There are eight main house
games (as opposed to Card Room games or machines) which can be called
Casino Games in
Britain and countless others around the world. However the five games on this
page are the mainstay throught the casino world. In the U.K, Roulette accounts
for about 50% of casino action. Blackjack 20%. Casino stud poker 16%. Punto
Banco 3%. Craps 3% with the rest making up the difference. All casinos offer
the top three but only London and a few big cities have Craps and Punto Banco.
With deregulation and technical improvements the casino world has moved
online and now you can play online roulette easily at the click of a mouse from
your own home.
There are three
basic variations on the roulette theme in casinos around the world, although the differences are
very small. They are British, American and French.
The game is all
about predicting where a little white ball will come to rest after spinning
around the rim of a roulette wheel. The ball circles for as many as 40
revolutions and as few as 4, the carousel (middle bit with the slots in, or
hub) spins continuously in the opposite direction. When the ball and carousel
collide, the ball bounces randomly and eventually runs out of steam to rest in
a slot with a number attached to it. That number is the winning one.
The wheel sits on a roulette table that has
a cloth 'layout'. The layout design has numbers drawn on it that correspond to
those in the wheel (0-36). Money placed on, or associated with, the winning
number on the cloth layout is rewarded with a prize payout in casino chips.
There are different odds payouts associated with different number selections.
(Full details of
how to play roulette)
Its a fast action
game that brings out the best and the worst of tempers. A quiet mid-week night
in a provincial casino can be as boring as hell but saturday night will see
plenty of cheering and swearing. This ain't for the faint hearted or weak willed. It can destroy
What about the
different games? Well now, here's the funny thing. If you walk into a
British casino you will, more often than not, see the roulette table designated
as 'American Roulette'. What makes it American is that it uses different
coloured chips for each player at the table so that their bets can be told
apart. It is in fact British (see below).
|Types of Roulette Game
Coloured playing chips
- Tipping of gaming staff
- Double zero present,
Coloured playing chips
- Tipping allowed
- Single zero present,
- Tipping staff essential
- Single zero present,
|(1) Odds of payout for a full bet on a single
American like to play roulette with a "00" and a hefty edge against them. The wheel has the
normal numbers from 1 to 36 in alternate red and black colours with a green
zero and also their 'double zero', also green. Therefore the game has a total
of 38 numbers to bet on. The edge against the player is large and consequently
the game is not nearly so popular there. Tipping the croupier for a good win is
also a tax on top of the house vig. Ouch!
British have the best of it. No tipping ( a
lovely 1968 rule ) used to be the law but changes in the 2005 Gaming Act now
allow it but it is not as common as in Europe or the US. European roulette
wheels, and that includes the U.K, have the numbers in a different order to an
American wheel. Both alternate red and black but the European wheel also
alternates high and low where as the U.S wheel alternates two low, two high.
Another curious difference is that the numbers on a European wheel face inwards
and they face outwards on a U.S wheel. Roulette is more popular in Britain than
French roulette is played in many places in
France and some other fancy casinos around the world. It is a slow, etiquette
style game where large cash chips are placed by the two croupiers for the
punters. All chips look the same so it is essential that the croupier has great
skill in remembering who owns each bet. Nowadays this form is receding into
being a show-piece. It doesn't make the house a lot of money but the tips are
expected to flow freely.
Edge to see more about the casino advantage in Roulette.
