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How to Play Casino War online: Rules, odds, strategy, and house edge

Profile Picture: Simon Young

Simon Young

September 14th, 2021

Modern warfare is so hi-tech we can't even begin to fathom how everything works. Strategies are planned to the smallest detail because the stakes are so high. Casino War couldn’t be more different: it’s simple, there is no real strategy, and you can play for just a few cents.

With that said, you won’t want to lose Casino War, just as you wouldn’t have done had you enjoyed the original card game at home on the porch with your grandma.

For those who have not come across Casino War before, you might find it at other casinos under a different name because Shuffle Master, under the Scientific Games banner, has the naming rights. It’s this official version you’ll find right here at TwinSpires Casino.

Casino War Rules

The Casino War rules couldn’t be simpler. It’s you against the dealer, and you place your bet (the minimum is just 10 cents). Then you both receive one playing card each, and the one with the highest value wins. All cards are ranked as in poker, 2 through 10, then jack, queen, king, and ace is high.

Here are the possible outcomes

  • Your card is higher – you win your bet in a 1:1 payout
  • The dealer’s card is higher – the dealer wins, and you lose your bet

But what happens if both cards are the same, I hear you ask (or mutter under your breath in a confused sort of way)? Once again, it depends...

  • If you placed a bet in the bonus "Tie" box, you win a 10:1 payout
  • You can choose to Surrender, and receive half of your original bet back, and move on to the next hand
  • You can elect to Go to War! In which case, you must double your stake (and again bet on the tie bonus if you wish). The dealer burns three cards then deals one more to you and one to themselves. If you win, you win 1:1 on your top-up bet while your initial stake is returned. If you lose, well, you lose the lot. If it’s a tie, the process is repeated.

This happy state of affairs continues for as long as you wish. Wars can last a long time, after all.

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What are the Casino War Odds?

You might think that the odds when you play Casino War online are fairly even. In so much as you and the dealer both have a 46.3% chance of winning on the first card, that is true. But that is still a fair way short of 50:50. The difference comes down to whether you ever back the tie (to get a 10:1 payout) and how you choose to play on after a tie.

Statistically, you are better off to always go to war. Never surrender! And statistically, although fun, you shouldn’t go betting on the tie bonus for each round.

If you play consistently using the best strategy – not betting the tie bonus, and always going to war – you can expect to lose slowly over a long time because Casino War has a low house edge.

Casino War House Edge

Astute readers might recognize the betting similarities with Baccarat, where you simply back Player, Banker, or Tie. It’s no surprise that both games have a similar low house edge. Casino war house edge is just over 2%, while baccarat is a shade over 1%. That means that in Casino War, in the long term, at least, you would expect to lose $2 for every $100 you bet, which is not too shabby.

But of course, there are short-term variations that make the Casino War game quite volatile. Like when you toss a coin, it’s not unheard of to see streaks of five successive heads or tails. Sometimes more. In the same way, your card could be inferior to the dealer’s card many times in a row. Owing to this, make sure you bet low enough to soak up a losing streak – or walk away a big winner if you have a winning streak.

Play Casino War Online at TwinSpires Casino

If you have never considered giving Casino War a try, this article will, hopefully, put you on battle stations. If you have not already done so, register for your account at TwinSpires Casino (available with a generous welcome bonus), then head to the virtual casino floor to go to war with a dealer – in the nicest possible way, of course. Good luck!