7 Best Betting Strategies for New Gamblers

Silhouette of Man in Front of Dice and Casino Floor

Most gambling strategy articles and books focus on topics for players who already have some experience. But every gambler is a new gambler one time, and they need a workable strategy to help them have a chance to win.

I’ve put together a list of seven betting strategies for new gamblers. These aren’t necessarily the best strategies for experienced gamblers, but a few of them are great no matter how much experience you have.

These strategies focus on a combination of the ease of use for beginning gamblers, and easy games to play, and bets to make. These strategies for new gamblers aren’t going to teach you how to beat the casinos, but they’re going to teach you how to start playing right away without losing more than you have to.

1 – Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is a popular game that’s available in most casinos around the world and in most real money online casinos. Blackjack games have quite a few rules that can vary from table to table, but most of the games are playable as long as they pay 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack.

Before you find a blackjack table, the first thing you need to do is find a strategy card or strategy chart. A blackjack strategy chart has every possible hand down the right side and all of the dealer cards across the top.

The best possible play for every combination is listed and all you have to do is follow the strategy on your chart. Casinos let you use a card or chart while you’re playing, so you can make sure you’re always making the best play.

Many blackjack players make the wrong plays or make decisions based on their gut, but if you want to have the best chance to win and play with the lowest possible house edge, always use your strategy chart.

The two main things you should avoid are the insurance bet and any table that pays worse than 3 to 2 for a blackjack.

The insurance bet is also called even money in some places, is a side bet disguised as a part of the base game. Insurance makes the house edge go up, so you should never take it.

Any blackjack game that pays worse than 3 to2 for a natural blackjack also has a house edge that’s too high. Many casinos are spreading 6 to 5 games, and these games take your money to fast.

2 – Jacks or Better Basic Strategy

Jacks or Better is the most popular form of video poker, and if you find a machine with a good pay table and use a strategy chart you can play with a house edge under a half percent. Jacks or Better video poker is the same whether you play at an online casino or in a land based casino.

The way video poker machines are designed, the house edge is directly tied to the pay table. The pay table you want to use when you play Jacks or Better is one that pays nine coins for a full house and six coins for a flush. This is called a 9/6 machine, and the house edge with this pay table when you use a strategy chart is only .46%.

You can use a strategy chart or card while you’re playing video poker, just like blackjack. A Jacks or Better strategy chart looks different than a blackjack strategy card. Video poker strategy cards have a list of hands ranked from best to worst.

You start at the top of the chart and read down until you find a hand that you have. Then you simply follow the instructions of the chart.

If you have three of a kind, you read down the chart until you find the three of a kind hand. Then you keep the three of a kind and discard the other two cards.

The only other thing you need to know about Jacks or Better strategy is that you need to always make the five coin maximum bet. Any time you bet less than five coins it makes the house edge go up. This is because when you hit a royal flush you receive a bonus payout with a five coin wager.

3 – Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat is one of the best options for new gamblers because it’s easy to play and it has a low house edge. Casinos have a few different options for baccarat players, and the game you want is played on a table that looks like a blackjack table. It’s called mini baccarat or midi baccarat.

Closeup of Hand Betting Chips on Baccarat Table

The best strategy is to simply make the table minimum bet and always bet on the banker hand. The banker bet has a house edge of only 1.06%, including the commission. Winning banker bets pay a 5% commission, but it’s still the best bet available at the table.

You don’t need to know all of the rules or even understand how to play baccarat to get started. The casino provides a dealer who takes care of everything after you place your bet. The dealer even takes care of the commission, so you don’t have to worry about it.

I recommend telling the dealer that this is your first time playing baccarat when you sit down at the table. He or she will help you, but it’s a simple game to play so you don’t need to worry about making mistakes.

4 – Craps Strategy

Craps doesn’t look like a simple game if you’ve never played it before, but it has a simple strategy that offers a low house edge. Just like your first time playing baccarat, I recommend telling the casino personnel running the craps game that it’s your first time playing.

