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5 Casino Table Games You Should Consider Playing Other Than Blackjack

Blackjack Games

Blackjack is the most popular casino table game in many parts of the world. This is especially the case on the Vegas Strip, where a 2017 UNLV report shows that blackjack makes up over 50% of table game revenue.

Two primary reasons why people enjoy blackjack is because it offers a low house edge and it requires sophisticated strategy.

Gamblers who appreciate a challenge love using basic blackjack strategy to boost their chances of winning. And considering that you can achieve below a 1% house edge at some casinos, your odds of winning are good.

Some people like blackjack so much that they don’t play any other table games. But although I also enjoy blackjack, I believe that players are missing out if they don’t try anything else.

Check out the following 5 table games if you want to expand your horizons beyond blackjack.

1 – Craps

The reason why I like craps is because it’s so interactive compared to other table games.

The shooter (a.k.a. dice roller) actually gets to hold and roll the dice to determine outcomes. Few casino occurrences are more thrilling than when you’re a shooter on a hot streak.

Blackjack, on the other hand, doesn’t even allow players to touch their own cards. Instead, the dealer handles everything from a physical standpoint.

Another great thing about craps is the atmosphere. The craps table is usually the loudest and most animated out of any table game.

Players get really excited when the shooter is hot and everybody who bets the same way (usually pass line wagers) is winning. This creates a team-like atmosphere among pass line bettors.

One more thing to enjoy about craps is that you can find several good bets. Here are the top main craps wagers in terms of house edge.

  1. – Don’t pass line/Don’t come = 1.36% house edge
  2. – Pass line/Come = 1.41%
  3. – Place 6/Place 8 = 1.52%
  4. – Lay 4/Lay 10 = 2.44%

Here we have eight different bets with a 2.44% house advantage or lower. The most popular of these wagers include pass line and don’t pass line.

These bets are both made on the come out roll, which is a new shooter’s first roll. Here’s a brief explanation of how you place both of these bets.

Pass line

  • Wins if a 7 or 11 is rolled on the come out
  • Loses if a 2, 3, or 12 is rolled on the come out
  • All other numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) establish a point
  • The shooter needs to roll the point number before a 7 to win
  • Pays 1:1
  • True odds are 251:244

Don’t Pass Line

  • Wins if a 2 or 3 is rolled on the come out
  • Loses if a 7 or 11 is rolled on the come out
  • Pushes if a 12 is rolled on the come out
  • All other numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) establish a point
  • The shooter needs to roll a 7 before the point number to win
  • Pays 1:1
  • True odds are 976:949

Yet another great thing about craps is that players can make odds bets.

Odds are special because they don’t have a house edge. The reason why is because they pay out according to your true odds of winning.

You can place an odds bet behind either a pass line wager (a.k.a. taking odds) or don’t pass line wager (a.k.a. laying odds). And you need to make sure that a point has been established before you can put odds behind these bets.

Taking odds means that you’re hoping the shooter rolls the point number before a 7. Here are payouts on taking odds.

  • 2:1 on point numbers of 4 and 10
  • 3:2 on points of 5 and 9
  • 6:5 on points of 6 and 8

Laying odds means that you’re hoping for the shooter to roll a 7 before the point. Here are payouts for laying odds.

  • 1:2 for points of 4 and 10
  • 2:3 for points of 5 and 9
  • 5:6 for points of 6 and 8

Casinos vary on how large of odds they offer. The higher the odds you can take, the lower the overall house edge on your combined pass line/don’t pass line and odds wagers.

The following table shows this effect.

Odds Pass Line/Come Don’t Pass Line/Don’t Come
0x 1.41% house edge 1.36% house edge
1x 0.85% 0.68%
2x 0.61% 0.46%
Full Double Odds 0.57% 0.43%
3x 0.47% 0.34%
3x-4x-5x 0.37% 0.27%
5x 0.33% 0.23%
10x 0.18% 0.12%
20x 0.10% 0.07%
100x 0.02% 0.01%

Even if you can’t find a larger odds bet – or no odds at all – craps is still an exciting game with reasonable wagers.

2 – Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker offers a smooth transition from blackjack because it features strategy and a simple set of rules. This means that you can still enjoy the competitiveness of blackjack without feeling lost when learning the game.

A Three Card Poker hand starts with players making either the Ante & Play or Pair Plus bet. Both wagers require you to risk half of the table’s minimum bet.

Pair Plus is a bonus bet that requires at least a pair to win. You lose if you’re dealt any hand that’s lower than a pair.

The ante wager involves deciding whether to make the “play” bet or fold your hand. If you do make the play wager, your hand will be compared to the dealer’s to see if you win.

One way that Three Card Poker differs from blackjack is that it offers large bonus payouts for specific hands. Here are the bonus payouts for both the Ante & Play and Pair Plus wagers.

Ante Bonus

  • Straight = 1:1
  • Three of a kind = 4:1
  • Straight flush = 5:1

Pair Plus

  • Pair = 1:1
  • Flush = 4:1
  • Straight = 6:1
  • Three of a kind = 30:1
  • Straight flush = 40:1

The house edge for the Pair Plus bet is 2.32%. The house advantage for the Ante & Play wager is 3.37%.

Pair Plus looks like the best wager at face value. But Ante & Play’s house edge doesn’t take into account the strategy element involved with the play wager.

If you use perfect strategy on the play bet, then you can trim the house edge to 2.01%. This puts Three Card Poker closer to blackjack in terms of the house advantage.

And just like blackjack, you must use good strategy to lower the house advantage. Many players stick with a simple strategy: fold any hand that’s lower than Q-6-4.

Q-6-4 is the cutoff point for when making the play bet over folding is optimal. This hand gives you a solid high card with a queen, and your 6 and 4 kickers give you a chance to beat the dealer when tying on the first- and second-highest cards.

Placing this wager with Q-6-3 or lower results in negative expected value. The 3 kicker is just enough to lower the value to where the play bet is no longer profitable.

One more thing worth adding about Three Card Poker is that it offers some fun side bets.

I don’t recommend that you make these, because the house edges are worse than if you’d simply stick with good Ante & Play strategy.

But the side wager option is still there if you’re interested. Here are a couple of side bets that you’ll find in Three Card Poker.

6 Card Bonus Bet

The 6-card bonus wager is based on the best five-card poker hand you can form with your three cards and the dealer’s three cards.

Here’s the pay table for this bet.

  • Royal flush = 1,000:1
  • Straight flush = 200:1
  • Four of a kind = 50:1
  • Full house = 25:1
  • Flush = 15:1
  • Straight = 10:1
  • Three of a kind = 5:1

The house edge is 15.28%, making it one of the worst prop bets in the casino.

Millionaire Maker

The name says it all, because the Millionaire Maker gives you a chance to win $1 million. This wager is based on forming the best hand you can with your and the dealer’s cards.

The Millionaire Maker calls on you to bet at least $5. It’s not worth wagering more than $5 because the top two payouts don’t offer anything above $1 million and $20,000, respectively.

Here’s the pay table.

  • 6-card super royal in diamonds = 200,000:1
  • 6-card super royal = 20,000:1
  • 5-card royal flush = 1,000:1
  • 5-card straight flush = 200:1
  • Four of a kind = 50:1
  • Full house – 20:1
  • 5-card flush – 15:1
  • 5-card straight – 10:1
  • Three of a kind – 5:1

The house edge is 18.10%, which is even worse than the 6-card bet.

3 – Baccarat

Baccarat is perfect for table game beginners who find blackjack to be difficult. This is because it offers simple rules and strategy.

Baccarat is easy to play since you only need to concentrate on making three bets. These include wagering on the banker hand to win, the player hand to win, or both hands tying.

Both the banker and player bets pay 1:1 on your bet. The tie wager can pay either 8:1 or 9:1, depending upon the table.

The objective for the player and banker is to get the closest score to 9. You don’t actually have to know the scoring system, though, because the hands automatically play out after you’re done betting.

In other words, players don’t take any action other than choosing their desired wager.

Of course, everybody who plays baccarat long enough eventually figures out how the scoring system works. Here’s a quick synopsis.

  • Each card is assigned a point value
  • Face cards are worth 0, ace is worth 1, and 2-9 are worth their numerical value
  • The first digit is removed from any score of 10 or higher (e.g. 12 = 2)
  • Player and banker are dealt two cards to begin
  • Either party can win automatically with an 8 or 9 (a.k.a. “natural”)
  • Their score determines whether they receive a third card
  • The player gets a third card if they have less than a 5
  • The player stands on 6 or 7
  • The banker receives a third card if they have less than a 5, combined with the dealer having 6 or 7
  • The banker stands on 6 or 7
  • If the player draws for a third card, the banker draws for a third card based on the following table.

Banker’s Total – Value of Player’s Third Card (D = Draw)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
7
6 D D
5 D D D D
4 D D D D D D D
3 D D D D D D D D D
2 D D D D D D D D D D
1 D D D D D D D D D D
0 D D D D D D D D D D

Baccarat is simple from a strategy perspective because wagering on the banker hand every time leads to optimal strategy. Here are the house edges on all three bets.

  • Banker hand = 1.06% house edge
  • Player hand = 1.24%
  • Tie bet = 14.36%

The banker and player hands don’t have much separation between them. But you should still wager on the banker hand just to gain the extra 0.18% edge.

The casino takes out a 5% commission from winning banker hands, which results in the 1.06% house edge.

Overall, baccarat offers the same entertaining thrills as any other table game. And the key is that you don’t need to learn much in the way of rules or strategy.

Some blackjack players may see the lack of strategy as a downside. But as long as you’re all right with this, then you should certainly enjoy baccarat.

4 – No-Limit Texas Hold’Em Poker

No-limit Texas hold’em is the ultimate game for blackjack players who want to take strategy to the next level.

Obviously, blackjack is tough from a strategy perspective because you must memorize how to play a lot of different situations. But Texas hold’em is even harder due to how optimal strategy never stays the same from table to table.

