Casino War: Rules, strategy and tips to help you win!

Casino War is a very easy to learn casino game.

Played directly against the dealer, there can be several players sitting at the same table. However, since you are playing directly against the dealer, what other players get does not affect you.

The game was created and patented in 1993. It was originally offered at land-based casinos in Nevada, but you will now find it in many casinos on the Internet.

Casino War Rules

A standard Casino War game is played with 6 decks of cards.
Each player at the table places a bet for each hand according to the table limits.

The dealer then deals one card face up to all players and then one face up to himself.
All cards are ranked in the same way as in poker, except for the aces which are always high. Unlike games such as Blackjack, picture cards are treated differently. For example, a King is higher than a Queen, a Queen is higher than a Jack, and all picture cards beat a 10.

Once everyone has a card, the dealer compares each player’s card to his own.

  • If the player’s card is higher, he wins the tie.
  • If the dealer’s card is higher than the players’ card, the player loses the bet.
  • If the dealer’s card and the players’ card are the same value, the player has a choice to make.
  • He can either give up his hand or « go to war ».
  • If the player decides to surrender, he will lose half of his bet and get half back. That player’s hand then ends.
  • If the player decides to go to war, he must make a new bet equal to his original bet.

The dealer then burns 3 cards and deals the player, and then himself, an extra card face up.

If the player’s card is greater than or equal to the dealer’s, the player even wins money on the increased bet and the initial bet grows – he actually wins 3 times the initial bet.

It should be pointed out that in the second bet, if the cards had the same value again, the player would win instead of going to war for the second time.

If the dealer’s second card is higher than the player’s, the player loses all his bets.

Some casinos may allow you to place an initial bet on the tie as a side bet, this type of bet normally pays 10 to 1. This only pays on the first 2 cards and not on the second bet also if the player goes to war.

Casino War Strategy

At first glance, it is not always obvious where the House Edge is located for this game.
The bet is equal to the sum of the winnings and the player has an equal chance of getting a higher card than the dealer.

On closer inspection, when a player and a dealer are tied and the player goes to war, they can either win one or lose two. That’s where the home advantage comes from.

For example, a 10 euro bet that is tied means that another 10 euro bet is required, giving a total of 20 euros. If the player wins after going to war, his second bet will be paid at par while the initial bet grows, so you will get a return of €30 from a €20 bet – equal to one unit.

If the player goes to war and then loses, he will lose 2 bets (in the example above, €20 in total).

In terms of strategy, as the only decision to be made is whether to go to war or surrender in the rare cases where the dealer and the player have the same value card, there is no real strategy to be learned.

The house advantage is slightly higher when a player surrenders rather than going to war, so when funds permit, going to war would be the best option.

Since the player wins with a tie after going to war, the extra bet is worth the long-term risk.
However, like any casino game, the casino always has an advantage over the player.

Tips for Casino War

Like many casino games, Casino War usually comes with a side bet that players can play on. As with all side games, the odds of winning are in the casino’s favour and should therefore be avoided at all costs. In order to get the most out of your gambling sessions, you need to minimise the house advantage – by betting on the secondary game, you certainly don’t do that.

Don’t surrender – try to consider the chances of needing an extra bet when thinking about your bankroll, because when there is a tie and you have the opportunity to bet again or surrender, the right thing to do with the best House Edge is to keep playing, as opposed to surrendering and throwing away half your bet.

Play within your means at all times. When deciding on the budget you want to play with, it’s worth making sure you have at least 40 games – decide the total bet for each game on that basis. If you lose the money you had budgeted for, give up rather than gamble money you can’t afford to lose.

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