You’ve got one night on the Vegas strip and $100 in your pocket. So which game should you play? Which game will give you get the best run for your money? Answer is, it depends…
If you’re looking for an hour of mindless gambling fun, head to the craps table. Ignore the shouting and the insider lingo and the complex side-bets. Just wait for a new roller to take the dice and then put $10 down on the “PASS LINE.” That’s all you have to remember: “PASS LINE.”
If the roller gets a 7 or 11, you win. If she rolls a 2, 3, or 12, you lose. If she rolls a different number, the game goes on. Let’s say she shoots a 9. She now has to roll another 9 before she gets a 7. If she does, you win. If the 7 comes first, you lose.
That’s pretty much it. And the odds are solid: The house edge is just 1.4 percent—meaning, for every dollar you bet, you’ll only lose about a penny on average. And if luck’s in your favor, and if you press your bet up as you win, you can make a fortune in no time.
Ah, and if you want even better odds, then bet the “DON’T PASS” line. It’s pretty much the opposite of the PASS LINE and the casino odds are a measly 1.36 percent (That’s .04 percent better.). But remember… everybody else at the table is probably going to be playing the PASS line, so if you’re playing the DON’T PASS line and you win….everybody else loses. Plan to celebrate quietly. Well, unless you’re the type of person who wears Ohio State jerseys to University of Michigan home games…
If you’re willing to put in a little work, blackjack offers the best odds. I’m talking about a .5 percent casino edge, depending on which table you’re sitting at. (Meaning for every dollar you gamble, you’ll lose only half a penny on average.) But to get these ultra-good odds, you have to know what you’re doing. Do you hit 12 against a dealer showing a 2? (Yes.) When do you split 4s? (Only when the dealer’s showing a 5 or a 6). When do you split 8s? (Always.) You’ll need to memorize tiny decisions like these to get top odds.
Or you can print out a cheat sheet and bring it to the table with you. 100 percent legal. The casinos won’t give you any slack for it. Now, some of the other players might poke fun at you…but you’ll get the last laugh once you’ve got five towering stacks of “quarters” ($25 chips) sitting in front of you. If you Google “Blackjack Basic Strategy,” you’ll find all sorts of websites with printable cheat sheets.
Don’t avoid this game just because you don’t know how to pronounce it! It’s super-popular in Macau…and growing more and more popular here in Vegas. Why? It’s dramatic, the odds are solid, and the rules are simple. You bet on the Player or Banker. Both sides draw cards. Whichever side winds up closer to 9 wins. On a regular baccarat table, house odds range from 1.01 to 1.24 percent on the BANKER and PLAYER bets.
Many baccarat tables have higher limits than the other table games do. But don’t get scared away by a $25 or $50 minimum bet. Think about it like this: It’s better to play a high stakes game with a good chance of winning than a low stakes game with no chance of winning at all!
So, to sum up, blackjack’s best if you’ve got the time to learn the game. If you want to drink and socialize and win all at the same time, play craps. And if you’ve got the bankroll and want a more refined gambling experience (still with great odds), baccarat’s the game for you.