Casino war is a casino card game based on the children’s game of War. The game is arguably one of the most easily understood casino card games, but it also has a relatively large house edge compared to other games.The game is normally played with six standard 52 card decks. The cards are ranked in the same way that cards in poker games are ranked, except that aces are always high.
After the player has placed a bet, the dealer and the player are each dealt one card.
- If the player’s card is ranked higher than the dealer’s, the player wins even money.
- If the dealer’s card is ranked higher than the player’s, the player loses the bet to the house.
A tie occurs when the dealer and the player each have cards of the same rank. In a tie situation, the player has two options:
- The player can surrender, in which case the player loses half the bet.
- The player can go to war, in which case the player must place an additional wager the same size as the first wager.
Going to war
If the player goes to war, the dealer burns three cards before dealing each of them an additional card. If the player’s card is ranked higher than or the same as the dealer’s, then the player wins an amount equal to the size of the original bet only. If the dealer’s card is ranked higher than the player’s, the player loses both the original bet and the “going to war” bet.
The dealer and the player each have a 50% chance of winning, so this seems like an even money game. The house advantage, however, comes from what happens in the case of a tie.
Some casinos offer a bonus payout in the event of a tie after going to war.
The house advantage increases with the number of decks in play and decreases in casinos who offer a bonus payout. The house advantage for this game is over 2%.
Surrendering has a slightly higher advantage for the house, so a player should never surrender.
- Brisman, Andrew. American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling: Winning Ways (Stirling, 1999) ISBN 080694837X
Video: Casino War at Betfair Casino