Far and Away the Worst Game in a Casino
Casino games vary greatly in their “house edge,” also known as the “house advantage.”
The “house edge” is how casinos make their money. Well, that, and all the loose change guests throw into fountains for good luck. But mostly the house edge thing.
Some casino games have a “reasonable” house edge, such as baccarat (1.2%), craps (some bets are 1.4% or lower) blackjack (2% or lower) or Pai Gow poker (2.5%). Roulette takes a bigger chunk (5.3%).
The house edge starts to get truly painful with the Big Six wheel, informally called the “Wheel of Fortune.” The odds on that big wheel range from 11% to 24%.
Here’s a handy list of house advantages for popular casino games from the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.
Learn more than you’ll ever need to know about casino math at the UNLV Center for Gaming Research site.
So, now that we have a better idea of the house edge landscape, what’s the worst game in any Las Vegas casino? Keno!
While keno can be a fun diversion, you have to go in knowing the house edge is a butt-reaming 27%. Yes, “butt-reaming” is the technical term.
That means for every $100 bet, you can expect to lose a hefty $27.
Even the worst bet in craps, the Big Red 7 bet, has a lower house edge than keno (16.7%).
What does this mean to you? Possibly nothing. What does it mean to us? Also, generally, nothing. When we’re in a casino cafe and have a hankering to swing for the fences, we’ll drop a few bucks on keno. Why? Well, it’s a little philosophy we like to call “house edge, schmouse-smedge.”
Translated, that means “we’re here to have a good time, not do math.”
When Lady Luck smiles, she smiles, and it doesn’t matter which game you’re playing. So, play on, have fun, but just know what you’re getting into!