The Worst Sucker Bets – How to Keep Your Bankroll Safe
As every casino game comes with a negative expected value, one could argue that gambling is a sucker bet in itself. However, it can also bring a lot of fun.
If this is the primary goal, you can find plenty of great online casinos to play live, but it doesn't mean that all options are equal.
But what is a sucker bet, really? Some bets and games are very unfavorable to the player, meaning you should avoid those for the most part, while others offer great odds for the gambler. A sucker bet is a wager that has a significantly lower potential of return than odds of winning.
I will give you some examples of the most common sucker bets that you definitely want to bypass at all costs, as they will decimate your bankroll and cost you way more than you should pay to have some fun and give yourself a good winning chance.
1. Lotto and Keno
Few of us can say that we have never played the lottery or a bingo game. On occasion, we are all drawn by the chance of winning that massive and elusive jackpot, but that doesn't mean that we should try it.
In most cases, all lottery games, including bingo, keno, lotto, and scratch cards, come with horrible RTP (return to player) percentages, often going as low as 60%. This probably turns the lottery into the worst sucker bet of all time.
Even the best lotto games out there will still only return around 80% of all the money players pay into them, and a good chunk of that will be condensed into a single big jackpot payment.
That means that most players will only get cents on a dollar on their bets, making such games extremely high variance, on top of being unprofitable to play in the first place.
I highly recommend staying away from these games if you want to give yourself the best fighting chance, and if you do want to chase that jackpot, only buy a few cheap tickets and hope luck smiles at you.
2. American Roulette
Roulette is one of the most popular casino games out there, with nearly every gambler trying it at some point in their lives.
The best versions of roulette offer a reasonable return on investment, with European Roulette having an RTP of 97.3% for all bets.
American Roulette is a game that was popularized by Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos, but in reality, it is just a massive marketing hoax.
The game offers very little difference to the original version, other than the fact another number is added to the wheel, but the payouts are exactly the same.
This means that your RTP is significantly diminished and is closer to 94.7%, which simply makes your long-term outlook way worse.
When you go into a casino and want to play roulette, look for European or French Roulette tables, and steer clear of the American version. If American Roulette is the only wheel on offer, playing a different game is usually your best bet. However, contrary to popular believes, you might not see any significant difference if you decided to play a few rounds on American, as opposed to European roulette.
3. Slot Machines
You may be surprised to see slot machines on this list, as they are usually among the cheapest and most commonly seen games in all land-based casinos, and everyone can afford to try them.
However, to compensate for that, casinos usually offer a very low return on these machines, with many slots offering as little as 80% back and few ever going over 90%.
These games are very fun to play, and a small amount of your money can last you a while, but they are not really a good option.
If you are in a casino purely to have fun and some drinks, playing slots can be a reasonable idea if you play very small stakes. However, if you are looking to gamble and try to spin up a bankroll, slot machines are probably not the best option, and I highly recommend looking at nearly any other game before the slots.
It needs to be pointed out that online slots often offer a higher return to players than live machines, which is why playing slots in online casinos is not as bad of an idea, especially if you can do so with some bonus cash in your balance.
4. Sic Bo
Sic Bo isn't as popular as craps or baccarat but is actually very fun to play. This is exactly what can get you in trouble.
Even the best bets in Sic Bo, the big and small, offer a house edge of about 3%, which is significantly worse than the best bets in baccarat or craps.
If you decide to move away from these bets and make the more specific ones, the house edge will grow up to 8%, which is absolutely terrible for a table game.
Sic Bo is a game that might be fun to play on occasion but stay away from it when it comes to more serious gambling.
5. Insurance in Blackjack
The insurance bet in blackjack is one of the ways casinos make money from a game that is otherwise very close to break-even.
If you play perfect strategy in blackjack, you will reach an RTP of over 99%, which means the house is not beating you out of a lot of money.
The insurance bet is offered to you every time the dealer has an ace showing, and it allows you to bet up to half of your original stake. You will get paid 2:1 if the dealer has a face card for a natural blackjack.
However, the true odds on this bet are 9:4, and the 2:1 payout translates to 8:4, which means you are getting beat for a significant portion of the bet every time you make it.
The dealer is simply not likely enough to make a blackjack for this bet to be profitable, which is why you should avoid insurance in blackjack and should let the casino continue to only make the extra money from suckers.
6. Inside Bets on Craps
The craps table is usually one of the places in a casino that attracts the most people, as the hustle and bustle the game tends to generate are unlike anything else you will see.
The game's basic outside bets like pass/don't pass, and the odds bet come with very favorable odds for the players, and the house has only a small edge, less than 1.5% to be exact.
However, the craps table also offers many other options, and some of these are not nearly as favorable as the ones I just mentioned.
The inside bets, on the other hand, are a whole different story. These bets give the house an edge of at least 4% and as much as 14%, which means you should absolutely steer clear of them.
While it may seem fun to guess the exact numbers someone will roll, I highly recommend sticking to outside bets only and getting the best value from the game that way.
7. The Tie Bet in Baccarat
Baccarat is another extremely popular game and one that attracts high-rollers who like it for several reasons.
One of the reasons is the relative privacy this game offers in live casinos with the amazing odds and low house edge that the game gives.
The player and banker bets are very close to break even, making them ideal for large bets.
However, the game also offers the tie bet, and some players who like to act smart will gamble on a tie from time to time.
However, you should never bet on a tie in baccarat if you know what's good for you.
The odds of this outcome are very low, and the payout offered by the casinos maintains a 14% edge for the house, which is insane compared to the 1.06% and 1.24% offered by the banker and player bets, respectively.
Avoid making this bet at all costs, and you will do better at baccarat than other players. Other than that, there really isn't much you can do to change your luck in the game.