Rolling bones, angling for a nice blackjack, or seeing that roulette wheel land just right. There’s nothing quite like a little gambling to get the blood flowing and bring on some nice feelings of excitement and anticipation.

But why just throw money away? Everyone has seen some poor sap making some of the worst wagers in the casino, metaphorically lighting that cash on fire as the house makes use of a hefty casino edge to separate this player from his hard-earned money.

Of course gamblers can do as they like with their own money and occasionally even defy long odds to collect some winnings. But for those who want to keep some of that cash in their pocket or wagered on some of the better options, here’s a look at some of the worst bets in a casino (note: these are in no particular order). Some come with long odds, big house edges, and some are just unwise because of the opportunity cost.

1 – The Tie is Very Bad in Baccarat

In essence, Baccarat is a card game that sees bettors wagering whether the Player or the Banker will get closest to 9. These can be nice odds among the many bets in a casino, with the house only holding an edge of just 1.06% on the Banker bet and 1.24% on the Player.

However, bettors can also choose the Tie option. This pays out at a nice 8 to 1, but carries a big casino edge of 14.36%. That’s a massive positive for the house and not worth the money. No one likes a tie in sports and no one should like a tie at the Baccarat table.

2 – Say No to ‘Any Seven’

Craps is a game with many wagering options and the table may be a bit overwhelming, with numbers and odds spread out all across the length of the table. The game offers some great wagers with pretty thin house advantages, but also some pretty filthy options that players should stay away from.

Many of these are “one-roll wagers,” meaning a bet on the outcome of the very next roll and that roll alone. The “Any Seven” bet is one of these and as the name implies, you're hoping that a 7 shows up on that next roll of the dice. The bet pays out at 4 to 1 but comes with a really gross 16.67% house edge. Take a pass (Pass Line perhaps?) on the Any Seven.

3 – Don’t Take the 2 and 12

This is yet another of the many wagers available to craps players, but that doesn’t mean you should drop a few chips on another one-roll wager with a beefy house edge. Players have the choice of picking either the 2 or the 12, or worse – picking both!

Hitting either snake eyes (2) or boxcars (12) rewards a handsome payout of 30 to 1, but you’ll face a monstrous house edge of 13.89%. Steer clear of these snake eyes and don’t get derailed by these boxcars.

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4 – Kick Keno to the Curb

This is that game you may see in a casino with a few players sitting in chairs checking out a board full of numbers, hoping that one of their own selections will light up. This is, in essence, a lottery game requiring no real skill or special knowledge or gameplay.

The casino may just be taking advantage of that with a gargantuan house advantage from 25-40% depending on the game version. That’s a bankroll-sapping number that isn’t worth the cost of doing business. The good news? The game moves very slowly so at least those losses will be spread out over a longer amount of time.

5 – Wheel of (Mis)Fortune

Don't confuse the classic Wheel of Fortune casino game with the slot version of the popular game show. In Wheel of Fortune, players wager on whether a wheel will land on one of several denominations: $1 (1 to 1 payout), $5, $10, $20, or a Joker (offering an even  bigger payout). Landing on these pays out at 1:1, 5:1, 10:1, 20:1, and 40:1 for the Joker.

This may sound like a little fun, but the house edge certainly doesn’t. Even the even-money payout gives the casino an 11% advantage and it only gets worse from there. The Joker bet checks in at a herculean house advantage of 24%. Players would be advised to spin right past this wheel.

6 – Know Your Strategy

An average Blackjack player already faces a disadvantage of about 2-4%, but that can be cut to as low as .5% for those who know basic strategy and find favorable games. However, those without a clue to the math or strategy of the game are really facing some long odds.

Experts estimate that players not using basic strategy face a house edge of around 15%. Many of these players have little knowledge of the real math behind the game and don’t know what to do in certain situations. They may even split 10s on occasion (don’t do it!). Before jumping in for some 21, bring some basic strategy to the table. 

7 – Say No to Tribal Casino Antes

Casino players already face a house edge when entering the doors on most games, but some tribal casinos in the U.S. ramp that up even more. For example, in Oklahoma Blackjack players must post a 50-cent ante per hand and that goes directly to the house with no chance to win that money back. That may sound like a small amount, but depending on the skill level of the player and the game rules, the ante can deliver a double-digit house edge to the casino.

A player at a $5 table in one of these casinos is actually putting up $5.50 to win only $5. At 60 hands an hour, a player would lose $30-60 no matter how things turn out with the actual cards themselves. Some properties may even require a $1 ante for larger wagers.  That’s a lot to overcome and these games should be avoided.


8 – Avoid the Whirl

As you’ve probably figured out, most of the bets located in the middle of the craps table aren’t your friend. Players tend to face long odds and hefty house edges with these single-roll and hard-way wagers. One of those is the Whirl bet (sometimes called the World bet).

This is another one-roll bet and the player is wagering that a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 will show up on that next roll. The payouts differ and you even push if a 7 is rolled. But with a house edge of 13.33%, the Whirl bet isn’t worth dropping a chip on. Players would be better advised to use those funds to back up a Pass Line bet with more odds. Whirl away at your own peril.

9 – Slots of Fun Can Equal Slots of Losses

Everyone knows slot machines aren’t a great bet despite their popularity and entertainment factor. Some machines can see the house favored by as much as 17 percent. And when players spin those reels faster, players can lose money at an even faster rate.

Look for games and properties with a better RTP (return to player) when heading to a live or online casino for some slot play. Higher denominations can also be better options and often come with better RTP. Playing a bit slower – by sipping a cocktail or chatting with friends – can also make that bankroll last longer and help minimize potential losses.

10 – Blow Past the Big 6 or Big 8

This isn’t the worst bet on this list and there are other craps wagers that are much worse (single-roll bets, hard-ways, and more). But this is just a bad bet based on the opportunity cost of not placing that wager elsewhere on the exact same numbers. These two bets pay out simply at even money when a 6 or 8 is rolled without crapping out.

Many believe these spots originated as introductory bets for women when craps was considered mostly a game for males. However, these bad bets remain on many tables today. Those chips could be wagered better as place bets. By simply making a place bet on the 6 or 8, the bettor earns a return of 7 to 6. Or as odds on a come bet, a player could earn a 6 to 5 payout.

This isn’t a massive difference but adding more winnings over the long haul is always a better option for the exact same numbers. There’s nothing really “big” about the Big 6 and Big 8. Take a look at other options.

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Stitcher,,, and other platforms.