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Table Games : Successful Gambling by Making Smarter Wagers

By Joni Hawk

Level: May 14th 2007
Dear Mark,

In your opinion, what is the best "even money" bet in the casino that has no casino edge? Would it be the Bankers hand in baccarat or blackjack? I have purchased several "even money" systems designed for roulette and now I'm looking for better success by applying them to either baccarat or blackjack. Jon M.

Neither wager has a zero casino edge. The Bank hand in Baccarat faces a 1.17% house advantage, and the blackjack house advantage, assuming perfect basic strategy play on your part, is still approximately 0.5%. In games of skill‹like blackjack and video poker, the player's skillful play can greatly reduce the casino's advantage, but not all the way down to goose egg.

For games of chance, which means most casino games, the best a player can to is wager on bets having the lowest casino advantage among all the bets offered. A rare exception is found in certain video poker machines that return 100-plus percent, but that win is based on playing perfect basic strategy (skill) and eventually hitting the royal flush (luck & lucre).

A second exception: by card counting in blackjack, you can make pretty fair predictions of the composition of future hands, based on the knowledge of previously dealt and discarded cards. Here, a keen player can actually create an edge against the house.

We also need to chit chat about money management systems. Money management cannot affect the house advantage on any wager, nor guarantee that you will win more money. If the house has an advantage before you apply a money management system, it has that same advantage even after you apply money management techniques. Some NMMS (Nincompoop Money Management Schemes), now being hawked by mail order hucksters, seem to promise you casino proprietorship, but it can't be.

Bottom line: The two things that good money management principals offer is minimizing your losses and in most cases protecting your winnings. And yes, Jon, stick on the correct path of successful gambling by making smarter wagers.
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