As a novice gambler you have two choices – playing skill based games, where your ability determines your success, or playing chance based games, where everyone has an equal chance of walking away as a winner.
Let’s discuss both variations below, with a view to identifying the best opportunities for generating a consistent ROI as a novice gambler.
For the pure novice, chance based online casino games are arguably the best place to start. These are games where the house edge is the same for pro gamblers as it is for rank beginners. This means that your ability, or assumed lack of it, won’t count against you in terms of your chances of walking away a winner.
High RTP slots are always a good starting place for chance-based games. I would classify slots with a return to player percentage of over 95% as being high paying, giving you a 5% notional house edge to overcome. You can even find slots of up to 97-98% RTP, where the house edge is even slimmer still.
House edge effectively guarantees the amount you would lose over an infinite number of wagers – so you want this amount to be as low as possible, or rather for the RTP to be as high as possible. Of course this doesn’t mean you’ll win or lose every spin – it’s just an average. But these numbers do matter, and they will affect your overall success or otherwise the longer you continue to play these games.
Another good option is video poker. In some circumstances, it’s actually possible to virtually eliminate all house edge from video poker, particularly when you’re playing a full 5 coin game, which returns the contest to essentially a level playing field between you and the casino. Again, there’s very little skill involved – other than ditching low value cards and making the best hands with what you’re dealt. This is another good option for players chasing a higher ROI.
It’s also worth considering roulette, where the house edge is a standard 1/36th – under 3%. Roulette’s house edge is derived from the 37 wells offered, but winning pays out at only 36x – leaving 1/36th for the casino. Again, there’s no magic to roulette, no matter your preferred strategy – it’s a chance based game that offers a slim house edge, and therefore a decent ROI for novice players.
Skill-based games are probably the hardest for novice gamblers to tackle profitably. That’s because you’re often playing against other players who are much more accomplished than yourself (think poker sharks), or playing in a game like blackjack against the house, where how you play really impacts your chances of winning long-term.
In blackjack, players can reduce the house edge as much as possible by playing and betting according to the basic strategy. Blackjack by its definition has a limited number of hands and circumstances, and these have been mapped out in various charts and diagrams to tell you the statistically strongest way to play each hand.
By learning this basic strategy and playing to the numbers, it’s possible to virtually eradicate casino advantage, while giving yourself a fighting chance of generating a solid return on your gambling spend. The better you know this strategy, and the more effective you are at playing blackjack, the better your returns will be – so get practicing!
Poker can be another good one for skill-based novices, and there are games starting from very small stakes to get you going – not to mention poker tournaments that can pay out generously if you do well. The returns in poker can be notionally unlimited, but the major caveat is that you have to know what you’re doing to generate a return. This isn’t like playing slots – you need to play other players and win their money from them, which makes poker much more competitive.
The best option for novice gamblers is to try out different games, with one eye firmly on those that represent the best value for money in terms of house edge and potential ROI. The Lottery has a good ROI, but your chances of winning are infinitesimally small.
Similarly, poker can offer huge returns, but you need to know what you’re doing if you don’t want to lose all your money. It’s a balancing act that depends on your particular skills and expertise, but by sticking with games that offer you the best chance of winning money, you’re in with the best shot of profiting on aggregate from your gambling.