Gambling is one of the most fun things you can do in the way of entertainment, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. The wrong way is to lose money you can’t afford. The right way is to have a gambling strategy that gives you the best chance. This goes for whether you play at live tables or enjoy online casino games.
A few easy gambling strategies can do your game a lot of good, especially when you’re starting out. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time learning complicated strategies to get the most out of recreational gambling. Read our quick and easy tips to improve your approach to action at the tables, both real and virtual.
1. Stick to the 2% rule
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to play casino games for longer, here’s a tip that you can apply to any gambling situation: Never bet more than 2% of your bankroll at once. It’s a sensible practice that comes from sports-betting wisdom, but you can apply it to any casino game from blackjack and roulette to online slots and beyond.
The bottom line is that recreational gambling costs money, and you don’t want to run out of money before you’re done having a good time. Most players typically make bets of 10-25% of their available bankroll, which is a dangerous tactic and can lead to financial issues. So if you enter a casino with $100, make bets of $2 or less to stay in the game. Then there are those long, dry streaks you encounter in skills-based games such as poker. The 2% rule can get you through them without breaking the bank.
You can apply this strategy no matter what size your bankroll is. Some gamers find that doesn’t allow them to vary their wagers when they think they’re on a lucky streak. That’s fine, provided they can afford to lose the money.
Whatever your taste for gambling, though, our advice is that if you’d rather play responsibly, acquire the 2% discipline. A great place to put this approach into practice is an online casino. That’s because most online casino games will let you adjust your betting levels to your bankroll so you never bet more than 2%. It’s a great way to stay in the game for longer.
2. Baccarat strategy
There are only three ways to bet on baccarat, which makes it one of the easiest card games to pick up. You can bet on the banker’s hand, the player’s hand or a tie. Many players say that the best baccarat strategy is to bet on the banker’s hand every time. The reason is simple: The house edge on the banker’s hand is 1.06%, compared to 1.24% and 14.36% for the player’s hand and tie bet, respectively.
This low house edge makes baccarat one of the best casino table games for casual players. Minimal learning is required. All you have to do is keep making the same bet, and not get greedy. What’s also great about baccarat is that it’s one of the most fun games to play in a live casino setting, so it’s worth checking out some of the live dealer options available to play online.
You should know that a lot more cards are dealt in baccarat than in other card-based games – or in other words, the games are quite fast-paced. This exposes you more to the house edge, so don’t be reckless with your betting. Apply the 2% rule!
3. Blackjack betting strategy
Blackjack is probably the most popular of all casino table games. It’s easy and satisfying to play, both in person and online, and it’s got one of the lowest house edges. But don’t be fooled: The expected house edge in a casino assumes that your blackjack strategy is perfect. So you might be playing a game with a theoretical house edge of 0.5%, but you can award the casino an extra 1% or even 2% if you play badly. This can cost you. If you bet an average of $1 and play 100 hands an hour, you can give the casino an extra $1 or $2 an hour. Make that $10 or $20 if you’re betting $10. You can see how quickly it adds up if you were to play a number of sessions.
You can prevent this from happening by playing with a blackjack betting strategy chart or card, many versions of which you’ll find online. It’s a table that contains the information you need to make the best possible play for any hand. Simply compare your hand with the dealer’s up card and consult the chart for the best action to take in that particular situation such as hit, stand, double, split and surrender.
A little learning is required to use a blackjack strategy chart. You need to understand what those plays mean, and you also need to know about hard and soft hands (these crop up when you see an ace, because it can take the value of either 11 or 1.) You don’t need to memorize the plays, although they’ll come to you with practice. Online blackjack offers a good way to apply your betting strategy without distractions. Just remember, though, that no amount of strategizing can change the next turn of the cards so although some skill is involved, you’re still very much playing a game of chance. This is why – yet again – it’s important to stick to the 2% rule when playing blackjack wagers.
4. Video poker strategy
Another game in which you can use a strategy card to improve your betting decisions is video poker. A video poker strategy card simply tells you what the best play is for your hand. You look at your cards and read the strategy chart from top to bottom. Stop when you find the highest-listed hand that matches yours. Consult the strategy chart to see how many cards to keep and how many cards to replace. This may be very basic, but it gives you a good baseline from which to work from when thinking about the bets you’ll make or (in draw poker) the number of cards to exchange.
Let’s say you’re playing Jacks or Better. You get the king of hearts, king of diamonds, seven of clubs, five of clubs, and four of clubs. You have two kings, so the highest-listed hand on the strategy chart that matches your hand is a high pair. You keep the kings, discard the clubs, and draw three new cards, in the hope of getting another king or even two, or maybe a second pair (and you’d be extremely lucky to draw much more than that.)
Video poker payouts vary from one variant to another, so you’ll need the strategy card for the specific variant you play. It’s easy to find them online.
5. Craps strategy
If you’re looking for the best bet in the casino, head for the craps table. There’s a craps wager called “craps odds” that pays out the true odds of winning because it doesn’t have a house edge. If you back your regular bets with odds, you’re onto a good craps strategy.
The way it’s done is you wait for a point number to be established, make a Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line bet, and tell the dealer you’re making an odds bet at the same time.
Backing a Pass Line bet with odds is “called taking odds.” A successful bet pays out 2:1 on point numbers 4 and 10, 3:2 on 5 and 9, and 6:5 on 6 and 8.
“Laying odds” is when you back a Don’t Pass Line bet with odds. The payouts are 1:2 for point numbers 4 and 10, 2:3 for 5 and 9, and 5:6 for 6 and 8. It can take time to get your head around the different bets for craps, but you’ll be glad to know that you can find some online versions of this casino dice game that are free to play while you get to grips with the action!
Improve your gambling strategy at BetMGM
Keen to put our tips to good use? At BetMGM, we offer a safe environment for beginners to learn how to play casino games responsibly, as well as great chances for more advanced players to hone their skills. Our broad range of entertainment extends from casual online slots to the most challenging casino table games, including live dealer variations. Sign up for the chance to hone your gambling strategy!