Every craps game starts with a roll called a come out roll. Sometimes the come out roll resolves on the first roll of the dice and sometimes it sets a point. The good news is you really don’t need to worry about this. Just tell the casino personnel that you want to make a pass line bet on the next available come out roll.

Make the table minimum bet and if a point is set on the roll, make an odds bet.

If you can afford to do it, make the maximum available odds bet. The odds bet has a zero percent house edge, so in the long run you’re going to break even on these bets.

You need to tell the casino personnel you want to make an odds bet after you make your pass line wager, because there isn’t a spot on the table felt that lists odds wagers.

The pass line bet has a house edge of 1.41%, but sometimes it takes several rolls to resolve. This means that even though it has a house edge, you don’t make as many bets every hour as you do at most other casino games.

The combination of a low house edge bet that doesn’t always resolve quickly and the zero house edge odds bet makes craps a good game for new players. You have the opportunity to roll the dice when you play, but you can pass the dice to the next player if you don’t want to roll. Don’t touch the dice if you don’t want to roll. Just say you want to pass on your roll.

5 – Roulette Strategy

Roulette is another game that looks more complicated than it is. All of the bets at the roulette table have the same house edge, so it doesn’t matter what you bet on. The only thing that makes a difference is how many zero spaces are on the wheel.

You want to play on a roulette wheel that only has one zero space. The wheels that have a zero and a double zero space have a much higher house edge, and should be avoided. The house edge on a double zero wheel is 5.26% and the house edge on a single zero wheel is 2.7%.

Closeup of Roulette Wheel

I recommend making one of the even money bets and always making the table minimum bet. You can bet on black, red, even, odd, 1 to 18, or 19 to 36. These bets have close to a 50% chance of winning and pay out even money or 1 to 1.

To place a bet, simply place your chip on the area marked on the table felt that designates the wager. To bet on red, simply place your chip on the space that says red before the ball is placed in the spinning wheel.

6 – Deuces Wild Strategy

Deuces Wild is a variation of video poker that uses a standard deck of playing cards with all of the two’s acting as wild cards. Just like Jacks or Better, you need to use a strategy chart and find a machine that has a good pay table.

The pay table you want to use when you play Deuces Wild video poker has the following payouts listed under the five coin column. 4,000 – 1,250 – 125 – 80 – 50 – 20 – 20 – 15 – 10 – 5. When you use a strategy card and this pay table the house edge is .27%.

Just like when you play Jacks or Better video poker, make sure you always make a five coin wager to unlock the extra bonus when you hit a top paying hand.

7 – Slots Tournament Strategy

Slot machines are easy to play, but they usually have a higher house edge than other casino game options. And even though the average bet size is smaller than casino table games, you can still end up risking too much because you can play so many spins every hour.

But some casinos offer an opportunity to lock in a minimum amount of playing time for a set fee that also gives you a chance to get lucky and hit a big win. You can enter a slots tournament for a set fee and be guaranteed a minimum amount of play.

Most slots tournaments have rounds of play with the players with the best results in each round advancing to the next round. If you get lucky you can win the tournament and get a nice return on your investment.

The other option for new gamblers who want to have a chance at a big win is to play on a progressive jackpot slot machine.

Make sure you read the rules so you activate all of the pay lines and qualify for the jackpot.

If you chase a progressive jackpot, take your time between spins and watch your bankroll closely. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing a jackpot and burn through your bankroll quickly.

Conclusion

Your first gambling experience can be intimidating and costly. But you can use the seven strategies on this page to play an easy game with a decent house edge. When you play games with a low house edge it gives you a chance to get lucky and walk away with a win.

In the long run you’re going to lose more than you win using these strategies, but you’re going to have a better chance than most gamblers. Stick with small bets and always use the best strategy if possible. If you don’t want to worry about strategy stick with baccarat, craps, or enter a slots tournament.

If you’re willing to use a strategy chart or card, blackjack and video poker are good options. It’s easy to use a strategy card, and casinos don’t mind if you choose to use one. Find blackjack games with decent rules or video poker machines with good pay tables and you can play with a low house edge and make your bankroll last.