Run, don’t walk from these wagers

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You column is always filled with sage advice and smart betting opportunities. How about refresher list of the bets players should avoid? Gary A.

For those who have any interest in beating the casino at their own game, bomb, blast, and ban these wagers from your playing repertoire.

Proposition bets on a crap game:

These are bets the stickman will entice you to make, such as, one number bets-2, 3, 7, 11, and 12-but these wagers have an edge of over 16% against you. Also, avoid hardway bets; the casino advantage on hardways is between 9-11%.
There are decent wagers on a crap game if you play smart, like betting the pass line bet and come bet with full odds, or place the 6 and 8.

Side bet in Caribbean Stud Poker:

Don’t let that progressive meter of $50,000 suck you into a dollar wager with hope of being dealt a “natural” royal flush. The true odds are almost 650,000 to 1. Unless you see a progressive figure closing in on those high odds, it is a no-value bet.


Not all slots are bad, as some casinos do advertise a decent return on “selected” machines. But, most slots have a huge house advantage, which can be up to 20%.


Disavow the style of play where you let the dealer know you’ve been playing 30 years and say, “Shut up and deal, I know how to play.” Good chance that you really don’t, and blindly egotistical or superstitious play will give the house an advantage of more than 5%.

Video Poker:

As with blackjack, the bettor’s haphazard or hunch play with no strategy allows casino owners to sleep comfortably, snoring profits all night long.


Dash wildly away from the keno game, anywhere. The casino advantage at the bare minimum is 25%.

The Big Six:

Minimum house edge, 15%; run from this game.

Double Zero roulette:

Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it.” He was right if you play on a Double Zero American wheel. The house edge is 5.26% against you no matter how you bet it. If roulette just happens to be your favorite game, at least look for the single zero wheel where the house edge is in the 2% range.

As you can see, Gary, making a choice which games you will play, and NOT play, can drastically affect the outcome of your casino visit.

I understand your theory that over time the casino will “grind” me out of bankroll. But, what if I reduce my wager size to the bare minimum? Will that in any way change my ability to make a large profit? I typically play craps, so please base your answer on that game. Tim N.

Back in 1980, a mathematician named Jess Marcum (who by the way helped develop the neutron bomb) figured out how time affects gambler odds. He figured that a player who bets $1 per crap game for two months straight would have only one chance in two trillion of winning $1,000, before he lost that same $1,000. But by decreasing his exposure on the craps game to just 25 minutes and betting $200 every bet, the same gambler would increase his odds to 1.15 to 1.
Bottom line: The more time you spend on a dice game, the better the casino’s chances of grinding away at your bankroll, no matter how small your bets.

Gambling thought of the week: “Your best chance to get a Royal Flush in a casino is in the bathroom.” -VP Pappy (A crusty old sage who still roams the Green Felt Jungles in Detroit)

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