is true that if you double up your stakes after a loss, you will eventually win
all your money back. The trouble with applying that idea to anything in reality
is that a losing streak can force some pretty large bets. You may not have the
money to back it up but most certainly you will reach the house limit at some
point in time. It is doomed to failure. Don't get caught by this because if you
try it, it is likely to succeed for a time before the big crash hits
Systems: For the record, the simple doubling when you lose system is called
the Martingale. You start with 1 unit on Red (or any Even Chance
bet), then bet 2,4,8,16 and so on, as long as you lose. Whenever you win, you
only make a profit of 1 unit. Conversely, the anti-Martingale system attempts
to take advantage of those long runs by doubling up stakes as you win. This is
done by placing your unit bet on an Even Chance choice and letting the winnings
ride until you reach a number of consecutive wins that you thought of before
you started. (1+1+2+4+8+16=32 or a return of 32 for 1 after five consecutive
wins) This is as equally doomed as its older brother but it doesn't have the
potential for catastrophic ruin in one outing.The Labouchère is an appealing try for betting on Even
Chance bets. Take, for instance, six numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 (you could have 4
or 8 numbers) and bet the total of the first and the last, 1+6=7. If you win
you add that number to the end of the sequence, i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Now play
1+7=8. If you lose you cross out the first and the last to leave you with
2,3,4,5 and then bet 2+5=7.
Three straight wins from the off and you'll win
24 units whilst losing 3 straight will lose 21 and cross out all the numbers.
Of course you are likely to lose more often than you win but its a close
This is a system that limits losses and plays up a 'good run'. Have a
solid figure in mind at which you'll stop when ahead and when behind!
GGG thinks this is fun and treated with care it will provide some chance
to win and have good fun at the same time.
The d'Alembert is
simply another adding and subtracting system for Even Chances. For
example, bet 10 units on red and if you win, bet 9 on the next spin. If you
lose bet 11. Whenever you get to a zero bet you are in profit. The big problem
is that you could go on losing all night. GGG doesn't like this
There are three
serious ways to win at the game of roulette. The third way is to cheat and we
will not be condoning any method that involves cheating! We recommend cheats to
head for the door.
The two serious
attempts to win involve understanding the game and what it is all about. As a
customer you may never have thought what is going on but will almost certainly
have thought of betting systems that could win for you. Ask yourself why did
you do that. Then sit down and begin thinking what the game is. It is a
mechanical system for producing random numbers. Which is impossible.
A wheel turning in one direction with a gentle
slowdown and a ball travelling in the other with a fast but predictable decay.
People have used computers to track both and predict where they'll meet. Lots
of time and money to develop and if you get spotted they will bar you from
entering the casino. This is as tough as it gets. In Nevada its illegal. Over
here there is no law. However if they suspect you or can trump up a rumour
about you, they will not pay you your money!
Bias. In the late
nineteenth century, English engineer Joseph Jagger took 1.5 million francs from
the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo. He had hired six clerks to record numbers from
the roulette wheels for one month to find that they weren't true random number
generators. He played the biased numbers for a long stretch and cashed
big-time! If he could do it, so can others. This is very very tough, needing a
lot of casino experience. Casinos nowadays take measures against
Yes it is true
that people have won money in a professional sense at this game. How? Because
nobody believes that it is possible and when it does happen, the denial just
grows and grows until it can't be admitted. Your aim should be to play this
game for fun with limited risk. Just set aside an exact amount of money and
play it up as slowly or aggressively as you like to suit your style. Give
yourself goals to achieve and stick to them. If you happen to reach them
quickly, stop and live it up in the bar or restaurant. If you are playing
online be sure to choose one of the certified roulette
sites and be careful about accepting a signup bonus where the terms will
limit your ability to hit and run.
The only decent
practical book that has had a good print run and therefore available is
Beating the Wheel by Russell T.
Barnhart. There is also a good read novel,
Thirteen Against the Bank, by Norman
sections How to play Blackjack -
Basic Strategy -
Side Bets -
Blackjack is the major table game in the U.S but in the UK it is way
behind roulette in terms of turnover. This game can actually be interesting to
play and if you do your homework (read some books) then you can cut the house
edge down to nothing (Warning: this is tough!).
To play you must
first place a bet (say £10). Two cards are dealt face up to you and one
to the dealer. Your aim is to make your cards total more than the dealers but
not go over 21 (bust) which forfeits your bet.. You may ask for
additional cards and once you've decided to stop taking them the dealer begins
adding cards to their hand. They must draw a card if their total is less than
17 and stop once they reach 17 or more. Over 21 (bust or 'to
many') and the players hand wins if it is still live.
