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The 7 Worst Casino Games Based on Speed

By Randy Ray in Casino
| February 28, 2017 12:00 am PDT
Craps Spedometer Feature

As part of my ongoing series examining the impact of the plays per hour rate on a casino game’s favorability, I introduced readers to a novel concept.

Rather than judge a particular game or wager based solely on house edge, which is the usual metric used by strategically minded players, I submit that the pace of play is just as important. As I see it, even when a game like keno carries a higher than normal house edge – 25 percent on average in this case – the fact that you’ll only be playing about five cards per hour negates that enormous disadvantage.

I’ve developed the following mathematical formula to express any game’s relative value, as defined by the pace of play: Amount risked X number of decisions with a financial outcome per hour X house edge = average amount lost per hour.

This isn’t a classroom chalkboard though, so let’s run through some real world examples to see just what I’m talking about here.

Going back to the game of keno, any savvy gambler with half a brain will tell you that this lottery inspired numbers game is the classic “sucker” bet. With that obscene house edge of 25 percent on average, players can expect to lose a quarter out of every dollar they wager on keno cards.

Assessed solely on the merits of house edge, keno ranks as one of the absolute worst wagers on the casino floor. But by looking past house edge and applying my formula, we can get a much better gauge on keno’s true impact on bankrolls and bottom lines.

The key here is plays per hour. For card games this means the amount of hands you’re dealt in a given hour, while roulette players will count spins per hour, and craps players rolls per hour. Within the keno community, the term would be games per hour or draws per hour, pertaining to the completion of a draw which possibly creates a winning card.

As I mentioned already, keno is a leisurely game played at a slow pace, and drawing all 20 numbers to complete the game takes about 15 minutes for the most part. That includes repeating the number to make sure everyone in the casino has a chance to hear. All told, you can expect to complete four keno games during any given hour.

We can compare this to a game like Mini Baccarat, the popular adaptation of baccarat designed for low stakes recreational play. Even though this game offers a very reasonable house edge of just 1.20 percent – averaged between the primary Banker (1.06 percent) and Player (1.24 percent) bets – Mini Baccarat plays at a much brisker pace.

With no skill based gameplay involved, a single decision point, and just two or three cards dealt out at most to the Banker and Player spots, a hand of Mini Baccarat can begin and end in under 30 seconds. Throw in the seemingly infinite stream of cards provided by an eight deck shoe, and Mini Baccarat games in the brick and mortar setting can easily distribute up to 120 hands in an hour.

Going forward throughout the rest of this page, I’ll return to the formula described earlier as a way of more accurately assessing how pace of play impacts the viability of various casino games. We can use the examples of keno, which is ostensibly a “bad” game with a high house edge, and the player favorite Mini Baccarat with its low house edge, to see how the formula works in action.

To help keep the math clean and easy to calculate, I’ll use a wagering increment of $100 in my calculations. Obviously, only high rollers are regularly betting $100 on casino games, but the figure is best for producing easily digestible figures. Even so, when the situation warrants, I’ll point out how the formula applies to the more affordable betting units of $10 used by the masses of recreational gamblers.

Without further ado, take a look below to see how keno and Mini Baccarat compare when the hands per hour metric is factored into the equation:

  • Land based Keno game: $100 X 4 X 25% = $100 expected loss per hour
  • Land based Mini Baccarat game: $100 X 120 X 1.20% = $144 expected loss per hour

Remember, this formula is defined as the amount risked X number of decisions with a financial outcome per hour X house edge = average amount lost per hour. In laymen’s terms, this means your bet size times the plays per hour times the house edge percentage.

As you can see by the numbers above, even though keno is roundly dismissed as one of the worst casino games ever created, it actually offers a lower expected loss per hour rate than Mini Baccarat. The formula reveals that you’ll lose $100 per hour (when betting $100 mind you, so be sure to adjust for your wagering unit) when playing keno, while suffering a $144 loss in the same hour at the Mini Baccarat tables.

These are evenly constructed comparisons, but just to show you how it works, let’s adjust for the actual wagering units used in both games.

For keno players, $1 is the typical price for a playing card, but most players buy multiple cards for a single game. We can stick to a limited amount like five cards at $1 apiece as part of this page’s overall pace of play strategy.

As for Mini Baccarat, this table game was created to transform the stuffy, sophisticated high roller game of baccarat or punto banco into a casual, fun filled experience for recreational gamblers. As such, the minimum bet is usually set all the down at $5.

