Best Bet for First-Time Casino Gamers

The best casino game for beginners (Hint: It’s not slot machines!)

The Best Casino Game for Beginners

Preparing for your very first foray into a casino can be very intimidating. Casinos are often massive properties, lined with opulent décor, glimmering chandeliers, fancy carpets and elaborately dressed employees. For so many of today’s first-timers, walking into a resort-style casino can feel like entering a fine dining establishment in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

Of course, the casinos don’t really care what you’re wearing, so long as you’ve got cash in your pocket, and a willingness to spend it. But the anxiety for a newcomer is real. Even playing your first casino game at an online gambling destination can set your hairs on end. If you aren’t familiar with the rules of any games, all of these fears become magnified tenfold.

The logical answer might be not to go to the casino. Common sense might tell you to hold off, learn some games first, better prepare yourself for the experience. But what if that’s not an option? I remember my first visit to a casino all too well. It was an impromptu choice, spurred by a group of friends who all decided we should go. Two of them had been before. Three of us had not. As a newbie myself, it was overwhelming, to say the least!

I did what so many first-time casino goers do. I stared in horror at the massive gaming floor, then went straight to the slot machines, where I stayed until almost all my money was gone. It was fun, yes, but I had no idea what I was doing. Within 20 minutes, I’d blown through $80. I spent the next half hour walking around, pinching my last $20 as I watched other people play games I had no clue about. So, if you want to avoid mimicking this tale of majority boredom, might I recommend…

The Best Casino Game for Beginners

Baccarat is the Best Bet for First-Time Casino Goers

If you ask most people the easiest game to play in the casino, they will say it’s a slot machine. Yes, push a button and cross your fingers does seem easy, but there’s so much more to those games. Did you ever try reading a video slot’s pay table? Page after page of symbols, line info, features, payouts, etc. They really aren’t so simple. The easiest game of all – one that features a far better return to player (RTP) than slots – is baccarat.

Baccarat is a card game that you don’t really have to play. All you have to do is choose where to place your bet – kind of like roulette, but again, with a higher RTP. The dealer will take care of everything else. Let’s take a quick look at how the dealer plays out hands.

The Rules of Baccarat

The object of baccarat is for one hand – the Player hand or Banker hand – to be closer to a total of 9. The closest to 9 wins. Each hand starts with two cars. If the total value of those two cards exceeds 9, 10 is subtracted.

For example, a hand of 3+8=11. You can’t exceed 9, so you subtract; 11-10=1. The new hand total is 1. If the cards are 4+5, the total is a perfect 9. Or, if the cards are 10+8, we subtract 10 for a total of 8.

There are certain situations where the dealer is required to give the Player and/or Banker hand a third card, depending on the totals of the first two cards. These are known as “house rules”, and give the Banker hand a slight advantage (51%) over the Player hand. But don’t worry, you can bet on the Banker Hand, too. Or, you can bet on the two hands resulting in a Tie.

Baccarat Odds, Payout and House Edge

Knowing the odds of winning each bet, the payout for winning it, and the house edge involved, will help you choose where to place your bets. The “odds” are the probability of winning each bet. The payout is the amount you’ll get back for winning, compared to what you’ve wagered on it. The house edge is a combination of odds and payouts that determines how likely the casino is to beat you on that bet. Hence, the lower the edge, the better the bet.

Note: You’ll notice that a winning Banker bet pays 1:1, -5%. The casino collects a 5% commission on all winning banker bets to offset the fact that the Banker hand will win more often. If it weren’t for the 5% commission, the casino would lose money on these bets in the long term.

Baccarat Bet Odds Pays Edge
Banker Hand 45.85% 1:1, -5% 1.06%
Player Hand 44.62% 1:1 1.24%
Tie 9.53% 8:1 14.36%

The low edge of 1.06% on Banker and 1.24% on Player bets makes this not just the easiest casino game, but the best casino game for beginners. It offers a communal table game experience, is easy to understand, and can sustain a modest bankroll far longer than slot machines.

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