Most Common Bets and Games to Avoid at Online and Land-Based Casinos

There’s not a single issue with trying hard and falling even harder. Throughout our professional, personal, and gambling lives, we need to explore opportunities that come our way. Sometimes we enjoy in sweet fruits of success; other times, we feel the bitter taste of defeat. No matter how unpleasant the latter may be, regardless of their memorable nature, and contrary to the instant gratification culture we live in — failures are essential to growth. Especially the biggest and the most uncomfortable ones: They are fountains that shower us with the grace of knowledge and wisdom.

While this notion is rather common today among life-coaches and thought leaders, it’s not new.

Back in 1983, Samuel Beckett put the foundations to the mantra in his novella Worstward Ho with a few simple thoughts: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Beckett repeated the last sentence five times in the whole work.

If we read bios of, say, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Don Johnson carefully — the latter is a living legend among all gamblers — we’ll notice that they too had their fair share of failures before they rose to the top. By doing so, they’ve learned to own their mistakes, embrace the lessons, and proceed to dare for more: While building up through previous failures, new-coming defeats became smaller and smaller, and gains proportionally increased.

Indeed, there’s no shame in failure.


…there is one crucial detail here.

It’s one thing to fail while facing unknown intelligently — a brand new heavy we never saw before and approached prudently — and it’s an entirely different thing to make the unintelligent mistake in a known situation. The former is necessary; the latter is not.

Whenever we fail while facing something someone already failed at, we’re committing the utter sin of progress — not learning from the past. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

So, to strip you from chances to make choices that will never go your way — except for a very few instances when blind luck puts its fingers into your gambling fate — we’ve created this guide on bets and blunders to avoid in gambling.

Although one should never say never, when it comes to these, you should indeed explore their neverness.

6:5 Blackjack

This single-deck variation of the original multi-deck 3:2 version came through as casinos’ trick with the intention is to suppress knowledgeable players’ chances of beating the house. It’s a well-known fact that blackjack has the lowest house edge among all casino games — between 0.2 and 0.4 percent, depending on rules, provided you execute proper playing strategy.


…whenever you play proper strategy perfectly — blackjack house edge drops close to zero.

To counter such unfavorable odds, casinos came up with several rules innovations. Among them all, nothing works against you like 6:5 blackjack.

Marketed as an enticing opportunity to score in a single-decked game, this variant in effect increases the house edge for 1.4 percent — alone — and restores the casino’s advantage to close to 2 percent in total, even if you ideally executed well-proven strategy.

Furthermore, payouts add insult to injury.

If you bet $10, under the traditional 3:2 rules, you get $15 in return for natural blackjack — which equals $300 you get paid for $200 in bets. In 6:5 variant, you get only $12 in profit on the same wager, which amounts to $240 you get for $200 in bets.

When you take into consideration that, on average, you get four natural blackjacks per hour, such payout also means that for every sixty minutes spent on 6:5 blackjack tables, you give an extra $12 to the casino.

6:5 blackjack should be a huge NO in your gambling book.

Baccarat Tie Bet

To many patrons, baccarat is an excellent table game. It is fast, simple rules do not require extensive knowledge or training to play, the outcome is all about luck and intuition — which offers great fun — and the game is one of the oldest ones in the world. Consequently, baccarat is super-popular, particularly among high rollers and patrons in Asia.

The game also has a very low house edge: The casino’s advantage range between 1.06% on the banker and 1.24% on the dealer, which are the two most common bets.

Then again…

…there is one betting option you should avoid at all costs — a tie.

When you bet on a tie, the house edge goes to 14.36 percent in a multi-deck variant and up to 15.75% in a single-deck game. Casinos’ payouts on this wager are 8-to-1, and they express it as the equivalent to 9-for-1. While such payoffs may seem enticing at first, the simple truth is that ties are rare — the probability is 9.53 percent.

When you compare such odds with two other betting options in baccarat, the statistics do all the talking: The player’s hand will win in 44.62%, and the banker will lose in 45.85% of the time.

Of course, the exact percentages slightly vary depending on the number of decks used to play, but the writings on the wall remain the same: DON’T DO IT.

American Roulette

Nothing dials-in the image of land-based casinos as roulette. Whether for its rich history, or James Bond movies, or the opulence of the whole experience, this game is probably on anyone’s bucket list.

With one significant remark, though. If you ask analytics for opinion, it would advise you to avoid the American version and to play the European variant exclusively.


Because the house edge of the American wheel is 5.26 percent; on the European roulette, it’s 2.7 percent.

The difference between the two is in the number of pockets on the wheel. The European roulette has only one zero pocket, equaling 37 pockets in all; the American version has one more — double zero, another green-colored pocket — which makes it 38 in total.

