How to Play Card Games with Zero Experience
Do you avoid casino table games? Whether you’re new to the casino scene or intermediate, casino card games can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with them.
Not to worry! We’ll show you that playing to win is easier than you think. Read this casino beginner’s guide to learn how to play casino card games, which games to play, proper casino etiquette and more!
Things to Know About Casinos
Before we cover how to play, there is some important background information you must keep in mind.
The Odds are Never in Your Favor
In every casino game, the house (casino) always has the advantage, no matter what. It’s how they can give away millions of dollars and still stay in business.
With casino gambling, you’re fighting a losing battle. That’s why it’s called “gambling.”
All Games are Not Created Equal
That said, it doesn’t mean all games have the same odds. And it pays to know which games have the best odds.
Most people who don’t have experience with table games shy away from them and stick to the slots and other electronic gaming machines. But the odds of winning electronic gambling machines is much lower than the odds at table games.
By learning casino card game strategies, you have a better chance of gaming the system. But your success will always depend on luck and, as such, you never have a guarantee of winning.
General Casino Gambling Tips
Here are some general tips on how to gamble at a casino.
Expect to Lose
We can’t reiterate this enough: you should not expect to make money at a casino. Casino gaming is and always will be for entertainment only. It is not a business option unless you own the casino.
Set a Limit and Stick to It
Instead of playing to win, play to lose! Before you game, decide on a set amount of money to gamble with that you are okay to lose. Do not spend more than this limit, ever.
Then, expect to lose the whole amount. Think of gambling like playing at an arcade. You should expect to lose money and have fun doing it.
Don’t even expect to break even. Odds are, you won’t.
Don’t worry: expecting to lose doesn’t make gambling less fun. Actually, it’s the only way gambling is fun.
It makes losing not a big deal and winning an unexpected bonus. It’s better to win more than you expect than to lose more than you expect, right?
The best way to stick to your limit is to withdraw it from your bank account as cash and leave all plastic money in your hotel room. If you run out of cash, you’re done.
Put Winnings Aside.
And here’s an even better method: put your winnings aside. That is, put any money you win in a separate pocket (or bucket) than the money you brought to play with.
Then, keep betting, but only with the money you brought with you. Once you run out of betting money, have fun with your winnings!
You can take it back to the games for another round if you want. Or you can spend it at the gift shop or arcade, or order champagne in your hotel room. That way, you get to do some gambling and you end up with something to show for it.
Sign Up for Rewards Clubs
Here’s one part of casino gambling where you’ve got nothing to lose! Wherever you gamble, sign up for the rewards program. It’s free and you get discounts and earn bonuses. Win!
Don’t Push Your Luck
A “hot streak” isn’t a real thing. If you win several times in a row, it’s not because you suddenly have temporary, magic winning powers. It’s just coincidence, a fluke.
Have fun with a hot streak, but don’t take it too far. 2 or 3 wins in a row is plenty, especially if you’re ahead. If you have more than you started with, it’s probably time to quit.
Take It Easy on the Complimentary Cocktails
Obviously, alcohol impairs your judgment, which is exactly why casinos give them out free to players. The more they drink, the more irresponsibly they spend.
Know your limits, and control yourself accordingly. As with all casino behaviors: have fun but be responsible.
Gambling can be addictive. 3-5% of all gamblers develop a gambling problem.
Stop and get help if you need it. There are gambling addiction resources right in the casino.
How to Play Casino Card Games
Now that you’ve learned general casino tips, let’s cover how to gamble and win with casino card games.
Pick the Right Game
First, decide what game you want to try. To better your chances, pick a game with a low house edge.
The card games with the lowest house edge are blackjack and baccarat. Other casino games with a very low house edge are craps and video poker.
Table poker, on the other hand, depends more on skill and less on luck than other casino games. Don’t play table poker at a casino unless you are highly skilled, because the other players will be.
Learn How to Play
I know that sounds stupidly obvious, but learn how to play before you visit the casino.
There are tons of free, “how to play” guides for casino games on the internet, like this one, here. Why waste your playing money learning at the casino table when you can learn at home for free? There are online casinos that will help you hone your skills and feel more comfortable with the games.
