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7 Easiest Casino Games to Learn and Master

| March 30, 2022 10:44 am PDT
casino imagery with dice, chips, roulette, slots, cards

As any longtime gambler will tell you, there are two ways to win at any casino game: Adding money to your bankroll through actual wins and losing the smallest fraction of your bankroll. Your money is your time, and the less money you lose over time, the more you will benefit when you win.

Good gamblers know that their competition is not only Milwaukee Slim across the table, that guy wearing the mirrored sunglasses and the “I Heart Cheese” hoodie.

The recipient of significant portions of your bankroll doesn’t need sunglasses or distracting sportswear. Okay, no more hints: Your competition is the casino itself—and the size of the cut the casino takes from your gambling wagers might surprise you.

The casino—the house, as we call it—has a built-in advantage on each game it hosts. These games give the house an edge that does not change from casino to casino because it is calculated on the game’s rules and the pay tables for that specific game.

To off-set that edge, gamblers need to find games that can easily be learned and mastered. I’ll break it all down a bit further, and then get to the 7 easy casino games you should be targeting.

What Makes a Casino Game Easy to Win?

Virtually all casino games are easy to learn and play, but only a select few are easy to win. Many of those games that are “easy to win” are games that handicap you least during play.

“Handicap me?” you ask. “How?”

Whether you know it or not, you are paying the casino with each lever pull, each pressing the deal button. Those hidden charges are called “the house advantage” (or house edge), and they are built into every game you can gamble on.

Game House Edge Return to Player (RTP)
Video Poker 0.46% 94.54%
Video Blackjack 0.50% 99.50%
Texas Holdem 2.36% 97.64%
European Roulette 2.70% 97.30%
Caribbean Stud 5.22% 94.78%
American Roulette 5.26% 94.74%
Craps 0 – 16.67% 0 – 83.33%
Baccarat 1.01% – 15.75% 98.99 – 84.25%
Slots 2 – 15% 98 – 85%
Keno 20 – 40% 80% – 60%

If you look at the chart, you’ll see that Return to Player (RTP) is another way of expressing house edge, except from the player’s perspective.

Now, few games today are played against other players. Instead, gamblers pit their skills against the casino itself. And it is true what they say: The house always wins.

House edge is a percentage the casino expects to keep on your wagers over time. And it’s not calculated on your skill (or lack thereof) in that particular game. No. House edge is hardwired, and whether you’ve been playing the game for years or just learned how to play this morning from Wikipedia.

So, I’m not going to tell you which games are easy to win here. Your skill level will differ from game to game, so I tell you that poker is easy to win while Sic Bo does not mean anything if this is the first time you’ve ever heard of Sic Bo.

Instead, I’m going to point out those games that are easy to play and punish your play bankroll the least.

How the House Edge Is Calculated

In almost all games, the house edge is derived from the difference between the true odds of something happening versus the odds at which the house will payout for a win—unsurprisingly called payout odds.

For example, a standard bet in the dice game Craps is “Any Seven”—a wager that the shooter will roll a seven (comprised of a 2-5, 3-4, or 6-1). While the odds for rolling a seven in craps is 5-1, the casino typically pays out at 4-1. The house advantage on an “Any Seven” bet is 16.67%.

In the case of slot machines and other digital or electro-mechanical gambling devices (in the real world as well as the Internet), casinos—and knowledgeable players—look at house advantage as RTP (Return to Player), which is simply the total amount of money paid out over a specific number of games versus the total amount of money wagered on that game during that same time frame.

For Example
Say you’ve got a thousand dollars in your bankroll. You decide to bet $1 on a slot machine for a thousand spins. If at the end of your thousand spins you have $900, then that slot’s RTP would be 90%.

Most casino games have relatively high RTPs, primarily because not taking all your money at once keeps you playing. You don’t notice that you’re still losing. You’ve just been in a temporary slump, one that will turn around soon. Sure.

Your aggregate RTP for all your games is 90%, then you make 10% on your money. You’re making that 10% on somebody else’s money.

