What Should You Know About How to Play Casino Games?

abstract hologram-style drawing showing all kinds of gambling paraphernalia - chips, slots, cards

Everyone has access to casino gaming these days but most people, even avid players, don’t know how casino games work. How can you get the best odds? Do some games give you better Return to Player averages than others? How do you find the casino that offers the best casino bonus codes? How do you find the right casino for you?

Read on to find the best casino for your needs and expectations.

Casino Games

There are generally two categories of games at a casino, table games and video gaming machines. Table games involve games like poker, blackjack, craps and roulette that you play at a table while video gaming machines are slot machines, keno games, bingo games and other games that deliver random results a reel spin or other action.

Some people play both types of games while others focus on a specific kind of game. If, for instance, you want to play a game that involves a measure of skill and know-how, you’ll probably want to play one of the gaming machines.

If however, you enjoy games of luck you might be satisfied by playing a video gaming machine. These slots and other types of gaming machines are available at both land-based and online casinos.


Casinos don’t operate solely to offer gamers the chance to enjoy gaming entertainment. They want to be profitable and generally are – in states where multiple forms of gambling are legal including retail casinos, sports betting and online casino gaming, yearly revenue from gaming activities can reach billions of dollars a year per state.

So you have to go into your gaming event knowing that casinos pay off at less than the gamer’s odds of winning. The games are structured in such a way as to assure the casino that it will win more often than it loses.

For example, if you’re playing American Roulette and bet on a color (red or black) the payoff, you would think, would give you even odds because 50% of the time the result would turn up black and 50% of the time the result would turn up red.

But you’re forgetting the two green slots so on every spin (on a 36-pocket wheel) you have 18 possibilities of scoring a win… but 20 ways to lose. You always have a chance to win which is probably why you’re playing – for that chance. But you need to remember that the goal of the game is the gameplay.

House Edge

The casino assures itself of continuing income via the House Edge. That’s the advantage that the casino has over the player based on the percentage of each bet that the casino can expect to win over the long run. One way that you can give yourself a boost is to play games that have lower house edges because the lower the house edge, the higher your odds are of achieving wins.

For instance, in European roulette in which the wheel has 36 pockets plus the green pocket, the house edge is 2.6%. In contrast, on an American roulette wheel, which has one extra green pocket (which means one less pocket in which you can win), the house edge is 5.26%. Now you don’t have to be a math genius to figure out which roulette variation offers you the best chances of achieving wins.

Obviously, regardless of the house edge, achieving more wins is a long term expectation – we all know that, in the short run, anything can happen.

But remember, the house edge is just one factor in the formula of how you can expect to do with a casino game. For instance, if you’re playing a machine where the house edge is high but if the machine is slow (so you can’t make many bets per hour), theoretically you would lose less money every hour.

It’s important to look at the whole picture when deciding which game you want to play at the casino.

Payback Percentage vs. House Edge

Table games have a house edge but gambling machines make money for the casino through their payback percentage. Both refer to the same idea – that the casino protects itself by making sure that, one way or another, it achieves more wins than losses.

The payback percentage, which is also called “Return to Player” or “RTP” is calculated by dividing the money paid out by all the wagers and then multiplying the result by 100.

For example, if a machine pays out $900,000 and takes in $1 million, once you divide $900,000 by $1 million and multiply it by 100 you get 90% which means that that machine’s RTP is 90%. A slot machine with a favorable RTP to the player is generally considered to be one with a RTP of 96% or more.

Betting Systems

It’s attractive to think that you can find a “system” that will help you achieve more wins and/or bigger payouts but the hard math is clear – betting systems don’t work. A betting system is a strategy that tells you when you should lower or raise your wager. If you follow the strategy, the theory goes, you will have an edge over the casino.

Experts call these strategies “fallacies” because, over time, they never work.

The most common betting strategies involve raising your bets after a loss or raising the bets after a win. You may experience some success with these strategies but long term, there’s no effect of your bets on the outcomes of the spin, toss, deal or any other gameplay.

Cards, dice, reels and wheels don’t have any memory and the possibilities remain the same regardless of the wager that’s put out.

That’s why some systems say that you should raise your bets in a certain situation and some say that you should lower them in that exact same situation — you can’t really predict patterns so there’s no way to bet on those predictions.