If your goal walking into a casino is to win money (and not to just have a good time), there are certain games that are going to be your best bet in terms of making bank.
Now before I jump into a discussion of what games have the best odds and are going to give you the most money possible, I want to step back for a second and talk about a problem that I see a lot of new gamblers having when they walk into a casino.
They think that picking the right game is all they need to do to win money and that the odds of each game are preset, but that’s just not the case.
The Odds of Many Games Are Determined by Your Skill Level
This is a point I cannot stress enough—if you walk into a game of blackjack having never played before, you’re almost certainly going to lose money despite it being one of the games with the best odds to win.
Why? The answer is simple—blackjack is a game that requires strategy to knock down the odds.
To help you understand how this works as simply as possible, I’ll tell you that the average house edge in blackjack at most casinos is around 2%. That means that for every $100 you spend, you’ll end up losing $2.
Now that really only counts in the long run. We’re talking about statistical averages here, not each hand, so it takes a lot of playing for you to realize that you’re slowly losing over time.
But what about for a player who has no strategy and no idea what they’re doing? I would wager that the house edge goes up to 5% or even higher.
So before you walk into a casino thinking, “Oh, all I have to do is play blackjack and I’ll be alright” think again.
You need to spend time learning strategy before playing real money blackjack. In a casino, you have games basically divided up into two categories—games of pure luck, and games that are a combination of luck and strategy.
One of the major ways that odds become good for a lot of games is through strategy. If you have little experience with gambling and you’re just going to go into the casino to have a little fun, then you should definitely play a game that is pure luck.
Avoid the Slots Like Your Life Depends on It
If you want to understand how casinos make money, you need look no further than the slot machines.
While table games get all the press and all the cool movies made about them, it’s the slot machines that keep the lights on and pay the bills in every casino.
Real money slot games have the worst odds of any game that you’ll find in a casino, period. The reason for this?
What that means is that casinos can and will increase the house edge on their machines when they’re struggling from month to month, so when you sit down to play, you’re going to lose maybe $10 for every $100 you play—that’s a significant difference compared to some of the other games.
Now when you think about it, that’s not really the only reason to avoid slots. Sure, those bad odds are going to take your money away and leave you broke a lot faster than playing some poker, but another thing that works against you with slots is the fact that you can play them so fast.
Have you ever walked into a casino and see that old lady with the giant shades and the visor sipping on a fruity drink while dumping cash into a slot machine for hours at a time? I can only imagine that she must be a billionaire to be able to afford such an expense. The reality is that slot machines play so quickly compared to table games that you can pump these things full of cash and be out hundreds or thousands of dollars in an incredibly short period of time.
Slot machines are the absolute worst, and there is literally no way of beating them unless you do something illegal, like hack them, so they are best avoided if your goal is to make money at the casino.
Roulette Is Probably Something You Should Avoid Too
Now I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a certain mystique that goes along with roulette. I think it’s one of the most enduring images of casinos out there, and you see it in movies all the time.
Now that being said, the odds in roulette really aren’t great (especially if it’s double zero), but there are certainly other games that have far worse odds (take keno for example—you’re lucky if the house edge is 20%!), but I think a lot of people get drawn to roulette because it’s flashy, it’s iconic, and it’s something that everyone wants to knock off their bucket list and say they’ve tried.
All that being said, if you’re not the kind of person who wants to learn all the strategies and tactics required to knock down the house edge in blackjack or to play poker, then real money roulette might not be bad (especially if it’s single zero). You’ll probably have as much luck at single-zero roulette as you’ll have at blackjack with no clue what you’re doing, so it’s worth a shot if you’re just trying to have a little fun.
Video Poker Actually Has Great Odds
Strangely, you’ll find that video poker actually has really good odds. I think one of the reasons I like to suggest this to people is that video poker doesn’t really rely on you knowing what you’re doing. Even if you don’t know the hands very well, the game is going to tell you if you’ve won or lost, and they usually have a key or legend on them that shows you what all the hands are.
I think another thing that works in video poker’s favor for newbies is that you can play it alone without feeling the social pressure of being at a table. I can tell you that the first time I sat down at a blackjack table, I felt a lot of pressure and had no clue what I was doing. I just copied the guy next to me, which turned out to be a bad idea, and I lost a lot of money.
If you want to have a good time on something that has little pressure and decent odds, playing video poker for real money is the way to go. I would definitely recommend you spend some time learning the different hands and figuring out what’s best. That way you’ll be able to make good choices as you play and keep the odds in your favor.
Remember, for every game in the casino, you reduce your odds when you make a mistake, and the same thing can happen in video poker. For example, let’s say that you get a hand that’s one card short of a flush, but when it comes time to draw cards, you don’t realize that you almost have a flush and get rid of one of the suited cards.
When that happens, you’ve made the odds worse just by a bad play. That’s why if you really don’t know what you’re doing, roulette may be the game for you.
Practice Online Before Going to a Casino
I think the best way that you can keep yourself from losing a ton of money at the casino and possibly even walk away with a little cash in your pocket is to practice online before you go. Modern gaming technology on the internet has come a long way in the past 15 years. You’ll find that the games online are sophisticated and realistic and give you a decent understanding of exactly how all this stuff works.
I would highly recommend you practice your game of choice online if for no other reason than to figure out what works and what doesn’t and the basics of the rules. You’ll walk away with a clear understanding of what not to do at least, and that’s something you can apply at the casino.
You’ll find that the big boys in Vegas really want you to play and to not be too scared of how everything works to avoid gambling, so they’ve offered free gambling lessons for all comers.
Now some of these lessons will be personal lessons while others will be group lessons, but in either case, you’ll be able to see the game in action with real people, and they’ll tell you some basic strategies that you can use while gambling to keep the odds in your favor.
There are a ton of games that can be played in the casino—the ones you play should be picked based on your knowledge of the game, your style of play, and your preferences for how much you’re willing to lose. Try out several games, find out what you like, but mostly just go in there ready to have a good time.
Is there anything I left off this list? Let me know in the comments.