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The pros and cons of our favorite table games

By Frank Scoblete


It is important for those of you who play casino games to under- stand the pro aspects of the games you enjoy playing (or wish to enjoy playing) as well as the con aspects. I have not delineated the carnival games as there are too many and most are not worth playing.

So here we go:


Pros: Using  the proper computer-derived basic strategy for the blackjack games you wish to play, you can cut the house edge to around one-half percent. This is a very low house edge. Also, all decisions that you make actually affect which cards will come out of the deck or decks remaining to be played, and that is what allows advantage players to get the edge over the house.

Cons: If you don’t play the basic strategy the house edge will go up, sometimes way up. If you play at tables with few players or with only you against the dealer you will play too many hands, and even a small house edge will really grind away your bankroll. Last but not least, blackjack seems to attract some players who sometimes think they should tell everyone else how to play. Usually these “experts” have no real idea of how to play.


Pros: Could be the most exciting game in the casino. You get to throw the dice when it is your turn, so the dice are literally in your hands (well, one hand anyway). Has some of the best bets in the casino, and the game at a full table is slower than you would imagine because the dealers have to pay and remove bets. Your money is not whooshed way. Craps players tend to be boisterous at times and this merely adds to the excitement.

Cons: Has some of the worst bets in the casino. These bets can severely damage your bankroll if you make them, and most craps players can’t contain their desire to bet-it-up. If you are a woman, be aware that men dominate the game; maybe 95 percent are male. The older males can be somewhat gruff in some casinos. You generally have to and at the table unless the casino allows you to drag a chair from some other table game.


Pros: Has a tremendous number of bets you can make directly on the numbers or on propositions around the main layout. There’s something for everyone. A relaxed game that can be traced back hundreds of years to Europe. You don’t have any deep-seated strategy to learn as the game is simple as can be. At a full table it is leisurely, so the high house edges aren’t as damaging as they can be. Do not play alone unless you can keep the pace slow, but most players know how to do this. Every player can have his own colored chips representing the amount they wish to use for playing. Has a large number of players who enjoy the game.

Cons: Some players will tend to bet too many bets as the lag between spins can be somewhat prolonged, encouraging players to keep putting chips on the layout. The house edge can really chew away at these players. Some roulette players are aggressive when they put their bets out and might knock over other players’ chips. Some players don’t always follow the dealers’ rules of when to bet and when to refrain from placing a bet. High house edges, particularly on games that have 0 and 00 pockets.


Pros: Baccarat has a low house edge on two of its bets, player and bank, while having a huge house edge on the third bet, the tie. High- roller-room baccarat allows the players to deal the cards. Players only have to decide which of the three bets to make. There are no other decisions they have to make.

Cons: The traditional baccarat game is disappearing and the few that remain can only be found in the high-roller room, where the betting minimums can be quite high.

Mini Baccarat

Pros: This game has replaced the traditional game in almost all casinos and has a large following. Many Asians love this game above all others.

Cons: The minimums are the usual ones for the main room of the casino but can be quite high in the high-roller rooms. Players do not get to deal the cards and this is one of the fastest games in the house. In fact, it is probably the fastest. The house edges are small except for the tie, but the speed of the game is a danger to bankrolls. Also tends to have high-edge jackpot bets. Many superstitious players can be found playing this game, and brother are they superstitious!

Pai Gow Poker

Pros: A leisurely game where the players get to make decisions on how to play their hands. Dealers are happy to help you, too! The house edge is about 2.6 percent but the relaxed pace of the game keeps the hit on your bankroll relatively low. There is a new variation of the game called Face-Up Pai Gow Poker and it is a delight, with a house edge under two percent.

Cons: Still not a popular game yet with the masses who go to casinos. You might find one or two tables. Big casinos will have more tables. If a casino has an Asian room, this room might have a few tables.

All the best in and out of the casinos.

Frank Scoblete’s website is His books are available at, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores.

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