Best casino games for beginners (and more advanced players)

  • If you’re a beginner, slots are some of the best games to play at the casino.
  • Blackjack is one of the only games where the player has an edge if they play perfectly.
  • Baccarat is a simple game that begins to feel automatic after only a few rounds.
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We’ve all been there.

Walking into the casino for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. The sights, sounds, smells, and, of course, the games themselves can seem a bit intimidating.

But here’s a secret. Casinos prefer that you feel this way. They want you to think that the house always wins because sometimes … well, sometimes it seems like they always win, so maybe they do have some sort of mystical advantage over players.

The truth is no more mysterious than the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.” Or as it pertains to gambling, “Good gamblers make good decisions.”

That means learning the rules, understanding – and accepting – your house edge, and being able to stick to a budget, even when the cards aren’t running your way.

So, to help get you started in the right direction, I put together this list of eight of the best casino games for beginners.

1. Slots

Slot machines are the workhorses of the casino floor.

They take up more space than any other game and are by far the most popular with casual gamblers. This isn’t by accident but is instead the result of a concerted effort on the part of the casino to present slots as easy to play, fast, and available in a wide range of denominations to suit just about any budget.

For the most part, this works.

Slots are indeed easy to play.

In fact, outside of a raffle or lottery, it might be difficult to find a game that’s less complex as all you’re doing is inserting money (or a casino card, which functions similarly to a player’s club card), selecting the amount you wish to wager per spin, and then hitting a “spin” button.

Winning combinations, called pays or paylines, are determined at random, and if your combination matches the machine’s internal sequence, out comes the tray holding your winnings.

This simplicity and speed are what make slot machines one of the top casino games for beginners.

Another factor that appeals to novices is the illusion of control.

Unlike a table game like blackjack, where experienced players know they must make a series of complex decisions in order to better their position, slots players believe that by simply choosing a different number of paylines to activate, or a varying bet size or even by using a particular strategy while spinning the reels, they can influence the outcome of each play.

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Yes, these are all illusions, but as long as players are having fun and not mindlessly feeding coins (or cash or slots tickets) into the machine, hoping to win big without spending time learning the realities behind the game, slot machines remain among the best games to play at the casino.

Video Poker Is Better Than Slots

If you agree that slots aren’t the best game at casino resorts, I recommend video poker.


Slot machines are often referred to as one-armed bandits because the physical machines often have a large arm that is pulled down to initiate the spinning of the reels. This nickname stems from the fact that these machines typically fleece unsuspecting players out of their money.

Though entertaining, most slot machines have the potential to drain your bankroll quickly. That’s why I suggest finding the best casino games for beginners, such as video poker.

With video poker, you are playing against the machine, just like a slot machine, but you are also given the opportunity to make decisions that will affect your bottom line. You could end up losing your money quickly, too, but you have more control over your destiny compared to slot machines.

Here’s a quick look at how one of the best casino games for beginners—10/7 Double Bonus—pays:

As you can see, properly played, this version of video poker offers a strong return to player (RTP), and thougheven a beginner can quickly learn the proper video poker strategy, it still takes a fair amount of practice to play a perfect game.

If you want to learn more about the game before heading to the casino, I recommend reading our guide on how to play video poker.

Once you feel comfortable with the basics, check out our analysis of the best video poker payouts, which will lead you to the casinos offering the highest RTPs for video poker.

� 2. Roulette

Most casino games feature a third party (the dealer) making all the important decisions that ultimately affect your bankroll.

This isn’t the case with roulette, another of the best games to play at the casino.

By their very nature, slots, blackjack, craps, and just about every other game I’ll discuss here have one thing in common: .

You may get some input into the initial setup of the game, such as the amount you wish to wager or which chips you place where on the felt, but once you’ve made these decisions, everything that happens after that is out of your control.

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Roulette differs in that once you’ve placed your bets, the only thing left to do is wait to see the results of the spins on the wheel and the corresponding movements of the ball as it eventually comes to rest in one of the wheel’s 38 pockets.

