A night at the casino can be an expensive but fun way to spend an evening.
Or it can be a total waste of money.
A professional shark, or even just an experienced visitor, probably knows what casino games are all about.
But a novice can easily be overwhelmed by decisions and get caught in some common traps. Casinos are businesses, after all, and their primary goal is to separate you from your spending money.
That can be fine.
If you’re just there to take in the atmosphere and feel like James Bond, then set a solid budget and play whatever game you most enjoy.
But if you want to improve your odds of getting one over on the house, here are 10 casino games you should never play:
Here are 2 major reasons to avoid spending your time and money on bingo when you visit a casino:
- Your odds of winning extremely low – if the house isn’t full, there’s no guarantee ANYONE will win, let alone you specifically. And you don’t even have any control over the outcome. Plenty of superstitions explain how to improve your odds of winning. But at the end of the day, bingo is all luck. Low odds and zero player input? No thanks!
- For most people, bingo isn’t very exciting. You should primarily play casino games to have fun. Some gamblers enjoy an occasional trip to the bingo hall, but most gamblers should give bingo a miss.
Keno is, in concept, somewhere between bingo and a lottery.
Pick your numbers, wait for the winning digits to be announced, and see if you won anything.
The reasons for avoiding keno are much like the reasons you should avoid bingo:
- Low odds of winning
- Lack of entertainment value
But I’ll mention some distinctions.
Keno’s house edge is notoriously high. It’s harder to win any money playing keno.
You do have some meaningful decisions to make in keno, though:
You can choose to shoot for lower more reliable payoffs.
And while it’s not the game for everyone, there’s enough going on mathematically and superstitiously that some gamblers enjoy a round of this old Chinese game.
But most casino gamblers casino find better value elsewhere.
3- Double Zero Roulette
Also called American roulette, this variant has two ‘zero’ spaces on the wheel.
Single zero wheels, called European roulette wheels, are fairer roulette games offered at the average casino.
The house edge relatively low on European roulette compared to American roulette.
So, what’s the difference between these games?
Simple: The house wins most bets on zeros.
With two zero spaces on the wheel rather than one, the house’s odds double.
This might seem like a small thing, but statistically it adds up.
Roulette is an iconic game and worth at least a look for a first timer, but you should avoid the double zero trap and stick to European style games when you can find them.
4- Casino War
No, you did not read that wrong:
Though it’s more associated with bored kids killing time on a campout because they don’t know how to play any better games, there really are casinos that offer betting on the card game War.
No, it really isn’t any more exciting than you remember.
No, it really isn’t worth your time or your money.
If you’re unusually fond of the game because of nostalgia try it once and then move on.
5- Esports Betting
Most people are probably familiar with the basics of classic major American sports like baseball, football, and basketball.
While US sports gambling can be complex and isn’t something a novice should drop a lot of money on, it can be easy enough to have fun placing one or two simple wagers while watching a game in the casino bar.
But some venues – especially online — have started offering bets on esports – that is, bets on competitive video game playing.
In theory this is just like regular sports gambling.
But in practice, that’s a risky way of thinking.
Most people are familiar with regular sports – far more so than they are with competitive gaming.
Even if you personally know Street Fighter from BlazBlue or play League of Legends in your spare time, there’s still a big knowledge requirement to meet before you should start betting on these games.
6- Wheel of Fortune
You’ll see this game called a number of names.
But all of them involve a big wheel being spun and betting on the outcome.
And the odds drop heavily if you try for big money. On top of that, the game isn’t much fun.
It’s telling that these games are apparently disappearing, driven by falling player interest.
Follow their lead on Wheel of Fortune, or Big Six, or whatever they’re calling it these days.
Shooting craps can be a fun time and is an iconic gambling house mainstay.
But there’s one factor that lands it on this list:
Betting on craps is more complicated and more intense than it first appears.
You can place several types of bets:
From come or don’t come bets and pass or don’t pass bets, to place bets, to free odds bets, to hardway bets and more, there’s a lot to know.
Making it worse is that the craps table itself, where all these wagers are made and placed, is a nightmare for a beginner to understand.
And even though craps is a social game, the crowd at a craps table isn’t always welcoming to novices.
It can be worth your time and money to play, but make sure you learn how the game works before showing off your Sky Masterson impression.
The image of a desperate gambler, hunched over a one-armed-bandit, praying for a huge win that will likely never come, is drilled firmly into the popular consciousness.
But it bears repeating:
Like several other games here, slot machines are a trap of bad odds and little or no player input.
If you want to try slots once, that’s fine; pull the handle, watch the slots spin, enjoy the lights and music for a minute, scratch that item off your bucket list, and then go find something more rewarding to spend your time and money on.
Poker can be a great time with friends or family, but there are major differences between your weekly game with coworkers over beer and pizza and a serious poker game in a casino.
The buy-ins and the stakes are often higher, and you probably won’t know the people at your table.
Some of them will probably be new, and some of them may be ruthless sharks.
You should, at least, know the rules for the game you’re sitting down to in a casino poker game.
10- Any Game You’re Not Having Fun With
Unless you’re a professional gambler, the real point of a trip to the casino is to have fun.
For most people, the fantasy of hitting it big at roulette or cards or dice is just that:
A fantasy, and one that the people who run casinos cheerfully exploit to separate marks from money.
So, don’t worry about making money; worry about spending it in a way you enjoy.
Blackjack is one of the fairest games available in the casino, but if you don’t enjoy it, play something else.
You may be absolutely garbage at craps, but if it’s a game you love playing, play it.
Once you’ve set your limit for the evening, all you should be worrying about is safely having a good time.
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Consider other things, too, of course:
If you don’t know a game, any game, no matter how simple it looks, you shouldn’t drop your paycheck on it.
That’s my list of games you shouldn’t play in a casino.
Let me know in the comments.
Finally, please remember:
Gambling, practiced responsibly and in moderation, can be a fun pastime or hobby.
The most important thing to remember is to stick to a budget and not allow yourself to go over it, no matter how tempting it is.
The longer you spend trying to make back what you’ve lost, the more you’re likely to lose.
Accept that going home with a lighter wallet is usually the price of a fun time, and you’ll be healthier and happier.