New to casino games? We have a guide for you

CINCINNATI - With 85 gaming tables, Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati's floor may be a bit intimidating to the novice. Not sure where to start or how to play? We've got a guide to three of the most popular casino games.


The Basics:

At the most basic, this card game is played between player and dealer with the goal to get the value of cards to equal, or come the closest, to 21.

The game gets far more interesting and strategic though if all the players play against the dealer. When this is done, the chances of winning increase.

Blackjack is played with one or more decks of 52 cards. Players are dealt two cards, and based on the value of the dealer's show card; they can decide to accept one or more cards to get closer to 21 or stand (which means the player stops accepting cards).

The Play

Face cards are valued at 10 points. Numbered cards have corresponding values. For example, if a player is dealt a queen and a nine, their hand totals 19.

Aces, however, are valued at 1 or 11, depending on the situation. For instance, if a player is dealt an Ace and a five, their hand can either total six or 16.

An Ace and a five equals six or a "soft 16," meaning even if a player accepts another card, they cannot "bust" or go over 21. So, if a player chooses to accept another card (a likely scenario if the player has any desire of winning), and it's a seven, their cards would total 13 – an Ace, a five and a seven, with the Ace counting as 1.

If a player's first two cards total 17 or higher, it's best to stick with what you're dealt or stand. The dealer must hit until his two cards total 17 or more, or until he busts.

As a player, the preference is to have the dealer go over 21 or "bust." If a player is dealt 13 and the dealer's up card is a five, the safest way to play is to always assume the dealer's down card is a 10. In this instance, the players expects the dealer's two cards to total 15 and the wise decision as a player is to stand, hoping the dealer busts on his own and everyone gets paid.

If a player is dealt 13 again, but this time the dealer is showing a queen or a card equaling 10, the player must assume, or play for the worst-case scenario, the dealer is holding another 10 as the down card or 20.

In this case, 13 does not beat 20 and the player must hit.

Getting dealt a blackjack - an Ace and a 10 or face card – wins automatically, unless the dealer also receives a blackjack.

For blackjack novices, there is a card, or what blackjack players call the "book," that explains every possible scenario on a table. It can be purchased at most casino gift shops and can be used at the table.

The Odds

A blackjack pays 3 to 2 odds. All other winning bets pay even money.

If played correctly, blackjack has fairly favorable player odds. The house normally has a half-percent edge over the player.

For more detailed information on blackjack, visit


The Basics:

Craps is a dice game in which players make wagers on the outcome of the dice roll. Players take turns and play against the house (the casino). Players can bet on the various options by placing chips in the appropriate sections of the board and there are a variety of odds on each bet.

The Play:

One central bet all novices can make to ease their way into the game is called the pass line bet.

Craps is played in rounds with the come out roll as the first phase. To start a round, a shooter (the person rolling the dice) rolls and if the two dice total two, three or 12, the shooter is said to "crap out," with the players who bet on the pass line losing their bets and ending the round.

If the shooter rolls a seven or 11 on the come out, the result is a win for pass line bets. The same shooter continues until he rolls a four, five, six, eight, nine or 10. That number becomes "the point," meaning if the shooter rolls a point number, the pass line bets win. If the shooter rolls a seven, the most common combination of two dice, the shooter craps out and the round ends.

The Odds

The house edge for the pass line bet is 1.41 percent. There are various house edge odds depending the bet.

For more information on craps, visit


The Basics:

Perhaps the easiest game on the casino floor and the one most associated with gaming, the roulette wheel is a series of numbers on black and red squares. Many players play simultaneously.

The Play:

There are 38 numbers on the wheel: One to 36, a zero and a double zero. Players may choose to bet on a red number, a black number, an odd, an even, and a number range such one to 18, 19 to 36, 1 to 12, 13 to 24, 25 to 36.

Players may also choose to bet on a combination of six numbers or less. Each bet, however, has different winning odds.

The Odds:

Betting on any one number pays 35 to 1 odds, two numbers pay 17 to 1, three numbers pay 11 to 1, four numbers pay 8 to 1, five numbers pay 6 to 1 and six numbers pay 5 to 1.

Betting on number ranges 1 to 12, 13 to 24 and 25 to 26 pay 2 to 1 odds and all the rest of the bet pay even money or 1 to 1.

The house edge on all bets is 5.26 percent except for betting on five numbers. Also known as the "first five" bet, the house edge on that bet is 7.89 percent.

Below is a list of other card games featured at the Horseshoe Casino. The games are played against the dealer, rather than against other players at the table, or based on a pay table. A player's best hand is compared to the pay table to determine if the player won.

Pay tables are often listed near or on a casino gaming table.

Here are more games casino visitors will find:

Let it Ride
Mississippi Stud
Four-card poker
Three-card poker
World Series of Poker Texas Hold ‘Em bonus poker
Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em
Fortune Pai Gow Poker
Crazy Four
Mini Baccarat

Visit for information on the games available at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.


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