For the most part, the best way to learn a new game is through personal experience. That’s true for casino games and esports alike. A newcomer can read all of the beginner guides they want, but they’ll have to learn a few skills the hard way. After all, that’s where the most robust strategies come from—a blend of instinct, experience, and plenty of studying.
But learning the ropes for casino games isn’t quite the same as cutting your teeth in a game like chess. Because there’s an element of chance involved, learning how to handle certain situations at the tables is even more important. And, as any casino gamer knows, there’s also an element of self-control at play.
In other words, games like blackjack and baccarat challenge players to bridge their problem-solving skills with their cold-cut experience playing that game. They’ll also need to factor in other considerations, like their competitors, house edge, probabilities, and managing their bankroll.
Everyone will offer you advice as you start competing in these games—but which beginner advice is actually worth your time—especially when you’re just starting out? Let’s dive in below.
Blackjack: Follow the Numbers
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games because it offers a high edge for the player. It’s incredibly popular both at online platforms, which tend to offer a few variations such as High Roller, and at brick-and-mortar casinos. While you might be swept away by the romantic ideals of popular players like Stu Ungar and Ed Thorp, don’t be distracted by those Hollywood-caliber stories. Stick to the numbers instead.
As mentioned above, blackjack offers a stronger edge to the player. Whether you’re playing online or in person, you can approach each hand from a mathematical perspective by calculating the probabilities and knowing how to make the strongest play. In other words, study up to excel early on at blackjack by understanding the probabilities attached to hitting and splitting.
Poker: Temper the Tilt
Similar to blackjack, poker comes with plenty of myths attached. Plus, poker has tons of variations, from three-card stud to Texas Hold ’em, which will greatly affect a player’s strategy. For this reason, we’re keeping our beginner advice for poker very basic: focus on your emotional reactions when playing to avoid sliding into an undesirable mental state. In the professional poker world, this is known as ‘tilt’.
When tilt takes over, it’s easy to start playing based on emotional reactions—not a strategy, experience, or how the game is unfolding. Regardless of which variation of poker you want to excel in, you’ll first need to keep your focus. Keep in mind that this is what separates amateurs from pros, and even separates pros from masters.
Roulette: DIY Strategy
When it comes to casino games, there are few titles with as many strategies tacked on to them as roulette. There’s the Fibonacci sequence, the Martingale system, the d’Alembert system, the reverse-Martingale system, and much more. These approaches lay out how much to wager on roulette and when.
But roulette’s outcome is entirely determined by a spinning wheel, which means strategies like these don’t offer nearly as much dynamic advice as in blackjack and poker, where the player has a mathematical insight into the game or the ability to bluff. If you want to succeed in roulette, be careful what advice you take from these strategies—and don’t be afraid to craft your own. Just like with sports betting, you should take into consideration your bankroll more than anything else.
Slots: RTP vs. Volatility
Similar to roulette, the outcome in slots games is entirely chance-based. For those who play digital slots, the outcome is determined by an RNG or a random number generator. And just like roulette, though an outcome is up to chance, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a strategic way to approach each game.
For slots players, keep a lookout for things like RTP or return to player rate, and volatility. RTP shows what a player could hope to win in terms of their total bets. Keep a lookout for games with an RTP over 95%. Volatility relates to how often a game pays out—the higher the volatility, the more often a win comes around. While it’s not easy to find a high-volatility and high-RTP slot, they’re certainly out there.