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Good and Bad Bets4 October 2007
It's no surprise that the casinos are in business to make money. They do that by offering games, promotions, restaurants, and shows to attract customers. It's also no secret that the casino wants to have an edge in every game that it offers because without that edge, there would be no casinos.
No one is shocked to discover that just about all long-term players are losers. If they weren't, something would be seriously wrong with the casino industry. No merchant can long survive on negative income.
The house edge at casino games is not a stagnant number. Some games, such as the Big Wheel, rarely have any bets with an edge under 10 percent. Sic Bo, an Asian game, has only two bets with a house edge under three percent - the rest coming in between that and 40 percent. Can you imagine playing a game where 40 percent of everything you wagered went to the house? Yet some people play that game and make those wagers.
Craps is a fun game and has a few of the best bets in the casinos. But it also has some of the highest house edge bets as well. If you bet the Crazy Crapper bets in the middle of the table, you will face house edges of around and over 10 percent. On the Any Seven, or Big Red wager the house edge is a staggering 16.67 percent. That means you will lose $16.67 for every $100 you wager on the Any Seven. In fact, maybe that's why it's called Big Red, as that will be your bankroll if you keep making that bet.
Yet, at a craps game, there are great bets that can be made, bets that give the house only a marginal edge. The Pass and Come, and their opposites, the Don't Pass and Don't Come, have house edges around 1.4 percent. That means a $1.40 for every $100 wagered. These bets can be made even better by taking the Odds. The Odds bet is made after a point or number is established. In Tunica just about all the casinos have 20 times odds, which means you can put up 20 times the amount of your Pass and Come bets in Odds. The Odds bet has no house edge and is paid off based on its true odds.
If you are betting $5 on the Pass Line, you can take $100 in odds. The house edge on a bet such as this is about a dime for every $100! That's a close game!
Still go to any craps table in any casino in America and you will see seemingly intelligent people making bets that have a hundred times the house edge as the Pass/Come, Don't Pass/Don't Come. Why do they do that? We have no idea, except that perhaps they need the action of a multitude of bets and the winning of those bets is merely of secondary importance. Or, perhaps, they are all insane? Or they don't understand the house edge?
One of the best games in the casino is blackjack, a game where a savvy player can cut the house down to less than a half percent if he uses Basic Strategy. Basic strategy is the computer-derived play of every player hand against every dealer upcard. It's the best way to play blackjack. Yet, only a small percentage of players has ever heard of Basic Strategy - and many who have heard of it, just don't play it. That's strange because why not play with a half of a percent house edge (that's 50 cents per $100 wagered in house edge) than with a one, two or three percent house edge which is what the overwhelming majority of blackjack players face?
There was a time, long, long ago, when blackjack was a sacred game and not too much tinkering of it was done. Today that is not the case. There are now some bad, awful, and outrageously horrendous blackjack games and smart players attempt to avoid them when possible. In most double-deck games, the dealer will hit on a soft 17. This is a bad rule for the players because it increases the house edge by two-tenths of one percent. That may not sound like a lot but it adds up.
An awful rule that you might run into limits doubling down to only the 10 and 11. Some casinos eliminate soft doubling.
Perhaps the two worst things that have ever happened to blackjack are the single (and now some multiple) deck games with a 6 to 5 payout for a blackjack. The traditional payout is 3 to 2 or 6 to 4. The extra payment of 3 to 2 for a blackjack is the main reason why blackjack is a close contest between player and casino. In a normal single-deck game the casino has about a 0.2 percent edge (that's 20 cents on the $100 wagered) but at a 6 to 5 blackjack game, the house edge leaps to approximately 1.5 percent! That is eight times the edge!
Amazingly some players just happily play this game, not knowing that their chances of winning have now become almost eight times worse. Of course, in Vegas where the 6-5 blackjack has taken over, the blackjack games are down by 10 percent in the last two years. Could that be due to players who have abandoned the game because they are losing too fast? It just might be.
Blackjack is a good game only if you play the 3 to 2 version. It is a great game if you can also play at casinos where you can double on any first two cards, split and resplit, double after splits and where the dealer stands on soft 17.
Most of the new games come in with house edges over 2 and 3 percent. These games are usually fast paced and get in a lot of decisions per hour - like slot machines. The faster the game, the more money the house edge gets to work on. That's a fact that can't be changed.
If you are in love with some of the newer table games, the best advice we can give you is to learn the proper playing strategies for these games and reduce the number of decisions by about 30 percent. That's right, you do not have to play every hand! There is no other way to reduce the house's hit on your bankroll. Casino gambling is fun but it is at its most fun when the player has a close contest with the casino!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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