Before you go gambling: The best and worst casino game odds
Don't Waste Your Money
John Matarese, newsnet5.com
11:04 PM, May 13, 2013
9:22 AM, Jan 23, 2017
Many people will be visiting a casino this summer, whether on a trip to Vegas, on a cruise ship, or just at a local casino during a "staycation."
But before you go, you may want to know which games give you the best chance of winning.
So we went behind the scene at two casinos, and spoke with the game managers, to find out which games give you an edge.
Table Games Your Best Bet
Jay Bean, a Caesar's floor manager, agreed to sit down with us and talk about the games with the best odds.
He said many people don't realize that table games have much better odds than slots. They are intimidated by thoughts of card sharks taking their money, with images of an intense Texas Hold 'Em tournament in their minds, and so they stick with the safe games: the slots.
But they are doing themselves a disservice, he said.
Bean's advice? After you've spent some time on the slot machines, move on to the Blackjack table, and start by just observing.
Blackjack has the best odds of winning, with a house edge of just 1 percent in most casinos, Bean said.
Plus, you are playing against only the dealer, not hooded poker champions.
"Blackjack is one of our easiest games to play," Bean said. "You're just looking for a number that beats the dealer's number without going over 21."
If you're a novice, Bean said to sit down during a less busy time, such as the afternoon, and the dealer will walk you through the game.
But the same is not true with poker: You should practice the game with your friends first, at home, Bean said, until you are comfortable with it. Bean said novices are best off passing on the poker tables, where yes, the competition can be tough.
So from the Blackjack table, he suggests moving on to the dice game Craps, the game with the second best odds, also nearly 50-50.
The Craps table can be a bit intimidating for the beginner with all the boxes on the table, Bean admitted. But it's really not tough, and it has one of your best chances of winning. In the end, all you are really doing is betting on a dice roll.
Bean said your next stop should be the Roulette wheel. It's simple, and pays fairly well.
"So you bet on your favorite numbers," Bean said. "The dealer spins, and if your number comes in you win."
If you stick to betting on just Reds or Blacks, you have nearly a 50-50 chance of walking away a winner. If it lands on red when you choose red, you will double your bet, Bean explained.
While it may seem you have an even chance of winning by simply choosing a color, there is one catch that gives the house its edge: the extra green 0 and 00 position on the wheel. It's on all American roulette wheels.
Or, if you feel lucky, play just one number. It's hard to win, but if you do it pays out 36 to 1.
Your worst odds? The casinos, understandably, did not want to talk about games with poor odds.
So we turned to Forbes Magazine, which in a report about Best Bets at the Casino, said two popular games -- the Wheel of Fortune and the ever-popular slot machines -- have the lowest odds of winning, with a house edge of 10 percent or more.
The Experts Agree
Professor of Analytics Michael Magazine has crunched the numbers, and agreed that blackjack is the best way to go home with money in your pockets. He said if you take a little time to learn the game, you have the best odds of winning.
"You are somewhere between 44 percent to 48 percent in every single hand of winning," he said, noting that no other casino game gives you odds that good.
But Magazine cautioned that he's not promoting gambling, because he said even games with the best odds still favor the house.
"Play it long enough and you will lose. In the long term the house doesn't lose," Magazine said.
If You Love The Slots....
Finally, if you really enjoy playing the slots, here is some good information to know, from state casino reports we examined.
With slots, the more money you put in per bet, the higher your chance of winning. If you put the max in a penny machine, which is usually around 50 cents, you have much better odds than if you put in 2 cents.
In addition, penny slots have the lowest odds, with $1 and $5 slots paying much better.
Always gamble responsibly, and don't waste your money.
You can learn more about specific odds of slots machines in each state that has casino gambling by visiting the American Casino Guide.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.