Practice at Home
Likewise, there are tons of free versions of casino games you can download on your PC or mobile device. Download a free version of blackjack or baccarat and develop your skills at home before gambling.
Blackjack may be the easiest card game to learn and play, ever.
For those who don’t know, the point of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.
Face cards count as 10, ace counts as 1 or 11. Getting 21 in your first two cards (ace and any 10-value card) is called a blackjack and beats any other combination of cards.
Draw cards by telling the dealer, “Hit me,” or knocking on the table. When you want to stop receiving cards say, “I’ll stay.”
If you draw higher than 21, you lose. If you tie with the dealer, you lose. If you score better than the dealer, you win.
The dealer has one card face up and one face down, which they don’t flip over until their turn. The dealer doesn’t take their turn until all other players are finished.
Beginner Playing Tips
Now let’s learn some simple, easy to remember playing tips.
- If you have 11 or less, take a hit
- If the dealer’s face up card is 7 or higher (including an ace), hit until you have at least 17
- If the dealer’s card is 4-6, hit until at least 12
- If the dealer has 2 or 3, hit until 13
- If you have a soft hand (ace and any non-10 card), hit until at least 18
If you’re practicing at home, which you should be, it won’t take long to get used to these tips. And after you do, it won’t take long to learn some more in-depth basic strategy. You don’t have to learn card counting or anything, but every little bit helps.
Blackjack already has a very low house edge. The more strategy you learn, the lower the house edge gets.
There are a lot of other weird rules for special situations you can learn about when you’re ready to become an advanced player. These special situations will prompt your dealer to ask you questions like, “Do you want to take out insurance/split your hand/double down?”
As a beginner, just say “no” to all. You can study basic strategy to learn when to double down or when to split. But no matter how advanced you get, don’t ever take insurance–the odds are terrible.
Also, only play at a 3/2 table, not a 6/5 table. 6/5 means the casino pays you less when you get a blackjack.
Somewhere on the table, it will say something like, “Blackjack Pays 6 to 5.” Avoid unless it says, “3 to 2.”
Most players avoid baccarat because it has a weird name and they don’t know the rules or even how to pronounce it. (It’s “bah-ca-rah.”) Fortunately, none of that matters.
What makes baccarat so easy is that you don’t even need to know the rules because you don’t actually “play” baccarat. Like roulette, all you do is decide where to place your bet. You have no control over anything else that happens in the game.
Just place your bet, look like you understand and trust that the dealer is following the rules because they are. The dealer will never cheat because they would absolutely get caught by someone and be in a huge amount of trouble.
Ok, if you must know, the point of the game is that the hand closest to 9 wins. Ace equals 1, 10 and face cards are 0, all other cards are face value.
The dealer (“banker” in baccarat) draws cards for the player side and the banker side to see who wins. There are various rules the dealer must follow to determine how many cards are drawn. You can look them up if you feel like it.
But as we said before, none of that matters. All you do is place your bet and you must do so before the cards are drawn. There is no skill involved whatsoever.
And unlike roulette, there aren’t a ton of betting options, only 3: player, banker or tie. A winning bet on the player side pays 1-to-1. A winning bet on the banker side also pays 1-to-1, but minus a 5% commission.
A tie bet pays out 8-to-1, but only because the odds are not good. But that’s what makes it fun, right?
Proper Table Game Etiquette
Here are some final tips on proper table game etiquette.
If your cards are dealt face up, don’t touch them. You can see them just fine and picking them up will slow down the game for everyone.
Don’t sit at a table unless you are playing. Don’t “buy in” (join the game) until a round has concluded.
Always know the minimum and maximum bet before sitting. (There will be a sign.)
Don’t touch other players. Especially don’t touch their cards, chips or dice. You will be thrown out for this.
Don’t lose your cool or otherwise throw a tantrum. Don’t give advice unless asked.
It’s polite to tip servers and dealers for good service or if you win big.
You Got This
Now you know proper casino etiquette, how to play responsibly and how to play casino card games for the win. All that’s left is to follow our tips and practice, practice, practice! You’ll be a casino pro in no time!