That small difference almost doubles the house edge in favor of the American version.


…since the majority of online casinos offer both types of roulette, ALWAYS choose the European one.

Everything else remains the same, you can use all the strategies and betting systems, but there is no reason to pit unfavorable chances of the American roulette against your choices.

Specific Craps Bets

As the only game that in house edge terms comes close to blackjack, craps is favored by many. Also, it is the game that comes to mind whenever we envision Las Vegas and ensuing fun.

But, there’s a catch here.

The fun-argument works only for a handful of decent craps bets. The consensus among the majority of seasoned players is that judging by the house edge per bet resolved, only four multi-roll bets are worth considering: Odds bets, Don’t pass, Pass, and Place six-eight. The casino’s advantage on those is 0%, 1.40%, 1.41%, and 1.52% respectively.

All other bets in craps have a significantly higher house edge. Most of them range between 2% and 11.11%, and when it comes to single-roll bets, numbers can go as high as 16.67%.

Therefore, it might be useful to get a bit deeper in house edge analysis of craps and ensure that your bets are always in line with the lowest house edge.

Knowing which one to AVOID is always a place for a great start.

Insurance in Twenty-One

Whenever a blackjack dealer has an ace up, it will offer the insurance to the player. This seemingly attractive bet allows patrons to wager up to half of the original bet, and it pays 2:1.


…if you place $20 bet on your hand, and the dealer shows an ace in upcard, you can make a $10 insurance side bet. If the dealer indeed has a natural blackjack, you lose an original 20$ wager but counter it with $20 win on insurance bet and break-even, which also explains why some dealers call this bet even money.

While this works for the uninitiated ones, nothing could be further from the truth — you should NEVER take an insurance bet in blackjack.

As Wizard of Odds explains in detail in his elaborative work on the topic, in a six-deck blackjack game, “the player can expect to win 61.74% of his bet and lose 69.13% of his bet. […] That means that for every dollar the player bets on insurance, he can expect to lose 7.4 cents or 7.4% of whatever his insurance bet is.”

Therefore, it’s a bad bet to take.

The only exception of this might be live dealer games, or brick-and-mortar casino variants played under liberal Vegas rules. Only these two options would allow you to exercise counting card strategy, but that would also mean you’re a serious, even advantage blackjack player; that territory comes with slightly different habits.

On the side note. Therein, in the exception to the rule, also lays another important thing to mention. You cannot count cards in typical interactive blackjack games since all cards are automatically reshuffled by software after each hand; hence the live dealer only remarks.

Conclusion & Other Usual Suspects

The similar notions could apply to keno and the lottery, with ridiculously high house edges going as far as 20-35% and 50%, respectively. In that sense, they are probably among the worst bets you could make.

On the other hand, there’s something about the pure chance of random winning, which makes the lottery so popular among social players around the world.

Additional things you should pay attention to are poor paytables at video poker and high house rakes in table version of poker. With so many different variants of online poker available nowadays, it pays to analyze each paytable and choose the version with the best returns.

The same goes for poker rakes. Because there is no real house edge in this game — patrons play against each other — casinos take their fees in the form of a rake for each pot. The amount is usually $3 to $4 per pot, but at some gambling houses, you might face as much as $5 or even more. So, look for smaller rakes because they come out of your pocket.

One way or the other…

…all of these bets fall under the umbrella of unintelligent errors we can make in gambling areas well-explored by others. Privately, we usually term such mishaps as sucker bets or rookies’ mistakes (when we want to be assertive or diplomatic).

The simple matter of fact is that there’s no need for such mistakes in the first place. Today, with all the necessary resources at our fingertips, they’re indeed avoidable.

Moreover, gambling as a chosen proclivity is more than enough to tackle. We have to take care of our gaming knowledge and playing responsibility, intelligent approach and prudent decisions, bankrolls and bets in line with our budget — those alone make plenty on our plate.

Certainly, there is no shame in failing while pursuing our goals in any environment. But, it’s indeed unnecessary to burden our gambling load with mistakes that we could have avoided by due diligence and proper research.

With that in mind, please make the best of lessons from the past. Rise after each fall, no matter how hard. Embrace learning and proceed by being better.

And finally, history also teaches that good luck seems to prefer ones that do so.

Dejan Gavrilovic profile image Dejan Gavrilovic LCB Reviewer - last updated 2020-02-12
Back to articles

lcb activities in the last 24 hours

Join today and start earning rewards

You will immediately get full access to our online casino forum/chat plus receive our newsletter with news & exclusive bonuses every month.

Enter your name

Enter your email address

Join instantly with your social account


Search Results

Select language

English English Italiano Italiano

Don't show this again

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter