A few weeks ago, I took a break from the real world and unplugged for a few days. My wife and I booked a cruise out of Miami on the Royal Carribean Navigator of the Seas and headed for the Bahamas.
If you’ve never been cruising, I urge you to try it at least once in your life. Go on a cruise with someone you enjoy being around because you’ll be stuck with them in very close quarters for a few days.
There are lots of things to do on a cruise, most of which involves eating copious amounts of food. If you’re a gambler, almost every cruise ship has an onboard casino. The casino games aren’t the best deals in gambling, but from an entertainment perspective, it’s great fun.
If you know what you’re doing, the onboard casino can be cheap fun, even at the less than optimal odds. To give you a comparison, my wife and I spent $600 on a dolphin excursion. We then spent another $300 on a private beach day.
Let’s compare the expected cost of playing blackjack for 3 hours a day at $10 per hand. The blackjack is all 6-5.
Normally, the blackjack tables were packed, so let’s say there are five players at the table. You’ll play about 70 hands an hour. That’s $700 worth of action per hour. If you play for three hours per day, you’ll have total action of about $2100 per day. If you book a four day cruise, that’s about $8400 worth of action total during your trip.
At a house edge of 1.5%, you can expect for your fun to cost $31 per day. Over a four day cruise, you can expect to spend about $126 playing 6-5 blackjack.
Let’s say you can’t to flat bet $10 for three days. You increase your bets to $25 at some point, so that your overall average bet is $20 per hand. Your cost is still only $252 over the long run.
That’s why I mean by cheap fun.
Craps is Still the Best Deal in the Casino
Craps is the best game on the ship, even with the stingier odds. On the Navigator of the Seas, the casino allows for max odds based on the amount of your line bet.
Minimum bet is $10 on all game
According to my recollection, these are the max odds…
- $10 line bet, then max is single odds;
- $15 line bet, then single odds, but breakage on 5 and 9 to $20;
- $25-$50 line bet, then max odds is 2x;
- $50 or more, then max odds is 3,4,5x
Even on a single odds, the house edge is .848% (source: Wizard of Odds, Michael Shackleford).
At double odds, the combined house edge is .606%.
Compare this to the following games:
- 6-5 blackjack, where the house edge is around 1.5%.
- Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, where the house edge is 2.1% on the ante bet
- strangely enough, most people were not min betting on the ante bet
- Roulette, which has a house edge of 5.25%
- Slots, you’re guess is as good a mine. I just know they’re really tight
Craps, by a wide margin, is the best deal in the casino, even at the stingier odds allowance. That’s why I encourage everyone to learn craps.
Most cruise ships cannot open their casinos until the ship hits international waters.
I was at the craps table waiting for the craps table to open. The moment the ship was in international waters, there was an announcement in the casino and the action began.
Everyone was in their rooms settling in or on the lido deck soaking up some sun. Lots of people were eating.
My wife was in our room getting ready and unpacking our luggage. That gave me about 3o minute to of playtime, and I took full advantage of it. That’s the video above.
In tomorrow’s installment, you’ll see me play with some of the other cruise mates. You won’t see the craps table empty like this again.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in comment section below.