The Good, the Bad, and the Not So Ugly Casino Bets

When walking through a casino, you may scratch your head and contemplate, “which game should I play? Maybe the slot machines?” There’s thousands of them enticing you take little spin. “Perhaps a little blackjack?” This game is not your Father’s blackjack any more. It has since evolved into many variants. Considering craps? Those tempting props bets can deplete your bankroll quickly.

Here are some of the best, worst, and not so ugly bets of casino games:

Machines

· The Good – Video Poker.

Learn basic strategy on the Jacks or Better, Bonus and Double Bonus games offering a 5 coin maximum bet. Always check the machine pay tables for one that pays at least 9/1 for a full house, and 6/1 for a flush. These games have over a 98% return and your money may last longer. Do not play those with pay tables less than 9/6.

· The Bad – Penny Slots

Very popular with exciting themes, colorful graphics, and attractive bonus features. However, the return is in the 80% range. Casinos have to hold more because they make less money on them. The hit frequency is about one in three spins but many so called win returns are less than your original wager.

· The Not So Ugly – Traditional 3 Reel Slots

If you positively must play the slots, try the non-progressive 25 cents, 50 cents, or 1 dollar machines that accept a two or three coin maximum wager. (While they’re still around). Returns average about 95%, and when you score a hit, your smallest win will be at least the amount of your original wager.

Tables

· The Good – Traditional Blackjack

Stay with the tables that pay 3/2 for a blackjack, deal from shoes and offer liberal rules such as allowing re-splits, soft doubling, double after split and late surrender. Learn basic strategy first. Avoid the optional side bets.

· The Bad – 6/5 Blackjack

Many casinos have reduced their BJ payout from 3/2 to 6/5. A player can expect three to four BJ’s per hour. Receiving $12 instead of $15 at a $10 table will deplete your bankroll quicker. Another bad bet is playing at a table with a continuous shuffle machine. The hands played per hour jump from about 60 to 80.

· The Not So Ugly – Blackjack Switch

This game is catching on fast. You play two hands at once and are allowed the option of switching the top cards to create better hands. Blackjack only pays even money but the game has some advantages for the player. After the switch is made, basic Blackjack rules apply. You can split, double, etc.

· The Good – Craps: pass line with odds.

There is a reason why this bet is the most popular at the table. When you make an odds wager behind the pass line after a shooter’s point number is established, you will be paid in true odds if the point is made before a seven is rolled. For example, the true odds on numbers four and ten are 2/1. A $10 odds bet would pay $20.

· The Bad – Craps: one roll proposition bets

You have one chance to wager that a certain number will emerge on the next roll. For example, a bet on the two or twelve will pay 30/1 if it hits. Truth is you only have a 1 in 36 chance of winning.

· The Not So Ugly – Craps: wrong betting

A wrong or don’t bettor is a player that bets against the shooter. When a wager is made on the don’t pass bar, the player is hoping that the shooter will roll a seven before the point number. This is called a seven out; all bets lose to the house except the wrong bettor(s). Don’t bettors also have an odds bet option, but they have to lay odds instead of taking them. For example, an odds bet against a point four or ten would cost $20 to win $10.

Time to Place Your Bets – Even on Some Weird Wagers

It’s commonly known that Vegas is the place where one can legally wager on just about anything, provided the books offer the proposition bet(s). Gamblers love to put their money on weird wagers, especially around Super Bowl time. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned the ban on sports betting, we just might see more uncanny bets being offered in states that bid for sports books. Weird wagers are not unique to Vegas. The U.K also gets in on the action.

Here’s a collection of some of the most bizarre, weirdest, wackiest wagers ever made:

1979: The late Jackie Gaughn, owner of the El Cortez hotel in downtown Vegas, posted odds when the faltering U.S. satellite Skylab, was about to crash to earth. The odds were put up on where it would crash: 5/1 for one of the five oceans, 12/1 into the Soviet Union, 100/1 on California soil, 2,000/1 for a hit in tiny Rhode Island, and even 10,000/1 that it would crash into the El Cortez! Turns out it landed in Australia at 30/1.

1980: From the popular TV show Dallas: “Who shot JR?” Wagers were taken at the Castaways Hotel with odds on every cast member prior to the season ending cliff hanger episode, but the Gaming Control Board ordered a halt to all betting because someone had to have a script that knew the answer.

1981: Amidst the ongoing controversy over the murder of President John F. Kennedy, the grave of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was about to be exhumed to confirm identity. The sports book at the Union Plaza was quick to jump on the proposition bandwagon on whose body would be in the coffin. Odds were posted for: a Soviet agent, Jack Ruby (Oswald’s assassin) or an empty coffin. Due to concerns about the virtue of such a wager, the gaming commission put a lid on it. Turns out it was Oswald after all.

In the UK, it was 500/1 that the FBI will confirm that Elvis is still alive and another 500/1 that Michael and LaToya Jackson are one in the same.

UK bookmakers also offered 1,000/1 that Tiger Woods would become President of the US and 5,000/1 that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky would marry.

A London resident named Matthew Drumbell placed a 1,000,000/1 wager that the world would end before the year 2000. Of course, who would be left to pay him if he survived? No pun intended on the man’s name.

During Super Bowl week in Vegas $ millions are tossed across the betting terminals to wager on one’s favorite team, and some weird bets as well. Here are some of Super Bowls’ past prop bets:

· Will singer Kelly Clarkston omit or mess up one or more words in the National Anthem? How long will it take her to sing it? Over/Under 1 minute, 34 seconds. Will her bare belly be showing when she sings it?

· If Quarterback Tom Brady’s son is shown on TV during the game, will he be wearing a Tom Brady Jersey?

· How many times will Patriots owner Robert Kraft be shown on TV during the game?

· What will be the first touchdown celebration? A ball spike, a dance, lay on the ground, a goalpost dunk, a Tim Tebow kneel, or kiss a cheerleader?

· What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning team’s head coach? Yellow, orange, clear, red, green, blue? (Yellow was favorite.)

· Who will the Super Bowl MVP thank first in his post-game interview? Teammates, God, Owner, Coach, Family, No one? (Teammates were the favorite.)

High Five Poker: The Casino Table Game Where the Joker Is Wild

High Five Poker is a casino table game originally developed and marketed by SHFL entertainment. The objective is to have a better five card poker hand than the dealer. If you ever played Pai Gow Poker you’ll find some similarities in that it uses a 53-card deck, where the 53rd card is a Joker. This lone semi-wild card can be used to complete a Straight, Flush, Straight Flush, or Royal Flush; otherwise it can be used as an Ace.

High Five Poker tables are currently at The Brass Ass (real name) Casino in Cripple Creek, CO, which also offers a progressive version.

How High Five Poker is Played

The table has seats for up to six players. Players must first make an Ante wager. The dealer will then deal seven cards face down in a clockwise manner to each player, and seven to him or herself. Each player then examines his or her cards and makes one of the following decisions:

- Fold, forfeiting the Ante bet.

- Discard two cards while keeping the best five card poker hand and make a Play bet equal to the Ante wager.

The dealer then reveals the house cards to make the best five card poker hand. The dealer qualifies if he or she has at least a pair of sixes or against a player who has a straight.

For example, if the dealer has a pair of deuces and player number 1 has a straight, and player number 2 has a pair of three’s, the dealer qualifies against player 1 but not against player number 2. So, what happens to the payouts when the dealer does or does not qualify?

- If the dealer does not qualify, the Ante bet pays even money, and the Play bet pushes.

- If the dealer qualifies and beats the player, the player’s Ante and Play bets lose.

- If the dealer qualifies and is beaten by the player, the player’s Ante and Play bets pay even money.

- If the dealer qualifies and ties the player, the player’s Ante and Play bets push.

The dealer works counter-clockwise when determining the outcome of all of the remaining players’ wagers. The house edge is about 3.6%.

Trips Side Bet

The Trips side Bet pays for a player hand with Three of a Kind or better, regardless if the player wins or loses the hand, according to the following table:

Three of a Kind pays 1/1

Straight pays 2/1

Flush pays 4/1

Full House pays 7/1

Full House (Aces Full) 20/1

Four of a Kind pays 40/1

Straight Flush pays 50/1

Royal Flush pays 100/1

Five Aces (Four Aces w/Joker) 200/1

Pay tables may vary slightly between jurisdictions.

Strategy

The strategy for this game is quite basic in that the dealer does not qualify if he or she has less than a pair of sixes, then you should fold with less than a pair of sixes. Otherwise make a play bet.