- Gary Foos
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If you love playing the lottery, maybe keno will please you. But I think the game is as dull as looking at drying paint. The odds are slim, and I can’t find anything to recommend it. You might like the idea of playing for a big jackpot, but you’d be better off playing on a progressive slot machine. At least then there would be some entertainment and small payments more often.
Keno works like this:
You are given a keno card that has numbers from 1 to 80 listed on it. You pick the numbers you think will come out, and then based on how many numbers you hit, you get paid. Keno numbers are chosen at random. Some casinos have a sort of ball lottery arrangement, but newer keno games often pick numbers with a computerized random number generator.
Payouts when you get it right can be generous, but guess how often you get it right?
If you think the odds are similar to winning the lottery, then you deserve a prize.
I said earlier that casino advantage isn’t the only factor that determines whether or not a game is good. But the casino’s advantage over keno is so high that it’s ridiculous. I don’t want to play a game with a 25% casino edge.
But in fairness to keno, the payout percentage for state lottery games is 50%. So in a casino where the game of keno has a 25% advantage over the casino, you are getting a game like the lottery with twice the odds of winning.
But a bad game is a bad game. If you take a terrible game and make it just bad, it’s still bad.
If you like keno, I apologize for hurting your feelings. But there are many better ways to play that are more fun and offer you better odds.
Even American roulette is a better deal than keno.
Craps is also on my list of best casino games. I stand by my opinion. I think the right player with the right temperament can find more fun at the craps table than anywhere else in the casino.
The reason craps is also on my list of worst casino games is because of some of the terrible bets at the table. If you’re placing bets on the most complicated and least viable options at the craps table, you’ll be encountering some of the worst odds in the casino.
That’s why craps is both one of the best and one of the worst games in any casino.
Here’s a look at the casino’s advantage on some of these bets:
The “Any 7” bet is a bad bet mathematically. You’re betting that the results of the next turn will total 7, and you win regardless of the numbers that make up that 7 – you can win with a 6+1, a 5+2 or a 4+3.
But this bet only pays 4 to 1. The casino advantage for this bet is 16.9%.
That’s getting close to keno territory.
Compare that to the house edge with one of the best bets at the table – the “pass line” bet.
What kind of mathematical expectation are we looking at when comparing these 2 bets?
If you’re betting $100, you’re looking at an expected loss of $16.90 against an expected loss of $1.4. And that’s an average per bet.
Even at a crowded table, we are talking about 100 plays per hour. So we’re talking about a difference of an expected loss of $141 an hour with an expected loss of $1690 an hour.
And that’s not the only terrible bet at the craps table.
Hard way betting is also a great advantage for the casino. A hard way bet is a bet where you will have a total of 4, 6, 8, or 10, but the dice must hit that total with one of the following combinations: 2+2, 3+3, 4+ 4 or 5+5.
The payout for a “hard” 4 or a “hard” 10 is 7 to 1. The payout for a “hard” 8 or a “hard” 10 is 9 to 1.
The casino’s advantage on these bets is 11.1% or 9.09%, respectively.
Your best bet at the craps table is to stick with the simpler bets like “pass/don’t check, come/don’t come”, and odds bets.
If you’re trying out those other, more “interesting” bets, you’re playing one of the worst games in the casino.