If your total is
higher than the dealer's or the dealer has bust, then your bet is paid at even
odds, that means you win an amount equal to your bet. A Blackjack is a two card
hand consisting of a picture card (that includes 10s) and an Ace. That pays 3/2
(£15 for £10), for the player. If your total is lower then you lose
your bet and if equal then you get your money back (a stand-off, a
Any number of times (not Aces)
||Any 2 cards
||Any two cards
|Dealer Hole Card
|Hit soft 17
The basic idea of
getting close to 21, or reaching it, and beating the dealer, is the same
worldwide. From there, the variations begin and are so numerous we won't
describe them all. Here in the table are some of the important differences. To
see the impact of these differences visit
Edge. If you want to get the details of what effects subtle variations in
the rules have, then read down to the recommended book reading in this section,
especially by Stanford Wong and Peter Griffin.
What can be said
about having more choices is that it ultimately cannot make the players chances
of winning any worse. But due to the inexperienced nature of most players
blackjack in uk, choice basically increases the number of ways to go wrong.
The following examples are common; doubling 10 against a dealer's 10 (or even
Ace!) and splitting 8s against 10s or Aces! Suffice to say that these are
One point of
interest is that in the U.S the dealer gets a face down card (hole card)
as well as his upcard. What this means is that the dealer checks for the
possibility of having a 'Blackjack' before any doubling or
splitting is done. If he has one, then all bets lose (save a players
'Blackjack') and no one can make a mistake by doubling or splitting when they
shouldn't. They can and do in the U.K.
The other variation
which you will no doubt come across is the numbers of decks of cards used to
make up the pack. It all started by playing with just one deck but as
players got better, the number of decks increased. Eight decks are used in some
places, six is common and four can still be seen in the U.K in places. In the
U.S, one and two deck games are often hand-held instead of drawing the cards
from a shoe. Rules of play differ according to the number of decks in
the U.S but they are the same where ever you go in the U.K.
like those described for Roulette can be applied to BJ although the
doubling and splitting features complicate matters. GGG
doesn't recommend trying them or any method of increasing your bets to get your
Your best chance is
to stick to Basic
Strategy, this will keep the house edge down to 1%. Normal play by the
general public is riddled with errors and the house gets a 3% vig. from
them on average and really bad players give them a lot more.
One More Thing :Play at the table can get bitchy, oh brother! One
play by the last box player can obviously affect the outcome of the
dealer's hand and therefore change everybodies fate. However, and take this in,
the order of cards to come are not known and over the long haul there is no
relevance to you, or anyone else, what happens at the last
You could spend
your life reading what has been written on the subject of winning at BJ. Most
of it is either rubbish or just pretentious. If you want to read then stick to
the main men. They are Edward O. Thorp, Ken Uston, Stanford Wong
Peter Griffin. Understand that casinos around
the world have benefited greatly from people who read a book on BJ and then
launch confidently into playing with their new found knowledge. To win using
real systems at BJ you must do a tremendous amount of work. The minimum is to
make Basic Strategy part of your body.There are three basic
Counting, is the original way to beat
BJ as described by Ed. Thorp in his book Beat The Dealer, which
has sold a million copies. Nowadays this is only a way to get level with the
house but the book sellers still do well out of it. Card Counting understands
that some cards in the deck, notably 10s and Aces, help the player make good
hands and others cause problems, like 4s, 5s and 6s. If you count the good and
bad cards as they are dealt you are able to know when there is a favourable
distribution of 'good' cards left to be dealt. Then you bet more
There is a lot of bull floating around in the gambling business
about 'card counting' to the effect that the casino staff spend much time in
trying to eliminate it without understanding why. GGG says that if you
want to really work and you like doing maths in your head, then card counting
can give a level playing field with the house. If its your cup of tea then go
Shuffle Tracking, is an update to card counting. It is more efficient and
thus more effective. As cards are placed into the discard pile, the player will
notice when a group of good cards (10s & Aces) clump together. Later,
another similar group may be placed there as well. Now the player has to watch
the shuffle and if the two groups are shuffled together then that is the area
in the pack that the shuffle-tracking player will aim for. When its time for
those cards to be dealt in the next shoe, the player bets much bigger for
several hands in a row. GGG says this is good but practice for a
Card Location, is the real McCoy and no one really writes about it
because they are too busy coining money from old rope. (Also they don't really
know) GGG will be doing a special on this at a later
BJ is a
game that has been beaten and still is. It is a lot of real work. An equal
amount of work spent in the real world will deliver gauranteed results in a
real business. This wont gaurantee you anything. You really have to love it and
its getting tougher all the time. Your best bet is to keep tight limits on your
money and just aim to learn the basic strategy slowly. You will not be
favourite to win but you'll make it close enough for a shot at winning.