Using the same wagering unit of $5, let’s see how the formula shakes out this time around:

  • Land based Keno game: $5 X 4 X 25% = $5 expected loss per hour
  • Land based Mini Baccarat game: $5 X 120 X 1.20% = $7.20 expected loss per hour

Once again, keno comes out as the more favorable game over the long run. Simply put, despite carrying a much higher house edge, you can expect to lose less money during any given hour than you would while playing Mini Baccarat.

This theory applies to all casino games, and by incorporating the pace of play – as defined by hands / spins / throws and other plays per hour – I’ve managed to separate the truly favorable games from those that only appear that way. You can read about the 7 Best Casino Games Based on Speed here to discover which tables offer a slower pace of play and a lower expected loss per hour.

This page, on the other hand, is devoted to warning readers about the seven best casino games as judged by speed. So read on to find out which games are wolves in sheep’s clothing, with reasonable house edges nullified altogether by the sheer volume of bets being made:

Information will refer to brick and mortar casino play unless otherwise specified, because generally speaking, online casino games run at a much quicker pace than land based alternatives. If you’re concerned about sacrificing equity because a game is moving too quickly, you’ll almost always head to a brick and mortar casino rather than go online to play.

Progressive Slot Machines

One of the most bountiful businesses within the casino industry nowadays is created by so called wide area progressive slot machines.

Rather than have each individual machine offer small jackpot payouts, a progressive network connects multiple slots within the same venue, city, or state. By subtracting a tiny fraction of every dollar wagered, and adding it to a single jackpot fund, wide area progressive slots can easily generate jackpot pools in the six, seven , and even eight figures.

Nevada’s “Megabucks” is perhaps the most popular and well known of the wide area progressive slot networks. Beginning in 1994, thousands of Megabucks machines located in dozens of properties throughout the state, from the Las Vegas Strip to the town of Primm, have been connected and seeded with a $10 million base jackpot amount. From there, lucky players have triggered the massive jackpot a few dozen times, sometimes several time in a single year, and other times with long gaps in between.

One of those gaps occurred between May of 2002 and March of 2003, during which time the Megabucks jackpot ballooned to astronomical levels. Finally, on March 21st, a winner emerged at the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas, sending $39,713,982.25 home with one of the luckiest gamblers in Sin City history.

Per the figures below, which come courtesy of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), take a look at the combined payouts and win percentage enjoyed by the casinos between 1994 and 2009:

Megabucks Win Rate Between 1994 and 2009

YEAR WIN TOTAL WIN PERCENTAGE
2009 53,352,000 10.43%
2008 83,981,000 11.85%
2007 88,858,000 12.72%
2006 100,923,00 12.39%
2005 100,923,000 12.39%
2004 67,326,000 10.54%
2003 83,069,000 10.41%
2002 76,842,000 11.98%
2001 69,821,000 11.50%
2000 69,103,000 9.75%
1999 74,921,000 12.28%
1998 134,943,000 12.25%
1997 66,166,000 12.18%
1996 57,619,000 10.03%
1995 65,223,000 10.48%
1994 46,760,000 9.44%
TOTAL 1,239,830,000 11.39%

By averaging the casino win rate – just another term for house edge – over those 16 years, it turns out that any given Megabucks slot machine carries a house edge of 11.39 percent.

When competing wide area progressive networks found around the country – such as Powerbucks, Wheel of Fortune, Millionaire 777s, and Quartermania – are included in the mix, the average house edge faced by progressive slot players is right around 15 percent.

As we’ve discussed already, a high house edge doesn’t have to be the decisive factor when analyzing a casino game, as pace of play is also important. And normally, with a game like progressive slot machines, my advice would be to temper the effects of that high house edge by simply slowing things down.

Consider that a proficient slot machine player can easily get in 500 spins before the hour’s up. That equates to 8.33 spins every minute, or one spin every 7.2 seconds. Sufficed to say, you’ll be a Tazmanian Devil at the machines playing at that pace. Let’s use the formula to find out what a progressive slot player running at 500 spins per hour faces in terms of expected loss per hour:

  • Progressive slot machines: $100 X 500 X 15% = $7,500 expected loss per hour

Obviously, that’s an absurd amount of money to lose in 60 minutes, so we can adjust for the typical price point for a progressive slot wager ($3 for Megabucks):

  • Progressive slot machines: $3 X 500 X 15% = $225 expected loss per hour

Using this more realistic metric, you’ll still expect to lose $225 – or 75 times your wagering unit of $3 – during an hour of progressive slot play.

