The Five Best Casino Bets with Syndicated Gaming Writer John Grochowski

Hi and welcome to our series of educational videos

that are designed to make you a smarter gambler my name is Steve Bourie and I'm the

author of the American casino guide

which is the number one bestselling book in the US on the subject of casino gambling

and travel

and the only book that comes with more than one thousand dollars in casino


including free rooms free food free shows free gambling money

and much much more if you want to know more about me or my book be sure to

visit my website at

in this video we'll be hearing from nationally-syndicated gaming writer

John Grochowski

will be giving us his list of the five best bets you can find in a casino

besides his gaming column john also has written five books about casino gambling

including the very popular slot machine answer book

john has appeared on three Travel Channel specials about casino gambling

and he also writes monthly articles for several gaming related magazines

Now before we start I need to explain that john will

only be talking about games that can be found on the main casino floor

that means he's not including sports betting or race betting

where it's possible for a good enough handicapper to get an edge

and he's also not including live poker where you can have an edge if you're the

best at the table

but your edge is dependent on the skill of the other players

so with that in mind here's john Grochowski

with his list of the five best bets you can find in a casino

Number five on our list best casino games is a game

I often called the best no brainer bet the casino and that's baccarat

baccarat takes no skill to play whatsoever it is a simple guessing


you are betting on which hand you think will wind up closer to a total of nine

the player hand or the banker hand don't be fooled by the name so you don't

get your own hand there are just two hands that are dealt one is designated player, one

is designated banker

if you bet on banker and you win

you pay the house a commission of 5 percent

which is where the house gets its edge on the banker bet. Banker bet wins more ofthen than

the player bet if there was no

commission then you would have a edge

and the casino's not going to do that. However as it is the house edge is very

small on that bet it's only 1.06 percent

for a bet that has no strategy you don't have to learn


the cards are dealt according to a formula that is a very very good bet

on the flip side of that the player bet is also a very very good bet it is a 1.24

percent house edge

Again a low house edge, it takes no skill whatsoever to make it

this guessing game is a good one for players it is why

this game is a very popular game with high rollers If you look in the high limit

rooms at many casinos you'll find a big baccarat player

and that is where a lot of the big money in casinos is actually wagered

number four on our list of good casino games the best casino games on the main

casino floor

is video poker now there's a lot of variability in video poker video poker

has some great games that are some the best games the casino

games on which it is possible for an expert player to get an

edge a good edge deuces wild in its full pay version

but these days you see them in local places in Nevada and really not much

of anywhere else

Full pay deuces wild with expert play returns to the player 100.8


the player has an eight tenths of a percent edge on the game

it's a great great bet we have a game called

10/7/5 double bonus poker and the 10

refers to a 10 for 1 payoff on a full house the others refer to the payoffs

on flushes and straights that is a 100.17 percent game with expert


if all video poker games were like that if they all had theoretical percentages

over a hundred percent video poker would rank a lot higher on the list

however in many jurisdictions you don't find

the 100 percent games at all and even in Nevada they're becoming increasingly rare

especially on the Las Vegas Strip we just don't see those games anymore

like we once did

It takes some study it takes some work training software is essential if

you're going to learn

to play video poker at that level but for an average player one thing you do

wanna watch out for

are the payoffs on full houses and flushes

Every unit that a full house or flush is taken down because that's where

casinos change the pay tables in order to decrease the payback percentages

each unit that those are taken down cost you about 1.1 percent

so we have a game that's called 9/6 jacks or better and it doesn't say that on the

machine it just says jacks or better on a machine you have to look at the pay


to see that full houses are paying 9 for one

fulshes are for six for one that's why players call it 9/6 jacks or better

with expert play that pays players 99 and a half-percent

If as is fairly common

that 9/6 was taken down to 8/5 8 for 1 on full houses 5 for 1 on

flushes we're losing 2.2 percent of our payback 1.1 percent on each

of those hands

which takes the overall payback percentage with expert play to

97.3 percent so

watch out for those games look around the casino and choose the best version

of the game that's available in that casino Now I mention that some video


games can pay over 100 percent if you play at an expert level

there are some that pay ninety-five percent ninety-four percent

even lower even if you play at an expert level and with those games the expert

play is not to play them

but you do have to watch those pay tables making sure that you get the best

version of the game is available to you

Third on our list of the five best casino bets

are the good bets at craps Now craps has good bets and bad bets and

a lot in between you have to understand what you're getting into when you make

a craps bet There are all kinds of

different house edges on the different bets in craps two of the good ones

are pass and come and their opposites don't pass and don't come

which if you leave them alone and just make those bets the house edge

is 1.41 percent on pass or come and

1.36 percent on don't pass or don't come Now one of the big advantages

in craps at making those pass and come bets

are the ability to back the bets with what are called free odds you can

once a point is established, once the shooter has established a point number

you can back your original pass bet with a free odds wager and that wager is


at true odds for example if you have five dollars on the pass line

shooter rolls a 6 that becomes your point number

now you can back that with free odds let's just use

single odds as an example now you back it with an amount that's

equal to your wager and then if the shooter then rolls another six before

rolling a 7

you win both your pass bet and the free odds bet your pass bet, your five-dollar

pass bet

wins five dollars your five-dollar free odds bet

win six dollars because the odds of winning that wager are 6-5 against you

So the combination has a lower house edge than the 1.41 percent we talked

about as a house edge on pass and come

with single odds betting that equal amount it drops to 0.8 percent

casinos that allow double odds it drops to 0.6 percent and it keeps


We see some casinos today that offer 100 times odds if you have a five dollar pass

