Many people have never been to a casino and are a bit intimidated by the overall experience, so they want to know which table games will be the most fun while being easy to play. They want to avoid slots and learn to play table games.
The definition of ‘easy’ can be quite broad and can vary from person to person. I’ll define an easy game as a game that is simple to play, meaning it has very few rules and can be quickly learned.
So to qualify for this list, I am going to use these three factors:
- The rules of the game must be easy to understand
- The players must be accommodating to new players
- The game must be fun, as judged by the relative popularity of the game.
Here is my list of the three easiest games to play that fit the above criteria. If you’re a casino newbie, you may want to try these game, with the easiest game at #1. I’ll include some simple strategies to each game.
GAME 3. Baccarat
When it comes to table games, baccarat is usually considered one of the best games that’s also simple to play. Baccarat has a reputation for being easy because the player makes a bet on either the player or banker spot, and the dealer does the rest of the work. That’s it. Simple. Easy. But there are some downsides, which is why baccarat is not number 1 on my list.
First, baccarat has relatively complicated drawing rules, which leaves many novice players just watching the dealer turn cards, without knowing what to root for.
People tend to enjoy games more if they know and understand the rules. If you want to test this theory, next time you see a Pai Gow tiles game (assuming you don’t play Pai Gow tiles), make a bet and tell the dealer to set your hand for you. The dealer will use a set known as ‘house way’, and play your hand for you. House way is a pretty decent way of playing, and you don’t have to know anything at all about the game.
Even when the dealer is done setting your hand and his hand, if you don’t understand the ranking of hands, you won’t know who won or lost until the dealer either takes your money or pays you. It’s just not as fun because you don’t understand the rules of the game so you don’t know what to root for.
The difference with baccarat is that while the drawing rules may be relatively complicated for a novice, it’s easy to understand who won or lost after a little bit of play.
How to Play, Simply
The game is simple. Put your money in the banker, player, or tie marked spot and watch the dealer (avoid the tie bet). If the dealer hands you cards, just turn over your cards. The dealer will do the rest.
The hands are scored by adding up the total value of the points, with the face cards counted as 0 or 10 (it doesn’t make a difference). After you add up the value of the cards, then drop off the first digit and that’s the point value assigned to either player or banker. For example, 19 is considered 9, and 29 is also considered 9.
Pop quiz…if one hand adds up to 14, what it the score? 4 because, again, just drop the first digit.
So if banker has 17 and player has 23, then banker wins because it’s 7 versus 3.
There are three types of baccarat games: Mini baccarat, Midi baccarat, and Baccarat, also known as big baccarat. Now with stadium baccarat, there is arguably a fourth type. All types of baccarat use the same rules.
Mini baccarat is the type of baccarat where the dealer handles all the cards. I’m not a fan because mini bac typically moves faster. Also, it’s fun to handle the cards.
Big baccarat is the serious baccarat played by the high rollers. I would avoid big bac (as it’s called) because the mood can get very serious and somber. As a new player, you should be having a good time. Watching a guy sweat a five figure bet can diminish the experience of your hand, especially if you’re betting small. Also, big bac tends to have higher limits, so you’ll need a bigger bankroll.
If given a choice, play midi baccarat at the lowest limit that you can find, and at the fullest table that you can find. With midi baccarat, the table looks like mini bac, but the players handle the cards.
If you’re wondering how to tell is a baccarat table is mini or midi, just ask the dealer if the players can handle the cards.
A full table tends to move slower, so the house edge will grind you slower.
Finally, bet banker more often than player because the banker has a lower house edge.
Avoid the tie bet. It’s a horrible bet with a high house edge.
GAME 2. Roulette
Simple games tend to have a higher cost in the form of a higher house edge. Roulette falls into such a category, but it’s not the worst game.
The game is easy to play, easy to understand, and the rules are simple. Just place your bets on any of the numbers or any of the places marked for bets on the layout.
Payouts range from a high of 35-1 to even money, depending on what you bet.
