No trip to Vegas is complete without a great meal or two, but at the heart of Sin City is the opportunity to gamble. The odds always favor the house at the end of the day, but some of the options are still a lot better than others if you’re hoping to come home with a little coin in your pocket. And even if you’re a complete gambling neophyte, lucky for you, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to throw a quarter into a slot machine or learn the basics of blackjack.
What are your best options on the casino floor? Let’s take a look.
Of all of your betting options, the house edge on blackjack is the slimmest if played correctly. While learning the rules to any game can be intimidating, counting to 21 is not a complicated concept. It’s easy to learn the basics online, dealers are often happy to assist, and you can buy a small laminated card that will instruct you what to do at every turn.
Black jack is the type of game that you can play for hours without winning or losing a lot, but if you’re disciplined, it carries the opportunity for a big hit.
The idea of betting against Tom, Dick, and Harry as opposed to the casino is very intriguing. The house gets its share (by raking a few bucks out of each pot), but poker is more a game of skill than luck. In any sort of gambling, luck obviously plays a role, but those that are well-versed in the game and play strategically tend to win. It can take a lifetime to become a smooth poker player, but if you know the rules, and like probabilities, it is a good option, since your direct competition is other bettors, not the casino.
Like blackjack, the house edge is not that great in craps, but learning the game is much more difficult. If you’re a beginner, don’t make any bets on the inside of the felt layout; stick with the pass or don’t-pass line options. Your best bet for learning craps is to cozy up to a table, observe, and ask questions when it seems appropriate. If you want to mimic somebody competent, do so, and learn while making minimal plays.
Unless you hit a huge jackpot, you are not going to win long-term playing slots. That said, if you are going to play, recognize that the payout percentage is best in high-dollar games. It’s nearly impossible to profit from penny and nickle slots over any extended period of time. But you can come out ahead on $1 and $5 slots, if you know when to quit.
One piece of advice for any slot machine: if you win, get up, and cash in. Over the long haul, they are a losing bet.
(Photo credit: Chris Martin (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)
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