You may think you know the top five casino bets, but the truth may surprise you. In fact, while the probability and statistics of every conceivable wager in a casino has been analyzed, what really happens down on the casino floor is different than you might expect. Why? Because the mathematical odds only tell us the edge the house has, not the actual win rate the casino experiences.
To find the actual win rate for a slot machine, the total of all wagers made is compared with what is paid in and what is finally paid out in the form of coins or tickets. At the table games, the casino looks at the drop, which is all cash placed into the drop-box on a shift, and compares it to the opening inventory of chips and the closing inventory of chips, minus any fills, which are the chips brought to the table by a security officer from the cage.
Using the official results for all Las Vegas casino properties with gaming win of over $1 million during a 12-month period from 2011 to 2012 (Nevada Gaming Control Board), we can compare the win found on slot machines and table games. These point out some interesting things.
To start with, roulette, found to predominantly have both a single and double zero on Las Vegas wheels, has a 5.26 percent house edge over the player, since there are 38 pockets (numbers 1-36 plus 0 and 00) and the house pays 35-1 on a straight-up bet. In our report there are 37 casinos with roulette wheels, and 267 total wheels, and while the house maintains a 5.26 percent edge, the records show that the overall win for all the roulette play is actually 15.23 percent. Interesting.
There are several reasons for the casino winning a much higher percentage, but the most important one is that players at roulette tend to bet against themselves. They bet on the color red while also betting on a column that has mostly black numbers, and also bet on individual numbers, so players don’t always play perfectly, so they can’t maintain the best odds. In addition, as with all casino games, the house has a huge bankroll compared to the player, and while the player could lose their cash at a lesser rate if they played longer, they will often go broke and quit, which the house never does.
Top Five Casino Bets
Number Five – 21 or Blackjack Sure, you’ve heard that blackjack is a great game for the player and that some players actually make money by learning to count cards. That’s true, but the other truth is that most players are simply having fun, and while playing 21 is one of the best bets, it’s only #5 on this list because the records show the casino won 10.32 percent during the 12-month period!
Number Four – Mini-Bac In truth, mini-bac and standard baccarat games are really the same in Las Vegas, but there are some major whales who play for huge bets (often $100,000 to $1 million per hand) at baccarat, and any large wins are able t throw the stats off a bit, so during the 12-months covered, mini-bac held just 9.02 percent for the house, making it the fourth best bet for the player.
Number Three – Slots and Video Poker If you didn’t know it, some excellent Deuces Wild video poker games actually have no house advantage – if the player uses perfect strategy. However, in practice the game still hold plenty of money. Overall, the thousands (46k to be close) of slot machines reported on show a win rate of 7.41 percent. Of those, the $25 and $100 slots are the best bet for the player, holding just 3.35 and 3.95 percent respectively.
Number Two – Bingo Yeah, that’s a surprise, but maybe grandma knows something after all, because Bingo is currently a pretty good deal at the 44 locations with games. The payouts have climbed over the years, and when run efficiently, the rooms are generating a healthy drop – and paying most of it back to the players, as the clubs held only 4.40 percent this past 12 months.
Number One – The Sports Book Some of the best bets in the casino are found in the sports book. For football, baseball, and basketball, the casinos only held an average of 3.68 percent of all wagers. Since the bookies try to balance all the wagers by constantly changing the betting line to get even wagers on each side, they can be expected to win only a small percentage of all bets. Currently, baseball better are doing the best, with the casino’s holding just 2.72 percent!
On most games, the better lays $11 to win $10, so the house has an edge of half of 9.1 percent, or 4.55 percent. No amount of adjusting the line will get an equal amount of wagers on each side, so the books are happy to hold any amount over 3 percent, even if total sports book win accounts for just .7 percent of all casino win. Slots do the bulk of the work, accounting for 65 percent of casino wins, with table games next at 30 percent.