Casino Game Odds

If you are a first time visitor to Las Vegas, you may ask yourself “What is the best casino game to play”. What you really want to know is what is the best game so that I have a decent chance of winning. There are many games to choose from and the purpose of this blog post is to describe the different games and help you make the best decision for you.

Slot Machines

Slot machines are everywhere and they are so easy to play. The charm of these games is that you don’t have to learn how to play. Just insert your money and pull the handle or push the spin button. The problem with slot machines is that there is no strategy involved and there is no way to calculate what the house advantage is for these games.

Video Poker

Video Poker is a type of slot machines that is better to play. However, to take advantage of video poker you need to learn the strategy for the type of game you wish to play. With correct strategy there are some games available that have a house advantage of less than 1% and even others that a player can win at over the long-term. For example: 9/6 jacks or better video poker has a house edge of only 0.46% with perfect strategy.

Roulette

Roulette is a simple game where you choose to place bets on either a single number or a range of numbers, the colors red or black, or if the number is odd or even. The winner is determined by where the ball falls on the roulette wheel. Roulette wheels typically have 37 (european) or 38 (american) numbers. Because this game is so simple to play the house advantage is quite large. For roulette wheels with a green 0 and a green 00 the house advantage is 5.26%. If you can find roulette wheels with only a single green 0 the house advantage is 2.70%.

Craps

Craps DiceCraps is a dice game where the outcome is determined by the roll of a pair of dice. There are many bets than can be made on a craps table. The best bets are to bet only on the pass/don’t pass line and the come/don’t come line. The house edge for betting the pass/come is 1.41% and for the don’t pass/don’t come is 1.36%. There are many other bets that can range up to a house advantage exceeding 10%. Craps is easy to learn and has decent odds if you stick to only playing the pass and come lines.

Blackjack

Blackjack is the game that probably has more books written about it than any other game (with the exception of the recent poker explosion). The goal of blackjack is to have your card total exceed the total of the dealer without going over 21. With proper basic strategy the house edge for blackjack can be reduced to less then 0.50%. Blackjack is a pretty easy game to learn but it does take some time to learn proper strategy.

What is the Best Casino Game to Play in Las Vegas?

Here is a table summarizing the games:

Game Ease to Learn Proper Strategy House Advantage
Slot Machine Easy (no strategy involved) Unknown
Video Poker Hard (many different games to learn) Can be less than 1.00%
Roulette Easy (no strategy) 2.70% – 5.26%
Craps Easy (bet the pass/come lines only) 1.41%
Blackjack Medium (takes some practice) Usually less than 0.50%

My 2 recommendations are:

  1. If you want to play a decent game and do not want to take the time to learn proper strategy then play craps betting only the pass/come lines
  2. If you want to spend a little time learning strategy, play blackjack

I hope this blog post has been helpful. Please comment with any questions you have.

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