Best bets at a casino to increase your chances of winning

  • If you’re looking to increase your chances of winning at a casino, I recommend baccarat.
  • Other good casino bets include craps, French roulette, and blackjack.
  • You can also take advantage of rewarding online casino promotions with a wide variety of winnable prizes.
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I think we can all agree that some casino bets are much better than others. Some wagers give you great odds and high payouts, while others have terrible odds and almost no chance of winning.

Any experienced gambler will tell you that some casino games offer much better odds than others. That’s why it’s important to know which games/bets are more likely to result in a win.

If you’ve been struggling to make money at the casino, perhaps you’ve been making some of the worst bets? Below, I’ll break down the five worst bets you can make in a casino and offer up some suggestions for bets that give you a better chance of winning.

What Are the Worst Bets at a Casino?

Before we get to the good bets, it’s important to understand what you should be avoiding. These are the absolute worst bets you’ll find at the casino.

Progressive Slots

It’s hard to argue that slots aren’t the easiest casino game to play. All you have to do is shove a bill into the machine and hit a button. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

If you are playing slots, I suggest doing so at one of these . There are plenty of great land-based and online casinos that offer big money to slot players. This includes progressive jackpots that continue to grow until someone hits the trigger.

While these progressive slots seem very intriguing, they are one of the worst bets you can make. The odds of hitting the big jackpot increase with every spin, but they are still very, very low. Most don’t even bother putting a value on how unlikely it is to hit because it would scare people away.

Even laptop mag said that mathematicians haven’t been able to calculate the odds of hitting a massive progressive jackpot! That should tell you something. Sure, someone has to hit them eventually—it’s just probably not going to be you.

Instead of chasing after a huge progressive jackpot, I’d look for slots with fixed jackpots. Not only are the odds of winning these jackpots better, but they have to be paid out by law.

You could also head to the cage and ask for cash instead of wasting your time with progressive slots!

Top-Line Bet in Sic Bo

Sic bo is a popular dice game found mostly in Asian casinos. It’s an easy game to play, as you are simply given the opportunity to make a variety of bets before three dice are rolled.

There are several decent bets in sic bo; this isn’t exactly a game of terribles bets. But the top-line bet is easily the worst thing you can put your money on in this game.

The top line consists of a total of 11 or 12. On the surface, some of you might like this bet because pushing 11 pays at odds of 1 to 1, while a 12 pushes again but pays off at 6 to 1.

But the problem here is simple: The odds of rolling a 10 or higher increase with each die. Think about it – a 6 has six outcomes, a 7 has six more, and so does a 5 (for a total of 18), and then so does a 4 (for a total of 30).

The maximum total on any combination of dice is 18, and equally likely is a 3-of-kind roll, which tops out at 18 as well. Worse yet, there are 566 distinct ways to roll an 18, while your top-line winning rolls are limited to 15 possible ways.

In short, for every winning top-line bet, there are nearly 40 losing bets.

The house edge for a top-line bet is 2.78%, which isn’t horrible. The problem is that the odds of losing are greatly outweighing the odds of winning.

All of the other bets on a sic bo table have a right to be there. The top line does not.

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7 & 11 in Cubes

Six and seven-up, or “cubes,” is a simplified version of street-side form of sic bo. Instead of three dice, there are only two, and the bets are limited to various totals.

The two most popular bets are 7 and 11. After all, these totals win at even money, while other bets on the layout pay less. However, savvy gamblers will tell you that the 7 and 11 bets are both terrible wagers.

First, these bets win with four out of 35 combinations, or 11.4%.

That doesn’t sound too bad until you see the bets lose with 22 out of 35 possible combinations – a full 62.9%. Worse yet, a tip board with multiple players throwing down big bills on these two bets is a common sight.

So, not only are the odds of losing this wager over 60%, but you’re also sharing any winning rolls with dozens of other players. When wins and losses are divided up based on the amount of money wagered by each player, that is referred to as “debit credit.” Whenever other players are along for the ride, that’s a sure sign of a bad bet.

To make matters worse, the house is likely getting a commission. The house way of winning cube bets is a 7, followed by an 11. But a 3-of-a-kind 4 or 5 will also push for a debit credit win.

The house collects their 2.78% to 3.70% house edge on all pushes and winning 3-of-a-kind totals, without even a turncard for the player.

Avoid the 7 and 11 cube bets like the plague. Any sports fan might like the 7, but it is not a good wager.

Second-Hand Smoke

Okay, you won’t actually be smoking anyone’s second-hand smoke, but you’ll definitely be sharing your winnings with lots of other players.

Sure, you can go to the casino and play by yourself. You can even sit at an empty blackjack table or play video poker with no one standing behind you. Many people enjoy doing just that.

