Some high "house edge" bets to avoid on your next casino visit

Jun 5, 2017 |
Some high "house edge" bets to avoid on your next casino visit
While Keno is disappearing on the Vegas Strip, keno is making a comeback of sorts in downtown Las Vegas.
While Keno is disappearing on the Vegas Strip, keno is making a comeback of sorts in downtown Las Vegas.

In life, we typically like to think about the good instead of the bad. Gambling is the same. In the casino, we typically look at the good bets to make, however, it’s almost as important to know the games and bets to avoid.

There are always sports bettors that like the thrill of a three-team parlay even though it may not be the sharpest bet. However, the 10-team parlay has much longer odds and should be avoided if possible. This scenario happens all over the casino.

Like sports bets, not all casino bets are created equally. Games with a normally low house edge, like craps, have some of the worst bets in the casino. A pass line bet with free odds has less than a 1 percent house edge. Meanwhile, the “Any Seven” bet has a massive 16.67 percent house edge. Even the game within the game can seem complicated.

Casino gambling can be confusing, so let’s look at some more bets to avoid the next time you visit Las Vegas.

Penny Slots

The majority of the casino floor is covered with penny slots. These games typically have the most popular themes, newest technology or both. Gaming manufacturers and casinos put all of their efforts into marketing these games for a reason. The house edge for this kind of slot machine is among the largest in the casino.

While quarter, dollar and higher denominations may have a house edge as low as four to five percent the penny slots have a house edge closer to 15 percent. When playing any slot machine, you want to make a bet that will qualify you for the bonus round or jackpots.

The large house edge is one thing, but there's something else that makes penny slot machines even more dangerous on the bankroll. The maximum bet for some of these "penny" game can be greater than $5. That’s probably not what anyone has in mind when playing a penny slot machine.

If you really like slot machines, look to some of the higher limits games. Even a quarter game will lower the house edge. Even better, the maximum bet to qualify for jackpots and bonuses for a quarter slot machine might be lower than the fancy new penny slot.

Big 6 Wheel

This is the simplest casino game around and it looks familiar because you’ve probably seen a similar game at carnivals and fairs. You simply place a bet on a number (often dollar amount), numbers or a logo symbol. If the wheel stops on your number or symbol you win the corresponding amount. It’s that easy. However, the Big 6 Wheel comes with a massive house edge.

According to Wizard of Odds, the house edge for the Big 6 Wheel ranges from 11.11 percent for the one (or $1) to 24.07 percent for the Joker or logo symbol. There’s no skill and minimal fun involved with this game. Over time the Big 6 Wheel will shred your bankroll. New technology is making this game even less interesting since the electronic versions don’t even have a dealer to interact with.

Craps Prop Bets

Craps is one of the best and most fun games you can play in a casino. The house edge can be as low as 0.00099 percent on a pass line bet depending on the odds available in the casino. However, there are many different bets available on the craps table. As discussed earlier the “Any Seven” bet has a house edge of 16.67 percent. The bad bets don't stop here. There are other bets to avoid at the craps table.

The Hard Way bets are fun because of the unique doubles roll and higher payouts. Unfortunately, these bets come with a rather large house edge 11.11 percent for the 4 or 10 and 9.09 percent for the 6 or 8. The single roll bets on “Snake Eyes” (rolling a 2) and “Box Cars” (rolling a 12) each have a house edge of 13.9 percent. Craps offers some of the best and worst gambling all on the same table. Keep your eyes on your bets for the lowest house edge.

Live Keno

While the game is disappearing on the Vegas Strip, keno is making a comeback of sorts in downtown Las Vegas. The D recently installed the world’s largest keno board outside of the casino on Fremont Street. The Plaza will debut a live keno game this summer. Casinos that depend on gambling revenue have a great reason to offer keno - the house edge can be as high as 29 percent depending on the games offered by the casino.

Live keno is kind of like playing the lottery every few minutes. You select particular numbers and submit your ticket. The hopper will spin and balls will be selected. If a certain amount of numbers match you’ll win the designated prize. Much like the regular lottery, the odds are very long on being a winner. There's nothing you can do to minimize the house edge here.

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