Everyone has a grand and delicious sense of expectation thinking about going to the casinos – be that on vacation or for a day out. 

Part of the joy of casino play is simply looking forward to the action. 

Anticipation is a fabulous thing. It sometimes makes the world go round. 

Ask any young kid who wants to be an adult - the anticipation of freedom from all control!

Now, most casino games do not involve the player doing anything. They watch and hope the next decision falls in their favour,  making them some money.

  • Few slot machines (one-armed bandits) need or even have that one-arm anymore. Even coins are rarely played anymore. Everything is done via credit or inserting paper money into the machines. 
  • And the sound of those coins playing? They are taped and played on the machine far quieter than before. Previously, those coins screamed, “We are from the slot machines. Hear us roar!”

You press the credit button today, and the machine does the rest. You are the equivalent of a slot machine “couch potato”. Your only decision is usually what machine to play and how many credits to buy.


  • Roulette players are couch potatoes, too. They don’t spin the ball on the wheel. Indeed, some players don’t even see the ball because their views are somewhat distant from the wheel. 
  • Some players don’t care about the ball spinning and landing in the pockets where it bounces and careens about before settling for the winning decision. They just want the win and don’t even care about the process.

There’s nothing wrong with players who prefer to watch, wait, and hope they win. Playing the lotteries is like that. 

You wait, hope, and pray and then get the decision. 

Watching sports on television is a couch potato thing. You might eat and cheer, but none of that has any bearing on the game!

The Magnificent Seven 

But not all casino games are couch-potato-like. Some have elements that make them unique. They require more than sitting, watching and praying to the gods on Mount Olympus. 

Indeed, there are many such games and many great moments in those games other than just winning or losing.

The Magnificent Seven of casino games delivers a thrill every time you play.

So, let’s count them down in reverse order:

7. Blackjack

Blackjack is the most popular table game in the casino. With every hand you receive, you must make the right decision to increase your odds of winning.

Every deal means you are anticipating what kind of hand it will be. 


You’d better make the right decision – 

  • Whether to hit
  • To stand
  • To double down
  • To split
  • To take insurance or whatever

Every decision you make means more or less money – for you and the casino. 

You want to give yourself a good chance.

Playing correctly gives you a good chance.

Blackjack is a game full of anticipation. Each moment, something crucial is about to happen. Many blackjack players miss that point for some reason.

They play more like robots. That is not a fun way to play. A machine-like human should not be playing a machine. They will miss the real fun.

Please note: You may hear some players call out the word “monkey” when they want a picture card. Most players do not know where that term came from. 

Here it is: When the card games from Europe made their way to Asia, the players would call out the word “monarchy” to indicate jacks, queens, and kings. 

In Asia, the pronunciation became “monkey” due to the language differences and has remained “monkey” to this day.

6. Pai Gow Poker

This game does not have a substantial following, but it is undoubtedly one of the best casino games. You are dealt seven cards and must make two hands - a five-card hand and a two-card hand. 

Your five-card hand has to be better than the two-card hand. That’s the basic rule: the five cards must be better than the two cards.  

pai gow

You create your hands before the dealer turns over theirs to make their hand.

If you beat both of the dealer’s hands, you win the money. 
If you don’t, the game for that moment is a tie. 

There are a lot of ties in Pai Gow Poker. It is a leisurely game with a relatively low house edge. Ties, a low house edge and a leisurely pace translate into a peaceful, wonderful game.

You can get the same thrill as in blackjack: anticipating what's coming next for you and the dealer.

The constancy leisurely pace increases the height of the anticipation.

5. Face-Up Pai Gow Poker 

Usually, games birthed from other casino games are not as good as the original. This scenario is not the case with Face-Up Pai Gow Poker. 

Indeed, this new game is far better than the standard game.

In this version, the dealers make their two hands before you even look at your own seven cards. You know precisely what the dealer has and what it will take to win.
The house edge in this game is lower than the traditional Pai Gow Poker game. 

Anticipation is still a central selling point for this game, as it is for blackjack.

Pai Gow Poker and Face-Up Pai Gow Poker are fun games, and we recommend you give them a try.

4. Video Poker

Video Poker is the machine version of blackjack. Every single hand has a distinct way to play it to maximise wins and minimise losses. Scores of video poker games exist. 

video poker

Some are very close contests between the player and the casino. Others aren’t so hot. You can discover which is which by researching books or checking out web content.

Anticipation still reigns supreme for most players. But not any old tactic is a good tactic for all games. 

Each game will have a distinct strategy. You must play that strategy to have any chance of bringing home the goods -- simple enough. 

3. Baccarat

There are two good bets at traditional baccarat: the player, and the banker (or bank). Each comes in with a house edge in the low one per cent range. Playing traditional baccarat gives you one of the best chances to beat the house.

A third bet, the tie, is a crummy bet and should be avoided.

Traditional baccarat had its heyday in the casinos until the turn of the 21st century. It was usually played in elegant high-roller rooms with well-dressed people, and dealers outfitted to the nines. 

It was a slow game, but – and this is a BIG BUT – the players got the opportunity to deal the cards! 

That’s correct. You got to toss out the cards to the table!

Did this change the actual nature of the wins and losses for the players? Sadly, no. The hit-and-stand decisions are ironclad, but active participation in a game is so much fun. 

Traditional baccarat is a great experience if you can afford to play it.



Please note: The newest version of baccarat is mini-baccarat, which is basically the same game except for the following: Players do not get to deal the cards. It is not on an excessively big table but a middle-range one. The game is faster and one of – if not THE – fastest game in the casino! 

While the bets are the same as baccarat, the lightning speed heavily impacts the players’ bankroll. So, if you want to play this game, you might not bet every decision.

2. Decision Games with Decisions 

Many new casino games require players to make decisions on every hand, usually against the dealer. Check out how many of these games are in your local casinos!

The anticipation factor is high here, but these games can be fast with many decisions. 

Multiple bets are not great aspects to go up against when you want to beat the house. 

Still, these games can stir those intense emotions, so use caution. 

1. Craps 

Brace yourself for the most incredible thrill in the casino – the game of craps. 


Craps is the most exciting game in the casino. It is also the most suited to cheers, moans, shouts, total despair, and absolute joyous rapture. This game can create a shared experience in most or even all the players at the same table. 

Suddenly, that guy you would have disliked in real life becomes your bosom buddy. You will cheer and moan together in unison!

Craps has a few of the best bets in the casino and some of the absolute worst as well. Many players go down to defeat based on their betting styles. But that isn’t the most significant thing about the game. 

Players get the chance to shoot the dice. 

That’s right! 

  1. The dealers pass the dice to the players.
  2. The players choose the two they wish to shoot.
  3. The game progresses from that point until the player sevens-out. (They didn’t make their point and lost the dice by throwing the seven.)
  4. The dice are then offered to the next player. 

The player shooting is in charge. They roll the dice to hit or miss particular numbers. All players’ wins and losses are on the shooter’s shoulders or, rather, fingers as the dice roll down the table.

Some players will hold the dice for a long time, a short time, an in-between time, and so on. 

  • Take those dice, and the game belongs to you. 
  • You can be applauded, scorned and everything in between!

Shooting the dice at craps is one of the best experiences in the casino. 

So, give it a chance, and all the best, in and out of the casinos!

Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries, and bookstores. 

Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.