One game that’s not particularly well known outside the niche of casino-goers and gambling fans comes Casino War, the two-card military-named game that should be everybody’s casino bucket list.
Although it may sound like a mission in ‘Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’, there’s nothing criminal nor violent about casino war, well, bar the name. It is, however, one of the most fun and satisfying games that you can play while on the casino floor.
It’s fast-paced, easy to pick-up and (like blackjack) involves a party of players all going up against the dealer to try and pick winnings and strip the casino of its revenue. Granted, there’s still a 2-3 percent house edge, but it’s still tremendous fun to try and bulk up your bankroll alongside fellow players.
You’re able to play both online and in the traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, so whatever your preference might be, you’ll be catered for. There are countless places to play the card-based favorite wherever you may be!
If you’re interested and want to know how to play, discover useful tips, investigate odds, and implement the very best strategies to use in your game – look no further. Welcome to the complete guide to Casino War.
How to play casino war?
The game is up there with one of the easiest real money card games that you’ll find in any casino, whether you prefer to play in the traditional brick-and-mortar or are more of an online-based player.
The game works with a total of 6 decks, but it’s usually only two cards that you’ll be focusing on each hand, so you won’t be needing to memorize complex hands and odd rankings for the game.
Starting off the game
A dealer deals one card face-up to each of the players in the game as well as a single card for themselves, this leads to one of three scenarios:
- The value of the player’s card is higher than the dealer’s card – The player wins
- The value of the player’s card is lower than the dealer’s card – The dealer wins
- The value of the player’s card is equal to the dealer’s card – Tie
It’s the final scenario that’s the most interesting and gives the game its trademark name in which a player can choose whether to ‘surrender’ or whether to ‘go to war’.
If a player opts to surrender, they’re able to leave the game and receive half of their wager back for their trouble. However, if the player opts to go to war, the player will make their bet and the dealer will burn three cards, dealing one to the player and another to themselves, again face-up.
If the player’s second card is lower the dealer’s, the dealer will win and both the original and second bet will be lost. However, if the player’s second card matches or beats the dealer’s, the original wager will return to the player and more money will be won.
It’s super simple and super fun to play – just make sure you’re not placing the dummy side bet…
One bet to avoid
When looking at the table during a game of casino war, you’ll also notice a third betting option alongside the ‘ante’ (original bet) and the ‘war’ (second bet) options known as the ‘tie’ (or side bet).
This option is the highest paying of the wagers and will usually offer 10 to 1 odds, a nice payday if you’re predicting ties on the regular. However, this will give a huge casino advantage of 18.65 percent, not exactly something that you’ll want to be facing.
Unless you’re feeling particularly lucky, it’s best to avoid opting for the tie.
The best casino war strategy
For such a simple card game, it might sound a little surprising that strategies to maximize winnings do exist – but dive into the details of the game and it’ll start to make sense as to how you should play the game to avoid silly mistakes.
It’s a good idea to start off playing Casino War for free to get a feel for the game you’ll eventually be putting real money into. This way, you can perfect your techniques and grasp exactly how the game works before your hard-earned cash on the line.
The very first piece of strategy you should be taking onto the casino floor when looking to play the war-based game is to know to never ‘surrender’, Winston Churchill would be proud.
When a player opts to surrender during the game, they’re actually decreasing their odds of winning rather than playing it safe (as you’d expect).
When a player surrenders, they will sacrifice half of their original wager and the house will boast a 3.7 percent edge. However, when going to war the edge will reduce to a much more manageable 2.8 percent.
If you hang on, go the distance and never surrender, you’ll have a 50-50 chance to win despite having to wager once more for your first bet to continue. It’s always worth it.
Eye spy with my little eye… an Ace that’s high
Ace’s are high when you’re playing casino war so it’s no surprise that it pays to have them on your side.
By keeping your eyes peeled and trying to spot patterns in which Aces are dealt you may be able to predict when they’re next appearing. It might seem like simple practice and, of course, there’s no way to know for certain what the next card that you’re being dealt will be. But it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to the cards that have already been dealt and the cards you’re expecting next up.
What you do with the information is up to you. Either bet big or conservatively when you’re feeling an Ace is due – after all, it’s either going to the players or the dealer and I know where I’d rather be sat.
