Last Updated on October 14, 2020 by Jennifer Wright
Guide to the Casino House Edge
The house edge is a concept that’s often misunderstood by both seasoned and novice casino players. Some gamblers are even convinced that the latest new online slot sites are ripping them off by ‘fixing’ odds. Judging by the misconceptions floating around, there’s clearly a lot to learn about the house edge.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know on the house edge. Let’s get started.
What is the casino house edge?
In simple terms, the house edge is the advantage that a gambling operator has over its customers. To make some profit, casinos skew gaming odds slightly to favour them. Let’s use a simple example of a coin toss so you can understand this concept.
Each time you toss a coin, the probability of getting heads is 0.5 and tails 0.5, as each event has an equal chance of happening. Assuming you place a £2 wager, then you stand a chance of winning £2.
In reality, these are ‘true’ odds. But in the gambling world, these aren’t the odds used. Casinos can’t use them as they don’t offer a financial advantage. Most operators might probably pay out £1.95, instead of the £2, meaning they have a mathematical advantage of about 2%.
The difference between the odds provided by a casino and the exact odds of an event happening is what is known as the house age. It helps protect casinos financially, allowing them to remain profit-making businesses for a long time even when players cash out huge winnings.
So, how does this house edge affect your gambling? Knowing a game’s house edge can help you calculate your chances of winning and in return, allow you to make some profit in the long run. If you aren’t in the know, you can’t use this house edge to your advantage. It’s only after learning about the edge that you can then get more bang for your buck.
For instance, if you are lucky to get a decent blackjack hand, you can instantly know what chances you have of walking away with some profit and getting the highest return possible. Whether you’re betting in a real-life casino or online, understanding the house edge can help you devise helpful strategies, improving your overall gaming ultimately.
Is there a difference between the house edge and household?
Many players often mistake these two terms, thinking they’re the same thing. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the house edge is the advantage in casino games that favours casinos. House hold, on the other hand, differs slightly. Defining the number of a player’s chips that a casino wins back, it’s mostly used in Poker.
For example, let’s assume you have £200 in chips and your game has a 0.2% house edge. If you wager with that £200 once, the casino wins back £0.4 from your initial bankroll.
These two concepts go hand-in-hand and understanding them can give you an edge over the house.
Is there a difference between RTP and house edge?
RTP and house edge are opposite sides of the same coin. As you already know by now, the house edge is the amount a casino makes as profit when you place wagers in different games. With a house edge of 4%, a casino makes a £2 profit for every £50 wager you make.
The remaining £48 represents your average return for each £50 you spend gambling. This £48 can be referred to as the RTP or, in full, return to player. If you know the RTP, then you can immediately calculate the online operator’s house edge, as the two percentages must equal 100.
How to calculate the house edge
Now that you have a basic understanding of the house edge, let’s dive into the mathematics involved in calculating this advantage. Keep in mind that for all your wagers, a casino should get some earnings, regardless of whether you win or lose. Even though it might lose some money when you win big, the casino’s house edge model allows it to continue benefiting.
Casinos still implement house edges even in more complex games like European Roulette. In this game, there are 37 slots, meaning you can get at least 37 possible outcomes. With 18 red slots, 18 black slots, and one green zero, your chances are a bit appealing. But when the house edge enters the scene, your returns reduce slightly.
Let’s assume you place 37 wagers with a total of £37, betting £1 on every outcome. If you hit red you can win at least 18 bets, while the remaining ones lose. This approach gives you a return of £36 from your initial £37 investment. You can’t get the entire £37 back because of a 2.7% casino house edge.
This difference in odds applies in other roulette versions, too. American Roulette consists of two zeros. By following the example above, you can expect to win £36 with a £38 investment. Doing your calculations, you’ll notice that this version has a staggering 5.26% house edge.
The good news is, some games have more favourable odds.
Casino games with the lowest house edges
Given that you can’t escape the house edge, regardless of the game you’re playing, the least you can do is look for games with better returns. Fortunately, we’ve researched for you.
Our top picks for casino games with the most favourable house edges include:
Some players generally assume video poker has 0% house edge, provided you’re following a particular strategy. You can’t always expect this to be the case entirely, though. You can’t eliminate a house edge, but you can lower it significantly. Video Poker allows you to take advantage of this fact as it’s mostly based on skill.
A simple version of the game like Deuces Wild can be profitable to you, even if you don’t have a lot of Poker experience.
In most casinos, blackjack’s house edge ranges from to 2 to 3%, meaning it’s one of the lower-risk games in casino gambling. You can even boost your advantage further by sticking to a reasonable strategy; some experienced players get about 0.30% advantages.
