For the lowest casino advantage, which game do you recommend that I
play, craps, baccarat or single deck blackjack? Ray L.
There are oodles of variables, Ray, but with only finite
space to hash over them, here's the bottom line, life preserver attached:
It depends on how the games are played, and which bets you make on those
To illustrate, take craps. The house edge on this game
can be anywhere from 0.18% to 16.1%. Optimal strategy would be betting
on the pass line and taking 10X odds. You've now reduced the house edge
to 0.18%. With 5X odds the casino advantage is only 0.32%, which is
still a far better than a bet on the bank hand in baccarat which carries
a casino advantage of 1.17%, or a slightly lower 1.06% if you can find
a game that offers only a 4% commission on that wager.
Single deck blackjack with favorable rules, along with
employing perfect basic strategy does put the house edge under 1%, but
still, unless you are a sophisticated card counter, a pass line bet
with full odds would be the "best bet" of the three.
I was recently in a home game when we had an argument about burning
a card. I have looked and looked and I don't see any rules in the contrary.
The situation was this. Two players were all in. One of the players
said we should deal the cards without burning before the fourth and
fifth card as that rule was only to protect against card marking. So
we dealt the board out without the burns. After that hand we argued
whether or not we should be burning the cards. We called the local casino
and they told the person that asked for no burn that it was proper dealer
etiquette to not burn a card. I still don't think that is right. Can
you clear this up for me? Shane P.
For starters, Shane, whom did you call, the hostess
in the casino coffee shop?
Two, you stated "One of the players said we should
deal the cards without burning before the fourth and fifth card,"
but it seems you all agreed, then spit up sour grapes, and finally you
Well, it's tough to referee after the fact an issue
at someone else's kitchen table, but here's the deal, pun intended.
When it comes to burning cards, it is the function of
the poker dealer is to burn a card after each betting round ends and
before the community draw cards (the flop, the turn, and the river)
are distributed. It's commonplace in all casinos and card rooms that
I have ever worked or played in and it is done to prevent cheating.
I have a question for you regarding blackjack odds. Can you tell me
the house edge in each of the following types of blackjack games –
single deck versus two-deck, four-deck, six and eight-deck shoe and
continuous shuffle machines? Seth S.
The house edge rises as the number of decks increases,
all other rules being equal. So, Compared to a single deck, a two-deck
game handicaps your play 0.35%, four decks, 0.48%, six decks, 0.54%
and eight decks 0.58%. As you can see, it is always to your advantage
to play on a game that offers the fewest decks. Also note, the house
edge goes up substantially when you go from one deck to two, but the
change is less dramatic as you add more decks.
As for a Continuous Shuffling Machine (CSM), it does
lowers the house edge a miniscule amount compared to a cut card six-deck
game, but that slight decline in the house edge will cost you more money.
What? How's that? It's because the speed of the game increases by about
20 percent when a casino uses a CSM. If the dealer never stops to shuffle,
you are going to be seeing a lot more hands per hour, and with that
additional exposure of your hard-earned money, expect to lose more than
any cut card game.
Wisdom of the Week: "Here is the terrible truth. I get
more pure happiness winning twenty grand at the casino crap table than
when I receive a check for many times that amount as the result of honest
hard work on my book." --Mario Puzo