Whenever heading into a live casino or take on casino games at an online casino for real money, there is always a mercurial instinct to try to get one over on the house. People try everything from superstitions and good luck charms to mathematical formulae like Game Theory Optimal to improve the odds of winning.
The truth is, however, that every casino is a business that has to make a profit. Whether you’re seduced by the smooth felt of the casino table games or excited by the adrenaline of taking on the slots, the odds are always in favor of the house.
That said, some casino games, online or land-based, are more likely to pay out than others. Find out how the house stacks the odds in their favor and which games give you the best chance of winning.
What Are Casino Game Odds?
When discussing casino odds of winning, a commonly used term is the “house edge.” It’s basically a way to describe the advantage that the casino holds over the players and is usually given as a percentage.
Think of it like this: the house edge is the casino’s built-in advantage. It’s how they ensure they make money in the long run. So, for example, if a game has a house edge of 5%, it means that, on average, the casino will keep about 5% of all the bets placed on that game and 95% will be returned to the player (RTP.) Simply put, for every dollar you spend, you’re only likely to get 95c back over a statistically significant period of time.
The house edge doesn’t mean you can’t win. It’s just a way to measure the odds and understand that, over time, the casino will generally come out ahead. But in the short term, anything can happen. That’s what makes gambling exciting.
How Are Odds Calculated?
Well, it varies from game to game and depends on several factors. Each game has its own set of rules and variables that influence the odds.
For example, in blackjack, they consider things like the number of decks in play, whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17 and the payout ratio for getting a blackjack. By taking all these factors into account, the casino can figure out its edge over the players.
Other games, like roulette or craps, have their own calculations based on the rules and probabilities involved.
Given the completely different ways in which casino games are played, the formulae for calculating the odds and house edge for each can become quite complicated. Thankfully, there are plenty of clever people who have done the work for you.
Games With Good Odds
Here is a selection of games with some of the best odds for players with relatively low house edges.
Blackjack is a card game where players aim to have a hand total closer to 21 than the dealer without exceeding it. With proper strategy, the house edge can be reduced to less than 1%, making it one of the most favorable games in terms of odds.
Baccarat is a simple card game where players choose to bet on either the player’s hand or the banker’s hand. The house edge for the banker bet is around 1.06%, making it another game with good odds.
Craps is a dice game where players bet on the outcome of the roll or series of rolls. Certain bets, like the “pass line” and “don’t pass line,” have low house edges, typically around 1.4%, making them a popular choice among players.
Video Poker combines elements of both slots and poker while offering some of the best odds in the casino. If you play video poker with the right strategy, you can actually have a pretty good chance of winning. Some video poker variants have a really low house edge, often less than 1%. That means, on average, you’ll only lose a small portion of the money you bet over time.
The house edge in roulette can vary depending on the type of roulette you’re playing. In European roulette, which has a single zero on the wheel, the house edge is usually around 2.70%. This means that, on average, the casino will keep about 2.70% of the total wagers placed by players.
On the other hand, American roulette has a slightly higher house edge of approximately 5.26%. This is because it has both a single zero and a double zero on the wheel, which increases the number of possible outcomes and slightly reduces the player’s odds of winning.
Games With the Worst Odds
An interesting thing to consider is that, in general, the easier it is to play the game, the lower your odds of winning. The idea is simply that the more you leave to chance, the more likely you are to lose.
When you add a bit of skill to the mix, you take some control over improving your odds, which is why card games like poker and blackjack have better odds than slot machines or wheels of fortune.
Here are two games that have the worst odds.
One game that is often associated with poor odds is the slot machine. While they can be fun and offer exciting jackpots, the casino odds for slots are much lower compared to other games. The house edge for slots can range from around 2% to 15% or more, depending on various factors such as the specific game, the number of reels and paylines, the bonus features and the overall payout structure.
Another game with relatively unfavorable odds is keno. This lottery-style game involves choosing numbers and hoping they match the numbers drawn by the casino. The house edge can range anywhere from 20% to 35% or even higher, depending on the casino and the specific keno variant being played.
Best Games for Beginners
When you eventually decide to walk into a real-life casino or try online casino games, it’s best to consider games that are relatively easy to play but with reasonable odds of winning. The general consensus is that beginners should start with blackjack.
As mentioned earlier, blackjack is one of the simpler games to play but also requires a bit of skill which, when played strategically, can improve your odds over time. To get as close to the real experience as possible, try live dealer blackjack. It is significantly more fun than the usual 2D version on your screen.
Craps is another game that is really easy to play and has a low house edge. The best thing about it is that you simply have to throw a pair of dice. The skill comes in understanding which types of bets have the best odds.
Playing roulette is fairly simple, but much like in craps, a good player knows how to spread their bets to get the best odds of winning. As a beginner, you can start with fairly straightforward bets, i.e., red or black, and then work your way up towards more complicated ones to improve your odds.
Get Started With Borgata Online
The easiest way to get started is to try out as many casino games online as possible before committing real money to them. Register with Borgata online to play everything from online roulette to baccarat and bingo. For a more authentic experience, try out live dealer casino games like blackjack and poker (which require skill, chance and mindfulness to win.)