For our purposes, you and I will consider a casino game “easy to win” only when that game doesn’t handicap our play with exorbitant house edges.

How high is high? Take a look at the Keno entry on the chart above. Wow—20% to 40% house edge is high. “Place your oxygen mask on as soon as it drops from the overhead compartment” high.

Whether you favor house edge or RTP, you need to know how big a cut the house gets from you as you gamble.

I’ve noticed that players use the term “house edge,” maybe because it acknowledges the “us vs. them” aspect of casino gambling.

On the other hand, the casinos use Return to Player, which tells us what they most fear. Kinda.

Now that you’re versed in what makes a casino game easy – as well as the casino’s clear advantage – it’s time to go over the easiest games at casinos. Let’s kick things off with video poker and work our way down the list.

Video Poker

Video poker

Every list of easy casino games to win money includes Video poker—online and in the real world— for a very good reason: the game typically offers one of the lowest house edges in the gambling world: 0.46%. On some video poker machines, you can see a negative house advantage.

That’s right. As long as you already know the rules of five-card draw poker, you’re set to battle the digital world for supremacy or a few bucks.

One of the keys to winning at video poker is ensuring that the specific machine you are playing offers the right pay table. You can lean on our list of the best video poker tables to find a good one if you’re playing online.

After that, appraising yourself for the best choices to make during play is in order.

The key to that negative house edge is perfect play—i.e., making the correct choices on what cards to keep and what cards to throw away every hand.

This is easier to do than it sounds, mainly because there are a limited number of choices to make in every possible hand. But you need to know each of those correct choices in every situation.

Texas Holdem

Don’t get me wrong—Texas Holdem is not the easiest game to win, nor is it the easiest to learn. In fact, I encourage you to check out this Texas Hold’em guide to hone your poker chops. That said, it does offer plenty of opportunities to win if you learn how to play unemotionally and according to the odds.

Just make sure that you’re not contributing too much of your winning hands to the house.

Now, table card games where players battle for money invariably feature very low house advantage.  It’s not an “advantage” because it’s not based on the difference between true odds and payout odds.

The house will take a cut of the pot for every Texas Holdem game that goes to the flop. Some casinos may also take a percentage of the pot at the turn or the river. That cut is called the rake.

Poker tournaments are a different animal. Since the chips used in a tournament have no actual value, the house takes its rake at the front end—a percentage of the buy-in (and re-buy) fee.

Top Tip
Every casino is different, and it’s a good idea to know the exact percentages because they can turn a moderately profitable poker game into a break-even or even a losing proposition.

Baccarat

Baccarat

The version of baccarat played in U.S. casinos is mini-baccarat, but irrespective of that, the game offers the best opportunities to avoid giving the house any money.

And contrary to what all those James Bond movies seem to suggest, the baccarat game is simple itself to learn and play. Its few rules are all fixed and absolute.

Cards are dealt with the player and the dealer (called the bank), who are trying to get nine points. Instead, they’re not trying but watching with interest as the cards are dealt and announced the eventual outcome.

You can bet on the player to win, the bank to win, or a tie. House edge on player wagers is lower than those on bank wagers. Guess what? You just learned how to play baccarat.

Baccarat will be at the top of any list of easy casino games to learn.

Want some advice? Bet on the bank, never on the tie. The bank will win at a slightly better rate than the player, which can offset the higher house edge on bank wins.

And ties (which usually pay 8-1) give way too much to the house.

Depending on the casino, there are plenty of side bets you can make, and all of them offer returns that are not favorable to you. So do apprise yourself of them, and then return to betting on the bank.

Blackjack (Video and Otherwise)

If you’re looking for easy casino games online, you’d be hard-pressed to find one easier or more generous in RTP than Blackjack. The house advantage for blackjack remains the same regardless of how large the bets are or the success/failure rates of the other players at the same table.

This is because the actual house edge in blackjack is tiny: 0.5%. That’s right—half of one percent.

