7 Sucker Bets Most Gamblers Make

Casino Craps Table, Red Dice, Man With Hand Over Face Disappointed
No one likes to be a sucker. Yet the casino industry thrives on players making sucker bets. The problem is that most players don’t know which bets are sucker bets and which ones offer a fairer proposition.

I’ve put together a list of the seven sucker bets that are the most common in casinos. Avoiding these wagers will help you walk away a winner. I will even tell you which wagers you should make instead.

1 – Insurance

One of the most common bets that blackjack players make that can be considered a sucker bet is insurance. When the dealer has an ace as their up card they offer insurance to all of the players. Insurance pays 2 to 1 and you can bet up to half the value of your bet on your hand.

If you bet $20 on your hand and the dealer has an ace showing, you can make a $10 insurance bet. Should the dealer have a natural blackjack, you would lose your original $20 wager and win $20 on the insurance bet.

This means that when the dealer has a natural blackjack you break even on the hand. That is why insurance is called an even money bet by some dealers and players.

But when the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack you lose the insurance wager and play the original bet out. On the surface, this might look like a good bet because you break even when the dealer has a natural.

The reason why it isn’t a good bet is that it’s actually a side bet that you need to look at by itself. It really doesn’t have anything to do with your original bet.

When the dealer has an ace showing and their down card is a ten through king they have a blackjack. With any other down card, they don’t have a blackjack.

This is a ratio of nine cards that don’t make a blackjack to four that do, or 9 to 4. The bet only pays 2 to 1, which is worse than 9 to 4.

This means that it just makes you lose more in the long run. So, blackjack insurance betting is bad betting.

2 – Inside Craps Bets

Craps has three bets that offer a decent house edge. Some players argue that there are four decent craps bets based on the house edge. The three best bets are the don’t pass, pass, and odds. The fourth bet that’s sometimes included is the place six and eight.

Here are the house edge numbers in these four wagers:

Odds bets 0%
Don’t pass 1.36%
Pass 1.41%
Place six eight 1.52%

All of the other bets offered at the craps table have a higher house edge, with most of them between 4% and 13.9%. All of the bets other than the four mentioned above at the craps table are bad bets.

3 – Baccarat Tie Bet

When you play real money baccarat you have three betting options. You can bet on the banker’s hand, the player’s hand, or a tie. Both the banker and player hands have a low house edge of 1.06% and 1.24% respectively.

The tie wager has a house edge of over 14%. It’s one of the worst sucker bets in the casino and you should never make it.

When you make a wager on the banker’s hand and win the casino charges a commission. The house edge of 1.06% is the actual edge after the commission, so it’s still the best bet.

4 – Slot Machines

This might come as a surprise because slot machines are the most popular games in the casino, but they’re also one of the worst sucker bets available. Real money slot machines combine two elements that are bad for gamblers.

The house edge varies from slot machine to slot machine, but almost all of them fall somewhere between 2% and 12%. This alone makes them a bad bet. When you consider how fast you can play them, it makes playing slots even worse.

Row of Slot Machines in Casino, Red Icon with Thumbs Down

Most table games play between 50 and 80 hands per hour. You can take 600 or more spins per hour on most slot machines.

The combination of a high house edge and hundreds of spins per hour drains your bankroll faster than most casino games. It also reduces your chance to win any particular slots session a great deal.

If you enjoy playing slot games, you’re much better off playing a video poker machine with a good pay table and a strategy card. These machines allow you to play at a fast pace, but they offer much better odds than slots. Some video poker games have a house edge of under a half percent.

5 – Poor Pay Table Video Poker

I mentioned video poker in the last section as a good alternative to slot machines. But you need to find machines with good pay tables and use a good strategy.

You can’t use strategy to lower the house edge on slot machines. But every video poker machine lets you use strategy to play with a lower edge.

Playing a video poker machine without a good pay table and strategy card is just as bad as playing slot machines. Bad video poker pay tables have a house edge running from 2% to over 5%.

My favorite video poker game is Jacks or Better. I like it because it’s easy to play and it’s usually easy to find a machine with a good pay table.

The best pay table in most casinos for Jacks or Better is called a 9/6 table. It pays nine coins for a full house and six coins for a flush. Just make sure you always wager five coins to unlock the bonus when you hit a royal flush.

You can find other video poker variations with good pay tables as well. Machines offering over 100% payback are rare, but a few exist.

Remember that you need to use the best strategy in addition to finding machines with a good pay table. This is easy if you use a video poker strategy card or chart designed for the game you’re playing.

6 – American Roulette

While there are many candidates for the worst sucker bet in the casino on this page, I think that American roulette is the king. The house advantage for roulette isn’t as bad as some slot machines or keno.

But the thing that makes it so bad is that many places that offer American roulette also offer European roulette.

Roulette Table Layout, American Roulette Wheel, European Roulette Wheel

The house edge on an American wheel is almost two times as much as a European wheel. The easiest way to tell the difference is the American wheel has a double zero space and a zero space. A European wheel just has a single zero space.

Most casinos offer both types of roulette wheels, so if you play online always pick the single zero wheel. If the casino where you play doesn’t have a European wheel, simply play somewhere else. This is true whether you play real money roulette in land-based casinos or online.

7 – Keno and the Lottery

Games of keno draws players in much the same way the lottery does. You can win a big prize, often $10,000 to $100,000, for a small bet.

The minimum keno bet is usually $1, so it’s cheap to play. If your goal is to make a small bankroll last as long as possible, keno is a good option.

But, keno is still a suckers bet because of its huge house edge. The edge varies based on how many numbers you pick and the available payouts. But the normal keno game has a house edge of over 25%.

The only game that’s worse that comes immediately to mind is the lottery. While you can win millions on a bet of $2 or $3, the edge is often 40% or higher. This makes keno and the lottery sucker bets every time.

Casino Games With Low House Edge

The gambling industry makes a great deal of profit from players making sucker bets. Now you know the worst sucker bets you can make, so you can avoid them. I offered a few pieces of advice for making bets with a lower house edge above, but here are some other options.

  • Blackjack
  • Video poker machines with good pay tables
  • Poker
  • Baccarat banker bet
  • Craps pass, don’t pass, and odds bets

You can also do a few other things to help offset the house edge like earning comps on your play. You should also always use the best available strategy in the games where strategy can alter the house edge.


There are dozens of different strategies out there for every casino game. But, the best way to improve your odds of winning is to avoid the suck bets I detailed above. Playing games with a high house edge will bust your budget every time.

Check out these blogs to learn more about different casino games.

Posted in: Online CasinosStrategy

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