All casino games bear one similarity in that they’re each forms of gambling. However, every game differs from the next in terms of rules and strategy.
Some games are easy to pick up, while others are far more complex. You definitely want to avoid the latter category when starting out with casino gambling.
But what games are the most difficult to learn as a beginner? You should avoid the following seven games when getting started because they have complicated rules and/or strategy.
1 – Poker
Poker has several aspects that make it undesirable from a beginner’s standpoint:
- Multiple variations
- In-depth rules for each variant
- Difficult strategy
- Hard to beat
Poker is a broad term that covers a large number of games, such as Texas holdem, Omaha, stud, Badugi, Crazy Pineapple, Razz, 8 Game, and more.
Even worse, anybody will have a tough time beating poker — let alone new players. This game pits human opponents against each other, rather than gamblers against a house edge.
This aspect is good on one hand because it provides the chance to win long-term profits. The downside, though, is that it requires learning lots of strategy to succeed.
Very few new players win money while playing poker, even in $0.01 or $0.02 online cash games. They have to learn basic strategy and also make adjustments based on opponents’ tendencies.
Poker is certainly great from a long-term standpoint, thanks to its engaging strategy and profit potential. However, it makes for an awful introduction to the gambling world.
2 – Craps
Craps seems like a simple game. Many beginners envision rolling the dice and hoping that their lucky numbers turn up.
The reality, though, is much different. When you play a game of craps, you’ll notice this table game features an extensive board that’s filled with different bets.
Many new gamblers take one look at this board and walk away from the table. Those that do stay are in for a stressful situation.
Not only do you need to understand the countless bets available on the board, but you should also know the various superstitions. You’ll end up as the table outcast by violating any of these unspoken rules, such as saying “seven” at the table.
Craps actually isn’t a very difficult game if you understand a few wagers.
Pass line and don’t pass line are fairly simple bets that feature 1.41% and 1.36% house edges, respectively.
But you also must know where to place your chips in order to get started with these wagers. Furthermore, you need to identify the minefield of unfavorable prop bets that can cost you lots of money.
Here are examples of the ugliest prop bets:
|Big 6 / Big 8||9.09% house edge|
|Hard 6 / Hard 8||9.09% house edge|
|Hard 4 / Hard 10||11.11% house edge|
|Craps (2, 3 & 12)||11.11% house edge|
|3||11.11% house edge|
|Yo (11)||11.11% house edge|
|Horn||12.5% house edge|
|Whirl||13.33% house edge|
|2||13.89% house edge|
|12||13.89% house edge|
|Any 7||16.67% house edge|
3 – Sports Betting
Sports betting is another form of gambling that seems easy in theory. All you need to do is wager on a sporting outcome and wait for it to be decided.
But like craps, sports gambling features a number of betting intricacies that make it difficult to learn. First off, you need to understand how the odds work.
Here’s an example of American odds:
- Cincinnati Bengals +140
- Pittsburgh Steelers -170
The minus sign refers to a favorite, with -170 indicating that you need to wager $170 to win $100. The plus sign designates an underdog, with +140 indicating that you must bet $100 to win $140.
With some practice, you should be able to get the odds down. But then, you still have to learn the various bet types.
Here are the different categories of wagers:
- Point spreads
- Over/under (a.k.a. totals)
- Live betting
- Prop bets
One more difficult aspect is the strategy. Successful sports bettors understand handicapping, bankroll management, arbitrage opportunities, steam moves, and how to use relevant software.
If you’re deficient in one or more of these departments, then you’ll have difficulty winning on a consistent basis. Assuming you still begin your gambling days with sports betting, then focus on learning the odds and making small bets.
4 – Esports Betting
Esports gambling is essentially the same thing as sports betting in most regards. It features the same style of odds, bet types, and strategy.
Therefore, esports betting makes for a natural transition when you’re already well-versed in sports wagering. But it can also be a nightmare for new gamblers.
The strategy is also quite complicated. Again, you must know handicapping, bankroll management, arbitraging, and steam moves.
You should also thoroughly understand the intricacies of any given market that you bet on. You can’t just play Dota 2 recreationally, for example, and expect to be a successful bettor.
Instead, you want to know how teams’ strategies, strengths, and weaknesses can affect a given matchup. You should treat esports betting as a hobby until becoming more confident in your abilities.
5 – Pai Gow Poker
If you think playing one hand is difficult, then you’ll really struggle with Pai Gow poker. This house-banked card game requires you to form both a five-card and two-card hand.
Your five-card hand must be stronger than the two-card hand. Therefore, you can’t just create a good two-card hand to get a push with overall bad cards.
The goal is to beat both of the dealer’s hands and win your bet. Winning just one hand results in a push, while losing both hands results in a lost wager.
The dealer wins all ties. Casinos also take out a 5% commission from winning hands.
Playing perfect Pai Gow poker is easier said than done. This game features extensive strategy that’s not worth the effort when considering the middling house advantage.
You can act as the banker and reduce the house edge to 1.46%. But you have to embark on a quest to learn even more strategy in this case.
6 – Skill-Based Slot Machines
Skill-based slots are much like any other slot games you would see on a regular casino slot machine. You spin the reels and let random chance determine your fate.
However, these games also feature a twist when compared to normal slots. They have skill-based bonus rounds that consist of detailed mini-games that often embody arcade-style gaming.
Your skills in these bonuses determine how much money you win.
On one hand, these games are exciting and provide more interactivity than regular slot machines. The drawback, though, is that they punish you for being an unskilled gamer.
If you’re just looking to play slots casually without thinking too hard, then you should avoid skill-based games.
7 – Three-Card Poker
Three-card poker is played between the player and dealer. It might seem like an innocent house-based table game, but it’s more complicated than baccarat or blackjack.
First off, you need to understand ante, play, and Pair Plus bets. You have to make an ante wager before receiving your three-card hand.
You can also place a Pair Plus bet, which is based on if you’ll receive a pair or better. After seeing your cards, you can either fold or make a play wager that’s equal to the ante.
The dealer will analyze your hand if you make the play bet. He/she will make payouts accordingly if you win. They’ll also make the appropriate Pair Plus bet if you form a strong enough hand.
The house holds a 3.37% edge on the ante and a 2.01% advantage on play bets with correct strategy.
Casinos have a 2.32% edge on Pair Plus wagers. There’s no complicated strategy here: you either make a Pair Plus bet or don’t before the hand.
Playing the game of three-card poker isn’t the most-brutal entry on this list. However, it’s still harder to learn then most table games.
The last thing you want to do as a beginning gambler is set yourself up for a nerve-racking experience. You should definitely avoid games with complex rules and/or strategy to avoid such situations.
Poker is quite possibly the toughest game for a beginner to master. It features in-depth rules and difficult strategy for each variation.
Craps is also hard to master as a beginner due to its wealth of betting options. You should really understand the wagers beforehand, or you’ll be overwhelmed by the board.
Sports gambling and esports betting are similar in terms of odds, wager types, and difficulty level. You don’t have to be a genius to understand betting odds. However, you must digest a lot in terms of bet types and strategy.
Pai Gow and three-card poker are both tough table games to learn. Pai Gow is especially complicated due to its heavy strategy.
Slot machines are traditionally known as the easiest games to learn and play. But you should avoid the skill-based variety if you’re not confident in your abilities.
I highly encourage you to try one or more of these casino games in the future. But if you’re just starting out, then opt for some easier forms of gambling.