If you’re just getting started with casino gambling—online or off—you have a bewildering number of choices facing you.
Do you want to play table games?
Should you stick with slot machines?
Which games offer the best odds of winning?
Which games are the most fun?
The answer to most of these questions is the same: “It depends”.
But what does it depend on?
Different gamblers have different goals for their gambling. Below, I’ve outlined a 7-step process for figuring out which casino game suits your temperament best.
1- What Kind of Bankroll Do You Have?
Bankroll isn’t necessarily tied into your temperament, but for a lot of gamblers, it is. People who are more risk-averse tend to have smaller gambling bankrolls.
If you have a small bankroll, you’ll obviously want to stick with games that are available at lower limits.
But be careful. Some games seem like they’re inexpensive when they’re not really.
I’m specifically referring to penny slots here. Yeah, you can bet on a single payline for a penny, but most of these games default to playing multiple credits on multiple lines.
Most casino games are available in a wide variety of limits based on the casino where you’re playing. In a major destination like Las Vegas, the casinos on the Strip—the most popular part of town—all have higher minimum bets than the less popular areas of town.
If you’re a low roller, consider playing at Boulder Station or somewhere Downtown.
2- Are You Sociable or a Loner?
Some casino games are social endeavors. You play most table games with other players at the table. If you don’t like being around other people, you should probably stick with slot machines and video poker machines.
On the other hand, the more sociable you are, the more you’ll like some of the various table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette. Each of these games caters to a different kind of clientele, so the type of people you enjoy socializing with is another factor.
I’m a social gambler, and I spend a lot of time in the poker room as a result. I have a high threshold for boredom, too, so I can play Texas holdem for hours on end without going broke. All you have to do is fold a lot.
3- Are You Calm or Do You Like a Lot of Excitement?
If you like calm, peaceful gambling, it’s hard to beat games like baccarat and roulette. These games have a formal and stately pace. It’s fun and exciting to win, but you rarely see people jumping around and screaming at the roulette table. And you’ll never see that kind of behavior in the baccarat parlor.
On the other hand, if you’re a social adrenaline junkie, nothing compares to craps. You have more players at the craps table with you than at any other game table. You’ll also see more people getting excited, jumping up and down, and giving each other hugs and high-fives, too.
You can get a good feel for the atmosphere at the various tables just by spending some time watching.
4- Are You Cerebral and Do You Like to Think about What You’re Doing?
It’s hard to beat blackjack if you’re a thinking gambler. You make a decision on every hand, and every time, it affects your odds. (I guess you don’t make a decision when you’re dealt a natural, since it’s an automatic winner. But still.)
Poker isn’t exactly a casino game, but it’s also a thinking person’s gambling game. You make decisions about how much to bet or raise on each hand. You also get to think about what the other players at the table are probably holding.
Video poker is a good game for cerebral players who don’t feel like socializing with other players. You make decisions on every hand about which cards to keep and which ones to discard.
5- Do You Like to Try to Get an Edge When You’re Gambling?
Most people don’t have the temperament to be advantage gamblers, but I know people who refuse to make any kind of bet unless they can get the odds in their favor. Only a handful of gambling activities allow this opportunity.
In blackjack, you can learn to count cards and get an edge over the casino. You have the added excitement of trying to stay under the casino’s radar, too.
When playing poker with other players, you get to match your skill versus your opponents’. Pro poker players earn a good living. And if you have the right personality, it’s a lot of fun to hang out at the poker table, too.
Skilled sports bettors make a better living than any other kind of advantage gambler, at least according to Mason Malmuth and David Sklanksy. They discuss this at great length in their book How to Make $100,00 a Year Gambling for a Living
6- Do You Dream of Scoring a Single, Big, Life-Changing Jackpot?
No one can guarantee that you’ll ever do well enough playing the lottery or progressive slots to change your life.
But no other game in the casino offers the same opportunity to win that kind of money.
Progressive slot machine games like Megabucks offer you the opportunity to win $10 million or more on a single spin of the reels. The problem is that the odds of winning any of those games are like the odds of winning the lottery.
You’re a lot more likely to be struck by lightning, for example.
But if you enjoy fantasizing about what you’d do with all that money, it might not hurt to spend a little time and money enjoying the progressive slot machine games.
7- Do You Prefer to Stay Home?
The ultimate example of the antisocial gambler is the one who doesn’t want to leave the house. If this description fits you, plenty of online casinos are willing to take your action.
The variety of games available at online casinos compare favorably to the variety of games available at traditional casinos. Most Internet casinos offer video games that rely on random number generators and animation to provide you with your gaming entertainment.
But live dealer casinos are becoming more common. These casinos use real casino equipment and dealers. You play via Webcam. If you like blackjack or roulette, you might love one of these options. Many players swear that these come closer to duplicating the casino experience than any other games.
Of course, if you play slot machines or video poker games, you’re already used to dealing with animation and random number generators. Many of the most popular slot machine games (and most of the popular video poker games) are also available online.
But playing slots on the web offers a couple of advantages over playing slot machines in a traditional casino. They offer games on the Internet that aren’t always available in a casino.
But more importantly, the payback percentages for these games are better on the Internet than they are in real life. Online casinos have lower overhead, so they can afford to offer gamblers better odds.
Casinos offer games suitable for any and every temperament. That’s one of the ways they stay in business—by offering a large variety of customers the opportunity to play games they’ll enjoy.
Most players don’t have the temperament or the skill to get enough of an edge at gambling to make a living doing it. Since you probably can’t get an edge at most gambling games, your goal should be to get as much fun and joy out of the experience as possible.
You do that by matching your temperament and interests to the quality of the games you’re playing.