The Best, And The Worst Bets You Can Make In A Casino

By Alex Smith, Last updated Nov 11, 2022

With online gambling now, more popular than ever before, there are tens of thousands of games available to play, both on and offline – and the popularity of gambling has meant that many conventional games, like Roulette and Blackjack, are now available in a number of different forms – often with the addition of side bets.
A common question among gamblers, is ‘which games are the best to play’ – and, ‘which are the worst – and in this post, we’re going to be taking a look at five of the best, and the worst bets you can make in a casino. (These aren’t necessarily specific games – we’ll cover certain types of bet, as well.)

5 Bets With A Low House Edge

Regular Blackjack: Blackjack is known as a game with a very low house edge – and while the specific percentage varies quite a bit depending on the variation of the game played, and the rules of the table, it’s possible to decrease the casino’s house edge to just 0.28% with a few factors. First, blackjack ‘basic strategy’ should be followed at all times – and the table should have the dealer stand on a soft 17. You should also have the ability to late surrender – and if you play at a table with these conditions, you’ll enjoy the low house edge we just discussed.

Baccarat – Bank Bet Insurance: Baccarat – like Blackjack – is known as a casino game with a low house edge – and while not all of the bets available in Baccarat are too good, the Bank Bet IS a great option, as it carries a house edge of just 1.06%. The Bank Bet is where you bet on the dealer’s hand as opposed to yours – and that’s really all there is to it – there’s no decision making to be made!
Baccarat Player Bet – The player bet in Baccarat is slightly worse than the Bank Bet we just looked at, but it still carries a very low house edge of just 1.24%. As you can probably imagine, the Player Bet is where you’re betting on your own hand, rather than that of the dealers – and you get paid out if your hand beats the dealers, it’s as simple as that!

Craps – Don’t Pass/Don’t Come Bets – Like Baccarat, Craps has gained a reputation of being ‘one of the best casino games to play’ – and it’s true, the game does offer some very low house edges. It’s also worth noting, however, that Craps also offers some very unwise bets – so always be careful of what you’re betting on, if you’re aiming to get the optimal house edge. Now, there are four different types of bet in Craps that – when used correctly – can lower the house edge to just a fraction of a percent – 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: Jacks or Better is one of the most popular forms of Video Poker on the planet – and, when played correctly (on the right machine) it can produce a very low house edge of just 0.46%. Now, it’s worth pointing out that you will need to check the percent before playing, as not all machines run on this low house edge – and there are a couple of methods you can use to determine whether or not a machine does payout at this rate. Firstly, the machine you’re looking to play MUST pay 9/1 for a full house, and 6/1 for a flush. If the machine is offering odds any lower than this, it won’t be the low house edge we talked about. The second thing you need to remember, is that – again, in order to achieve that low house edge – you need to play the game using the best Video Poker strategy. This ensures you make the right decisions when it comes to knowing what to hold. You can find many suitable strategy tables online, that help you make the correct decision.

Those are five of the best bets you can make in a casino – all that offer pretty low house edges. Now, we’re going to take a look at some of the worst bets you can make!

5 Bets With A High House Edge

Contrary to the section above, in this part of the post, we’re going to be taking a look at five bets with a high house edge. You should, generally-speaking, avoid these types of bet. While they can be a bit of fun to play, in the long run they’re going to lead to the casino taking your money faster – so it’s a good idea to steer clear, where possible.

Baccarat – Tie Bet: Baccarat was mentioned twice in the section above – and it is, indeed a good game to play, if you’re looking for a low house edge game – but the Tie Bet is a bet you should avoid at all costs. With a whopping 14.36% house edge, for every $100 you wager on this bet you’re going to lose $14.36 – a considerable amount of money. This is actually the only bad bet you can place at a standard Baccarat table – so while it’s a bit of fun every now and then (and occasionally profitable, as you get paid out a lot more than the other bets) – it’s advisable to avoid it.

Blackjack – Insurance: Another game that featured advisable bets above, there are Blackjack bets that are worth avoiding – and the insurance bet is a good example of a bet-type to avoid. On a standard 8-deck Blackjack game, the insurance bet carries a house edge of 7.47%. This is a near 6% increase from playing the standard box – so it’s a bet you’ll want to try and avoid.
Craps – Prop Bets: Yet another game that was featured in the section above, the Craps ‘prop bet’ is one that’s worth avoiding. Choose to play this bet, and the house edge will range from between 5% and 17%, depending on whether you choose to play the Hard Way or One Roll bets.

