For those familiar with casinos and gambling, you may have come across the expression “house edge”. The house refers to the casino, and the term casino house edge is commonly used to describe the mathematical advantage that the casino enjoys over those who wager. This is largely dependent on the gambling game that you are betting on and promises an assured percentage return to the casino. Additionally, this almost guarantees an assured percentage loss on your wagers over a period of time at the casino.
Casinos are a commercial business that employs built-in advantages on their gambling games to ensure that the odds are stacked in the house’s favor. They are, therefore, programmed to win in the long-term, and the house edge determines how much it will win on average, based on an individual’s profile. That is, their gambling game preference, the amount of each wager, and the number of wagers placed.
The Dynamics Of The Casino House Edge
A casino house edge is designed specifically so that casinos do not pay winning bets according to the true odds of that particular wager. This enables the house to continue making money on every wager placed at the casino. Despite the casino not winning every single bet placed, it does enjoy mathematically superior odds due to casino games being programmed as negative expectation games. This means that the long-term expectations of wagering at the casino are negative expectations.
The house edge greatly assists the gambling provider by enabling it to remain profitable through the money that gamblers use on various gambling games. Additionally, the casino house edge helps it to recoup its costs of facilitating various gambling games, maintaining the business, paying its staff, and ensuring the overall efficiency of its operations.
Irrespective of what type of game you choose to gamble at, the casino always holds the upper hand and will likely pay out less money as winnings as compared to the amount of money received. Although the game may appear completely fair, the rules are programmed to statistically favor the house. This should not serve as a deterrent, however, as the house edge usually doesn’t affect short-term individual experiences.
For example, a person may visit the casino for a short period of time and wager $200 on a few bets that may result in winnings of $2,000. Due to the short-term variance, the house would need to win thousands of wagers in order to realize their anticipated profit margin. This does illustrate that it is very possible to wager on their gambling games and win despite the odds stacked heavily against you.
House Edge vs. House Hold
Many people who frequent casinos and wager on gambling games may confuse the concepts of a casino house edge and a casino house hold. As mentioned earlier, the edge is the mathematical advantage that the casino has over you that ensures that the odds are stacked in their favor. The casino house hold, however, is the amount of the gamblers chips that the casino is able to pry away based on the gambling game and total amount of wagers.
This can be illustrated through the following example. If you are playing a game that has a 1% casino house edge and you choose to wager $100, by the time that you use that entire $100 wagering on games through a complete cycle, the casino would have made $1 or 1% of your total wager of $100.
These two concepts generally dovetail with each other, and it is important to understand their differences. In terms of online casinos, the house hold is commonly recognized as a percentage deducted from the overall chip pool, often found in games such as online poker.
How The House Edge Is Applied To Online Gambling Games
Although casino games are programmed to favor the house, these games are all different and, therefore, have different house edge categories attached to them. This essentially means that some offer a greater chance of winning. In mathematical terms, a game with a 2% casino house edge offers an easier avenue to win as compared to a casino game with a 5% house edge.
The casino always discloses the casino house edge on their gambling games. People who wager on these games will find the house edge visually represented somewhere on the game board as a Return to Player percentage (RTP %). This serves as a guide to those who wish to bet and indicates the difficulty level of the casino game as well as their chance of winning. The RTP % provides some element of guidance on what percentage of a gambler’s real money wagers can be expected to be returned to the gambler in the form of winnings.
These winnings are by no means guaranteed, however, and casinos provide the RTP % as a long-term projection and with a view of offering transparency to its gamblers. For those gamblers who prefer waging bets online, the RTP % for the various games can be found on the games rule board, which is usually located at the landing page of each game.
Alternatively, the casino’s site map is a useful resource to identify an RTP or the casino house edge guide.
Online Gambling Game Categories
The house edges of online gambling games are grouped according to the return to player percentage, determined by the casino for each game. There are three main categories that casino gambling games are grouped into, that is, High House Edge, Medium House Edge, and Low House Edge. Additionally, there is also a category of very difficult games with specific rules.
High House Edge Games include Keno and Slot machines.
Keno has an RTP % that ranges between 20% and 40% house edge. Gamblers may choose one or more numbers from a selection of 80 on the grid, while the house chooses 20 of these numbers. Gamblers earn winnings based on the number of matches that they achieve.
Slot machines have an RTP % that ranges between 3% and 20% house edge. Slot machines are unpredictable and it is hard to judge how a particular machine will payout. As a general rule, higher wagers usually realize greater winnings.
