Guide to Casino House Edge


by James Smith |
Date of Publishing: 23/07/2021


house-edge

Everyone knows that when you play at a casino, the casino never loses! This is due to the casino house edge which provides a built-in advantage to the casino you are playing at. No matter what game you choose to play or the casino that you decide to play at, there is no escaping the upper hand of the house edge. Understanding how the house edge works will help you with your gambling long term and minimise its effects on your bankroll.

If you want to find out more about the casino house edge, the different house edges in various casino games and how to overcome gambler’s fallacy, make sure to carry on reading.

What is the Casino House Edge?

The first thing you need to understand is what exactly the casino house edge is and how it works. Casinos provide hours of fun and entertainment both in land-based establishments and online but this comes at a cost to the business. Casinos have to make a profit to survive and so the house edge helps to do this.

The house edge is the term used to describe the advantage that the casino has over the player. You cannot avoid the house edge but what you can do is learn more about it to help lessen its impact. The house edge lets players know how much each game pays out on average over its lifespan and also which games provide players with the best returns on their bets.

The house edge is set by each game, not the casino you are playing at, and so you cannot simply move to another casino to avoid this. The house edge will be clearly marked when you are playing any games here at Fruity King and this is known as the RTP (return to player). The RTP can vary wildly from casino game to casino game and so it is important to always check this before you get started betting.

Different House Edges in Casino Games

Online casino games and land-based casino games will all offer different house edges and you can implement a better winning strategy when you are aware of what these are. It is also important to remember that just because a game has a higher RTP than others does not instantly make it better to play as it may award smaller payouts. This is a balancing act between choosing a game with good payouts and a good RTP.

Slot Games

Slot games can widely vary with their house edge and each game is different. Some of the best slot games for players can range from 1% up to 15%, which is more favourable to the casino. Players can see what the house edge from the RTP and in slot games the average RTP is 96%. This means that if a slot game has an average 96% RTP, it will pay out roughly 96p on every £1 wagered. Therefore, the casino, as part of the house edge, will retain 4%. Compared to other table and card casino games, the house edge on slot games is usually substantially higher.

Here are some of our top tips when playing slot games if you want to have an impact on the house edge:

  • When choosing a slot game to play that will improve your odds, always remember that the more paylines a slot game has, the better your odds are improved and the house edge is reduced. This is because players are maximising their winning potential by playing more paylines and are cutting their odds when paylines are reduced.
  • Choose slots with lots of great bonus features as this tends to be where the most money is paid out
  • Always check the RTP and play slot games that have an RTP of over 99% such as:
  • Ugga Bugga by Playtech – 99.07%
  • Mega Joker by NetEnt – 99%
  • Ooh Aah Dracula by Barcrest – 99%
  • Goblin’s Cave by Playtech – 99.32%

If you prefer to play progressive jackpot slots, there are still lots of great games to choose from that have an above-average RTP. However, if you want to maximise your chances, we would only recommend playing progressive slots if you are going to be playing for the big jackpot as this can alter the RTP of the game if you decide to not play for the big bucks!

Progressive jackpot slot games you can enjoy playing with a good RTP include:

  • Gold Rally by Playtech – 97.01%
  • Divine Fortune by NetEnt – 96.6%

Roulette

There are three different types of roulette that you will commonly find in land-based and online casinos and each has a different house edge. These are American Roulette, European Roulette and French Roulette.

  • American Roulette – This version of roulette has the worst RTP at 5.26% but is still very popular and you can enjoy playing it mainly in the US. This game has an extra 00 section added to the wheel which means higher odds for the casino.
  • European Roulette- This version is one of the most popular versions of roulette and the house edge is cut in half in comparison to American roulette as it sits at 2.7%. The big difference is that the extra 00 is removed to improve the player’s chance of winning.
  • French Roulette – This version of roulette is the best for its house edge as it is reduced to just 1.35%, giving you a stronger chance of winning. This is due to the rules of la Partage and en prison, which means if the ball lands on the zero you will get back half your bet.

As you can see, if you are going to be playing roulette at an online casino, it is best to choose either a European roulette or a French roulette version of the game if you want to maximise your odds of winning.

Blackjack

Blackjack is the casino game to choose if you are looking for the lowest house edge, however, it should be noted that if you want to maximise your chances you need to have a strategy in place and know the rules of the game. If you do not do this, the lower house edge does not make much of a difference. There are many different variations of blackjack games and the general house edge is around 0.5%.