Taking time in between spins to stretch out the pace is a great way to mitigate this extreme expectation of loss, as you can see below:

  • Progressive slot machines: $3 X 200 X 15% = $90 expected loss per hour

If you could only hold off on every other spin, and wait a while to let the game’s frenetic pace slow down, progressive slots like Megabucks can offer a much lower expected loss per hour.

Unfortunately, I simply can’t recommend the slow pitch strategy to progressive slot enthusiasts in good faith. I’m a gambler, first and foremost, and I know how the strange emotion called temptation can influence even the most well-reasoned strategy.

Simply put, when you’re surrounded by “opponents” chasing the same jackpot you are, and that number keeps growing by the second on the meters overhead, you’ll have a hell of time trying to hold off and not spin. Progressive jackpot slots are built to prey on this temptation, which is why the game designers and casino operators can get away with offering unheard of house edges at 15 percent when traditional slots are in the 3 percent to 5 percent range.

Without the ability to slow down and reduce your spins per hour rate from 500 to a fraction of that amount, wide area progressive slots just play far too fast to offer a reasonable expectation.

Roulette (Double zero wheel, one or two players)

By now, you’ve probably heard all about the great rift which has divided the roulette world for decades: single zero versus double zero wheels.

I’ll spare you a lecture on the mathematics and probabilities, because common sense should tell you that betting against a roulette wheel with only one green “0” space is better than trying to fade both the “0” and “00” spaces.

Specifically, the European style single zero roulette wheel offers players a house edge of 2.70 percent. That’s right around half of the 5.26 percent house edge you’ll face on an American style double zero wheel.

Sufficed to say, you should already be avoiding the double zero wheels whenever possible – but as the name implies, for American players, this is a tall order. The vast majority of roulette wheels found in Las Vegas, or within America’s network of regional and tribal casinos, hold both the “0” and “00” green spaces which work for the house.

Sure, a few single zero wheels can be found here and there, but casinos in the U.S. segregate those within the high stakes section of their gaming floor. For the most part then, casual gamblers interested in spinning that fabled red and black wheel will be up against the double zero variety.

And with a house edge of 5.26 percent, roulette then becomes a game right on the fringe of playability – at least when that metric is used.

There’s also pace of play to consider, but rather than offering a preset number of spins per hour, the speed of a roulette table is highly variable and depends largely on how many players are present.

You can sidle up to a roulette table when it’s empty, and the dealer on hand will immediately exchange your dollars for chips and get the game going. And as you might suspect, playing with nobody else around is a much brisker affair. That’s because the ritual of covering the table felt with chips – and the dealer’s corresponding payout process upon player wins – just don’t take as long to perform.

The chart below, which is based on data revealed by an anonymous casino table games manager, depicts the influence of player density on your spins per hour rate in roulette:

Spins per Hour in Roulette

PLAYERS SPINS / HOUR
1 112
2 76
3 60
4 55
5 48
6 35

As you can see, standing there by your lonesome and spinning away can have you see 112 spins in an hour – or approximately one every 30 seconds. But when you have a friend join you in the action, that rate is immediately shaved down to 76 spins over the course of an hour. And when you’re surrounded by five other players in a six way game, roulette’s pace of play grinds to a halt at 35 spins per hour – or roughly one spin every two minutes.

We can use the formula to see how the number of players at the table with you influences your expected loss per hour rate in roulette:

  • Land based American wheel (one player): $100 X 112 X 5.26% = $589.12 expected loss per hour
  • Land based American wheel (six players): $100 X 35 X 5.26% = $184.10 expected loss per hour

This wide gap should show you how important it is to consider player count when sizing up a roulette table. Just by playing next to a few new friends, rather than playing as a lone wolf, you can instantly reduce your expected loss several times over.

And just so we’re clear, those big numbers reflect a $100 wagering unit, but we can apply a 10 percent reduction across the board to hit the typical $10 bets preferred by recreational roulette players. In that case, you’d expect to lose $58.91 per hour playing by yourself, as opposed to only $18.40 with five friends circling the table.

At any rate, when you play alone, you can expect to lose just under six times your wagering unit every hour. With six players present, that expected loss drops to less than double your wagering unit.

In either case though, plenty of other games on the floor combine the simplicity and high risk to reward ratio of roulette with far lower loss per hour rates.

Remember, roulette dealers are trained to run their games as efficiently as possible, and the window for making wagers is timed to a tee. That removes your ability to stall or delay to reduce your spins per hour rate, as the dealer will simply wave their hand and spin the wheel whenever the time comes.

