If you’re headed to a casino, then you’ll be hit with a variety of gambling options besides poker. Sure, the poker room is probably your best bet for making money if you’re a winning player. However, if you want to blow off some steam or just give your mind a rest, then you can hit up the main floor and get your gamble on. Let’s review a few of your options.
One of the only games to offer a bet that has no casino edge, craps can also be quite intimidating. Chips, dice, and money are being flung around left and right, making for a risky proposition if you’ve never played before. The basic bet is called the Pass Line, which pays even money if a 7 or 11 hits on a shooter’s first roll. If a 2, 3, or 12 hits, that’s called “craps” and you lose. If any other number hits, it becomes the “point.” The object of the game is to roll the point before rolling a seven.
There’s a space behind the Pass Line for you to make what’s called an “odds” bet. This bet can often be 20 to 50 times whatever you put on the Pass Line and is your only chance to make a bet with no house edge. In the middle, you’ll find –EV, although fun, one-roll or one-shooter bets such as hardways and hop bets. Just toss a dollar in the middle, yell “hard 8,” and see what happens.
Craps is enjoyable because it’s a social game. The table collectively wants the point to hit before a 7; therefore, the group cheers together in happiness and wallows together in sorrow. There’s also a lot of interaction with the dealers as you place bets and collect winnings. Craps isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you start small, you can have a lot of fun on a limited budget.
Let it Ride
Another very social casino game is Let it Ride. In this game, you put out three bets of equal value. The object is to make a five-card poker hand with a pair of 10s or better; if you can’t, you have no shot of getting paid. You’re dealt three cards and, based upon their value, have the option to Let it Ride – keep the bet out – or pull it back.
Remember, the object is to make a hand that has a pair of 10s or better, so if your first three cards are A-A-3, then you can Let it Ride since you’ve already won. If your holdings are something like J-8-4, pulling a bet back is advisable.
Then, the dealer will turn one card up in the center of the table that can be used by everyone. You’ll be allowed to take one bet back or Let it Ride once again. Finally, the dealer will turn a second card up in the middle that can also be used by everyone at the table. You don’t have the option of pulling a bet back this time, however.
Many Let it Ride tables have a bonus bet that you can make for $1 that pays out based on your three-card starting hand. It’s a sucker bet, but feel free to throw a buck out if it allows you to enjoy the game even more.
One of the casino’s staple games, blackjack offers a smaller house edge than some of its non-poker counterparts. In blackjack, your goal is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. Aces can count as 1 or 11, jacks through kings count as 10, and every other card is its own numeric value. You can hit or stand when the action comes around to you and if you’ve never played before, our advice is to purchase a blackjack strategy card from the casino’s gift shop. You’ll be dealt two cards at the start that only you can use.
It’s mostly safe to assume that every dealer down card is a 10. If he’s showing a 5, then assume he has 15. If he’s showing a king, then assume he has 20. Always split when holding A-A and 8-8 and you can double down – or put out another bet that’s equal to or less than your initial bet – if you have an advantageous holding. Again, see your strategy card for more details.