Every time you visit a casino you’re faced with dozens of options for games to play. If you count all of the different types of slot machines and video poker variations your options quickly grow into the hundreds.
With all of your potential game choices, it’s easy to make a mistake and start playing one that offers a big edge for the casino.
I’ve put together a list of the top 5 casino games you should avoid at any cost. Each of these games will take your money at a higher rate than most other games in the casino. After you read about each of the five games, I’ve also included a short section suggesting a few games you should play instead.
1 – Keno
Keno has a house edge of 20 to 30% in most casinos. This is usually the worst possible game you can play as far as the edge you give up to the casino.
To give you an idea of just how bad each game on this list is, consider how much you’ll lose on average per every $100 you bet. To figure this, just multiply $100 by the percentage.
Here’s an example:
If the house edge for keno is 20%, multiply .20 times $100 and you get an expected loss of $20 for every $100 you bet. You convert the 20% to a decimal by moving the decimal two places to the left, so 20% becomes .20.
If the percentage is less than 10% you end up with a zero following the decimal. 5% becomes .05 and 3.5% becomes .035.
When you bet $10 per draw 10 times per hour you’re betting $100. Over time you’ll lose between $20 and $30 per hour playing keno this way.
2 – The Big Wheel
The big wheel is known by many names, but they all offer terrible odds for players. Any time you see a big wheel, usually close to the main entrance of the casino, it’s a bad bet.
When you play the big wheel you give the casino an edge of 11 to 24% depending on the house odds and the number you bet on.
You won’t find any reasonable wagers on the wheel.
For every $100 you bet you’ll lose between $11 and $24 in the long run.
3 – Double Zero Roulette
Usually called American roulette, wheels with both a double zero and a single zero wheel have a house edge over 5.2%.
You might be thinking that’s not bad in comparison to the big wheel and keno, but when you compare it to a European roulette wheel you’ll see why it’s a game to avoid.
European roulette wheels only have a single zero space. This lowers the house edge to 2.7%, which is almost half the American wheel.
You’ll lose $2.70 per $100 bet on a European wheel on average and $5.20 per $100 on an American wheel.
4 – Non Full Pay Video Poker Machines
Most casinos are filled with video poker machines of different varieties. You’ll even find different versions of the same games in many establishments.
You need to familiarize yourself with the best pay tables available for each type of machine, usually called full pay, and learn the best strategies.
The difference between playing on a full pay machine and other versions of the pay table can be 5% or more.
Most video poker players specialize in playing Deuces Wild or Jacks or Better.
Though they’re hard to find, if you can locate full pay machines for either of these variations you can reduce the house edge to around a half percent.
When you play a pay table with a 5% house edge you lose $5 per $100 wagered, but a half percent edge makes you only lose 50 cents per $100 wagered on average.
5 – Slot Machines
I’m sure many readers are surprised to find slot machines on a list of casino games to avoid, but the truth is they offer some of the worst percentages for players in the casino.
When you add in the fact that you can play hundreds of spins per hour with the high house edge, you should avoid the slots.
The house edge for slot machines ranges from a couple percent to over 15% and you usually can’t find out which machines are better than others.
Even if you assign a generous average house edge of only 6% you’ll still lose $6 per $100 wagered in the long run.
Don’t forget that slot machines are usually played faster than any other game in the casino. If you play $2 per spin you can easily bet $500 or more per hour. $500 an hour times 6% is an average of $30 per hour.
Play These Games Instead
Now that you know which games to avoid, I wanted to share a few suggestions with you about games to play.
Blackjack, craps, baccarat, poker, and full pay video poker all offer wagers and situations that can be much less profitable for the casinos than the list above.
When you play craps always bet on the pass or don’t pass line and take full odds and always take the banker bet at baccarat. Both of these tactics reduce the house edge to just over 1%.
If you play blackjack or full pay video poker always use the best basic strategy. If you don’t know the best strategy use a chart or card printed from a web site or picked up in a gift shop.
Do you know how to play Texas holdem, 7 Card Stud, or Omaha? If you’re a good player you might be able to play with an overall advantage instead of fighting bad odds. You play against the other players and give the house a small percentage of each pot, called the rake, so all you have to do is be a little better than your opponents.
If you want the best chance to win and the best way to extend your gambling sessions you’ll want to avoid the 5 games listed above. Now that you know how bad the house edge is you can look for games that offer fairer odds the next time you play.