But if you see a group of 10 people huddled around the betting table, screaming and cheering over every win, you’re looking at a fight for second-debt credit.

Betting on second-hand smoke includes things like wheel men at roulette tables, folks playing dumbed-down versions of sic bo and cubes that I discussed earlier, and even some suckers who like to bet other people’s luck.

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These situations are always a debt-credit situation, as there are far more winning bets than necessary to cover the minimum bet amount. I discuss second-best more in-depth in . Check it out to learn more.

The One Number Bet in Roulette

Everyone knows that the game of roulette is operated by a little silver ball and a large spinning wheel filled with numbers. Players get to choose various bets, and can even buy drink service from pretty girls known as cocktail waitresses.

And did you know that you can bet on a single number, and if your number hits, you’ll win a big payout? The one number bet is easily one of the , but people love it anyway.

Depending on whether you’re playing an American or European style game, there are either 38 or 37 ways for you not to win your bet. Each roulette wheel has an eagle perched on top, just waiting for you to try and hit that single number.

Yes, if your number hits, you’ll win a payout of 35 to 1. That’s incredible! But the odds of picking any single number are very, very long. Let’s use American roulette for our example, as it offersworse odds than its European counterpart.

At the casino where I worked, the dealers and I kept detailed records of every single roulette bet made. Over a thousand spins were tracked, recording every red, black, even, odd, column, dozen, and split bet placed.

The only bet we didn’t track was the one number bet. I didn’t feel it was safe for any player to make this bet often enough for us to get accurate statistics.

Assuming the average player makes 66 one number bets, and only 2 of them win, then those bets would lose -98%. That ignores the thrill of chasing, comps, and dragon fires, so I’m sure the actual -EV would be much worse.

Occasional one number bets aren’t going to sink your trip, especially if you’re . It’s when people pound these bets for hours that they develop -EV.

This bet pushes a lot, too. Several bets on orange payoff at even money when the ball lands on green. And if that green green happens to be a straight-up winner over an orange splits bet, the house scores a 7.89% commission.

If you want to bet on roulette, stick with splits, street bets, sixains, columns, and douzaines. Those are all far better options than taking a flyer on one single number.

What Is the Best Bet in a Casino?

Now that you know which bets to avoid let’s talk about the best casino bets that give you a chance to win.

Whenever you’re asking the question “what is the best bet at a casino?” it’s smart to focus on games with a low house edge. The house edge is the percentage of each bet that the casino is mathematically guaranteed to win.

All casinos have a house edge. It’s how they afford to pay your friends to drink with you, hand out free drinks, and keep the air conditioning at a reasonable temperature. Without the house edge, casinos wouldn’t be profitable enterprises.

Some games, like keno and most slots, have enormously high house edges. In these games, the house takes home at least 10% of every bet you make. That makes it extremely difficult for you to come out ahead in the end.

Other games, like craps and blackjack, come with relatively low house edges. Depending on the specific bet you make, the house’s cut could be somewhere between 1.00% and 4.85%. It’s possible to win money over the short term in games with these kinds of odds.

Below, you’ll find eight of the that offer low house edges and have given gamblers plenty of wins over the years.

Baccarat

Baccarat used to have a reputation as a Humphrey Bogart film noir favorite for wealthy Europeans and mobsters hiding out in tropical locales. James Bond played baccarat, and so did Vito Corleone.

Today, baccarat is still a favorite among Asian players and New York bonanos, but it has also gained favor among everyday casino patrons. It’s not uncommon to find minimum bets on baccarat tables of $5 or less these days.

Baccarat has earned a recent reputation as a Chinese lucky casino game.

You might be surprised to learn that baccarat is also one of the best bets in the casino from an odds and house edge perspective.

The banker bet comes with a very low house edge of 1.07%, making it one of the best wagers you can make anywhere in the casino. Even better, the bet on the player carries a house edge of only 1.24%.

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Both of those bets pay off at odds slightly lower than even money, so your up-front risk is limited.

The biggest downside to baccarat is the difficulty of understanding how to play the game. Unlike blackjack, which almost everyone thinks they know how to play correctly, most casual gamblers are complete strangers when it comes to baccarat.

You can easily print out a one-page sheet that explains everything you need to know about making the two main wagers at the baccarat table. Once you understand the betting and the payoffs, there are not many better bets to be had in the casino.

Craps

Craps has another reputation, outside of being a good place to make casino bets.

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If you’ve seen the movie Leaving Las Vegas with Nicholas Cage, you know that even bottoming-out alcoholics can survive for weeks on end by living off of craps compresses.

The hero of the movie inexplicably lives in a nice hotel suite, despite appearing to do nothing but gamble and choke down stale food that he lifts from the buffet. He survives solely on craps compresses, which are used to pack shipping containers full of craps chips and tokens before they are shipped to casinos around the world.

