation.
Craps – Betting the Don’t Pass Line
The craps table can be intimidating. There are so many bets you can make on this game! The Don’t Pass line is the best bet you can make at this table, and it takes no skill or strategy.
Players who are somewhat familiar with lucky dice numbers know that 7 and 11 are winners, and “snake eyes”, double 1’s are the losers. However, when betting the Don’t Pass line, we are actually betting against the shooter (the guy who rolls the dice). Here is how it shakes out:
1. You put your $1 on the Don’t Pass Line
2. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you lose.
3. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, you win even money!
4. If the shooter rolls a 12, it is considered a “push” and you get your $1 bet back.
If the shooter rolls any other number (4,5,6,8,9 or 10), that becomes what is called the “point”. The shooter continues to roll until one of the following happens.
1. If the shooter rolls the point value, you lose your bet.
2. If the shooter rolls a 7 before he rolls the point, you win!
Your $1 bet has two chances of winning here, and the house edge on the Don’t Pass Line is only 1.36%. If you bet $100, you would expect to lose only $1.36
A word of caution. Betting the “Don’t Pass” line in a live casino may get you some hateful looks. You are betting against the shooter rolling a magical 7 or 11, and when you win, it means most everyone else is losing. When you are playing online, however, it does not matter a bit.
Craps – Betting the Pass Line
The Pass Line bet on the craps table is not a bad bet either. The house edge is only 1.41%, losing you only $1.41, on average, when wagering $100 over time. Let’s look at how our slender $1 chip fairs when placing this wager:
1. You place your $1 on the Pass Line
2. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, you win even money!
3. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, you lose your bet.
4. If the shooter rolls a 12, its a push and you get your dollar back.
If the shooter rolls anything else, 4,5,6,8,9, or 10, then that becomes the shooter’s “point”, and he continues to roll. If you made the Pass Line bet, then:
1. If the shooter rolls the point value, you win!
2. If the shooter rolls a 7 before he rolls the point value, you lose.
If you are playing in a live casino and venture over to the craps table, then this is definitely the bet to be making! If you are a lucky shooter rolling those magical 7’s and 11’s, you can bet people will be buying you drinks and passing you the dice. Craps is a very social game, so betting the Pass Line along with everyone else, will let you fit right in and celebrate the lucky numbers along with most everyone else.
How about all of those other bets you can make at Craps? Most of them are sucker bets, with the exception of “taking odds”. If you really want to cut down the house edge, then combine the Don’t Pass line with Odds, and the casino will truly hate you if you go on a nice tear. Making the Odds bet is not all that complicated, and if you are interested, I’d be happy to give you a quick run down of how it works. I am a short email away. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blackjack – Using a Good Hit/Stand Chart
If you are a math whiz and find a casino that is completely ignorant, then you can put them out of business by card counting. However, pretty much all casinos have safeguards in place to make card counting ineffective, and the vast, vast majority of us do not have the intelligence or patience to be an expert card counter, so blackjack is a negative expectation game over the long haul.
However, by using a good blackjack cheat sheet, that shows you when you hit and when to stand, etc., a savvy player can reduce the house edge significantly. Using basic blackjack strategy is easy for online players, and under the right set of rules, the house edge can be as low as .5%! It is almost a true coin flip when you are only losing a couple of quarters, after wagering $100!
Using a blackjack strategy chart takes no skill at all. Simply look at your hand, do the math and then follow the instructions.
If you are in a live casino, they should not care if you are using a cheat sheet on when to hit or stand. In fact, some casinos may even provide you one on request. They know they are still getting the edge, and will win over the long haul. That being said, you might feel a little foolish with your pocket blackjack chart in hand. My suggestion? Play online until you are comfortable making most of the decisions without needing the chart. Then you can look like the pro at the table next time you are in Vegas.
Finally, do yourself a favor and practice these low house edge bets with the casino’s money, online first. Simply choose from our extensive list of free casino bonuses that are awarded for registering an account, and then give these bets a try.