A fact that most experienced casino game players are well aware of is this:
All casino games have a house edge.
There’s no trickery. No cheating. Simply a combination of game rules and the immutable laws of mathematics…how many possible outcomes are there, versus how many outcomes win you money, and what payout a win earns you.
A simple coin toss is a 50:50 proposition. If a casino were paying even money on this bet (heads or tails) then it would be a very fair bet with no house edge at all. Expressed another way, the expected return to player (RTP) rate would be 100%…meaning you could expect that over a long period of betting on this particular coin toss you’d likely end up with the same mount of money that you started with.
Unfortunately, if casino’s were offering bets on a coin toss they wouldn’t be paying even money on it. More like 0.95:1 (bet $100 on heads and get $195, or a $95 net win if heads is tossed). Why? Because they’re a business trying to make money, not give it away!
Lets forget coins now and talk about real casino games – live dealer ones at that!
Yes they all have a house edge, but that house edge can be minimised depending on how you play the game and where you chose to play at.
Minimize house edge playing live baccarat
There are many different live baccarat options to chose from at various casinos listed at this site (and elsewhere). But almost all (with the exception of No Commission Baccarat and Super 6 Baccarat) offer the standard Punto Banco baccarat bets:
- Banker, with payout 0.95:1 (bet $100 on Banker and get $195 back for Banker win);
- Player, with payout 1:1 (bet $100 on Player and get $200 back for Player win);
- Tie, with payout 8:1 (bet $100 on Tie and get $900 back for tied Banker/Player hands)
Depending on the game you’re playing you can also take various side bets, either in addition to, or instead of the standard bets. Side bets include pairs, in-running, dragon bonus, or progressive jackpot.
Live baccarat tip 1 – AVOID SIDE BETS
Side bets, while sounding attractive and usually offering big payouts (eg up to 30:1 for Dragon Bonus side bet) invariably have a larger house edge than the Banker and Player bets.
Live baccarat tip 2 – BANKER bet offers best returns
Here are the calculated house edges (and therefore RTP) for the Banker, Player and Tie bets for Punto Banco baccarat dealt from an 8 deck shoe.
- 1 to 1
- 0.95 to 1
- 8 to 1
Live baccarat tip 3 – AVOID TIE BETS
This is also pretty self evident from the table. Turns out they are a very expensive bet!
In case you’re wondering about how returns compare for the No Commission Baccarat game, they’re actually marginally worse with a house edge on the Banker bet at 1.46%. You can read more on this comparison here.
Summary live baccarat tips:
Simple. Avoid side bets or variations, avoid the Tie bet and simply bet Banker!
Minimize house edge playing live roulette
When it come to making your dollar stretch further playing roulette, the key consideration is zeros. Not how many are on the chips you’re playing. Rather how many are on the wheel and table.
Some games of roulette have a single zero (“0″) on their wheel and table. Others have a zero (“0″) and double zero (“00″) on the wheel and table. While payouts will be the same for bets in either case, the fact that there are more possible outcomes on the double zero tables mean returns are significantly lower.
Consider a straight-up bet (that is a bet on a single number outcome) for a range of different roulette games.
- European Roulette
- French Roulette
- Asian Roulette
- American Roulette
- 0 & 00
- 1 in 37
- 1 in 37
- 1 in 37
- 1 in 38
- 35 to 1
- 35 to 1
- 35 to 1
- 35 to 1
Live roulette tip 1 – Never play a game with 0 and 00.
You can see from the table that returns playing American Roulette are much worse than European, French or Asian roulette. Fortunately, all live roulette games listed here only have a single zero.
Ever heard of the La Partage rule? It’s a rule in certain French roulette games whereby if you:
- place an even money (‘outside’) bet…ie RED or BLACK; ODD or EVEN; 1-18 or 19-36; and
- the outcome is zero (“0″);
then you only lose half your bet and not the entire bet (as would happen playing European Roulette).
Live roulette tip 2 – If you prefer to play even money ‘outside’ bets, play a game where La Partage rule applies.
All the live French Roulette games here do offer La Partage.
Minimize house edge playing live blackjack
Blackjack is more of a skill game than either Punto Banco Baccarat or Roulette so when it comes to optimizing returns when you play live blackjack there is more to consider than simply choosing the correct table or bet.
There are decisions you must make during the course of playing your blackjack hand after your initial bet is placed. Each time you are faced with one of these decisions (Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split, Insurance) there is a choice that is consistent with what is known as Blackjack Basic Strategy. The other choices are not.
Choosing the Basic Strategy play on every occasion will maximize your returns in the long run.
Live blackjack tip 1 – Play basic strategy
Does this mean you need to be a professional blackjack player, or learn every basic strategy play for every given situation (your cards versus the dealer’s up-card)?
Thankfully no. Experts have done the hard work for you and constructed basic strategy charts that clearly show you what decision you must make for every possible situation. But…and this is a very important but…each different type of blackjack (number of decks in shoe, split options, double down options etc) will have a different basic strategy card that applies. You must make sure that the card you are using is applicable to the rules of the blackjack game you are playing.
Live blackjack tip 2 – Find the correct basic strategy card/chart to use
We’ll save you the trouble doing more research. If you play the live blackjack games listed here, then use the card below (source: Livedealer.org: blackjack strategy card). Print it out and have it sitting next to your computer when you play.
Live blackjack tip 3 – Don’t bet behind another player
Some live blackjack games let you bet behind other seated players. Unless you know that player and know that they are playing basic strategy then do not bet behind them as they are not playing optimally.
Live blackjack tip 4 – Forget counting cards
All live studios do a reshuffle after half (approximately) of the shoe has been dealt on their blackjack tables. If you know how to count cards playing blackjack, you’ll also know that you need a little more penetration than this to be able to take advantage of your running count.