bet you can back that

with five hundred dollars in odds a hundred times the amount of your bet

and that drops the house edge all the way down to two hundredths of a percent

Now some people will say well that's a better bet than

blackjack for a basic strategy player and it is if you're sufficiently

bankrolled and you know how to use the odds and you can afford to bet five hundred

and five dollars at once

Okay there is that however for an average player work were talking more

of a house edge that gets under one percent but not all the way down into

the hundredths

of a percent. There's another bet in craps

that deserves to be on this list we're kinda running a combination here this would be

a little lower on the list if we took it by itself

but this is a place bet on six or a place bet on 8

House edge on this is 1.52 percent so it's a very good bet not quite as good

as the best bet in craps

but still one of the better bets in the casino. One thing to watch out for

with those place bets on six and 8 in craps is that you bet in multiples of

six dollars because that wager pays you at 7-6 odds

True odds are 6-5 this gives you 7-6 that's the 1.52 percent house edge is the

difference these

If you don't bet in a multiple of six dollars if you bet five dollars


the house is only going to give you five dollars you don't get that 7-6

payoff so you want to be sure

to bet in multiples of six dollars One last thing to mention before we leave craps

is that for the select few who practice a method of dice control

it is possible to get an edge on the game I know people who do it

the people who do it are not trying to hit number specific numbers and every

time the main thing is to depress the number sevens

it's difficult it is a physical skill that has to be practiced

and practiced and practiced we're not going to dwell on this a great deal

but if everybody could do this then this would be our number one bet but

it's something that very few people can actually do

Our number two game on our list

of good casino bets is blackjack for a basic strategy player

basic strategy has been with us since the 1950s when it was devised


an early computerized team a team from the US

army mathematicians and blacjack

basic strategy has been refined over the years you can find charts anywhere

nowadays that will tell you what your best play is

it will specify every possible combination

of your cards and the dealers face-up card and tell you for example

that if you have a 16 and the dealer has a 7 face up

your best play is to hit Now if you take all that into account memorize the chart

practice the game

learn your basic strategy and play with that method you cut the house

edge in a six deck game with average rules down to about half a

percent or so

That means in the long run you expect to lose about 50 cents out of every hundred

dollars you wager

Sometimes you're going to win sometimes you're going to lose but in the long run

you're going to lose about 50 cents per hundred dollars wagered

Blackjack has a mix and match set of rules and not

all games are created equal even for a basic strategy player

A single deck game if all other rules are equal is a better game for the

player than a double deck game in fact in the

when I first started coming to Las Vegas in the 1980s

we used to be able to get single deck games in which the dealer stood on all


and it was a game that was an even game if you learned your basic strategy

it wasn't a half percent house edge it was an even game

we don't really see that much anymore and certainly not on the Las Vegas Strip

other games if it's eight decks that

increases the house edge a little bit there are things like does the dealer stand

on all seventeens does

the dealer hits soft 17 an ace and a six for instance or ace, 2, 4

it is better for the player if the dealer stands on all 17s and that

makes a difference of almost two tenths of a percent in the house edge

So there's all these mix and match sets of rules that an informed player

learns along with basic strategy but we certainly can say that a player who

learns basic strategy is much better off than an average player who doesn't

by quite a bit and we talked about a half percent or so edge in a six deck game

an average player who does not know basic strategy

faces a house edge of more like two to two and a half percent so insteas of that fifty

cents per hundred dollars wagered

they're losing two to two and a half dollars per hundred dollars wagered

and that makes a difference that's why we have blackjack for basic strategy

here on our top five list and we do not have blackjack for an average player

And number one on our list of the best bets in the casino

is blackjack for a card counter Now blackjack for a card counter is a game where

it's possible

for the player to get an edge on the house it's possible to make money at

this game

and the reason it works the reason card counting works

is because you are raising and lower your bets

as the proportion of high cars to low cards from the deck changes

when there's a greater proportion of high cards remaining to be played in

the deck that means that there will be more blackjacks

more Blackjacks favor the player because the player is getting paid three to two

on his blackjacks unless he's playing an awful 6-5 game that he

shouldn't be playing and the dealer does not get paid 3-2 on Blackjacks

also when there's a greater proportion of high cards your double downs will play truer

if you have about six and five for a total of eleven

and there's a greater proportion of high cards remaining to be played

you will get that 10 to complete your 21 more often

so that's why card counting works, you raise your bets when the

proportion of high cards remaining in the deck is high and you lower your bets

when the proportion of low cards remaining in the deck is high. Low cards

favor the dealer

If you want to know more about me you can look on my website I write a weekly column that goes out to newspapers and

web sites One place you can find that is called casino city times

I write for number of magazines including casino player, Midwest Gaming

and Travel, casino journal, slot manager, strictly slots

and I've written six books on gaming including the casino answer book the

slot machine answer book and the video poker answer book

Don't forget that you can see more of our educational gaming videos on our

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