Bear in mind that there are significant variations to that low house advantage, from casino to casino and even from table to table. Why? Because House edge changes depending on the number of decks used and even whether the blackjack being dealt is the American version or the European version.

For Example
In the American version of blackjack, the dealer gets two cards, one face-up, one face down. The dealer peeks at his hole card to see if an ace is the face-up card. If he finds a card worth ten, the game is over, and all players lose.

However, in the European version of blackjack, the dealer’s hole card is not looked at until after all the players have finished playing their hands. This variation significantly changes how hands are played.

Overall, though, blackjack offers one of the smallest house advantages in the casino, online or off. So how does the casino make any money dealing blackjack? Simple. That 0.5% house advantage is for perfect play. If you play every hand correctly, you’ll only lose 50 cents for every hundred bucks you wager over the long run.

But if you’ve watched people at a blackjack table for any time, you know that perfect play is not a skill set easily acquired or employed.

By the way, buying insurance in the American version of blackjack might seem like making the best of a (potentially) bad hand, but it’s a losing proposition in the long run.

Craps

Craps feature the largest and most confusing number of wagers of all table games to the novice. And the house advantage changes wildly between each of the bets. But depending on the casino, craps can feature to most slender of all house advantages—less than half of one percent.

Craps
The trick is to bet the Pass or Don’t Pass line—and nothing else. That’s where you experience that amazingly tiny house edge.

The problem is that nobody can stand there at a table surrounded by excited people yelling for various outcomes of a simple roll of two dice. You have to try out one of those prop bets, like Hardway.

A hardway bet is a wager that the shooter will roll a pair of twos, threes, fours, or fives before he rolls a seven. The house advantage on a hardway bet ranges between 9.09% (pair of threes or fours) and 11.11% (pair of twos or fives).

My Texas Instrument TI-84 Plus had to work on the math for a while, but it eventually confirmed for me what I had suspected: 9% was a much bigger house advantage than 0.5%. There you have it. The science is settled.

Once you have craps mastered, you can take it to another level and check out the best apps for real money craps.

Roulette

Roulette

As I noted earlier, the version of roulette you are playing has a marked effect on the house edge. European roulette (or single-zero; 37 numbers total) offers the least amount of house intrusion on your winnings: 2.70%.

The American version (or double-zero; 38 numbers total) doubles that house edge to 5.26%.

So American roulette has the same house edge regardless of whether you’re playing in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, your neighbor’s basement—or the internet. If the wheel is an American roulette wheel (38 numbers total), the house advantage is 5.26%.

If you like roulette, then always look for the European version.

Easy to Win Online Slots

The consensus appears to be that NetEnt’s Mega Joker and Playtech’s Ugga Bugga are the two top online slot machines. Both offer a 99% RTP, which is about as generous as you will find in the slots category.

One point to consider with online slots: In the real world, house advantage (or the flip side of that coin, RTP) tends to be immutable, but nothing could be further from the truth as far as online slots are concerned.

Many online slots developers offer their games with varying levels of RTP available, giving the online casino the option to offer slots that pay out less than competitors’ versions of the same game might do. Or they might choose to pay out more. Guess which they tend to prefer.

As it would happen, many online casino licensing jurisdictions—the U.K, for example—require their online casino licensees to post each hosted slot machine’s RTP on their sites.

So, if you like the slots, be sure to check that your favorite game is paying out at the highest RTP you can find.

If It Were Easy, Everybody Would Be Doing It

If there were truly easy games at casinos that everybody could win, Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, etc., would be sleepy little wide spots on the road to somewhere important.

And the zillion-dollar online casino industry would not exist.

Key Point

The ones I’ve listed above, however, are those most likely to either produce wins for you or at the very least take the smallest percentage of your bankroll in “house advantage.”

And if you’re looking for easy casino games to play at home, you can ensure that you’re dealing with fair and reputable operations when you visit one of our top online casinos.

J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at GamblingSites.com. He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

More Posts by J.W. Contact J.W.

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