Many casino card games involve in-depth strategy. You must learn the relevant strategies in order to boost your chances of winning.
The reward is that you’ll enjoy some of the best odds in the casino. However, not all card games are created equally.
Some offer better chances of winning than others. But which casino card games provide the absolute best odds? Assuming you want to win more often, then you should focus on the following seven card games.
1 – Blackjack
Blackjack can be one of the best-playing games in the casino. However, it can also be average when compared to other card games.
Everything depends upon the table rules and your command of strategy. The better the rules and your skills are, the more money you stand to win.
Regarding the rules, you need to look for those that go in your favor. Here are the rules that impact return of player (RTP) the most:
- Payout for a natural blackjack: +1.39% RTP for a 3:2 payout (vs. 6:5)
- Number of decks: +0.47 RTP for a single deck (vs. eight decks)
- Double down on any total: +0.25% RTP (vs. only 9 to 11)
- Dealer stands on soft 17 (A-6): +0.20 RTP (vs. hitting)
- Double down after splitting: +0.17% (vs. no DAS)
- Re-splitting aces: +0.08% (vs. no re-splitting)
- Late surrender: +0.07% (vs. no surrender)
As for strategy, you need to master what decisions to make in each situation. A blackjack strategy chart helps you quickly learn the basics.
Assuming you find enough favorable rules and use optimal basic strategy, you can look forward to between 99.5% and 99.7% RTP.
The easiest way to locate high-paying blackjack games is by searching online. Of course, some land-based casinos, like Las Vegas’ El Cortez and Silverton, also offer really high blackjack RTP.
2 – Baccarat
Aside from casino war (covered later), baccarat is the easiest game to play on this list. It only requires you to bet on one of the following three outcomes:
- Banker bet: Wins when the banker hand wins
- Player bet: Wins when the player hand wins
- Tie bet: Wins when both hands tie
The banker wager is the best among the bunch. It delivers 98.94% RTP, even with 5% commissions being taken out of wins.
The player bet is a close second regarding payback. It offers 98.76% RTP, making it a worthy choice if you ever get tired of the main bets.
The tie wager is one that’s best avoided. It only offers 85.64% RTP with 8:1 payouts and 95.16% payback with 9:1 payouts. In either case, it’s not a good proposition.
Baccarat also offers a number of side bets. You should be careful when making these wagers, though, because some of them are just as bad, if not worse, than the tie bet.
3 – Texas Hold’em Bonus
Although it’s not the most popular game in land-based casinos, Texas Hold’em Bonus still holds a presence in Las Vegas and beyond. It works much like standard Texas hold’em, except that you play against the casino and can earn bonuses.
Each round begins with you placing an ante and optional bonus wager. You’ll then receive two hole cards, just like in regular hold’em.
You can either fold or bet 2x your ante to see the flop (first three cards). Once the flop is dealt, you can check or bet 1x the ante.
On the turn (fourth card), you can either check or wager 1x the ante. In either case, you get to see the river (fifth card).
On the river, you and the dealer each show your respective hole cards. The best five-card hand wins. If you beat the dealer, you’ll be paid even money on pre-flop, flop, and turn bets.
You must win with a straight or higher to collect even money with the ante. In all other cases, the ante bet pushes.
The bonus bet all depends upon the first two cards that you’re dealt. You’ll need a qualifying two-card hand according to the casino’s pay table.
You can achieve up to 97.96% RTP with Texas Hold’em Bonus. Of course, you must use perfect strategy to achieve this mark.
Optimal strategy requires knowing when to bet on each street based on your hole cards and the board cards.
4 – Heads Up Hold’em
This game is quite similar to Texas Hold’em Bonus. The main difference comes through the bet sizes and when you must make them.
Rounds begin the same, with you placing an ante and optional bonus bet. Once your two hole cards are dealt, you can either check or bet 3x the ante (a.k.a. “play bet”).
In this situation, Heads Up Hold’em differs from the bonus version in two ways:
- You can check instead of folding.
- You must risk 3x the ante instead of just 2x.
Once the flop is dealt, you can make a Play bet worth 2x your ante. Assuming you’ve already placed the play wager, then you’ll automatically check.
The turn and river cards are flipped over at the same time. You can either make a play bet (2x the ante) or fold at this point. You’ll automatically check if you’ve already made the play wager.
Heads Up Hold’em offers 97.64% RTP with optimal strategy. This payback is 0.32% lower than what Texas Hold’em Bonus offers. Therefore, you might just consider sticking with the bonus version since both games are closely related anyways.
5 – Three-Card Poker
This game is another poker variation that features bonus payouts. However, it differs from Heads Up and Hold’em Bonus by only giving you three cards.
Aside from the three-card aspect, the gameplay structure is relatively similar. Rounds begin with you placing an ante and/or pair plus bet (qualifies you for bonuses).
After examining these cards, you can either fold or make a Play bet (equal to ante). If you place the play wager, you and the dealer compare cards to see who wins.
The dealer needs at least a queen-high to “qualify.” If they don’t qualify, then you win even money on the ante and push on the play wager.
You’ll receive more than even money with a straight or higher (a.k.a. ante bonus). With the pair plus bet, any potential payout depends entirely on your hand strength—regardless of whether you beat the dealer.
Three-Card Poker offers 96.63% RTP on the ante bet, and 97.99% RTP on the ante and Play wagers combined. When averaging these figures, you’ll be looking at somewhere around 97.31% payback.
6 – Pai Gow Poker
This game sees you receive seven cards. You then form two different hands, including a five-card and two-card hand.
The five-card hand must be the stronger of the two. If you have a pair, for example, then you aren’t allowed to just put the pair in the two-card hand.
The objective is to beat the dealer on both hands. You’ll receive even money when accomplishing this feat. You push when winning one hand and losing the other. Meanwhile, you’ll lose the bet when losing both of the hands.
When playing real money Pai Gow poker in land-based casinos, you’ll have an opportunity to “bank” the action. In this case, you take all bets from other players and pay winners afterward.
As a normal player, you’ll be looking at 97.16% RTP. However, you can boost this figure to 98.54% RTP when acting as the banker in brick and mortar casinos.
7 – Casino War
This game is as simple as a slot machine. Casino war’s objective is to receive a higher card than the dealer.
You begin rounds by placing a bet. Afterward, you and the dealer will both receive one card. If your card is higher, then you win even money.
Ties are the only complex part of this game. In the event that you and the dealer tie, you choose one of the following two options:
- Surrender and forfeit.
- Go to war.
In the second scenario, you must raise your original wager equal to the ante. You and the dealer will receive a second card to break the tie.
If you win, you’ll collect even money on the raise only. The ante, meanwhile, is simply a push. This rule is where the house gets its advantage from.
Even with the house benefiting from this rule, casino war pays reasonably well at 97.30% RTP. You don’t need to worry about using strategy either because war is entirely based on luck.
Your best chance to win with card games is to find a player-friendly blackjack table. In this case, you’ll be looking at 99.5% RTP or higher.
If you don’t want to put much work into the matter, then you can immediately settle for baccarat. The banker bet offers 98.94% payback no matter if you’re playing online or in Las Vegas casinos.
Once you get past these two games, the RTP drops below 98%. Going further, you’ll need to use correct strategy on these games to achieve the top available payback.
Nevertheless, these games still pay more than most slot machines. Some of them also offer interesting rules and large bonus payouts.