The most popular question that casino players ask is which game gives you the best chance of winning. The answer to that question and the debate that ensues generally involves a discussion of the house edge. This is a valid starting point as the house edge determines the long term advantage that the casino has over players in the various games. Most experts agree that in theory video poker and blackjack are theoretically the best games to play as they offer lower house edges than other games, which means that you have a better chance of winning when playing these according to sound basic strategy.
Some blackjack games have a house edge of 0.6% and video poker variants like full-pay Jacks or Better offer even lower edges of 0.46%. Games like baccarat with a house advantage of 1.17% are at first glance less attractive when it comes to odds but the casino landscape is changing and with it the game of Baccarat is at the forefront of winning games for many players. Wonder how this can be? Let's take a look below.
Many casinos used to offer blackjack games with super low house advantages but this is no longer the case, especially in the casino cities of Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau. Nowadays most blackjack tables have payouts of 6:5 on natural blackjack instead of the 3:2 payouts of days gone by. This change has increased the house edge by 1.4%.
Even if you can find games with 3:2 payouts for natural blackjack, if you're paying attention to the rules you'll find that many of them are "house friendly" such as those that allow the dealer to hit on soft 17 rather than standing as is generally the case, and players only being double down on card values totaling 9 to 11 instead of on any card. Also, re-splitting is not always allowed.
When it comes to video poker, casinos still offer a huge number of machines, some of which are high paying, but increasingly casinos are offering more and more lower paying variants like 9:5 Jacks or Better rather than the 9:6 Full pay variants so you really have to hunt out the higher paying variants amongst all of the other low paying machines.
Baccarat on the other hand has a house edge of 1.17% and that doesn't change with rule variants that are put in place to fool novice gamblers. So if you bet on the banker hand to win every time you place a wager you'll only face a 1.06% edge over the long term. Also Baccarat has less variance to worry about than other games because there are only three possible outcomes namely the banker or player winning or the hands tying.
Blackjack and Video Poker are casino games where the house edge can be lowered based on proper strategy. Even the smallest mistake can cause you to lose money and affect your long term payouts. Blackjack still offers a strategy card that can be consulted yet mistakes are still possible and video poker is even more stressful with no strategy cards to speak of. This means that there is a great deal of pressure when playing both of these games.
On the other hand, the game of Baccarat requires very simple strategy and a lower house edge in comparison to other casino games which means it is easier to master and win at than either blackjack or video poker which is yet another reason to learn to play Baccarat if you haven't already.