That leaves only one viable method of slowing down the pace of play in roulette: playing with as many tablemates as possible. But even when you do find a full table, the expected loss on this game is just too much for most players to bear.

Baccarat

For most casual gamblers, baccarat is a game that appears to be shrouded in mystery.

Most casinos house their main baccarat tables in roped off high roller areas, and many even institute a fancy dress code for players. The minimum wager is typically quite high, and only “real players” dare take their shot at the race to nine card game. If you ask somebody who has never played baccarat, they’ll likely tell you that’s because the game is just too difficult to learn or play well, or that only really skilled players can succeed.

In reality, baccarat is one of the more simplistic guessing games offered on the gaming floor. Without all of the fancy trappings, you’re really playing nothing more than a child’s game that boils down to the simplest of propositions: guess which one of these two hands will wind up reaching a total of nine, or closest to it.

That’s it, and that’s all… really. You only have two basic bets to choose from, the Player hand or the Banker hand – along with the longshot Tie bet – so baccarat fundamentally boils down to a binary decision.

Player or Banker, which hand will win. Once you’ve made a guess, the dealer reveals the cards, and adds a third card when warranted (these rules are quite complicated, so I advise you to search for the term “baccarat tableau” whenever you have an hour to kill). From there, whichever hand has reached a total of nine or closest to it is declared the winner, and player bets on that hand are paid out at even money.

Despite masquerading as a sophisticated game enjoyed by sharp gamblers like James Bond, while truly offering the most basic gameplay imaginable, baccarat is still quite popular among the gambling community.

That’s because of the extremely reasonable house edge rates offered by the two main bets. A bet on the Banker hand carries a 1.06 percent house edge, while the Player hand comes in at 1.24 percent (the Tie bet is a tad higher at 14.36 percent). For the sake of clarity, we’ll use the standard 1.20 percent house edge for both bets combined.

These low figures attract thinking players who prefer to put their bankroll on low house edge games. But considering just how basic the gameplay really is, baccarat tables tend to get going at a frenetic pace.

Even when allowing for the traditional “squeeze” that baccarat enthusiasts relish, slowly sweating the final card before revealing it to the table, a proficient dealer can easily distribute more than 200 hands per hour when you’re playing alone.

If you have a few tablemates, that pace can slow a bit – but remember, only two hands are dealt even with six players present. Once the two hands are revealed and compared, bets will be settled in a flash, and a new hand will be immediately dealt from the eight deck shoe. Assuming a full table, the average hands per hour rate drops from 200 to 70 –  still more than one hand every minute.

Let’s run through that formula of ours to see how baccarat really stacks up, both when playing alone and at a full table:

  • Land based baccarat (one player): $100 X 200 X 1.20% = $240 expected loss per hour
  • Land based baccarat (six players): $100 X 70 X 1.20% = $84 expected loss per hour

Clearly, playing with fewer people produces a much higher expectation of loss than you’d face when playing at a full table. Even so, a six player game still goes so fast that the low house edge rate can’t compensate enough to create a reasonable expected loss.

All things considered, baccarat may seem like a favorable place to bring your bankroll based on house edge alone. But when the action heats up and you’re seeing multiple hands per minute, it’s just not low enough to really matter. You’ll still end up losing close to your wagering unit every hour, which is just not a sustainable path to success in the gambling world.

Mini Baccarat

Having just covered the ins and outs of baccarat proper, I won’t delve quite as deeply into the offshoot known as Mini Baccarat.

This variant was designed to move the game past those outdated views. Rather than taking place in secluded high roller rooms, Mini Baccarat tables are found on the main gaming floor, accessible to anybody with a few chips in their pocket. No dress codes or stuffy dealers either, so the atmosphere is much more relaxed and casual.

The stakes are also lower, usually beginning at the standard table game increment of $5, so nobody is left to feel out of place when playing Mini Baccarat.

By removing many of the rituals involved in traditional baccarat, such as the passing of the shoe back and forth between players, and the beloved squeeze on the final card, Mini Baccarat offers a streamlined gameplay experience. The cards will be coming faster and more often, and the proverbial breathing room inherent in old school baccarat is replaced by a fast and furious pace.

Aside from those superficial changes, however, Mini Baccarat is the same exact game. Same primary Banker and Player bets, along with the Tie bet, same even money payouts, and same house edge rates across the board. The only thing that changes is the briskness at which you’ll be completing hands – 120 hands per hour to be precise.

