Table & Pit Games

Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker
Caribbean Poker, Spanish 21, Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, PokerPro®

Table games and pit games add greatly to the excitement of the casino, and give gamblers the opportunity to pit their skills (and luck) against the house.

Blackjack (21)


Blackjack offers some of the best odds in any casino, that, and the game's simplicity make it one of the most enduring of all table games.

The players place their bets, after which the dealer gives each player two cards face up, and deals himself one card face up and one card face down. The object of the game is to draw cards that add up to 21, or as close to 21 as possible without going over. Tens, jacks, queens , and kings all count as 10; aces count as either 1 or 11 (the player's choice); and all other cards play at their face value. Each player has a turn in which he can draw additional cards, one at a time, to get closer to 21.

If during this draw the player "busts" (goes over 21), he loses, and the dealer collects his bet at that time.

After each player has had the opportunity to hit, stand, or bust, the dealer must turn over his/her hidden card. While each player can "stand" (keep the cards he's been dealt and take no more), the dealer has no such luxury: he must hit (take a card) if holding a 16 or under, and stand on a 17 or over.

At this point (unless the dealer busts—a happy event, because all players left in the game win), if the player's card total is closer to 21 than the dealer's, he wins. If it is less than the dealer's, he loses. A tie ("push") is a standoff and nobody wins. 


Craps is one of the most exciting games in any casino, and it it also one of the most confusing to newcomers. The game is played with two six-sided dice, with spots on each of the sides, from one to six (the number of spots on opposing sides of a die always add up to seven, e.g ., if the side you're looking at has a single spot on it, the opposite side will have six spots). Players take turns rolling (shooting) the dice.

That's it. Just shoot the dice and seeing what numbers come up. What could be simpler? Craps is so simple, in fact, that somebody felt compelled to complicate it with a bunch of seemingly incomprehensible betting options. But the betting in craps is actually pretty easy to understand. Here's some of the options:

The most basic bet is played on the "Pass Line" before the shooter rolls the dice. You are betting with the shooter in this case.  If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 (which he wants), both you and the shooter win. The shooter also keeps the dice to roll again. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12, your bet is lost but he remains the shooter, and continues to roll the dice. If the shooter rolls 4,5,6,8,9, this is called his "point" and he continues to roll until he either makes his point and you both win, or he rolls a 7 and your bet is lost.

If you want to bet against the shooter, you place your bet on the "Don't Pass" line and the rules are reversed, except that if, on the shooters first roll, he rolls a 12, it's a stand-off (you neither win nor lose).

After the roll has begun and the shooter has a point, you can make a bet by placing it on the "Come" line. The same rules apply to you as if the shooter were making their first roll: if the next roll is 7 you win; if it is a 2,3, or 12, you lose; if it is any other number, that becomes your "come point" and, for you to win, it must be rolled again before a 7. If a 7 comes first, your bet is lost.

Here are the various betsPASS LINE: An even money bet. If the first roll of the dice adds up to 7 or 11, you win. 2, 3, or 12 loses the bet. Any other number is the "point" and if the point is rolled again, you win, but lose on 7.
DON'T PASS LINE: Just the reverse of the PASS LINE, except that if 12 is the first roll, it is a stand-off, nobody wins.
COME BET: Basically the same as the PASS LINE except that you must bet after the point.
DON'T COME: The reverse of the COME BET, except that a first roll of a 2 or 3 wins, and a 12 is a stand-off.
ODDS: Once you have a "point" or a "come point", you may take the ODDS and win if the point or come point is made before a 7.
PAYOFF: Two to one for 10s or 4s, three to two for 5s or 9s, six to five for 8s or 6s. When betting DON'T PASS or DON'T COME, you lay the odds as outlined.
PLACE BETS: Once a shooter makes a "point" you may take a PLACE BET on numbers 4,5,6,8,9 or if your number comes up before 7, you win.
PAYOFF: Nine to five on 4s or 10s, seven to five on 5s or 9s, seven to six on 8s or 6s.
FIELD: Here you're betting that 2,3,4,9,10,11 or 12 is rolled before 5,6,7, or 8, 2 and 12 pay double.
BIG 6 OR 8: You may bet one or both and win even money on the number when you throw before a 7.
HARD WAY BETS: You win if the number comes up exactly as on the table; lose if the number comes up any other way, or if a 7 is thrown.
PROPOSITION BETS: 2 and 12 pay thirty for one, 3 and 11 pay fifteen for one, all on the first roll.
ANY CRAPS: You can bet on any roll. If 2,3, or 12 rolls, you win. You are paid seven times the amount of your bet. If any other number is rolled, you lose.