Also, if you practice and learn the nuances that go into card counting, you can take advantage of blackjack and boost your odds by 3% over the casino. The problem with this approach, however, is that it takes time to master it, and if found out, you might be banned by most casinos.
It pays to learn the RTP’s and house edges of slot machines; each slot may have a different RTP. The average house Edge in most slot games ranges from 2% to 10%. And you can further boost your chances of getting better odds by searching for slot machines with the most in-game features.
Ideal slot games should at most have a house age of about 6%. Slot games having higher house edges may most likely be rip-offs and may snatch your hard-earned money away from you if you’re a beginner.
In recent times, software suppliers have designed slots that alter their house edges depending on the amount of time you’re playing the game. The more time you spend playing them, the higher you progress to lower house edges.
Craps, one of the most popular casino games in the US, don’t have a huge following in UK casino sites. This is unfortunate as not only does it offer various gaming options, but it also has one of the most favourable odds. Each version of craps has its house edge. And if you do your research well enough, you can discover enjoyable craps games that offer less than 2% house edges.
How volatility affects the house edge
High Variance Slots
High variance games are often associated with high risk. With these games, you can expect huge returns for your investments because of the risk factor. Spinning lots of spins without winning any money is common with these types of games. You can easily walk away with no profit, but when you finally win, chances are high that you’ll get a huge amount.
That said, these high-volatility games often have higher house edges; normally ranging from 5% to 10%. While you should always go for the more favourable odds, sometimes games with higher odds tend to be the most entertaining. Great Blue and Gonzo’s quest, for example, have an 8% house edge but are some of the most popular games in casinos.
Operators implement higher house edges to compensate for the huge payout you get when you win.
Low variance slots
Unlike high variance slots, these slots have lower risk associated with them and have lower payouts. What are the perk to these slots? They pay out more often, allowing your bankroll to last for a longer time. You can only win up to a certain limit, and it’s often about less than 10x your initial betting amount. You can be lucky to get some high max wins, but this only happens when you’re at the highest bet level and you spin the max amount of coins.
This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t make some decent earnings. Games such as Esqueleto Explosivo and Bloodsuckers are not only fun, but they also offer decent returns to your investment.
Look for slot games with a 3%-4% house edge. A lower house edge works best, as how much you have fun playing the game depends on how long your bankroll lasts.
Finding online casinos with low house edges
If you want to get the most returns possible for your wagers, then finding a low house edge casino is crucial. Surprisingly, there’s are some new casinos that offer zero house edges; they are referred to as Zero Edge Casinos.
While it’s difficult to imagine a casino that’s not in the business of making profit, this new breed of casinos operates with a different set of rules compared to the older ones. So how do they get their advantage? They earn their profits by offering you some crypto money to place your wagers with.
Currently, these operators offer many players from all over the world fair odds with no mathematical advantage. Players can wager in games and get exact amounts of returns on their games. This platform is based on Ethereum, and we can expect it to grow in the coming years.
Can you have an edge over the casino?
Currently, two games can allow you to have a slight advantage over the house: Progressive Jackpots and Video Poker.
Progressive Jackpots tend to increase in value every time a player joins the game. Considering that casinos work out the house edge by looking at a game’s odds and returns, getting an exact house edge can be a grind for them.
Progressive jackpots are linked to various casinos using one software. The prize amount increases with an increase in the number of bets. This means that in the end, the winner of the jackpot walks away with a huge payout. And as you’ve probably realized by now, higher payouts often have lower house edges.
Video poker is one of those games where its odds can side with the player. In recent times, the flush jackpot has grown to such a point that the game’s return offsets the playing odds. Some games come with a ‘full play’ advantage, meaning they can pay out 100%. This means that there’s no house edge involved.
Casinos classify games as ‘full play’ if they have the best payout. Often, there are various video poker versions you can select, but you have to know the most favourable payouts to lower the house edge and get better returns.
Seasoned Poker players have devised strategies that allow them to lower the house edge until it potentially becomes none-existent. Rarely will you find a novice in a poker game with almost zero house edge, as players who are in the know and have the right strategies would expect to have winnings larger than the
Other tips to beating UK casino sites include:
- Play during casino promotions where big prizes are offered
- Focus on raffle style promotions and avoid ‘reel races’
- If it’s possible, wager with bonus money
- Play slots with 95% RTPs or higher
- Focus on favourable wagering strategies like 50/50 roulette wagers
- Leverage on as many promotions as possible by signing up for many brand new casino sites
- Try wagering with higher amounts of money. To avoid the hassle that comes with wagering requirements, focus on winning big once, instead of accumulating small wins
What gives you an edge is that you’re taking advantage of various casino promotions instead of one. While the operators may notice you’re only interested in their promotions, they don’t that you’re also doing the same to other casinos. This gives you a slight advantage over them.