American roulette wheels feature both single numbers from 1 to 36, as well as a zero and double zero. European versions of the game omit the double zero pocket, which gives European roulette a significantly lower house edge than its American counterpart.

One of the primary reasons why roulette is one of the best casino games for beginners is because players have the ability to reduce the house edge to where the casino literally has no advantage.

If you place even-money bets, such as red or black, or odd or even, the house edge is a relatively high 5.26%, but if you opt to bet on groups of numbers, such as betting on the first dozen or columns of nine numbers, the house edge drops to 2.70%.

Even better are bets known as “outside bets,” which group 18 winning numbers. These include the four corners, a straight up bet in each of the four corner pockets, or baskets, which include the first six numbers on the board.

Though none of these wagers offer a true 50-50 chance of winning (all rely on 18 winning chances out of a possible 38), this high frequency of potential victories allows players to stretch out their banking by reducing the number of losing bets they need to withstand in order to accumulate sufficient winners to leave the table a winner.

Important: No discussion of roulette would be complete without mentioning a common misconception about the game.

Many players use a system they call “past due” or “hot number” to guide their betting. These players believe that since a certain number (or a combination of numbers) has not appeared for several spins, it is now “due” to appear on the next spin.

Unfortunately for these players, this belief ignores the fundamental nature of the randomness required for a game like roulette. Each spin is independent of all prior spins and therefore carries the same probability of any given number appearing.

Thereby making “past due” betting a myth rather than a legitimate roulette strategy.

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3. Blackjack

Blackjack is the only game that appears on all versions of my list of the .

Why? Because it’s not only one of the best games to play at the casino but the in poker.

A talented blackjack player can expect to lose just 0.5% on each hand, which makes the game one of the most – if not the most – player-friendly game in the house. The reason blackjack enjoys such a low house edge across the board is that it provides players with a simple decision-making process that enables them to affect the outcome of each hand.

Unlike slots or roulette, where the only decisions a player must make are fairly rudimentary, such as how much to wager or where to place their chips, in blackjack, players are actively involved in each hand.

From deciding whether to hit or stand to determining when to double down or split pairs, players have the ability to change the course of each hand. And when players make the correct decisions for each situation presented by the dealers, blackjack becomes a game where the player has an edge.

In other words, the player with the better decision-making process will likely win more money over time than the dealer will.

Though it might seem daunting to try to remember the correct decision for every possible situation (there are actually more than 30 variables that go into making the perfect decision in blackjack), the reality is that once you commit the basic strategy chart to memory, the game become second nature.

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After only a handful of hands, you’ll quickly see how the various options within the game interrelate, and the chart will become almost automatic.

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4. Craps

Craps has earned a reputation as a complicated game, mainly due to the large number of bets available and the complicated-looking layout of the craps table. However, for the beginner looking for one of the best casino games to play, it’s certainly worth getting past the learning curve.

The beauty of craps lies in the simplicity of the wagers new players should be most interested in and the relatively strong odds the game offers players who opt for these bets.

Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets are made before the shooting hand, known as the point, has been established. In fact, these are the only two wagers you’re allowed to make before the point has been rolled.

When the shooter rolls the first pair of dice, you have two choices:

  • Pass Line: A win pays even money (1:1), and the max roll is 12.
  • Don’t Pass: A tie occurs on 12, a push on 2 or 12, and a win on all other numbers; a win pays 2:1, and the max roll is 11.

Once the shooter establishes a point, additional bets become available. Pass Line and On Line bets pursue the same odds as Pass Line and Don’t Pass, while Come and Don’t Come bets are identical to the initial round’s Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets.

At this point, any additional rolls by the shooter are the same as the initial round, with the exception that if the shooter rolls the point, all Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets win or lose depending on which you chose, and any Come or Don’t Come bets that happen to match the point value also resolve at that time.

If you want to improve your chances even further, consider using one of these , such as place bets, which allow you to make a even-money wager on 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.

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These bets can only be made when the point is established, and if you choose to bet on your own tosses, this is also the only time during a roll that you’ll be able to make this wager. Once you’ve made a place bet, any roll that displays your selected number will pay off at even money and then the dealer will roll the dice for you on each ensuing play until your bet is resolved.