Roulette is fast-paced and easy to play. The outer edge of a roulette wheel is ringed with numbered depressions, or slots. The wheel is spun and a ball is dropped onto it, where it rolls counter to the wheel's spin until both slow enough for the ball to settle into the winning slot.

Players can either place cash on the numbers they wish to bet on, or buy chips from the dealer (each player's chips will be colored differently from those of the other players). The amount of return on a winning bet is determined by the amount of the wager and the type of bet made. Odds on roulette range from 35-to-1 to even money, and are determined by the combinations of numbers selected by the player.


In reality, what we play here in the States is mini-baccarat; the classy game we've all seen James Bond play just doesn't exist here. For brevity's sake, we'll call the version of mini-baccarat we play here "baccarat."

The objective of Baccarat is to draw a two- or three-card hand that totals closer to 9 than the banker. Tens, jacks, queens, and kings count as 0, aces are 1 and all other cards are their respective face values. If your total is more than ten, you drop the ten. So a 8-9 hand totals to 7 (17, drop ten).

You can see the simplicity of baccarat. Your choices are limited to what sort of bet to make. From there on it's in the dealer's hands (in fact, you never get to touch the cards), and you either win or lose.

Bet on your own hand and you face a house edge of 1.24%. Bet on the banker's hand and the edge is either 0.6% (if there's a 4% House cut) or 1.06% (if their cut is 5%). Finally there's the tie bet, which at best gives the house almost a 5% edge (Pay 8:1) and at worst 14+% (Pay 9:1).

As to playing the game, that's it. As to knowing what's going on, it's a matter of strict and fixed rules, and here they are:

The banker and the player each draw two cards. If either the player or banker total 8 or 9, both automatically stand, no exceptions. If the player's total is 6 or 7, the player stands. If the player stands, the banker hits on a total of 5 or less.
If the player's total is 5 or less, the player automatically hits and the banker gives the player a third card.

If the player receives a third card then the banker draws a third card, according to the following rules:

hand totals
Banker's Action
0,1,2 Banker must draw a third card
3 Banker draws if Player's third card is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-0 (not 8)
4 Banker draws if Player thirds 2-3-4-5-6-7
5 Banker draws if Player thirds 4-5-6-7
6 Banker draws if Player thirds 6-7
7 Banker stands

Once the final cards are dealt, the one with the total closest to 9 wins.


Let It Ride

Let It Ride is a poker-based casino game, a variation on five-card stud. The object is not to beat the dealer or other players, but rather, simply to acquire a winning hand, the least of which is a pair of tens.

The player begins by placing three identical bets on the betting circles. The player is then dealt three cards and the dealer places two community cards in the center of the table, face down. Based on his assessment of his three hole cards, the player can withdraw his first bet, or "let it ride" and leave it on the table. The dealer then reveals the first community card. Now the player decides whether to withdraw his second bet. The second community card is then revealed and the hand is scored.


Pai Gow Poker

Out of the seven cards dealt to them, players make their best five-card and two-card poker hands to compete with the dealer's two hands. The five-card hand must be stronger than the two-card hand. A winner is declared when both of his hands beat the dealer's respective hands.