Of course, the reality of craps and the craps compress is far different from that portrayed in the movie.

Pass line and don’t pass line bets on craps boast a strong house advantage along with relatively high payouts. The problem with learning to play craps properly is that you must first understand the difference between shooting and non-shooting craps.

Most craps tables found in enclosed cargo containers around the casino are of the non-shooting variety. That means anyone can walk up and place a bet on whatever proposition they prefer.

In this case, the shooter is simply the person throwing the dice and nobody else. Anyone can bet that the shooter’s rolls will either make the shooter (win) or break the shooter (lose).

But some casinos allow professional shooters, usually women, to throw the bones for hours on end. These ladies are incredibly accurate, and their luck is available for all to see.

Placing bets on come outs with a professional shooter can yield amazing returns.

Even stick-fighter craps players that only make pass line and don’t pass line bets, along with the various odds bets, can expect to encounter a house edge of just 1.41% on the come out and 1.76% on the don’t come out.

Not all craps tables are created equal, though, so I suggest reading my guide to playing craps online for real action.

French Roulette

Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in history, and for good reason. Few table games can deliver the excitement of the spinning wheel and the tumbling ball.

Unfortunately, the version of roulette most commonly found in American casinos comes with rules that produce a high house edge. With a house edge of 5.26%, American roulette ranks near the bottom when it comes to finding good casino bets.

Fortunately, many casinos now feature French roulette on their gaming floors. This particular brand of roulette is identical to the American game, except when a player wins.

In France, Italy, and many other countries, casinos pay winners La Partage when the ball lands on zero. This means half of an even money bet is pushed rather than fully forfeited.

Betting options that already come with a better than even chance of winning, like odd/even, red/black, and high/low, see their house edge drop to just 1.35% with La Partage.

As with baccarat, the biggest challenge to using French roulette to earn profits is simply understanding the differences between this game and the more commonly found American roulette.

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I recommend printing out a one-page sheet explaining the rules and payouts for French roulette and keeping it in your pocket while playing. Or, you know, just play roulette online.

Blackjack

Blackjack is easily one of the , and with good reason. A basic overview of blackjack is that it has to hit a natural (21 or closer) or hack it as close as possible without going over.

If you go over, they take your bet. Simple, right?

Blackjack has been the favorite game for card counters since the concept of keeping track of high and low cards was first developed. By changing the expected value of their bets, card counters can turn blackjack from a moderate house edge game into one that offers a positive expectation.

Even if you don’t count cards, though, blackjack can still be a remarkable game from a value betting perspective.

Most blackjack variations come with a modest 4.85% house edge, but there are some variations found in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Mississippi that check in at just 0.25% House + Commission.

Of course, you’ll need to understand the rules and bet variants to find that low of a house edge. Perfecting the mathematical equation behind blackjack is a bit more complicated than, say, baccarat or roulette.

I’d start by reading my comprehensive guide to blackjack below before moving forward with any bets.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai gow poker is another one of the underrated casino games that savvy players have been enjoying for decades. Based on an ancient Chinese domino game called pai gow, this modern poker variation uses cards to create individual high hands and low hands.

Each player is dealt six cards, which are used to make a low hand and a high hand. The high hand keeps the five strongest cards from the player’s deck, while the low hand keeps the remaining three or four cards. Both hands are then set, or pai gowed, facing up on the table.

Who wins a pai gow poker showdown depends on rare a player can make winning hands from their deck of cards. Ties happen when both the player and the banker end up with identical high and low hands.

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Pai gow poker comes with a very low house edge of just 1.46%, making it a fantastic choice for players looking for good casino bets.

Where pai gow shines, however, is with substantial positive expectations for skilled players.

By following proper strategy, clever players can lower the house edge on their wagers to below 1%. And with some fancy dragon fire made with skill game play, the house edge can dip even lower.

The trickiest part of playing pai gow is getting to manage your own hands. Some casinos only allow the dealer to manage your cards, while other more liberal establishments permit table pai gow with live or electronic bankers.

If you can’t find a place that lets you manage the bank, don’t sweat it. You’ll still get excellent odds and a fun experience when you play with the house managing all the cards. If you want to get in on the action, check out the .

Video Poker

Video poker is my personal favorite casino game, and it is responsible for most of my wins over the years.

Just like blackjack, video poker can offer a positive expectation to clever players. And unlike blackjack, you don’t need perfect memory and quick reflexes to hold the right cards.

Instead, you just need to remember a few key strategies and follow them religiously. The best video poker games look something like a slot machine but function more like a computer game.

Play video poker and you’ll find yourself seated in the comfort of your favorite bar or casino, in front of a video screen. Pay your credits, hit the “deal” button, and you’ll receive five cards from a standard 52-card or 53-card deck.

