Casino games are available today in abundance with even simple games, like Blackjack, coming in many different forms. With the advancement of online gambling, the variations of popular games has only increased, and with so many different types of game now available, it’s become common for players to question exactly what games they should, and shouldn’t be playing to maximise their odds of winning and reduce the house edge.
On this page, we’re going to look at the 5 best, and the 5 worst games and bets you can play, as well as covering important factors that can affect the variance and profitability of games.
5 Casino Games / Bets with the Lowest House Edge
While the lowest house edge section focused on purely games, in this section, you’ll find both games and specific bets within a game so you can always make the right decision – even when playing what appears to be a low house edge game.
Main Blackjack Bet (Subject to Table Rules)
While Blackjack itself is known as being a game with a low house edge, it’s possible to reduce the house edge to a minimal percentage of just 0.28% when the game conditions are suitable. To enjoy a house edge this low, you must follow optimal Blackjack strategy, play a game where the dealer stands on soft 17, and have the ability to late surrender.
Baccarat Bank Bet Insurance – “The Bank Bet”
With a house edge of just 1.06%, the Bank Bet is one of the best casino bets you can place, as the casino hold a very narrow edge over the player. Unlike the player bet, the bank bet is where a wager is placed on the dealer’s hand beating the players.
Baccarat Player Bet
With a 1.24% house edge, the Player Bet is the second-best bet in Baccarat. The player bet – as the name would suggest – is betting on your own hand, pitting your luck against that of the dealers.
Craps Don’t Pass / Don’t Come Bets
Notorious for being one of the best casino games to play due to an extremely low house edge, there are four bets within Craps that – if the casino offers high enough odds – can reduce the house edge to just a mere fraction of a percentage, and these bets are: the Pass Bet, the Don’t Pass Bet, the Come Bet, and the Don’t Come Bet.
Jacks or Better Video Poker
This popular Video Poker variant is one of the best games you can play at a casino, due to its incredibly low house edge of just 0.46% when played correctly. While not all Jacks or Better Video Poker machines offer this extremely low house edge, there are a couple of ways you can determine whether a machine does indeed use this low house edge. Firstly, the machine you play needs to pay 9:1 on a full house and 6:1 on a flush. Odds any lower than these, and the machine’s house edge is higher and worth avoiding. Secondly, it’s important you are familiar with the best strategy to use; you can find further details of how to play Video Poker here, where you’ll find the best strategy tips for reducing the house edge.
5 Casino Games / Bets with the Highest House Edge
In this section we look at specific bets, and games, that offer the highest house edge (the worst odds for YOU), so you can always make the right decision, even when playing what appears to be a low house edge game.
Baccarat Tie Bet
While Baccarat was mentioned in the best 5 casino bets list, it’s important to note that only applied to the player/banker bet; the tie bet is first up on the worst casino bets you can place, and it’s the only bad bet available at a typical Baccarat table. Featuring a 14.36% house edge, it’s one you’ll generally want to avoid!
Blackjack – as seen earlier – can be a fantastic game for players to lower the house edge to sub 1%, and while the game itself offers great gameplay, the insurance bet is one you are going to want to avoid if you’re interested in minimising the house edge. Assuming the game uses 8 decks of playing cards (most Blackjack games today use this figure), if you are offered insurance, you’d be wise to decline it – the house edge is a whopping 7.47% – an increase of over 6% compared against regular play!
Craps Prop Bets
Another game that was featured on the best 5 list, Craps is indeed one of the best games you can play, but that excludes the Props bet! Choose to play the Craps Props bet and the house edge will increase to between 5% and 17%. Types of bets categorised as Props Bets include the Hardway and One Roll bet.
While the house edge can differ greatly in Video Slot games, many games feature a house edge (known as a Return to Player, or RTP) as high as 17% and, with the gameplay so fast, big losses can amount relatively quickly, so be careful while playing ANY slot game!
Notorious for offering one of the highest house edges in history, Keno is a lottery-based game, which features odds almost as bad, and while payouts can be life-changing, Keno boasts a whopping house edge of 25%, the highest you are likely to find at a casino!
Other Games with a Low House Edge
While we’ve listed some of the best and worse bets you can place in a casino, there are a couple of other games worth mentioning thanks to their low house edge.
A game that has rapidly gained popularity in land-based UK casinos recently, Three Card Poker features a range of betting options with the main game offering a house edge of just 2% and the Pair Plus bet – an optional side bet where you can win up to 35X your stake – offering a house edge of 2.3%. Played correctly (which means avoiding the ‘Prime’ side bet), Three Card Poker is almost a coin toss against the player and dealer. While winning and losing swings work both ways, this can be a game that offers fantastic winning potential to players both on and offline.
While it’s not the most exciting casino game to play, Pai Gow Poker offers fantastic odds to the player with the house edge set at just 1.46%. Pai Gow is focused around Texas Hold’ Em hand-rankings with the addition of a wild card. You can find a full playing guide here on our dedicated Pai Gow page.
Important Things to Remember
There are a lot of times you’ll see people say that games are worth playing thanks to their low house edge, however, if the game offers more than one bet, it’s not the game you need to focus on – it’s the bet.
Here’s an example:
European Roulette features multiple different betting options, from simple red/black, and odds/evens betting, to straight-up betting, where you pick a singular number and wager chips on it. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s the odds – not house edge – that changes, dependant on the type of bet you place. European Roulette’s house edge remains the same, whether you place a bet on red/black, or straight number betting. While the odds of each event occurring change, the house edge doesn’t. There’s also the speed of play factor to remember, and while this doesn’t affect the house edge, it does impact the speed at which you can win/lose, and it’s worth remembering before play.
You see, while the house edge of a game may be low, the difference in the speed of play, particularly when comparing offline play to online play, can be staggering. Take a land-based casino, for example, on a busy Saturday night: The Roulette wheel spins perhaps once every 3-4 minutes. The dealer must physically spin the wheel, deal with player questions and settle winning bets. The same game online, however, can be played in a matter of seconds, and you can fit hundreds of spins in online when in ‘real life’ play only a few spins could be played out. Because of this, it’s easy to rack up quicker wins and losses, which can give the illusion that online game variations offer different odds to land-based casino games – something that just isn’t true.