The Toughest Casino Games

The gambling industry is on the up with the popularity of casino games increasing every year. They were once seen as the exclusive playground of the rich and famous but now everyone’s getting into the world of the casino.

Whether you’re rich or poor, famous or unknown you can experience a casino from anywhere in the world within minutes, just by clicking a few buttons on your mobile phone. Once you’ve clicked onto a casino on your phone or walked through the doors at your local, your next decision is what game to play.

In this article we take a look at 5 different casino games to see how tough they are and what your chances of winning big are.

Blackjack

This classic card game isn’t as time-consuming as many other table games. In essence all you’re doing is playing against the dealer, drawing random cards until one of you gets to 21, or goes bust. Simple.

It is the simplicity of this game that makes it so popular among those who visit both land-based casinos and online casinos. All major online casinos offer blackjack, but it is the best in the business that provide brilliant gameplay, leading online casinos make it easy for players to get a grasp of it, that is undoubtedly what makes it one of the most popular games at the famous 888casino.

The house edge in blackjack varies. It can be anywhere between 8% – 0.2%. A house edge of 0.92% is made up of a baseline of .50% plus 0.20% if the dealer hits soft 17 and 0.22% for double down on 10 or 11 only.

The easiest strategy to remember if you’re a beginner is common-sense. If you’ve got a hand of 19 or 20, don’t call for another card, it’s not wise! However there have been entire books dedicated to blackjack strategies, there’s a few summarised below for the intrepid gambler.

• Surrender: It’s not well-known, but in most casinos you can ‘surrender’ a bad hand in order to save half of your wager. It’s not openly advertised at most casinos so be sure to ask if you can do this before you start playing. It won’t make you money, but it could mitigate your losses.

• Splitting Pairs: When dealt a pair you can split them into two separate bets. You must equal your wager on your new bet, but it gives you more chance of beating the dealer. A dull 14 could become two exciting 7’s.

• Insurance: Relatively unknown but it could save you a bit of money. When the dealer shows an ace or an upcard they may ask you if you want to make an insurance bet. You then bet half your wager at 2/1 on the dealer having a 10 or a picture card, if they do and your original hand loses you break even.

• Doubling Down: If the dealer has a bad hand you may choose to double down, which means you double your original bet to take an extra card. It’s very offensive but has the potential to dramatically increase your winnings.

• Hit & Stand: This is the basic strategy of knowing when to hit or stand and getting to know your potential outcomes. If you hit a hard 12 through to 17 the chances are you’re going to lose, but choosing wisely between hitting and standing could minimise your losses.

• Basic Defensive Strategy: In layman’s terms this is when you play defensively to minimise your losses. If for example you’re on 15 from 2 cards, the defensive option would be to stand and hope the dealer goes bust rather than to hit and almost guarantee yourself going bust.

• Basic Offensive Strategy: A mixture of most of the strategies listed above, splitting pairs and doubling down can be two of the most productive offensive strategies if implemented correctly.

Toughness Rating: 8/10

Craps

This is the game you see in the movies, hordes of people crowded around a table cheering on a player who blows his dice for luck before rolling the numbers that make the crowd whoop and holler in delight. It’s not always like that though.

The game is thought to be a simplification of the old English game “Hazard” and is quite complex, even for a simplification. It’s centered on someone called ‘the shooter’ who rolls the dice and the outcome is bet on.

The easiest bet to make for a novice is the ‘passline bet’. If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11, the bet is automatically won, if they roll a 2, 3 or 12 then the bet is lost. Any other number and a marker is put down, if the shooter rolls a 7 before the number of the marker in the next round, you lose. That’s just the novice betting too!

Dice control is a controversial theory that suggests individuals can affect a game of craps through how they throw the dice, this results in the game no longer being a game of chance. It works through throwing the dice with both the right grip and at the right angle, this puts the game in favour of the player rather than the house.

Chris Pawlicki wrote a book on the subject, in the book he attempts to explain the science and maths behind the theory. In order to achieve dice control, the shooter attempts to limit the rotational characteristics of the dice, if they do this successfully the probability of the dice remaining on the same axis is greatly increased. However, experiments have been conducted on the subject of dice control, and they achieved no conclusive results.

Toughness Rating: 9/10

Roulette

It’s glamorous, traditional and represents a great chance to make a huge amount of money, but it’s not as simple as that. In European roulette the numbers on a roulette wheel range from 0-36 and you can bet on any number coming up, with odds of 37-1, the payout for a win is 35-1. However, there are different forms of the game.

