The goal of going to a casino is to win money. Most players know the odds are against them. While variance and luck play a part, the games with the lowest house advantage usually offer the best chances of winning. The games mentioned below typically have the lowest house edge, meaning the player theoretically loses slower than in other games. It takes less luck to leave the casino a winner at these games.
Survey & Early Access, Total Access Club, and Vegas Advantage Super Fan members had access to this article one month prior to publication. You too can gain early access to select Advantage articles and more for as little as $3 per month!
US Casino Advantage is supported through memberships, sponsors, and advertisements. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.
Video poker is the only game a casino has on its floor that may offer the player an advantage. There are machines that return over 100% on casino floors in and near Las Vegas. This includes 10/7 Double Bonus and 10/6 Double Double Bonus. With perfect play and five coins wagered, the games return over 100%.
Another way that a video poker game can return over 100% is through progressive jackpots. Most video poker progressives are for a royal flush. There are a few that cover straight flushes and special quads. A royal flush is usually 2% of the pay table. In a quarter game, that means that the return goes up 0.2% for every $100 higher than $1000 the progressive is. Large royal flush jackpots can swing the progressive in the player’s favor, even on bad pay tables.
Note that not all video poker is better than playing the best table games. Our video poker section shows the pay tables for popular video poker games that return over 99%.
If video poker pay tables are not great at a casino, blackjack is usually the game to choose for the lowest house advantage. The most common blackjack game in the United States uses six decks the dealer hits soft 17, and double down before and after splitting are permitted. This game has a house edge of about 0.6%. If the house allows the player to surrender or re-split aces, the game drops to about 0.53% with one of those rules and 0.46% with both. The dealer standing on soft 17 gets the house edge below 0.3%.
In Las Vegas, there are some double-deck blackjack games that stand on soft 17. El Cortez has 3/2 single deck blackjack. These games also have a house edge under 0.3%.
Like video poker, the rules must be player-friendly to be a good game. If blackjack pays 6/5, the game has a house advantage of about 2%. There are much better table games than blackjack in that scenario.
Craps is one of the best table games if you can afford to take the maximum odds. The pass line and don’t pass hold around 1.4%. While that is low, and it takes over three rolls on average to resolve the line bets, the house advantage gets even lower when taking maximum odds.
In Las Vegas, craps games offer either 2x, 3-4-5x, 5x, 10x, or 20x odds. This is the house edge on the pass line when taking max odds. It takes into consideration the 33% of come out rolls where the bet wins or loses and odds never play.
- 2x: 0.78%
- 3-4-5x: 0.65%
- 5x: 0.62%
- 10x: 0.55%
- 20x: 0.52%
- 100x: 0.48%
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a complicated game. The strategy is difficult to learn, especially for those who do not play live Texas hold’em in a poker room. Once you learn it, the house only takes about 0.5% of your total bets when you play the ante, blind, and raise. Making side bets on the Trip Plus and progressive makes the game much worse unless the meter makes the jackpot return over 100%. Avoid those bets in most situations.
Heads Up Hold’em
DJ Wild is like Mississippi Stud, except that it has five wild cards. The deuces are wild. There is also a joker. This game has a house advantage of exactly 1% when using perfect strategy, including raises. It is dealt at several online casinos. We found it at Flamingo and Harrah’s in Las Vegas. It is also available at Monarch Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado, Hard Rock Cincinnati, and JACK Cleveland in Ohio.
The banker at baccarat has a 1.06% house edge. It is 1.24% for the player hand. While this is about twice as bad as the best table games to play, it is still reasonable. The game plays slowly compared to blackjack, so the expected loss per hour is about the same when making the same average bet.