How to Choose the Best Game

Starting January 2020, Vegas Aces teamed up with Online United States Casinos to survey a majority of casinos in the Las Vegas area, gathering all types of information from games, including the rules involved to what side bets are available.

The plan at the time was to use this information to create the “2020 Guide to Smart Gambling” which would have been released in April. We finished canvasing all of the casinos in Las Vegas on Friday March 13th, 2020, just four days before the state of Nevada shutdown due to Covid-19. When Las Vegas shut down, the information we had gathered was no longer applicable so we shelved the project. But instead of sitting on all of this information, we are releasing it here, 2020 Las Vegas Survey, with the reminder that this is a snapshot in time. This is from the first three months of 2020 right before the Covid-19 shut down. We’ve also pivoted from the “2020 Guide to Smart Gambling” article and instead are going to teach you how to choose the best game in the casino. Let’s begin.

Quick caveat, table minimums and maximums change all of the time depending on a variety of different circumstances. The lowest table minimums can be found around 4am and the minimums are typically raised around 6pm. Weekdays will see lower minimums then weekends, holidays or special events. Tables with few to no players will have lower table minimums then full tables packed with players. Some casinos will even add or change table games depending on certain holidays or events.

House Edge

House Edge

As we continue through this article we are going to be talking about percentages and house edge.

The house edge is the amount of money the casino is expected to make from the player’s wager. This number is typically expressed as a percentage. On a double zero roulette game, the house edge is 5.26%, so if the player bets $100 per spin then the casino is expected to gain a $5.26 profit. If the dealer has 60 spins per hour then we can see how the money would start to rack up. The best thing for the player is if they chose a game that has a house edge closest to 0% as possible.

Blackjack

The house edge on blackjack varies widely and this number changes depending on the rules involved, how many decks are used, how much a blackjack pays and more. A game that pays 3 to 2 on their blackjack has a lower house edge and is better for the player then a table that pays 6 to 5. Same with certain rules, for example, it’s better for the player if the dealer stayed on a soft 17 versus hitting it. Every casino is different and some procedures are more favorable to players then others. This is why it’s good to know what each casino offers when deciding where to go; information we provide in our 2020 Las Vegas Survey.

The highest house edge a player can achieve on blackjack is around 15%. This occurs when the player is making all of the wrong moves. If the player mimics the dealer and follows the house rules, then the house edge drops down to 5.5%. On average, casual players are playing at a 1.4% house edge and if the player follows basic strategy, which was created by Ed Thorpe in his book Beat the Dealer, then the house edge goes all of the way down to 0%.

Starting at a 0% house edge, use the information below in order to pick the best blackjack table in the casino. You want to be as close to zero as possible.

Blackjack

If the percentage is in the positive range then this is unfavorable for the player. The higher the percentage the worse it is for the player. For example +0.32% is bad but +0.48% is worse and +2% is horrible. If the percentage is in the negative range then this is favorable for the player. For example, -0.02% is good but -0.1% is better and -1% is great! Keep in mind you want the percentage as close to zero as possible or in the negative range. Add or subtract the following numbers in order to pick the best blackjack table in the casino.

Decks

1 deck0%
2 decks+0.32%
4 decks+0.48%
6 decks+0.54%
8 decks+0.58%

Blackjack Pays

3 to 2+0.32%
6 to 5+1.39%
2 to 1-2.27%
Even Money+2.10%

Table Rules

Dealer hits soft 17+0.22%
Dealer stays on soft 17-0.22%
Double on 10 or 11 only+0.25%
Re-split Aces-0.04%
Double Down After a Split-0.14%
Surrender-0.02%
Early Surrender-0.60%

Roulette

Roulette and Craps

When picking a roulette table to play on, look for how many zeros the table offers. If the table has 3 zeros then this is the worst option for players since it has a high house

edge of 7.69%. The most common type of roulette table found in America has two zeros and offers players a 5.26% house edge, which is lower than three zeros but is still too high. The best roulette table for players is the one with a single zero at a house edge of 2.7%. The player can obtain a lower house edge of 1.35% by playing on a single zero game that offers only the La Partage Principle. This principle states that if zero hits, then half of all even money bets will be given back to the players. Try not to play at a table that also has the En Prison rule since this increases the house edge in favor of the house.

Craps

The odds on craps are one of the best bets in the casino with a 0% house edge. That is why the casino limits how much a player can spend on that wager. It’s normal to see 3x4x5x odds, which means if the point is a 4 or 10 then the player can take odds that are 3 times their flat bet on the pass line. If the point is a 5 or 9 then the player can take 4 times odds and if the point is a 6 or 8 then the player can take 5 times odds. The more odds the players can take the better. Some casinos offer 10x odds, 20x odds and even 100x odds. You can find which casinos offer what odds with this 2020 Las Vegas survey.

If the player likes betting on the field, then check to see what the payout is for a 12. If a 12 pays double, or 2:1, then the house edge is 5.56%. If it pays triple, or 3 to 1, then the house edge is 2.78%. That’s why it’s better for the player to choose a table that pays triple on the 12.

Conclusion

Choosing the best game in the casino isn’t just about figuring out math. There’s so much more to it. Gambling is a form of entertainment so it’s important to choose a dealer that you click with. A friendly dealer you can easily swap stories with will make the hours fly by as you enjoy playing at their table. A bad dealer will make the hours crawl by as you suffer through their torture. Finding the right combination of a fun game with a low house edge and a friendly dealer will make all the difference in the world and gambling will become extremely enjoyable.

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