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Table Games Found in Casinos

Casino GamesThe casino games selection varies from one casino to the next. Some jurisdictions do not allow certain types of gambling, so the local casinos make up the difference with another set of casino games.

Even when certain games are legal in a casino, the local gamblers might not enjoy one particular game as much as another. Different casino managers might have their own theories about the profitability of certain games or have different ideas about games that the gambling public wants.

Below you will find a guide to the casino games you are most likely to find in any given casino. Each "mini-guide" includes a short introduction to how casino games are played.

Types of Casino Games

Most casinos will have a game floor filled with various table games. Around these table games will be found slot machines and video poker machines, which will be discussed in a different article. Many casinos also have a separate poker room, where poker games of all sorts take place 24 hours a day. Poker also will be discussed separately.

The casino games common to most gambling halls are craps, roulette, baccarat and blackjack. 

Blackjack

Among the table casino games, blackjack is the one you will find more table space allotted to. It is the most popular casino game there is, if you take out the slot machines and video poker machines. There are also blackjack variant games, so that blackjack games make up an entire subcategory of casino games. These will be covered on their own page.

Craps

Craps is a casino game with a community feel. Craps is played by throwing two dice, betting on the combined number of the two dice. When a player first throws the dice, the player is hoping for the dice to equal 7. If this happens, the player wins his or her bet. If the dice come up 2 or 12, the player automatically loses.

A third option is for 3 through 6 or 8 through 11 to come up. If this happens, then the player must roll the dice again, rolling that same number again before rolling a 7.

Generally speaking, all the players at the table make a similar bet as the dice roller, so that most players at the table are hoping for the same outcome. This tends to form camaraderie among craps players, so craps is one of the most social games in the casino.

Because the outcome of one dice roll controls the flow of a lot of gambling money, craps is considered one of the most exciting games in the casino. It has a lot of "action" and is for players who love that ups and downs and excitement which comes with a lot of casino action.

Roulette

Roulette players bet on the outcome of a roulette ball turning up on a numbered wheel. There are many different combinations which one can bet on in roulette, which is one of the reasons roulette is a gamers favorite. You can bet red/black, even/odd or some more exotic combination. Players are allowed to bet on one single number or a set of 2, 3 or more numbers.

There are two major varieties of roulette: American and European. American roulette has one extra number space on it: the 00. The 00 affects the odds adversely for the roulette player, so if you have the choice in a roulette wheel with the 00 or without it, choose the one without it. Those which do not have a "00" are called European or sometimes French roulette wheels.

Baccarat

Baccarat has a reputation as a high-brow game, mainly because baccarat is the favorite casino game of super-spy James Bond. Actually, baccarat is a relatively easy game to learn, to play and even to master.

There are three Baccarat variants: baccarat chemin de fer, baccarat banque and punto banco, sometimes known as North American baccarat.

North American baccarat is a game of pure chance. The player's moves are determined purely by the deal of the cards, so one player is no better than another in punto banco. This aspect appeals to novice casino games players, though it's not for many experienced gamblers.

Chemin de fer and baccarat banque allow a player to make choices. Unlike in North American baccarat, individual players can act as the banker in these games. Essentially, the banker covers all the bets, gaining a kind of house advantage, but risking the loss of the bet to every other player at the table. Gamblers can bet on the "player", the "banker" or the "tie".

Other Casino Games

There are many other casino games you might find on the casino floor. Some of the most popular at the moment are Caribbean Stud poker, Pai Gow poker, Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Sic Bo, Red Dog and the child's favorite turned casino game, Casino War. Many casinos also run their own Keno games.

Most of these casino games are relatively new, having come to casino game rooms in the last 15 to 20 years. Many of them have lower payout percentages than blackjack, but may have similar odds to games like baccarat and roulette.

If you are new to a land-based or online casino, here are a few definitions and concepts that might help you when you start gambling.

The House Edge

The casino makes a profit off of the house edge. The house edge is a built-in advantage the casino has in any given game and is the reason casinos stay in business. While a particular hand or a particular jackpot isn't determined, the amount of money the casino will win over an extended period of time is more or less determined.

In a casino game, there will inevitably be one or two rules which weight the game in the favor of the house. For example, in blackjack, the players must build their hands before the dealer adds cards. If one of the players goes over 21, that is an automatic loss for the player. The house dealer wins the bet automatically, without exposing the house to the risk of loss. This is the house edge and every casino game has such a rule.

The Rake

When a casino runs a poker game, the casino simply takes a small portion of the pot. The casino's portion of the pot stakes is called the rake. When you see a dealer taking a few chips out of a pot, setting it aside or putting it in his chips box, you are seeing the dealer take the casino's rake.

Payout Percentage

All casino games have a payout percentage. This is the amount of money a player expects to win playing a casino game. If a player wagers $100 on a game iwth a payout percentage of 98%, then that players expect to win back $98 of the $100 wagered. For this reason, the payout percentage is sometimes referred to as "the expectation".

Most casino games have a negative expectation. This simply means that a player expects to lose more money than he wins on a casino game. If the payout percentage or expectation is less than 100%, this is a negative expectation game. A few casino games will have a positive expectation. A positive expectation would be shown by a number like 101% expectation, where you expect to win $101 for every $100 you bet.

When determining a house edge, you would take the amount wagered minus the payout percentage to arrive at the house edge. In the example above, a game with a 98% expectation would have a house edge of 2%.

Beating the Odds

A house edge does not mean that every player is going to walk out a loser. In fact, the odds are close enough in a game with a 2% house edge that just under 50% of the players will win money. Though the casino is assured of winning in the long term, players can hope to beat the odds in the short term and have a reasonable expectation of doing so.

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