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Best of John Grochowski

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A shuffle through the gambling mailbag

23 August 2012

QUESTION. What’s the worst bet on the tables? I’m thinking roulette, but my brother says some of the newer games are probably worse. What do you think?

ANSWER. Roulette has one of the higher house edges among table games, but it’s not the worst. The house edge on almost every bet on an American double-zero wheel is 5.26%. If you want to specify a single bet, then the five-number wager on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 is pretty awful, with a house edge of 7.89%.

That’s on the high side, but things can be a lot worse. A couple of games we think of as being among the best in the casino have wagers with much higher house edges. Baccarat, a low house edge game if you stick to banker or player, spots the house a whopping 14.4% if you bet on ties. Craps cuts the house edge to the bone if you bet pass/come or don’t pass/don’t come, especially with free odds, but watch out if you bet any 7. On that proposition, the house clobbers you with a whopping 16.67% hammer.

That hurts, but is it the worst? That depends on where you’re playing. Among the most common casino games, that’s probably the highest house edge. But if you’re playing in a casino that offers a Big Six wheel, be afraid -- be very afraid. Even the good bets here bad, with an 11.1% house edge if you bet on the $1 spaces. But if you go for the 40-1 payoff on the joker or the casino logo, it’s almost like giving your chips away. Would you believe a house edge of 24.1%?

With pay table variations, some games can get even worse. With common payoffs for the Asian game sic bo, the house edge maxes out at 18.89% for a three-dice total of 9, and the same for a total of 12. But the website www.wizardofodds.com points out a sic bo version in which a three-dice total of 5 pays only 18-1 instead of 30-1. House edge: 47.2%. Ugh.
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Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski