The game of Casino War is played with any number of standard, 52-card decks. No jokers or wild cards are used. The game can be dealt from a single deck or from any number of complete decks out of a shoe. Online casinos often use five decks, but regardless of how many are used, like standard blackjack, the fewer decks the better.
There are a total of three bets that can be made on Casino War. To play the game, players must make the player-against-dealer wager. After all players have their bets in their own wagering circles, the dealer will deliver a single card to each player and one to themselves.
High card wins, so all you have to do to win is beat the dealer! If your card is higher than the dealer, you win. If your card is lower than the dealer you lose. If your cards tie, such as a 6 versus a 6, or a Jack versus a Jack, you have the option to go to WAR.
If you go to WAR, you double your original wager and the dealer will match this second bet (leaving 3 units on the layout). The dealer will burn three cards and deliver one more to the player before burning three additional cards and delivering the final card to themselves. If the player’s card is higher, they win the 3 units. If the dealer’s card is higher, they lose the 3 units. If the cards tie again, the player still gets to keep the 3 units. This game has a house edge of 2.86% with a five-deck shoe.
As a special bonus at many online casinos, when the WAR cards are also a tie, the dealer will pay the 4th unit to the player. This extra bonus reduces the online casino edge to just 2.32% at Casino War. It also makes going to WAR a much better proposition. However, players do have the option to decline an invitation to go to WAR and surrender half of their original wager. If they do so, the game continues as before with a player-against-dealer wager. If the player does surrender, the house edge for a five-deck shoe game rises to 3.67%
Online Casino War comes in many shapes and colours, all similar to the images above
The TIE bet is a separate wager, and the player must first make the player-against-dealer wager before making the TIE bet. If the player and dealer both have the same card (which would send the game to War if the player wanted) the hand is a tie. When this happens the player wins any wager they have on the TIE bet. The payoff for this wager is 10 to 1.
Unlike the standard bet, the house edge actually decreases on the TIE bet when more decks are used. When a five-deck shoe is used the house has an edge of 19.31%
Many players love Casino War because it is fast and easy to play, and the house edge is lower than single-zero roulette. It is also a favorite game for players who like to bet on and against streaks, much like baccarat, although baccarat has just half the house edge Casino War does.
The streak system most often employed at Casino War is the double-triple-quadruple wager. With this system, the player doubles their wager amount after a single win (say from $10 to $20). When the player wins a second hand in a row, the wager goes to triple the original wager (say from $10 to $20 and then to $30). When the player wins a third hand in a row, the wager goes to quadruple the original wager (say from $10 to $20 to $30 and finally to $40) where it stays until the player loses a hand.
This style of streak bet can also be used after a losing hand, doubling the wager to $20, then $30 and finally to $40 to recoup lost wagers. With this reverse doubling system, the player risks $100 in wagers on just four consecutive loses. The “increase when winning” system would seem like a more potent strategy to increase a bankroll during a hot streak.