Split your seven cards into two poker hands. The five-card hand must be stronger than the two-card hand. (If your cards are 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, jack, king and king, you must place your pair of kings in the five-card hand, leaving the jack and 10 as your best two-card hand.)

Place your two hands on the table in their designated areas. The dealer will instruct you, if necessary.

Wait for the dealer to separate her cards to see if you've won. The winning cards beat both the dealer's five-card and two-card hands. Winning only one hand (which usually happens) results in a tie.


Caribbean Poker

Caribbean Poker has long been a favorite aboard cruise ships, and it's now available at many casinos. It's an easy game to learn owing to its similarity to five-card stud.

After the players ante,the dealer deals five cards to each player and to himself. The dealer turns one of his cards up. At this point each player can make an additional bet—a "call" bet—or surrender (fold). If you surrender you lose the hand and your ante.

There are two betting rounds in a hand of Caribbean Poker. The first is your ante. The second comes when the dealer turns one of their cards face up. If you like what you see and think you're still in the running, you can place a call bet — which is fixed at twice whatever you anted — and play on. If you don't call, you surrender and forfeit your ante.

If you make the call bet the dealer then turns over his cards. To continue to the showdown, the dealer must qualify (hold an Ace-King or better). If the dealer does not hold that, you win the ante but your call bet is simply returned, no matter what the cards show.

If the dealer does qualify then it's a showdown—but with a difference. If you win, the ante pays even money. If you win with anything better than a pair, however, the house pays you a multiple of your call bet based on a bonus ranking. The better your hand, the higher the bonus.


Spanish 21

It's said that Spanish 21 is blackjack with an extreme set of rules.

You're permitted to double down after seeing any number of cards; for instance, if you have 3-3-3-2 for a four-card 11, you can double down. If you don't like the card you're subsequently dealt, you can back out with "double down rescue," which allows us to surrender a lesser bet while pulling back the other. On other hands, late surrender is offered.

Here's another difference: Unless the dealer has blackjack, player 21s win, even if the dealer also has a multiple-card 21. There are bonuses on 21s consisting of five, six or seven cards, and on 6-7-8 or 7-7-7.

Nice rules, eh? Unfortunately, there's some rules that favor the dealer. Spanish 21 is usually a six-deck game with the dealer hitting soft 17—not great, but not all that unusual. The big negative is that the game uses "Spanish" decks with no 10-spot cards. There are Jacks, Queens and Kings that are valued at 10, but the 10s are removed. When we have an 11 and want to double down, we need to understand that there are only 12 10-value cards per deck that will complete our 21 instead of the usual 16 per deck.


Three-Card Poker

Three Card Poker is easy to learn and simple to play. Let's say you are at a $5 table. Place a $5 chip on PairPlus and another on "Ante". Check your cards. If you like what you see, put another $5 chip on "Play."


Four-Card Poker

Four Card Poker is a game that rewards skill, patience and nerve. It is similar to Three Card Poker but with one major difference. In Three Card Poker, the Play wager must equal the Ante; in Four Card Poker, the players may bet up to three times their Ante when staying in the game. Featuring head-to-head play against the dealer and an optional bonus bet, Four Card Poker is a fast-paced, exciting game.



PokerPro® combines the legality of live casino holdem gambling with the speed of online gambling. The manufacturer, PokerTek, has created an automated table that deals, tracks bets, and distributes winnings like an online card room. Unlike other pit or table games, players are pitting their skills against each other, not the house; the casino takes a rake (sometimes larger than the rake taken at regular live poker tables) of each pot. To date, casinos and card rooms in California, Michigan, Mississippi, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas have added PokerPro® tables.


One Last Note: If you have any questions about a particular game, ask a dealer or supervisor for assistance. That's part of their job, and who knows—you might learn something new. It's a truism that "poker lessons are always expensive" but many casinos offer free classes on the various games, so save your money, at least until you've taken advantage of these invaluable free lessons.

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This Page Last Modified 2/9/2023
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