Play with smaller wagers
Another key part of the strategy when playing casino war is the size of bets your making and you’ll be smarter to play with the smaller money during your time at the table.
As with every game on the casino floor, casino war puts the house at the advantage with a 2.8 percent edge when choosing to go to war (which you always should). There’s no Jackpot or bonus to be won that you’ll get an advantage on when betting big and you’ll only get back what you’ve put in.
It’s for this reason that bankroll management is of utmost importance. There’s no reason to bet big, especially if you can’t afford it. If you’re having fun with the smaller wagers, stick with them and focus on relative wins.
After all, you’ll still be doubling your wagers on your wins and any profit is still profit. That’s good enough in my book.
Avoid the ‘tie’ (side bet)
I’d touched on this a little earlier, but there’s no reason that it shouldn’t form a key part of your strategy too – you should always avoid the ‘tie’ (side bet), no matter how lucky you’re feeling.
At first glance the side bet sounds pretty appealing, it’s good odds with a 10 to 1 payout and there’s plenty of ties throughout the game – that’s the fun in it – so why not? Thing is, the bet is essentially worthless with the chance of hitting a tie too low to warrant the wager.
During a standard game of casino war, a player and dealer have an equal chance to win the game of 46.3 percent each to find victory. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there’s therefore only a 7.4 percent chance to hit the tie – not what you want to hear, especially given 10 to 1 odds.
As soon as you’re making the bet, you’re increasing the house edge to 18.5 percent. It sounds bad, but when you consider that it’d only be around the 3 percent mark, it makes it all the much worse.
Know when to walk away
Last but not least in your casino war strategy, it’s vital that you know exactly when to walk away from the table, try your hand at another game or head on home for the night.
It’s good practice to either set a time in which you’re going to be calling it a day or know at what point in your bankroll that you’re going to throw in the towel. It doesn’t matter whether you’re feeling lucky, whether you’re on a winning or losing streak or whether you’re wanting to keep on going – when your predetermined time comes – it’s important to get going.
Although not specifically strategy, it’s also vital to ensure that you’re only betting with money that you can afford to lose. After all, you can use your betting money for rent, but you should never use your rent money for betting.
Playing casino war online
With such easy rules and fast-paced play, casino war proves popular with online casinos so it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of different places to play when shopping around.
When choosing a casino it’s important to look for trusted casinos with the correct licenses. Online casinos in the states are often licensed and regulated by governments that aren’t always as protective of the players and their details as governments would be – so it’s important to get to check before you’re signing up.
The safest way to play is in the brick-and-mortar casinos that you’ll find across some states. This way you can make sure that the casinos that you’re playing at have the correct legislation and regulations across the board.
This shouldn’t put you off playing online by any means, but it’s important to stay vigilant when looking for new places to play. Stick to the big names with the bulletproof reputations and you’ll usually be in very good standing.
To cut a long story short-ish
To cut a long story short, when it comes to casino war, there’s not a lot you can go wrong with and if you’re playing with fun as the main goal – you’re in for a good time.
How to play
Aim to beat the dealer with a higher card and you’ll win back your original wager. Get a lowe valued card and you’ll lose your original wager (ante) and the hand. Draw with the dealer and you’ve got the choice whether to ‘surrender’ and receive half of your original bet back or ‘go to war’, bet again and aim for the higher card on a second deal.
The same rules stand on the second deal, but if you’re in a tie this time, you’re going to be in the money. You’ll receive twice your total wager for landing a higher card or drawing with the dealer after choosing to ‘go to war’.
Strategic tips to consider
When looking towards strategies that keep you in the best stance to win during the game, your main focus should be to never ‘surrender’. If you’re getting the opportunity to ‘go to war’, you should always take it – not only will you not have to sacrifice half of your original wager, but you’ll be lowering the house edge to 2.8 percent.
Keep an eye out for aces, they’re the highest valued cards in the game and will usually land an instant win for the player (or dealer). Although it’s not possible to know when they’re next coming up, judging distance between them might work on your side – you never know.
Use bankroll management and stay safe
There aren’t any advantages to betting big (no jackpots or bonuses) so if you’re happy with the smaller wagers, it’s recommended you stick with them.
Use bankroll management to make sure you’re stopping at predetermined points and know when it’s time to leave. But ultimately, make sure that you’re gambling for the right reasons and when the fun stops, stop.
Remember the strategies and good luck on the tables!