Casinos offer customers a variety of gambling options. The different games in the casinos allow gamblers of all types to test their luck and try to win big. Players have the option to play in games which they find the most fun in or those in which they feel they’re the luckiest.
For the most seasoned gamblers, however, games aren’t selected just because of these factors. To win reliably at the casino, gamblers choose the games which offer the best odds of winning. In other words, they choose the game that gives the house the least advantage, or house edge.
Blackjack and roulette are two of the most popular games in any casino. Apart from attracting casual gamblers, both games also have staunch enthusiasts who make it a point to get a few games in at either the blackjack or roulette table regularly.
Blackjack is a card game that entails the use of strategic thinking in addition to having luck on your side. The game is not simply dictated by the outcome of your bet, but by the decisions you make based on the limited information you have.
The object of the game is simple. The highest possible value for a hand is 21, with aces either being counted as a 1 or 11 and face cards being counted as 10, with all other cards being counted according to their numerical value. To win at blackjack, a player must have a better hand than the dealer.
In every round, the dealer gives each player two cards and gives himself two cards as well, but with only one card facing up. Players can then choose to either stand or hit. Standing means holding on to their current hand because they’re satisfied with its value, while hitting means requesting the dealer to draw another card in the hopes of raising the value of your hand. Exceeding 21, however, means that the player busts, or loses the round.
The dealer then will reveal the hidden card and must hit until the cards total 17 points or higher, and the winner is determined by the final value of each hand. Bets usually pay 1:1, or 3:2 if a player gets blackjack, or a perfect 21.
Odds in Blackjack
Blackjack is extremely popular because it offers the best odds for the player. The game has the least possible house edge, which can be lowered to as little as 0.5% if you follow an optimal strategy.
While the optimal blackjack strategy is a matter for another discussion, suffice it to say that in blackjack, your odds are in your control, since you have information to work with from your cards and the dealer’s face up card when you make your decisions.
Roulette is a simple bet-based game that only requires you to try to predict a particular outcome of where the ball would land after the wheel spins, such as if it would be on an odd or even number, on red or black, or on a specific lucky number. If you get it right, you win. Simple as that.
There’s minimal decision making involved in roulette, as you have practically no information to work with and every outcome is as likely to happen regardless of what occurred in the previous round.
Odds in Roulette
The odds you have in roulette are dependent on whether you’re playing American Roulette or European Roulette, since European Roulette has one green pocket or zero while American Roulette has two. If you play American Roulette, for example, and you bet on red or black, you have a 47.4% chance of winning for a 1:1 payout, while in European Roulette, you’d have a 48.60% probability of getting it right.
One of the things that distinguish roulette from blackjack and other games is how high payouts can get. A bet on a single number, for example, which has a meager 2.60% or 2.70% chance of happening, can pay as large as 35 to 1. This however comes at the cost of a house edge of 5.26% for all American Roulette bets, while European Roulette has a slightly friendlier but nonetheless considerable house edge of 2.70%.
Which game should I play?
From a pure odds perspective, blackjack is the game to play if you want to avoid simply donating your money to the casino. In blackjack, you control your odds and can even sometimes give yourself an advantage, thus making it more possible for you to win consistently. This will however require you to think more strategically and may even take the thrill out of gambling.
On the other hand, while roulette gives the house a considerable advantage, it’s a game that you can play almost mindlessly, as you’d only have to rely on pure luck. This can get exciting, but you should expect to lose more.
In the end, while blackjack has the best odds out of any casino game, you should choose the game you wish to play based on your goals and the type of experience you want to have.