18 Apr

Welcome to the World of House Banked Casino Games

Casino Table Games: Harder than slots, easier than poker!

A lot of casino goers choose their games on a scale of difficulty. The easiest games are those that require no special knowledge or ongoing mental exhaust to play. The most popular among them are slot machines. On the opposite end of the scale are full-table poker games like Texas Hold’em. For a strategic player, the constant demand for attention, noting every palpable action and psychological response, can be overwhelming for anyone who’s not up to the task.

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Casino Table Games – Harder than Slots, Easier than Poker

Somewhere in the middle of all this are games of average difficulty. They are, generally speaking, all varieties of house banked casino games. They take a bit of time to learn, and often proffer greater rewards to those who invoke basic strategy. Most of them fall under the distinct classification of:

Casino Table Games

All table games are house banked games so long as the player is competing against the casino, as opposed to other players (as in poker). The term house banked applied to any game in which the casino backs a wager. Everything from slot machines to keno is house banked. If the player wins, the casino pays the price. And if the player loses, the casino (i.e. the house) banks the bet.

Table games traditionally require at least one live dealer to operate. I say traditionally, because online casinos, and many of today’s land-based casinos, offer electronic version of these games; no physical dealer required. They include card games like blackjack, baccarat and pai gow poker; wheel and dice games like roulette, and craps.

Once you learn the rules of a table game, it is easy to play. However, playing them correctly – that is, with the best strategy – is a more thought-provoking task. We’ll take a quick look at some of the most popular house banked table games in order of difficulty (least to greatest).

Roulette

It doesn’t get much easier than roulette. Place your chips on a number or group of numbers, then sit back and wait to see if you win. The toughest job is learning the pay table, and which bets have the lowest edge. European roulette is great because it has a lower, static house edge of 2.7% ; in contrast to American Roulette’s 5.26% – 7.89% house edge. The best, however, is French Roulette w/ La Partage. It matches European Roulette’s 2.7% payout except on even-money bets, where the edge is halved to 1.35%.

Baccarat

This game is complex and simple at the same time. The rules that designate the playing of hands are a bit hard to grasp, but as a player, it won’t really matter. Players don’t actually play the game; they merely bet on the Banker or Player’s hand (or a Tie). The dealer will take care of both hands according to house rules. As a strategic tip, you should always bet on the Banker hand, proffering the lowest edge of 1.06%. The edge on the Player’s hand is higher at 1.24%.

Blackjack

Blackjack is not a complicated game to learn by any means. Memorizing a basic strategy chart, however, can take some time. Making matters a bit more difficult is the fact that the chart you use must correlate precisely with the rules of the game you’re going to play. There are a lot of variables to consider, like the number of decks, rules of doubling and splitting, payout for a natural blackjack, early and late surrender, etc.

Pai Gow

Pai Gow Poker can take a little getting used to. It necessitates the playing of 2 poker hands at once – a typical 5-card hand, plus a 2-card hand. The 5-card hand is organized by standard poker hand ranks, while the 2-card hand can only be a pair or high card. The only requirement for hand setting is that the 5-card hand must rank higher than the 2-card hand. Setting hands with the highest probability of beating the dealer’s two hands will take some practice.

Craps

By far one of the most exciting games on the casino floor, craps is arguably as the most difficult to learn. There are many different bets you can place, and their length on the table varies by the wager and situational results. This is one game I would recommend learning online or with a free mobile app before attempting in person. Once you’ve got it down, though, it can be loads of fun! As far as strategies go, it’s all about betting the pass line, place bets, and getting good craps odds of 5x on those wagers.

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