Casino war is perhaps the casino’s simplest game. It is reminiscent of a children’s card game where each player pits one card against the other. The card with the highest value wins. Cards are valued according to their face values, with a two the lowest and an ace the highest. It is usually played with one to six standard 52-card decks and online, the decks are shuffled after every hand.
Both the dealer and player are dealt a card and whoever receives the highest value card wins the hand. The suits of the cards do not matter. The player receives even money on her wager if she wins.
If the dealer and player both receive cards of the same value, the player can choose to surrender and forfeit half of her bet, ending the hand, or “go to war” with the dealer. In choosing to go to war against the dealer, the player must double her bet. The dealer then “burns” three cards and deals another card each to the player and dealer.
If the player’s second card is equal to or higher than the dealer’s, the player wins the game. The player will win even money on the original bet amount only (not the doubled bet). If the dealer’s second card wins, the player loses both the initial bet and the raise.
Players may also make an additional side bet that wins if the hand dealt is a tie. The side bet commonly pays 10:1, but this vastly undervalues the chance of getting a tie and is clearly a "sucker bet” designed to increase the house edge. For example, in a single deck game, the chance of being dealt the same card as the dealer is 3 in 51, or 1 in 17.
Some casinos offer a bonus where the player wins even money on the both the original bet and the raise if the war results in a second tie. Microgaming casinos offer this bonus online.
Apart from the tie side bet, the house edge on Casino War is based on the player having to concede half their bet on ties, or double their bet to go to war and only receive even money on the original bet if they win. Depending on the number of decks used, the house edge when always going to war is just under 3%, while always surrendering raises the house edge to around 3.7%. The difference is due to the player winning the war if it is also a tie.
The optimal strategy to minimize losses in casino war is dead simple. You only need to know a couple of things:
Casino War is very common at online casinos. As we stated above, probably the best casinos to play this game at are powered by Microgaming due to the double tie bonus which reduces the house edge. See below for some of the best casino bonuses available that allow casino war play.
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