What is a sucker bet?
A sucker bet is a bet that overwhelmingly favours the casino – that is, a bet with a huge house advantage, or house edge – by offering odds that are significantly lower than the true, mathematical odds of winning. Sucker bets are often created to fool, or hoodwink, inexperienced players into betting against the odds, although experienced players are often just as bad at evaluating true odds. In a single coin toss, the odds of heads or tails are, of course, even money, or 1/1, but in ten tosses of the same coin, the odds of five heads and five tails are 5/2 against, as counter-intuitive as it may seem.
Blackjack, for example, generally offers a house edge of 0.28%, but even something as apparently innocuous as taking ‘insurance’ against the dealer having blackjack when his upcard is an ace adds up to 7% to the house edge. Craps, too, offers ‘don’t pass/don’t come’ bets with a house edge of 1.36% and ‘pass/come’ bets with a house edge of 1.41%, but anyone bold, or foolhardy, enough to bet on ‘any seven’, with a house edge of 16.67%, has fallen victim to a sucker bet. Worse still is keno, which requires little thought or involvement, but is, nonetheless, an uncomplicated, relaxed form of gambling. Keno players may be less relaxed to learn that, at best, they are giving away a 25% edge to the house and, at worst, an eyewatering 29%.