Books Necessary texts for the
serious player are
Basic Blackjack by Stanford Wong,The
Theory of Blackjack by Peter Griffin and
Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder.
the MIT blackjack team
|Casino Stud Poker (Jackpot)
This is a casino-dealer dealt table game. Its you against the house
with real poker hands. Each player gets dealt five cards face down along with
the dealer who gets four down cards and one up card. There is an ante
bet before the player gets his cards and if they wish to continue and
play against the dealers hand then they
must make another bet (or raise) of exactly twice the ante. If
they don't then they forfeit their ante. (See
Play Casino Stud Poker)
For the dealer to
play against the player, they must have a qualifying hand of
Ace,King,x,x,x (x is any card) or better (this happens 56% of the time). If the
player has decided on playing and making the necessary raise and the dealer
qualifies, then its a straight show-down of who has got the best poker
hand. If the dealer wins they take all three units bet. If the player wins he
will win either 3 units or a bonus payout if he has a strong hand (better than
Now this should be
all rather simple but players of this uninteresting game make a hell of a botch
out of it. Some smart bods have worked on this one, like the late, great, Peter
Griffin, and the basic edge against the player is 2.5%. See
House Edge This is really quite good and
comparable to Roulette.
This is a cumulative prize that builds from players across the
country placing a side bet that will be paid should the player be dealt a top
hand. 30% of each pound placed goes into the pockets of the casino and the
other 70% feeds the jackpot fund. The payouts are £50 for a Flush,
£75 for a Full house , £100 for a Four of a kind, 10% of the total
for a Straight flush and 100% of the the fund for Royal flush.
Don't bluff. Motto:
If you have a pile of junk then throw it away.
This is an extremely simple
game and thus tedious. The only enjoyment to be had is involved with being able
to slowly reveal your hand to yourself. Stick to the plan of raising the extra
two units when you have a strong AKxxx hand or better. (i.e. A K J 9 4).
Drop and lose that ante bet when you have worse. Always!
Sorry folks but
there is little to do here. There are some theoretical ways to improve on the
2.5% edge for the house but the difference is at best 0.1%, so you could get
down to 2.4%. If you really want to know what they are then read the excellent
book by author John Haigh,
As an aside, people
often think (and this includes casino staff) that if you collude with the other
players at the table and discover what cards they have, then you will be able
to find out what hand the dealer is holding. Well I can tell you that even if
all seven boxes at the table were being played, the dealer still has 16
remaining cards from which his four down cards are selected. Using a computer
to analyze all 1820 possible 4-card sets out of 16 the player would have an
advantage of 2.3%. In a six player game the house would still have an edge of
0.4%. Unfortunatley the Internet casinos usually only have 3 player spots.
Basically its a non-starter.
For you to have a
break even equity at the jackpot side bet in an UK Casino, the meter would have
to be at least £263,205. If you are playing a £5 initial poker bet,
your average bet will be about £10 and your vig. against you about 25
pence. So to have an even equity across both bets the Jackpot prize will have
to be 25% above £263,205 which is £329,006. Look for games that
allow a £2.50 front bet and play the Jackpot bet only when the prize is
£296,105 and above.
