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Al Moe

What Were Those Casino Odds?

By January 25, 2013

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Players don't always flock to the casino games with the best odds, they start by playing games they already have some experience with, which is one reason blackjack is so popular. Having played the game with friends, and perhaps even having won, gamblers feel comfortable sitting down to play. That doesn't make them an experts. If you don't know how and when to double down or split, the house edge goes up considerably.

I've watched players push their way around a roulette wheel that is two players deep, a wheel with a zero and a double zero, when a single-zero wheel is twenty feet away with half the players, and those players were getting a game where the house had only half the odds! And, strangely enough, I've seen back-to-back roulette tables where one was touted as European roulette (single zero), and the other was touted as French roulette (single zero) that offered "En Prison," and it was empty!

I can only assume this was because the players on the European table didn't know, or didn't understand that "En Prison" or "La Partage" is an added freebie at roulette, just like re-splitting of aces is an added freebie that few casinos offer at blackjack. A double-zero wheel has a house edge of 5.26 percent. A single-zero wheel has a house edge of 2.7 percent. A roulette table that offers "En Prison" has only a 1.35 percent edge over players who bet the even-money wagers like red and black or odd and even. That's a big deal. It's worth knowing the rules, and the odds.

Las Vegas Strip rules for blackjack are very good for the player, usually running about 1 percent for the house, depending on which rules are enacted. In Reno and Lake Tahoe, most casinos allow double-downs only on ten or eleven, not soft hands, so the odds are worse. On the other hand, if you play craps in Reno, when you bet on eleven, they pay 15 to 1. In Vegas, the casinos pay 15 for 1. Notice the difference? The Vegas layouts say eleven pays 15 for 1, so you only get 14 chips back if your bet stays up.

Of course the worst odds these days are from the casinos that have adopted the 6 for 5 on blackjack rule. Several clubs switched to this rule about 10 years ago, but most have returned to 7.5 to 5. Those that have not - well, you should just avoid the game. It's a horrible odds game for the player. How does this sound:

If you play excellent basic strategy you are at a 1 percent disadvantage. You play $10 per hand and get 65 hands per hour for $650 in action. $650x.01= $6.50 per hour it costs you to play. You average one blackjack every 21.5 hands, so in 65 hands you get three. Instead of winning $15 on each (7.5 to 5) you only get $12 (6 to 5), so you get $9 less - it now costs more than twice as much to play, your blackjack costs $15.50 per hour. Sure, you will win sometimes, but overall it will be tougher to have a winning session. Give this game up and refuse to play! Make the few casinos that still have this rule revert back to the standard 1.5 to 1 (7.5 to 5) bet!

Getting good odds on your wagers is an important part of surviving at the casino. Don't be afraid to ask about the house rules to check them out, you might even find they have a special for certain hands at blackjack or in the poker room that might make you play your hand in a different than usual manner. Find out!


February 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm
(1) Emma says:

Another poor choice is the video poker. Are there any 10/6 or 9/6 machines any more. If no,t it hardly makes it worth the effort. It is like throwing your money away. I don’t play for entertainment. I play to win

April 2, 2013 at 7:48 am
(2) casinos says:

If you want the best blackjack games in town, we recommend the Western and the Cortez. They both have affordable games and a great environment. Just make sure you watch out for inexperienced dealers that might mess up now and then, but for an affordable and fun time playing black jack, you will feel right at home in either of the two options we mentioned.

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