Video Slots: Here at Casinomeister, we LOVE video slots. Browse the forums, and you’ll see that a large number of the threads talk about nothing other than slots… but, unfortunately, they’re not a great option, when it comes to choosing games with a low house edge. While some video slots offer RTPs (return to player) percentages of 96%+, some games can contain a house edge as high as 17% – and the volatility of video slots is typically a lot higher than casino table games, so you can end up ploughing through your money quite a lot faster than were you playing a table game. Of course, slots can be fun to play – and they can offer some BIG win-potential, too – but to compensate for this, the house edge is usually a lot higher than other forms of game.

Keno: One of THE WORST bets you can place at a casino, Keno – a popular lottery-based game – carries a house edge of around 25%. This is likely going to be the highest house edge you’ll find at a casino – and while it’s a bit of fun once in a while, unless you’re looking to – literally throw your money down the drain – it’s a game worth avoiding.

Other Games Worth Considering

The list above is by no-means exhaustive – and below, we’re going to take a look at a few other games you can play, which also carry relatively low house edges.

3-Card Poker: 3-Card Poker is one of the newest casino games, and unlike, say, Roulette or Blackjack, it was only created in the last few decades. While some of the bets on a 3-Card Poker table are highly inadvisable, there are a number of bets you CAN place with a low house edge – and the main game itself offers a relatively low house edge of just 2%. Similarly, the Pair Plus bet (an optional side bet option, which allows you to win up to 35/1 your bet) offers a house edge of just 2.3% – although it’s worth noting that you will need to play the game to best strategy, in order to take advantage of the low house edge. Another bet on the table to be aware of, is the ‘Prime’ bet. This is essentially a 50/50 shw between the dealer and player – and while it sounds like a viable bet to place, it carries a high house edge percentage – so it’s worth avoiding.

Pai Gow Poker: Pai Gow Poker is another relatively new game – and while it doesn’t offer the same game dynamic as, say, Roulette, it does offer a very low house edge, of just 1.46%. Based around Texas Hold’ em poker, Pai Gow is easy to play, and there can be some good payout potential too.
Some Things To Remember…

One of the most important things to remember, is that just because a game offers a low house edge, this does NOT mean you’re going to win. It means, that over time, you’re going to lose less money than games that carry a higher house edge – but as with all statistics, this can be over a period of thousands, or even millions of bets – so there’s no guarantees either way.
It’s also worth pointing out that it’s the BET you need to be aware of, not the game. For example, people may say Blackjack is a great game to play, as it carries a low house edge; while true, this is only correct if you’re playing the main bet box – and not if you’re playing side bets, like Perfect Pairs.

Here’s another example…
Let’s say you were playing European Roulette. As you probably know, a Roulette table offers a ton of different betting options – and you’ll find everything from near-50/50 shots, to straight-up number betting. Placing a bet on red or black, for instance, carries a house edge of 46.37% – meaning you’re going to lose pretty much one in two times you make the bet.
Another thing we’re going to come back too quickly, is that of video slots. While video slots do offer relatively poor house edge percentages – certainly when compared against casino table games anyway – it’s worth noting that you can win a LOT more in certain situations.

For example, take the Roulette bet we just looked at; sure, you’re going to lose one in two times you make the bet, but something else to consider is the fact that you’re never going to win more than double your stake anyway. On a video slot, the house edge may look bad – say, 5% – but on a single spin, you could win 100X your stake… or even more…
So while it’s not great to play, long-term, you can get lucky in the short-term and walk away with some pretty healthy-sized wins.

Overall, the most important thing is that you find a game you’re happy with, and that you have fun playing it. Unless you’re a serious card-counter, you’re never going to play casino games with the goal of beating them long-term (and if you do think like this, you shouldn’t) – and so, while the games we’ve listed above can provide a good indication of which games you can play to enjoy a low house edge (and which games ‘rip you off, and should be avoided’), at the end of the day they’re just guides, and the most important thing is that you feel comfortable playing whatever you decide to play.

Alex Smith

Alex is a 26-year-old writer from Brighton, in the UK, and for the past 8 years, he’s worked with a number of companies, creating content for blogs, news articles, and more. While Alex has written on a wide variety of topics, his speciality is online gambling – an industry he’s both passionate about, and experienced in. Having enjoyed gambling for over 7 years, Alex is a huge fan of video slots, and cites NetEnt, Big Time Gaming, Thunderkick, and Quickspin as his favourite providers. The topics he writes on are varied, but he loves nothing more than a good old slot review (he’s written over 1,000 slot reviews in his career), and he also enjoys writing in-depth gambling guides, along with casino reviews. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing the guitar, and is a self-proclaimed horror film buff.

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