That means the formula for expected loss in Mini Baccarat appears as follows:

  • Land based Mini Baccarat game: $100 X 120 X 1.20% = $144 expected loss per hour

Even when we apply a more realistic wagering unit of $5, the formula produces these results:

  • Land based Mini Baccarat game: $5 X 120 X 1.20% = $7.20 expected loss per hour

We compared Mini Baccarat to keno in the introduction, and in that case, keno counterintuitively became the better game. Whenever keno is outperforming another casino game in terms of player friendliness, it’s clear that something is amiss.

The expected loss per hour is right around 1.5 times the wagering unit you choose, which may not seem all that high, but for a game with such a low house edge, you should be doing much better.

Blackjack (Land based, one or two players)

If you’ve already read my page on the seven best casino games based on speed, you may be surprised to see blackjack listed here.

After all, I listed blackjack prominently on the other side of this coin, naming it as a very favorable game to play when it comes to pace of play.

But that section specified a full seven handed table, while this one pertains to solitary or two player games only.

Why is that? Take a look at the chart below to see just how player count influences your hands per hour rate at the twenty one tables:

Hands per Hour in Blackjack

PLAYERS HANDS / HOUR
1 209
2 139
3 105
4 84
5 70
6 60
7 52

When your playing by your lonesome, you’ll be dealt four times as many hands in an hour than you would be when surrounded by six other players at a seven handed table.

This may seem like a good thing in a game like blackjack, which includes several skill based elements and allows sharp players to directly affect their own results. With a low house edge of 0.50 percent – assuming you’re playing according to basic strategy – blackjack is the game of choice for thinking, informed players.

But let’s take a look at the formula, using every possible player count and corresponding hands per hour rate, to see how pace of play changes things:

  • Land based blackjack game (1 player): $100 X 209 X 0.5% = $104.50 expected loss per hour
  • Land based blackjack game (2 players): $100 X 139 X 0.5% = $69.50 expected loss per hour
  • Land based blackjack game (3 players): $100 X 105 X 0.5% = $52.50 expected loss per hour
  • Land based blackjack game (4 players): $100 X 84 X 0.5% = $42 expected loss per hour
  • Land based blackjack game (5 players): $100 X 70 X 0.5% = $35 expected loss per hour
  • Land based blackjack game (6 players): $100 X 60 X 0.5% = $30 expected loss per hour
  • Land based blackjack game (7 players): $100 X 52 X 0.5% = $26 expected loss per hour

Now you can see why I included full seven handed blackjack games on my best of page, as that expected loss per hour rate is just a hair over one fourth of the wagering unit.

But taking a look at the top of the table, you’ll see that playing blackjack by yourself creates conditions for an expected loss of just over one wagering unit per hour. And that’s if you’re playing just one “spot,” so if you decide to double the fun by putting another hand in play, the hands per hour – and expected loss per hour – can double when flying solo.

The chart above is a concise illustration of why casino games shouldn’t be viewed as monoliths. Simply assessing the viability of blackjack in one fell swoop, rather than parsing through the details of player count, can turn a very reasonable proposition into a proverbial money pit.

As a blackjack player, you’re much better served by playing with several others at the same time, so be sure to take your bankroll to the crowded tables. If you don’t, and play one on one against the dealer instead, you’ll immediately sacrifice 75 percent of your expected equity before the first card is ever dealt.

Spanish 21 (Land based, one or two players)

As the name implies, Spanish 21 is nothing more than blackjack with a few adjustments to the rules and gameplay.

A lot went into the design process for Spanish 21, so I’ll save you a full description of the game, beginners should know a few essentials.

The deck holds 48 cards, not 52, because the four 10s have been removed. Obviously, this impacts players in a negative way, so Spanish 21 institutes a variety of player friendly rules to counteract the loss of four high value cards. Player blackjacks will always beat dealer blackjacks, you can double down when holding any amount of cards, and certain combinations of 21 will offer premium payouts of up to 3 to 1.

All told, Spanish 21 offers a more fun filled, action packed experience than the usual blackjack grind. The game appeals to recreational players who aren’t all that concerned with advantage play or basic strategy, and would prefer to have a more interactive time at the table.

But before I send you scurrying off in search of the nearest Spanish 21 table, there’s a catch: unless you manage to master the complexities of perfect strategy, the house edge here is 2.20 percent.

Sure, skilled players who know the ins and outs of the basic strategy customized for Spanish 21 rules can lower that house edge down to 0.40 percent. That’s lower than traditional blackjack, by the way, so consider studying the much more difficult Spanish 21 basic strategy chart if your serious about the game.