If you’d like to learn how to play craps, I strongly recommend doing so online. It lets you play at your own pace while also offering more affordable minimum bets.

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5. Baccarat

Baccarat has long enjoyed a reputation as a game exclusively for the wealthy. After all, James Bond, the most iconic baccarat player in cinema history, was a billionaire playboy with more money than he knew what to do with.

But times have changed, and today, most casinos offer what is known as mini-baccarat, which features a tableside operator who takes care of all the betting for the dozens of players seated around the large oval table.

Minimum bets for mini-baccarat are usually quite reasonable, making this simplistic card game accessible to players of almost any budget.

Like blackjack, baccarat is a card game where the goal is to come as close to a score of 9 as possible. Any total exceeding 9 will have the right-hand digit subtracted from the score.

For example, a two-card hand totalling 8 and 7 will have the 8 subtracted, leaving a final score of 1. A score of 1 with no further matching or exceeding of 9 will result in another card being dealt to attempt to reach that magic number.

All cards two through nine are valued at their face amount, while tens and face cards are valued at zero. The seven of bacteria, however, is worth five points.

Players make wagers on one of three possibilities: Player, Banker, or Tie. The most common bet is on Banker, which carries a modest house edge of 1.06%. You’ll pay a 5% commission on any winning Banker bets, which ups the effective rate to 1.06%, but even with this adjustment, it remains the strongest bet on the table.

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The next-best bet is on the tie, which carries a house edge of 1.06% and pays odds of 8:1. Avoid the 9:1 payoff, as the increased payoff comes with a higher house edge.

Despite its simplicity, many novice players feel overwhelmed when first approaching the baccarat table. Part of the problem is that the game proceeds rapidly, with the dealer making all the plays and keeping the action moving automatically.

However, the only decision the player ever needs to make is to select the area on the table where they want to place their chips for each wager.

Another issue for novices involves the unique terminology used in baccarat, such as the names given to various sections of the table where a player places their wager. There’s also an array of special rules applied to the game, such as the availability of multiple decks, how ties are handled, and side bets that may or may not be offered in any given game.

Fortunately, I’ve already created the solution to these problems. Check out this detailed guide to playing baccarat for the first time, and you’ll be ready to sit down at the table with confidence in no time.

6. Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is another one of the top casino games for beginners because it shares many elements found in traditional poker but is simplified to the point where even novices can quickly grasp the concepts necessary to enjoy successful sessions at the table.

Eight-handed pai gow poker tables are large affairs, similar in size to those used for carbaret shows or mini-baccarat, with several banks of games facing a single player station located in front of each bank. Players sitting down to experience pai gow poker for the first time might do themselves a favor by choosing a station with several other players already seated and enjoying the game.

The complexity of pai gow poker is eased considerably by the fact that all five cards a player is dealt must be set into two poker hands. One is a five-card hand which must rank lower than the dealer’s corresponding hand, and the other is a two-card hand which must rank higher than the dealer’s two-card hand.

This requirement to set two poker hands from five cards imposes strict boundaries on the player, thereby limiting the number of decisions needed to successfully play the game.

Additionally, the house edge for pai gow poker is comparatively low, coming in at about 1.46%, on average. This ranking makes it one of the more player-friendly casino games in operation today.

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Newcomers to the game might want to start by making the easiest wager available, the high hand wager, which pays off on the strength of a player’s two-card hand. Since these hands must be higher in rank than the two-card hands dealt by the banker, this wager is virtually foolproof, provided you understand the hierarchy of poker hands.

Low margin wagers, which pay off on the strength of the five-card hand, are somewhat riskier, as these must rank below the corresponding hand dealt by the banker.

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7. Three Card Poker

Three card poker is one of the newest entries in the world of casino gaming.

Originally devised as a protected hand-type game similar in concept to pai gow poker, three card poker was co-developed by renowned gaming theorist Derek Webb and introduced to the public in the mid-1990s. Protected hand games require the dealer to make two-card hands from five cards, using one card for each hand.