Important:

Instead, you need to make adjustments on starting hands and what bets you make based on opponents. An aggressive approach can work on a table with tight players, while backing off and picking your spots works against overly aggressive players.

Of course, this is a simplistic way to describe poker strategy. You can spend decades mastering this game due to the high skill level.

The rewards can be great for skilled players. I’ve seen more than enough multi-millionaire poker players to prove this point.

Texas hold’em is much like blackjack card counting, where the best players gain a long-term edge. And you can use a variety of strategy resources to improve your skills, including articles, books, training videos, Twitch streams, and YouTube videos.

If you combine consistent strategy studying with experience, then you’ll improve and move up the stakes with more success.

Texas hold’em no doubt has the toughest strategy out of any table game on this list. But you don’t need to be a gambling guru to play poker.

Most players can learn no-limit Texas hold’em after spending 10 minutes learning the rules. Here’s a brief rundown on how you play this poker variation.

  • The “no-limit” aspect refers to how there’s no limit on your bet sizes
  • Players can fold, bet (no raise in front), raise, or check (no bet made) when it’s their turn
  • Hands begin with every player receiving two face-down cards (a.k.a. hole cards)
  • The goal is to form the best 5-card hand using your two hole cards and five community cards
  • Pre-flop: players perform the first round of betting action
  • Flop: first three community cards are dealt
  • Another round of betting action ensues
  • Turn: fourth community card is dealt
  • Another round of betting action ensues
  • River: fifth community card is dealt
  • The last round of betting action occurs
  • Showdown: any remaining players flip their hole cards over to see who has the best 5-card hand

A good way to introduce yourself to Texas hold’em is by playing online micro-stakes games. The $0.01/$0.02 and $0.02/$0.04 tables give you a chance to practice strategy without losing too much money in the beginning.

Once you’ve played enough hands and feel comfortable with strategy, you can gradually move up the stakes and make a serious attempt at beating $0.05/$0.10 tables and higher.

The competition gets tougher as you move up. But you’ll improve as long as you give yourself a steady diet of strategy articles, videos, and Twitch streams.

5 – Roulette

Roulette is much like baccarat in that it’s a fun table game without any heavy learning or strategy involved.

The key aspect in roulette is knowing the odds on different wagers. Here are all the European roulette bets along with their true odds and payouts.

  • Odd/even – 1.06 odds: 1:1 payout
  • Red/black – 1.06 odds: 1:1 payout
  • High/low – 1.06 odds: 1:1 payout
  • Column – 2.08:1 odds, 2:1 payout
  • Dozen – 2.08:1 odds, 2:1 payout
  • Six line – 5.17:1 odds, 5:1 payout
  • Corner – 8.25:1 odds, 8:1 payout
  • Split – 11.3:1 odds, 17:1 payout
  • Street – 17.5:1 odds, 17:1 payout
  • Single number – 36:1 odds, 35:1 payout

The wide range of roulette odds appeals to many players.

High/low, red/black, and odd/even bets give you a good chance to win. But not everybody is a fan of only winning even-money payouts.

Note:

Single and split bets offer a low chance to win. But the upside is that you can earn a large payout for a small bet.

I personally to stick with even-money and 2:1 payout bets. But I can’t fault those who like going after the highest prizes.

The main skill involved in roulette is choosing the best game. The three most common roulette games are American, European, and French roulette.

Here are the key points to all of these roulette variations.

American Roulette

  • 38 numbers
  • House-friendly zero and double-zero pockets
  • 5.26% house edge

European Roulette

  • 37 numbers
  • House-friendly zero pocket
  • 2.70% house edge

French Roulette

  • 37 numbers
  • House-friendly zero pocket
  • La partage rule – Half back on even-money bets that land on zero
  • 1.35% house edge (w/ even-money bets)

As you can see, French roulette is definitely the most desirable roulette game thanks to its 1.35% house edge. The only catch is that most casinos don’t offer the French version.

Only a select number of Las Vegas casinos feature this game. The majority of French roulette tables are found in European countries.

You can also find this game at any online casino that features Microgaming or RealTime Gaming software.

If you can’t play French roulette at your casino, then the European version is a nice backup. European roulette’s 2.70% house edge is lower than most other casino games.

Conclusion

I like blackjack as much as the next person. But it definitely gets old playing the same table game over and over.

This is when it’s nice to switch to any of the games I’ve covered here. Combined, these games offer a nice mix of strategy, easy rules, and a chance to win big payouts.

Of course, each game has its own individual attributes that make it special.

Note:

Texas hold’em has the highest degree of difficulty based on how you’re competing against other players. But it also offers the greatest profit potential for the top players.

Three Card Poker is nice if you want to use some strategy without going overboard like with hold’em. Baccarat, craps, and roulette are all nice when you want gambling thrills without having to think much about strategy.

And if you want big payouts involved, then Three Card Poker, craps, and roulette all offer the chance to win large prizes.

I personally play all five of these games from time to time. And I highly suggest that you try one or more of them to enjoy something new and keep blackjack from getting old.