For the majority of players out there though, the approach will be to use regular blackjack strategy in an entirely different game, which is where the higher house edge of 2.20 percent is derived.

As for the hands per hour rate, Spanish 21 plays out in similar fashion to blackjack, rule changes notwithstanding. You can expect to see 75 hands in a given hour in this game at a full table – using the same player count to hands per hour ratios as shown in the preceding blackjack entry – which results in the following expected loss per hour:

  • Land based Spanish 21: $100 X 75 X 2.20% = $165 expected loss per hour

You know by now that sitting with the maximum number of tablemates can make the game better, while sitting alone has the opposite effect, so use the same approach when playing Spanish 21.

Actually, scratch that, as you shouldn’t be playing Spanish 21 anyhow. Think about it. This game is a blackjack offshoot which offers both a higher house edge, a harder basic strategy to memorize, and a faster pace of play all around.

If you have regular blackjack games running right across the aisle – games that are easier to play, offer better odds, and play slower by comparison – why would you ever play Spanish 21?

Craps

One of the beloved casino games anywhere you go, craps is known for its raucous atmosphere and crowded tables.

The ancient dice throwing game is a favorite among recreational players and casino veterans alike, because it combines the best of both worlds: low risk base bets with a big upside, and longshots that can pay for an entire trip with one lucky roll.

Part of the longstanding appeal held by craps is the game’s dual betting scheme. You can stick to the basic Pass Line or Don’t Pass wagers, which offer house edge rates of 1.41 percent and 1.36 percent, respectively. Or, if you’re feeling frisky, you can splash chips around on any number of alternative wagers which carry house edges between 1.52 percent and 11.11 percent.

For the sake of this discussion, we’ll assume you’re sticking to conservative basic strategy and betting on the Pass Line only, so the house edge of 1.41 percent will be used in the subsequent formulas. You can always mix it up with longshot bets of course, but if you do, keep in mind that the house edge on all other bets is much higher.

The action at your typical craps table comes fast and furious, with shooters taking turns tossing the dice and several other players around placing bets. Even with a full table of 11 players, you can expect to see 102 rolls in an hour – or close to two rolls every minute.

But if you’re a hardcore craps fan who likes to play even when nobody’s around, the extended betting period and group celebrations that take place at a crowded table disappear. Playing craps as the lone gunman, or shooter in this case, you’ll pump up the pace of play to 249 hands per hour – more than four rolls every minute.

Take a look at the table below to see what I mean:

Rolls per Hour in Craps

PLAYERS ROLLS / HOUR
1 249
3 216
5 144
7 135
9 123
11 102

Yet again, the number of players you have around you directly influences the speed of the game, and thus, your bottom line over the long run.

We can plug the numbers above into our trusty formula to get a clear picture of how player count conspires to impact your expected loss per hour rate in craps:

  • Land based craps (one player): $100 X 249 X 1.41% = $351.09 expected loss per hour
  • Land based craps (three players): $100 X 216 X 1.41% = $304.56 expected loss per hour
  • Land based craps (five players): $100 X 144 X 1.41% = $203.04 expected loss per hour
  • Land based craps (seven players): $100 X 135 X 1.41% = $190.35 expected loss per hour
  • Land based craps (nine players): $100 X 123 X 1.41% = $173.43 expected loss per hour
  • Land based craps (eleven players): $100 X 102 X 1.41% = $143.82 expected loss per hour

When you’re playing at a shorthanded table, with between one and three people in the game, the average loss per hour eclipses three wagering units. It’s tough to maintain your bankroll when you’re losing at a 3 to 1 rate every single hour, which is why shorthanded craps should be considered no man’s land for dice throwers.

That rate drops considerably when the table is full though, which is why craps is known for attracting big crowds. Players intuitively seem to know that their chances of enjoying a good run are better when there aren’t as many bets being placed so quickly.

And after reading this, you won’t have to rely on intuition at all. You know for a fact that empty craps tables are where losing sessions are born, while full ones offer a reasonable proposition at the very least.

Conclusion

Casinos games are clearly not created equal, and as a thinking player, your job is to weed out the sucker bets and stick to favorable propositions only. The role of house edge in making this all important determination has been well documented, but as this page attempts to prove, pace of play is just as important – if not more so.

Many games which sport a decent house edge rate play so fast that you’ll be bled out and bust before you know it. Others carry obscene house edges that would make most players balk, but because they play so slowly, you can get away without suffering undue damage. When assessing casino games, be sure to factor the plays per hour rate into your equations before bringing your bankroll to bear.

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