Here are some of the top strategies we would recommend implementing in games of blackjack to increase your odds:

  • Card counting – blackjack card counting places a numerical value on each card in the deck and you keep a running count of them as they are dealt. Most players opt for the hi-low strategy when card counting where faces are -1, two to six cards have a value of +1 and seven to nine cards have a value of 0. It is then up to the player to keep track of these values as when the value is down the casino has the edge but when it is up, the player has the edge
  • Blackjack charts – a popular blackjack strategy is to memorise the chart so that you know all possible outcomes for both you and the dealer. Having this information can help you make the best decisions for a winning outcome
  • Composition strategy – If you want to take blackjack charts to the next level, look at implementing a composition strategy. With this technique, players will take a mental note of the cards that have already been dealt to get an understanding of what cards may be left in the deck. This can help you implement a winning strategy and minimise the house edge as much as possible

Baccarat

Baccarat is another casino game with quite a low house edge at just 1.06% including commission but you should not bet on a tie as this can push the house edge up to a massive 14.36%. This is a higher-stakes game and so many low stakes players do not choose baccarat. Players have the option to place side bets including tie bets, pair bets and big or small bets.

  • Tie bets – although tie bets are generally avoided due to the very high house edge, at some online casinos there are higher odds on tie bets to massively decrease the house edge and make it a more appealing bet to players
  • Pair bets – you can find this side bet in eight-deck games and the winner gets 25:1. This bet is achieved when the banker or player are dealt a natural pair with their first two cards
  • Big or small bets – these bets are placed on the number of cards in the game as two cards dealt means small bets win and if five-plus cards are dealt the big bets win

In Baccarat, there are a few top tips you can follow that will help you to reduce the house edge as much as possible:

  • Don’t take the tie bet – as we previously mentioned, players should avoid the tie bet even if the casino has increased the odds on it as the house edge will still not be sufficient
  • Place bets on the banker – players will want to minimise the house edge by placing a bet on the banker to win as this is the lowest house edge of the three betting options in baccarat
  • Place bets on the banker – players will want to minimise the house edge by placing a bet on the banker to win as this is the lowest house edge of the three betting options in baccarat

Craps

Craps is a dice game and although it is not as popular as other table and card games, it still has a big following. The house edge in this game all depends on the bets placed. For example, the house edge on pass line bets is 1.41%, while bets on the don’t pass line is 1.36%. In this game, there can be a house edge as high as 16.9% when placing bets on 7 and so if you are going to play craps you need to consider the bets you are placing.

When playing craps, follow these top tips to minimise the house edge as much as possible:

  • Stick to three bets – if the house edge is your primary concern playing craps, it is best to stick to pass, come and free odds bets when playing for long periods of time
  • Establish a pattern – stick to a pattern with your gameplay when playing for hours
  • Know the wagers – before you play, make sure that you know all the different wagers that can be placed as this will help you make better decisions when considering your bet and the house edge

Poker

Poker games are incredibly popular and there are many different variations of this game, each with its own house edge. Video poker is one of the best options as the house edge is often less than 1%, while games such as three-card poker sit at 2% and Pai Gow and Caribbean Stud Poker sit at 2.5%. As with other casino games such as blackjack, you must be implementing a good strategy if you want to take full advantage of this house edge.

To take full advantage of the low house edge in these games, implement the following top tips into your gameplay:

  • Place the max bet – placing the maximum bet awards higher returns and can even provide better odds than if you were to play a low bet
  • Compare games – poker games vary from game to game in their house edge and so you should always compare paytables to see what you can possibly win for a winning hand
  • Play for free – poker can be a daunting game to play at first and requires a little more skill and strategy than other casino games such as roulette. It is best to try free poker games first and practice your strategy so that when you come to play real money poker games, you are maximising your odds against the casino

Overcoming Gambler’s Fallacy

Gambler’s fallacy is a common symptom that many players can fall for when they are caught up in the excitement and thrill of gambling. This is when a player thinks that luck is on their side and that because there have been losses in a row, a win has to be around the corner or it could be that the player has had many wins in a row and does not believe they can lose.

Always remember that there is no amount of luck in the world that can overcome the casino house edge and exceeding your budget believing that you are going to win can lead to serious problems later.

Conclusion

Overall, if you are looking to maximise your odds gambling online it is clear that the games you should be opting for are blackjack, video poker and baccarat but only if you have a good strategy in place to take advantage of the house edge. On the other hand, while slot games are a lot of fun, the house edge in these games are not always as favourable and so you should always check the RTP of a game before getting started playing.

About the Author

Author: James Smith.

James Smith has been writing about casino games and strategies for over a decade. He is an expert in the industry and loves to help people get started with online gambling. In his free time, James enjoys reading books by other successful authors, cycling around town, or playing poker.