The first time you walk through the doors of a casino can be overwhelming. You’re fully and immediately smacked with sensory overload.
Bright flashing lights and loud bells from slot machines ring. Players crowd around a sea of table games to enjoy the action—masses of casino patrons mill about the casino floor like schools of baitfish.
It’s a lot to take in for newbies. Where in the world does a first-time casino gambler start?
Here are the best seven casino games for beginners.
1 – Slot Machines
Slot machines are bar none the most popular casino games of all. Casinos pile thousands of electronic machines onto the casino floor.
These games were initially added to the casino’s arsenal as a way to keep players gambling while they were waiting for spots to open up at the table games.
Today the one arm bandits account for a tremendous portion of a casino’s bottom line.
Slot machines come in a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes. You can play for as low as $0.01 and all the way up to over $100 per spin.
The games themselves are unique and range from more traditional forms up to the latest iterations with 3D graphics and pop culture themes.
Game shows have become a popular theme, and you’ll find Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and The Price is Right in pretty much any casino.
The only decision you’re faced with is what denomination to play; the rest is as easy as pushing a button.
Online slot machines can also keep you in the game longer. It’s not uncommon to find machines with RTP (Return to Player) of between 95-98%.
Simple gameplay with no complicated rules to learn and a decent RTP to keep you playing are 2 significant reasons that slots are a great choice for first-time casino gamblers.
2 – Blackjack
My favorite casino game of all-time is blackjack. To me, blackjack provides the perfect mix of strategy and fun.
I also see a huge population of first-time casino gamblers at the blackjack tables. The relatively easy to understand rules paired with the familiar gameplay makes it a comfortable choice to wade into the table games.
Typically, you can even find games with small table minimums. This draws players in because they feel like they can navigate the game long enough at $5 per hand to pick it up quickly.
Unfortunately, all too often, I see these players make mistake after costly mistake playing blackjack.
What many newbies don’t realize is that many casinos offer free classes. You can get information about these classes on the casino’s website or by stopping by the player’s desk.
Another way to get a massive head start when playing blackjack is by stopping by the gift store and picking up a basic strategy card.
When you play using the basic strategy on every hand, you reduce the house edge to less than 1%. So, low that you’re nearly playing at even money.
This essentially means that you can play blackjack for hours and hours without going broke regardless of your bankroll. In fact, only a couple of lucky swings and you’ll find yourself ahead of the game.
It’s imperative that whether you’re winning big or losing, you maintain a consistent bet size. You never want to begin chasing losses.
Pick a bet amount that will keep you in the game as long as possible, usually 1-2% of your bankroll, and you’ll be fine.
3 – Craps
Craps is hand down one of the most intimidating casino games for new players. You’re faced with a crowd of veteran casino gamblers that all seem to know what they’re doing. Many first-time casino gamblers can’t muster the courage to walk right up and hop in on the action.
Those who do are suddenly faced with a plethora of betting choices. Fortunately, there are a couple of bets to stick with that are easy and effective.
These are the “Pass Line” bet and the “Don’t Pass” bet. You’re essentially just placing a wager that the shooter will either make their point or crap out.
If it’s your first time, simply ask the dealer when you can make your bet, and they’ll make sure to help you out.
Sure, you may get lucky once out of 500 times, but that 1 win won’t negate the 499 losses. Steer clear of chasing the lucrative odds offered by these bets, and you’ll be in great shape.
Possibly the greatest reason to head straight for the craps table is the camaraderie you’ll find there. Players are all laughing and drinking while they cheer for the shooter.
Take note that the pass line bet is betting with the shooter, and the don’t pass is betting that the house wins. Obviously, going with the house offers a slightly better house edge.
However, going with the pass line bet offers much more fun and excitement as you join your fellow casino gamblers in taking down the establishment.
4 – Roulette
Roulette has even more bets than craps, but it also has some very user-friendly bets that give you the best odds.
Even money bets like Odd/Even and Black/Red give the first-time casino gambler a shot at walking away from the table a winner. However, you’ll need Lady Luck to shine on you for that to happen.
Roulette tends to move slower than some of the games in the casino. This is a positive for all gamblers, new and old alike.
Slowing the game down ensures that you’ll spend more time having fun on the casino floor because you’ll lose more slowly. Games like slots and even blackjack move much faster than roulette with it’s prolonged betting time and the wheel’s spin.
Stay far away from getting into the bets on the big board and stick to the even money bets. If you’re not sure what the even money bets are, ask anyone at the table. You could also look at the table where the odds for each bet are clearly marked.
5 – Video Poker
Video Poker is an enjoyable game to play at the casino. The machines look a lot like slot machines, but the game is very different.
Sporting one of the lowest house edges in the casino, video poker is almost even money for skilled players.
Obviously, a first-time casino gambler will have a learning curve. Fortunately, the game is pretty easy to pick up.
If you’re a little shy or prefer to have as little interaction with other humans as possible, video poker is your best bet. You won’t be forced to chat with fellow players or even have a dealer across from you.
Another great option is to download a video poker app right to your mobile device. You can have just as much fun gambling from the comfort of your couch.
Having decisions to make that affect your result and a payout percentage of over 99% makes video poker a no-brainer for newbie casino gamblers.
Plus, if you’re gambling on a budget, you can find machines that will only cost you $1.25 per hand.
6 – Baccarat
For the first time casino gambler that wants the simplicity of slot machines and the thrill of table games, there’s a clear forerunner. Baccarat makes table games extremely easy for the beginner.
You have 3 possible choices in baccarat; Player, Banker, and Tie. You simply make a choice on each hand and let the cards fall where they may.
Your best option here is to bet on the Player. The Banker bet obviously has a slight advantage, but there’s a fee for making the Banker bet.
Avoid the Tie bet altogether. In my estimation, it’s tantamount to betting on someone to get an 8 the hard way in craps.
The house edge in baccarat is about 1.5%. So, as with most of the games that are best for casino rookies, you’ll be able to extend your bankroll into the wee hours of the morning.
This is another game that most casinos will offer a free class for new players to learn. You can also find several online options to try it out before you ever leave for the casino.
7 – Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker takes some getting used to for most gamblers. If you’re a first-time casino gambler, don’t think you’re going to sit down and understand the game immediately. However, if you spend some time learning the game, it can be tremendously rewarding.
For starters, Pai Gow Poker is one of the most interesting games in the casino.
Casino War might have slightly better odds, but you’re not going to be nearly as engaged playing Pai Gow.
The game combines elements of ancient Chinese dice games with those of modern poker variations, and the results are amazing.
Best of all, Pai Gow allows you to win twice on your bet. I can’t think of another casino game that gives you a 2 for 1 special.
Whether you’re a casino rookie or a grizzled veteran looking to shake things up, try one of these top seven games for first-time casino gamblers.
You may very well notice that your casino bankroll lasts much longer. Perhaps, you’ll get deep into the night before realizing you haven’t had this much fun in the casino for years.