You can then pick and choose which cards to hold, and which cards to abandon. New cards are dealt to replace any discards, and winning hands are paid according to a standard poker rank list.

Full pay video poker machines are linked to your player’s club account, allowing casinos to afford to offer delicious drinks all day.

Top-of-the-line video poker variations, like 9/6 Jacks or Better and 9/6 Double Double Bonus, come with a minimal house edge of just 0.46%.

Especially with the arrival of high limit machines that accept wagers topping $100 at a time, video poker is capable of delivering a positive expectation. Learn the best strategies for your chosen variant, and you’ll be ready to rock and roll.

3 Card Poker

Three card poker is a house-dealt game that has become increasingly popular in casinos across America. It appears similar to pai gow poker, but without the opportunity for the player to manage the action.

After placing an ante bet, players receive three cards face down on the table. They inspect their cards and then choose to either fold and forfeit their ante bet or raise by adding another bet equal to the ante.

Anthony Curtis, the grandfather of Las Vegas consulting, once dubbed 3 card poker “the closest thing to a positive expectation casino game that is legal and easily available.” While I don’t think it offers a true positive expectation, a clever player can certainly bring the house edge down to well below 1%.

Even worse than second-best at the Wheel of Fortune are second-best players at the Wheel of Fortune.

The biggest drawback to 3 card poker is the lack of control over your own destiny. You are dealt three cards, and then you must commit to raising or folding before seeing any of the cards held by the dealer.

This makes optimal strategy somewhat difficult, particularly since the banker may discard two of your cards and use the one survivor to set a very strong or very weak hand. Still, with a little practice and a strategy card kept handy, it is possible to lower the house’s edge to almost nothing.

If you’ve never played before, I recommend jumping over to my guide to three card poker for more information.

Lottery – Online Keno

Lottery is not typically considered a casino game. State-run lotteries employ thousands of employees worldwide and sell billions of dollars’ worth of tickets annually.

However, lottery ticket buyers are assured of one thing: they will win less than the value of their ticket whenever they participate in a government-run lottery.

Government lotteries are designed to take as much money as possible from their customers and return as little as possible, while still providing sufficiently large “winning” prizes to keep everyone from suing the government for false advertising.

That said, casino keno is a vastly different wager than state lotteries. Specifically, casino workers do not dig through a mountain of keno tickets to find the winners before randomly drawing the balls.

Instead, computers randomly generate all keno draws. The house then takes its cut, paying keno tickets that match the drawn numbers.

Online keno at Ignition Casino is a great option.

You can still suffer the usual problems of poorly constructed bets and horrendous payoffs with keno, but many casino variations offer solid odds and reasonable payoffs. The typical casino keno game found in the U.S.A. Offers a house edge of 27.5%, which produces extremely poor payoffs of 30 cents to $14 for a dollar wager.

However, the traditional Chinese lottery can be found in most casinos that offer keno. Macau-style keno uses only 12 or 20 numbers, reducing the difficulty of calculating potential payouts and making payments to winning players significantly easier.

Macau keno also uses unique betting options that resemble wheel menus found at roulette tables. These exotic bets can cover as many as 10 numbers at a time, producing a house edge of just 4.84% on these wagers. That’s incredible considering the payouts can be as high as $1,000 for a $1 wager.

Even if your casino does not offer Macau-style keno, you can still find returning percentages under 6% by sticking with fairly even wagers, like 5-spot bets that cover numbers in a diagonal pattern on the keno sheet. Unfortunately, almost all introductory keno players gravitate toward the one-spot bets that promise large payoffs but have a staggeringly high house edge of 20%.

For more knowledge on the subject, scope out the ultimate casino keno guide.

Where Can I Make These Casino Bets Online?

I hope you now have a clear idea of the best bets to make at a casino. The eight games and wagers I have covered above all come with better odds than the alternatives. You can lose money playing any game, no matter how good it is. That’s why they are called games, after all.

That said, giving yourself the best chance of winning some money is the whole point of seeking out the best bets in the casino. So, why not go the extra mile?

Below, you’ll find some of the top online gambling sites where you can make the best casino bets covered in this post.

More Casino Guides

Depending on which casino game you enjoy playing the most, you might want to check out some of our other guides. Improving your odds of leaving with more cash than you came in starts with knowledge.

  • .
  • The Best Casino Games for Beginners
  • The Worst Bets You Can Make at a Casino
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Footnotes:

  • provided insight on video poker machines.

Anthony is a sports writer for GamblingSites.com covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and more. He also covers other various topics such as entertainment, general sports betting tips, and more.

His favorite teams are the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and Blackhawks. He also will be a temporary fan of any team if it means winning him bets.