When it comes to having fun, most roulette players tend to be easy going and laid back. It’s a party game, for the most part.
Roulette only becomes somewhat complicated when players make multi-number bets, but after about 15 minutes, it’s easy to understand.
All the bets carry the same house edge of 5.26%, except for the ‘first five’ bet. Don’t bet on the five spot bet, which is the bet that covers the five numbers of 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. That bet carries a house edge of 7.89%.
Be aware that while covering more numbers may make the game appear beatable, it actually does the opposite. By covering more numbers, you are increasing the expect loss per hour. You should seek to cover just enough numbers to give you some fun and excitement.
GAME 1. Casino War
In the hall of EZ awards, the champion must be Casino War.
This game is fun because none of the players take themselves too seriously.
Not only is it easy to understand and simple to play, but the house edge is relatively low at 2.87%, assuming the player always goes to war (which you should).
How to Play, Simply
It’s ultra easy to understand and determine who won and who lost. The dealer deals out one card to you and one card to herself. The higher card wins. Ties go to war, which I will explain in a bit. It’s that simple.
It’s the same game you played as a kid, but with a twist that’s designed to favor the house.
The twist is that when the player and dealer cards tie, the player must decide if he wants to go to war or surrender half his bet.
That’s right: if it’s a tie, you are penalized. It happens slightly less than 1 in 13 times.
War works like this: the player must make an additional bet that is equal to his original bet. The dealer then deals out cards like usual, sometimes using burn cards, which are just for show. The prior tied cards are no longer relevant.
If the player has an equal or better card than the dealer, the player will push the original bet, and be paid even money on his war bet. If the player has a lower value card than the dealer (ace is the highest card), then the player loses both the original bet and the war bet.
This means that in instances of war, the player will have won 50% of his total bet. For example, if the original bet is $5, and the dealer and player go to war, then the player must put out another $5 next to his original bet. So the player now has $10 at stake. On the war round, if the player has the better or equal card, then the player is paid $5 for his $10 at risk. If the dealer has the better card, then the dealer takes both of the player’s bet, which is $10 total.
That’s the only twist to Casino War, otherwise, it’s the same game kids play when they first get a hold of a deck of cards.
If you’ve never seen Casino War, well, you’re in luck because it’s the topic of a future Weekly Contest!
Always go to war. Never surrender for two simple reasons:
- There are a few casinos that offer bonuses for ties after the tie.
- The player has a greater probability of winning the war round because the player will win his money back if the next card is also a tie. This assumes no other bonus for ties after the first tie.
Finally, never play the tie bet. Never, unless you want to donate money to the casino.
FINAL WORDS: HAVE FUN AND PLAY SMART
At first, I was going to include the Big Six wheel into the list, but after careful thought, I just don’t find the Big Six Wheel to be fun enough to entice a novice. The game is hardly ever busy, which is why the limits are very low. Without a chance to interact with other players, a casino novice won’t have the opportunity to become comfortable in the casino environment. After all, interacting and dealing with other humans is part of the casino table games experience.
Playing smart and having fun are not two mutually exclusive goals. You can do both at the same time. These games aren’t the worst games. Baccarat is actually a game with decent odds.
I’m a fan of simple games for novices because they acclimate the player to more complicated games, which are usually better for the player. I find that obnoxious or belligerent players that berate newbies are what pushes gamblers away from table games and towards the slots. Don’t get me wrong. I love slots and I allocate a budget for slots on every trip. I’m just opposed to playing slots exclusively because the edge on slots are way too high to be played continuously and exclusively.
If you’re a casino table games newbie, start with these games, and then, as you get more comfortable with the way you handle chips, make bets, and interact with other players, then step up to other games like blackjack or craps. Or if you’re an experienced player who is asked to be the group tour guide, consider these games for your people.
If you have any questions or comments, or you have counter ideas as to which games might be simper or easier to learn, drop your comment or question in the comment section below.
Good luck at the tables!