Know what odds work, check out all casinos odds

Dec 31, 2012 3:00 AM

As I’ve said before, it’s always smart gambling to know at which casino you can find the best odds. There are few opportunities to gain an edge on the casino so why not take advantage of the situation when it’s offered? That said, it’s not always wise to chase the best odds.

If you’re a low roller the small percentages gained can sometimes be lost in the chase for better odds. If you’re a high roller then your pocket will notice every percent saved and traveling for the best odds in the casino may be worth any time and money spent.

Blackjack is probably the most popular game in any casino, even if more money is played on baccarat. Blackjack odds change depending on the day, location, time and denomination played – even in the same casino. Let’s look at how the small percentages affect your gambling bankroll using real Las Vegas examples.

At Caesars Palace you can find the following blackjack games on any given weekend.

$15 minimum – 6:5 Blackjack payout. Dealer hits on 17. House edge 2.08%. Expected Return on $500 buy-in (33 hands) is $489.60.

$15 and/or $25 minimum (Pussycat Dolls pit) – 6:5 Blackjack payout. Dealer hits on 17. Limited splits/double opportunities. House edge 2.27%. Expected Return on $500 buy-in (33 hands for $15 and 20 hands for $25) is $488.

$25 minimum (regular tables) – 3:2 Blackjack payout. Dealer hits on 17. House edge 0.91%. Expected Return on $500 buy-in (20 hands) is $495.

Most $15 table players wouldn’t buy in for $500 per session but for consistency I wanted to use the same buy-in. They will probably buy in for $200-$300 and get anywhere from 13 to 15 hands on a $15 table.

Obviously, games where blackjack pays 3 to 2 is the way to go in the long term but if the low roller wants that at Caesars Palace they will have to forgo a little more than a third of the amount of hands played. That’s not optimal.

The low roller can stay at Caesars Palace and play a game with a short return or head to another casino to play a better odds game for the money. In this example walking next-door to The Mirage or Bellagio will offer 3 to 2 payouts on blackjack for $15 players.

It’s not always smart on the wallet to hunt down better odds gambling. On a buy-in of $200 to $300 it may not make sense to head downtown for $5 blackjack at El Cortez, which provides 3 to 2 returns on blackjack and $10 minimums. The 1% difference on $200 won’t even cover cab fare.

All of this goes to say that if you risk more money than many per hand (i.e. $25 vs. $15) casinos will offer you better odds and rules, no matter what game you play. If you’re a low roller it pays to look around for the best games available. Knowledge is power so researching your best odds before a trip makes a lot of sense.

Wizard of Odds.com is a great reference for finding the best blackjack and craps returns while vpFREE.com will help you plan for finding the best returns on video poker. Using these free resources while planning your gambling vacation to Las Vegas may be the most economical way to get ready for your next trip.

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at [email protected].

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