American roulette offers odds of 38-1 and the payout is still 35-1. Simply put, you are less likely to win while playing American roulette, although the reward is still the same. Another form of the game is French roulette, this is very similar to European roulette but there are a number of distinguishing features. It includes a La Partage rule, this rule ensures that there is a fair chance for every player who uses the even money bet, if the ball lands in zero, all even-money bets are split into two and half of your original bet is returned. This makes the house edge 1.3%, the lowest of all three forms of the game. A variant of this rule is the En Prison rule, this provides the player with the chance to recover their stake if the ball lands on zero. The stake is left on the previous bet and the croupier marks it as ‘En Prison’, if the bet wins on the next spin then the player is refunded, should it lose then the stake is lost. Again, this is more favourable to players than the traditional rules in European and American roulette.

You can split bets on different groupings or simply just bet on red or black, if your number comes in then the chances are you’ll win a sizeable amount. Whilst it’s tempting to place all your money on lucky number 7, the best chance of victory is probably in spreading your bets.

The most common strategy in roulette is the Martingale. The simplicity of this strategy means it is the most popular, it is done through doubling the amount staked every time you lose. This system works through taking the ‘even-money’ bets. However, this strategy becomes redundant if the casino has a maximum stake, if the casino had no maximum bet and you had unlimited funds then you could use the Martingale every time and win. This system is known as a negative betting system, it attempts to secure a win after successive losses by increasing the stake. It often ends in disaster when the maximum stake of the casino are reached.

The d’Alembert betting system is also known as the Gambler’s Fallacy, it proposes that if some numbers have appeared more than they should have done according to the odds then other numbers will begin to appear in order to increase equilibrium. This simply isn’t the case and applying this theory can leave the gambler in trouble.

Toughness Rating: 4/10

Baccarat

Not to be confused with American singer, songwriter and composer Burt Bacharach this tricky card game is not to be taken lightly. It’s similar to blackjack in the way that it’s played between a player and the banker and is based on adding up the values of cards.

There are different types of baccarat but the most common one found in casinos is ‘punto banco’. The aim of the game is to outscore the banker with the cards you’re dealt, however the scoring system isn’t simple.

The highest score you can achieve is 9, you could do this by getting cards that individually add up to 9, so a 4 and a 5 for example or by getting a 10 and a 9. Weird right? If your cards amount to more than 10 then your score is the right hand digit of the number they amount to, hence 19 is 9.

Baccarat recently overtook Blackjack as the biggest lure in American casinos, up to $100,000 dollars is wagered per hand. Serious gamblers travel to Las Vegas every year and the game now accounts for 60% of the MGM Grand’s table games revenue.

Baccarat is famous for a scandal that took place in 1890, the ‘royal baccarat scandal’ involved the future King of the United Kingdom, Edward VII. The scandal started when Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a decorated lieutenant colonel, was accused of cheating at a party full of high profile guests, one of the guests thought he saw Gordon-Cumming illegally adding to his stake and informed others at the party. Upon closer inspection the following night he was seen acting in a suspicious manner again. When he was confronted he signed a document that said he would never play cards again, in exchange for the silence of everyone at the gathering.

The matter did not stay as a secret for long, Gordon-Cumming was furious and the matter ended up in court. The heir to the throne was called as a witness for the first time since 1411, the jury found Gordon-Cumming guilty and he was dismissed from the army the following day. However, public opinion was on Gordon-Cumming’s side and the prince’s popularity was at an all-time low for several years.

The game itself is confusing in the max and not particularly friendly to novices, so read up on it first before you start scratching your head in confusion at the table.

Toughness Rating: 7/10

Slot Machines

Slot machines are becoming more and more popular, whether that’s in traditional land-based casinos or online. Unlike the two games above they require zero skill whatsoever and can be played almost immediately.

Of course, there are certain things you can do to maximise your winnings. For example each slot machine has its own return to player (RTP) percentage which indicates how much money you can expect to get back from your outlay. It’s worth researching the RTP of each slot machine before you start playing.

Toughness Rating: 2/10

The Results

If that’s whet your appetite for gaming then you should try it for yourselves, technology now means you can try at live online casino at any time, or if you feel adventurous, head out to your local casino. There’s no need to worry if you’re a novice either as the games really do not take too long understand, and you could be privilege to some beginners luck!

Craps’ score of 9/10 makes it the toughest on the list. The betting for beginners is tough enough to understand, let alone achieve success with.

Coming in at second place is Blackjack, the sheer number of strategies that are available to the player make it difficult to know which the right option to take is. The game is quite simple to understand, however it is considerably harder to achieve good results.

Baccarat scores a 7/10, its complex nature keeps novices away and makes it more suited to experts. However, if you can master the art of dice control (not many people can), then you could soon find yourself in the money!

Next on the list is roulette with a 4/10. This game is easy to understand but less so to win money. There are plenty of strategies out there that can help the player to win money but they all have their downsides and of course they don’t guarantee results.

Finally we have online slots, with a 2/10. Slots are pure chance and require absolutely no skill.

So there you have it, select your game wisely!

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