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4 Casino Games That Will Always Take Your Money

These are the floor fixtures that can seriously put a strain on your lucky streak.

Anyone who's spent enough time in a casino knows why the old saying "the house always wins" gets used so much. Getting dealt bad hands, suffering unlucky rolls of the dice, and even just hitting an inexplicable cold streak can quickly sour the mood once your stack starts to dwindle. But when it comes to overall odds, experts say there are a few bets you'll want to avoid if you don't want to go bust. Read on for the casino games where you'll always lose money.

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American and Triple-Zero Roulette

Roulette wheel with ball on 7
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Most novice gamblers tend to gravitate towards the roulette table for its simple rules and relatively straightforward betting. But if you're not careful, you might be setting yourself up at a table that drastically decreases your chances of winning.

"American roulette has two green pockets—0 and 00—which make you lose almost twice as much on average than on European roulette, which has just a single green pocket," Maros Gasparik, head of content at Casino.Guru, tells Best Life. "That means American roulette has a house edge of 5.26 percent, compared to European roulette's 2.7 percent, so always choose a table with a single green pocket to significantly improve your odds of winning."

And while this might seem bad, the odds get even worse with the triple-zero roulette tables that have also begun to pop up on casino floors.

"Triple-zero roulette has three additional ways to lose that red or black bet—which means there's a house advantage of 7.7 percent," warns Anthony F. Lucas, PhD, a casino slot operations expert and hospitality professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. "Don't play those tables! The house advantage is so much higher."

Penny Slots

A young man sitting at a slot machine with his head in his hands

Slots can feel like a reasonably low-stakes way to get in a bit of gambling without the pressure of having to make a quick decision for a dealer at the table. But if you aim too low, you might end up losing some serious money in the long run.

"Typically, penny slots have the higher house advantages," says Lucas. "The player disadvantage can be as high as 16 percent. Compared to video poker at 2 percent, that's eight times greater chances of losing!"

Ultimately, this boils down to the house looking out for its bottom line. "If you're not betting a lot, they have to take a bigger chunk of the bet because they only have so much square footage on the floor," he explains. "If the casino is offering ways to bet less, they need to take a bigger chunk to make up for it."

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Blackjack Side Bets


The thrill of the blackjack table can be hard to resist, but it's also not a terrible bet: According to Lucas, it's traditionally the game with the lowest house edge on the floor. But you'll want to think twice before you start complicating things with side bets.

"Don't do it," he cautions. "For games where people play to the best possible strategy, the base house advantage is around 2 percent. But the side bets all have really high house advantages that start somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 percent."

He explains that most people are drawn in by the higher payouts—getting as high as 25-to-1—but have an incredibly low probability of winning. "A lot of them carry a double-digit house advantage percentage, so they're sucker bets," he says. "And since blackjack has the lowest house edge as it stands, that matters."

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Craps Prop Box or Field Bets

a stack of chips on a casino table

Craps can be one of the most exciting games on the floor—especially when a table gets hot and people start winning. But Lucas warns that strategy can also become complicated thanks to its enticing side bets that don't offer great odds.

"For example, something like 'snake eyes' pays 30-to-1, so it's tempting to bet on it. But the true odds are 35-to-1, so you end up with a 14 percent house edge," he explains.

This same approach also applies to baccarat and betting the tie. "Once you get off the pass line, it starts to get fairly unfavorable," Lucas says.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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