Choosing a favorite casino game often has a lot to do with how well you manage to do financially, but not always. According to the latest Nevada Gaming Control Board statistics for the past 12 months (large casinos only), some games hold, or win, a lot more than you might think! It's not just what the house edge is, it's how much money the casino wins overall, although there are some extenuating circumstances.
If you are familiar with the top five casino bets, you already know that while playing blackjack may be one of the safest bets in the casino, with a house edge of less than 2 percent against the average player, the house still holds over 10 percent of all the money used to buy chips!
Not all casino players are looking for the same thing. Some players want to invest a small amount with a chance to win a lot. The biggest payoff for that kind of player is Powerball, where $2 might win millions. In the casino, that player might be interested in a slot machine with a huge jackpot, but for the very reason the jackpot is so large, the average return to the player is smaller than other machines; the big jackpot machine holds more of each players' overall investment (unless they hit that fleeting jackpot).
At table games, craps offers a pass and don't pass bet with a house edge of less than 1.5 percent, but if you bet on "any seven" the house edge is over 16 percent! On the other hand, you can watch a lot of dice with a single pass line bet, so win or lose, you'll be able to play longer on each bet than at other games.
Keep in mind that the following list shows the top five winning percentage games for casinos on the Las Vegas Strip over the past 12 months. The percentages quoted are not the "house edge," they are what the casino won as a percentage of all the money dropped into the drop box on the games. For example, if players buy $1000 in chips and leave with $900 in chips, the game wins, or holds, $100 which is 10 percent.Fifth Worst Casino Bet
Pai Gow Poker is a very popular game. Players get the feeling they are in control of their destiny because they get to set the hand (seven cards to make the best five-card hand and a two-card hand) the way they want. However, just like video poker, you are in control, but even with optimal play the house has an edge. Over the past 12 months, 30 casinos collectively have 103 tables, and the games held 20.27 percent.Fourth Worst Casino Bet
Let it Ride has fallen in popularity since ten years ago, but there are still 49 tables to play. The player gets three cards, the dealer two, and the player uses all five to make a poker hand - essentially five card stud. A pair of tens or higher produces a payoff. This past 12 months the casinos held 23.08 percent of all chip purchases.Third Worst Casino Bet
Keno can be found at most casinos, and while it isn't as popular as it once was, you can still play a game for as little a buck while eating dinner. Consider it the mini-lottery, a good time-killer for small cash. You can also play on machines, where the odds are better and the games are 100x faster! For the live version, the casinos held 30.16 percent this past year.Second Worst Casino Bet
Sports Parlay Cards are great, especially during the football season. For a few bucks you've got action all day - as long as your picks keep winning. Most parlay cards require that you win every selection of at least three or four games. It's a tough go, and that's why the cards held 30.54 percent of all the money wagered on them last year!The Worst Casino Bet
Three Card Poker is the fourth most popular casino table game in terms of both number of games, and total drop. The game is fast, easy to play, and has the attraction of payoffs as high as 40-1 on a straight flush and 50-1 on a mini-royal, which do hit fairly often. The house edge is also reasonable on the ante bet, at just less than 4 percent. The pair plus wager holds a much higher 7.28 percent edge. Combined, the overall edge for both bets is about 5.32 percent (although much lower with the mini-royal bonus).
While Three Card Poker is very popular, the player is usually making two wagers with a combined house edge of over 5 percent, two to three times worse than the house edge at blackjack, and about eight times worse than a competent basic strategy blackjack player encounters.
Casino gambling is fun, so is hitting some big payoffs, which Three Card Poker provides on a fairly regular basis. However, over the past 12 months, the 147 tables found at 33 casinos (again, the largest casinos) held a combined total of 31.61 percent, making Three Card Poker the worst, or most expensive game to play in Nevada casinos. Obviously your results will vary, but when compared to those blackjack numbers at 10.32 percent, it's an expensive game to play.