The player then makes a wager on which of the two dealer hands will win if either beats the player’s own single hand.

Though three card poker went on to achieve great success, Webb admitted years later that the use of two-card dealer hands in his game was a mistake. He notes that players tend to do better against a single dealer hand than they do when asked to evaluate which of two possible hands holds the greatest promise.

Regardless of the dealer’s method for creating hands, three card poker has proven itself one of the more enduring games in current usage. Its popularity with casual players stems from its simplicity.

Players begin each hand by making a wager in the Ante space on the felt. Once all players have made their ante wagers, they and the dealer proceed to receive five cards apiece.

The player then selects three cards from this hand to keep, paying twice their ante wager to do so. The dealer then creates two hands from the remaining cards, designating one as his Ante Bonus hand and the other as his Play hand.

The player’s hand is then compared to the dealer’s Ante Bonus hand with the stronger hand winning. The player’s hand must qualify to be eligible to win. In three-card poker, a qualifying hand is a right pair or higher (right pair means a pair with the same face value, such as two jacks or three queens).

No action occurs if the player fails to make the double wager; in this case, the player loses their ante wager regardless of the dealer’s hand.

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If the player’s hand defeats the dealer’s Ante Bonus hand, they will be paid on their ant wager according to a chart that varies slightly from one casino to another but generally pays at the rate of 1:1 for a right pair and 1 to 1 plus an anomalous “push bonus” for a straight or three of a kind.

Losers of these heads-up comparisons will surrender their ant wager and any additional wagers they may have made.

Beginners will find three card poker a quick and easy game to master. My recommends brushing up on the hand rankings before heading to the tables.

8. Spanish 21

Spanish 21, also known as pai gow poker, is another of the player-friendly games invented by Derek Webb.

This variation on blackjack uses six decks of cards with the 2s through 7s removed, hence the name “Spanish” to describe the deck composition. As you might guess, this shifts the mathematical probabilities for each possible hand, requiring Spanish 21 to be played according to a different set of rules and strategic considerations than traditional blackjack.

Novice players will find that Spanish 21 offers many of the same elements as blackjack, including a strong-decision-making strategy chart (available online at any of the ) and many opportunities to win extra money through bonuses awarded for various 200% +3 Bonus hands, such as a 3 of Aces, 7, 7, 7, 3 or 21 Point Hand (three 7s and a 3).

Hands ranked as 200% +3 Bonus hands even win for a player with a losing hand when compared to the dealer’s hand.

Other opportunities to win extra money exist with bonuses offered for natural blackjacks (a 200% bonus for a total of 23 or lower) and for players who score a 6, 7, 8 Suited Hand or better (a 3 to 1 bonus).

Novices will find it easier to learn Spanish 21 if they first develop a solid understanding of traditional blackjack, as the two games share many elements in common, including most of the decisions players must make in response to various situations.

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What Makes Good Gambling Games for Beginners?

You might have noticed that all eight of my recommendations for the best casino games for beginners involve simple gameplay.

While there are certainly exceptions, novice players generally find it easier to learn games where their involvement with each hand is limited to decisions that can be easily understood and implemented.

It’s certainly possible to succeed at more demanding games like craps, but players new to the casino scene might find it best to start slowly with simpler games.

Of course, the best games to play at the casino aren’t just limited to beginners. Many seasoned players regularly enjoy all of the games listed above.

Ultimately, the best casino games for beginners are the ones where you feel the most comfortable. I recommend trying a variety of games until you find the one that suits you best.

In addition to the eight casino games for beginners covered in this piece, there are plenty of other low edge games you can play. Be sure to check out the post below for a full breakdown of your options.


  • provided the famous quote about James Bond.
  • Information about the origin of the term “ante” came from .
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J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a former editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Thomson Newspapers. Depending on the time of day, Paine can be found following baseball, hockey, or football, or he might be playing those sports at casinos near him in Nevada.

Paine enjoys sharing his knowledge of sports and casinos to help visitors at improve theirexperience.