Medium House Edge Games include Roulette.
Roulette has an RTP % that ranges between 1.35% and 5.26%. This percentage is based on the number of zeros that appear on the roulette wheel coupled with the specific rules at that table. Relatively little skill is required to wager bets at the roulette table, so it is advisable to find a table with a lower RTP % for a better outcome.
Low House Edge Games include Baccarat, Craps, and Blackjack.
Baccarat has an RTP % that ranges between 1% and 1.2%, with the RTP % spiking up to 14% on the very odd occasion. This game includes many side bets and formats, and requires you to bet on either a player or banker. The game is easy to play and the rules are relatively simple to learn. It would be wise to learn the rules to identify any mistakes made by the dealer.
Craps has an RTP % that ranges between 0% and 1.4%. The game is fairly easy to learn and many gamblers opt for the Pass or Come bets at maximum odds. There are also opportunities to wager exotic bets that may come across as more risky with odds that range from 10% to 17% RTP. For newer gamblers to Craps, it is wise to follow the lead of other gamblers at the table with safer bets.
Blackjack has an RTP % that ranges between 0.2% and 2% when using Blackjack strategy. This entails the use of specific basic rules to guide decisions at the Blackjack table based on both the dealer’s and gambler’s card for each hand. The Blackjack strategy would differ depending on the number of decks and the specific rules at each table.
Very Difficult Games include Poker, Sports and Race Betting, and Video Poker
Poker is played against other players and not the casino. The casino, therefore, profits by taking a small percentage of the pot as a fee (rake) for facilitating a platform for the game amongst gamblers. If a gambler has skills that are adequately greater than fellow gamblers at the table, the rake can be circumvented and many gamblers enjoy winning.
Sports and Race Betting entails gamblers wagering on a contest where they predict the outcome of a person, team, and/or animal. Odds are determined by a sportsbook and generally work in favor of the online casino. Gamblers may invest more on favorites for a low return, or wager on underdogs for greater winnings.
Video Poker entails predicting the return of the machine in order to play the best possible hand with the cards that you are dealt with. The rules of Video Poker differs from other forms of Poker and it is wise to properly learn the rules in order to maximize your winning potential.
Online Casino House Edge Advantage
While many gamblers enjoy the thrill of physically visiting a casino and wagering bets, there are equally as many gamblers who prefer the online casino experience from the comfort of their homes. Those who choose to play online have an advantage as the overall house edge is usually more advantageous to them.
There are hundreds of online casinos available and gamblers are literally spoilt for choice. With all of these online casinos clamoring for the same clients, their competitiveness can lead to more favorable house edges to attract the gamblers.
Each online casino may offer slight variations of the same game with more favorable house rules, and these attract gamblers to a wider variety of games with a greater opportunity to win due to lower house advantages. Your odds of winning online are undoubtedly greater and you can play with less pressure while having access to each game’s strategy and guidelines.
Moreover, the edge is further reduced through incentives offered by online casino platforms such as bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs. A combination of these factors attracts large numbers of gamblers to play online and not visit a physical entertainment venue.
Using House Edge to your Advantage
It is extremely important to know what the casino house edge is and to use this to your advantage.
It is also important to understand that winning streaks don’t last forever, and it is, therefore, wise to quit while you are on a high. If you find yourself in a downward spiral, you may be getting drawn into the casino’s negative expectations of that particular game.
House edges naturally gravitate towards enabling the casino to win, and this statistical reality should be enough to convince you to stop your gambling session when you observe a negative pattern arising. They are mathematically designed to win and it would not be wise to continue gambling at a particular game in an effort to recoup what the casino has already swallowed, the odds are not in your favor.
The Bottom Line
The very core of gambling is that the odds are heavily stacked against gamblers. Although opportunities may arise where you can upset those odds, these should be viewed through the short-term variance that the casino caters for. The unpredictability of gambling makes it a very exciting prospect.
The enjoyable gambling environment mustn’t lead to addictiveness that clouds your judgment, as the casino house edge almost certainly has you stacked against the odds. It is wise to set a budget before starting your gambling session and keep to that budget strictly to avoid financial heartbreak.
If you find yourself in a negative spiral while gambling, be responsible enough to walk away knowing that tomorrow may be a better day. Having an understanding of the probability behind casino games, the return to player ratios, and how it affects your winnings and losses will surely make you a wiser gambler. Good Luck!