Punto Banco is a version of
Baccarat. Baccarat also has a very close sister game, Chemin de fer. In both
there are choices for the players, in this game there are none.
Punto Banco is a simple game of comparing
Punto ('Player') hands with Banco ('Bank') hands. Two cards are dealt to each
from a shoe containing some 312 cards (6 decks). Their value for this game is
the last digit only, i.e. 9+6=5 and 3+2=5. This would be trivial and not much
of a game but some complex rules are added to see whether either hand gets a
third card and thus a different total.
Players at the
table have the choice of betting either Punto or Banco or a third bet,
Egalité ('Ties'), which means betting that the hands will finish equal.
How to Play Punto Banco for the complete rules.
Banco is favourite
to win! However there is a 5% tax on your winnings if you bet Banco and so the
house edge is 1.17%. Punto gives them 1.36%, close, but not the same. Around
one in ten hands are tied but the payout is 9 for 1, which in english is 8-1.
Its massive house edge of 14%!
If ever you wanted
a chance to play your weired staking systems then this is the game for you.
Betting Banco gives you the least house vig. possible inside a casino and the
big casinos have large limits. (Though much reduced from years gone by after
many high profile losses due to collusion between customers and
Trust me, there is
nothing to do. There have been professionals who have made out of this game but
they relied on the casino in question not knowing how to operate the game
correctly. The game itself is not beatable.
If you like second
guessing which hand will win or you have a staking system to try out, this is
the game. Once again, stick closely to your money limits, walk away if you
lose the amount you allowed yourself.
|(This game's full name is Bank Craps. Normal Craps is
explained in the Dice Games section)
This is the game
that sorts the wheat from the chaff. Consequently this game is
dying out to the detriment of the casino enviroment. To
the unintiated, the fast flow of a lively craps game is totally unintelligable,
as though the players had suddenly started talking an alien language. Added to
that, there are more variation bets in Craps than all the other games
Now there are two
basic types of Craps games, one Private and one Bank. Private Craps is what you
see in American movies and is the focus of the film,
Town. Casinos offer Bank Craps in the American form.
Craps in the U.S
and the U.K differ in that some of the odds payouts are different plus the U.S
version has more sucker bets. See
How to Play
Craps for playing guidelines and
Edge for more on the percentages of the game.
The whole idea of
the game is to bet on the outcome of a pair of dice ('dice' is plural of 'die'
folks). Tradionally they are chunky red see-through dice with white spots that
get rolled, or more likely thrown, down the Craps table. Bets themselves split
into three groups, those that are immediate decisions,
or One Roll Bets, and those that
last for many rolls, or Place Bets and the basic Front Line
Bets For the most part you can consider all of these to be sucker bets
which is unfortunate because they are the exciting bets that get paid high
odds. The exception to this rule is the field bet (UK) which has
a vig. of 2.56%. Everything else is over 5%.
These range from 1.5% vig. to 5.5%. Placing 6 or 8 gets you the
Bets These are the basic bets of Craps and can be played at any time. With
full odds played on these bets (recommended) you can reach 0.83% vig
against you. This is the best casino bet availabe.
bets can be made continuously and they are just another Front Line
(Pass Line or Win Line) bet, then you can just play with these.
You start with a Front Line and as soon as the Point is made take
Odds and make a Come bet. Play up to three Come Bets and
take Odds on all of them. At your maximun vulnerability you will have
effectively four Front Line bets with four different Point
numbers. Your aim is to take at least 2 down by hitting their Point
numbers. You are finished and in good profit if you take them all down when you
could start again or walk. Across all of these bets you are giving away a
little over 0.8%. Its your best shot at a game with no edge and no
lengthy work that you'll find inside a casino!
There is no way to
beat this game, other than cheat (and we are against that). Professionals can
be found playing this game for reasons of fun, in search of excitement, or the
little known technique of washing their chips that they have won from playing