You know them. They mock you with their high-roller allure as you saunter over from the nickel slots to the $9.99 all-you-can-eat buffet. They are the casino games that intimidate you so much, you’re afraid to even stand and watch them as a spectator – let alone sit down and play with your own hard earned cash. If you need a refresher course, here are the five most intimidating casino games:
Baccarat. Anything featured in over 20 James Bond movies has got to be too cool for you, right? Wrong! Baccarat is actually one of the simplest games you will ever play – with a simple two card draw and no strategy whatsoever involved. What makes Baccarat so inaccessible is the cost to play. Most Baccarat tables are limited to the high-minimum, high-roller areas of the casino floor.
Craps. Even though the table is surrounded by people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds, there’s still something scary about craps to the uninitiated. All that money flying in every direction, the roll-of-the-dice meaning so many different things to different people at the table. It’s enough to make your head spin. TIP: Start with simple bets like the pass/don’t pass line and move up slowly from there. Also, for a while, just “follow” the bets of an experienced player to get a feel for payouts and the rhythm of the game.
Pai-Gow Poker. Talk about a baffling ordeal! Pai-Gow poker becomes natural after a few hands, but watching the game initially can be a crazy experience, as player try to beat the dealer by making two hands (one five-card hand and one two-card hand) with the cards they are dealt.
Let it Ride. This is an interesting poker variation that many people walk by without stopping to play because of the unique set up of the cards and chips. No mystery here: bettors simply play a five card stud poker hand and can choose to sacrifice more-or-less of their original bet depending on how confident they are in their flop cards. Rather than move too fast for many people, Let it Ride is actually considered one of the slower moving games on the casino floor.
Omaha Poker. Thanks to cable TV, there’s barely a person alive who doesn’t know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. But what about it’s complicated, slightly-deranged cousin Omaha? Omaha is a lot like Hold ‘Em except the player gets four hole cards (and must use only two of them) and must use three of the five community cards on the table. The most important thing to know about Omaha poker is that the hands tend to be more high-powered than in Texas Hold ‘Em. Therefore, if you’ve got a two-pair and think you’re on top of the world, BEWARE the guys on either side of you are likely to have trips or higher. Omaha is actually popular as a HI-LO game because the number of card in play makes for more potential hand combinations.
By Mark Etinger
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