House edge is a mathematical concept that represents the percentage of each bet that the casino expects to keep over the long run. It's calculated by taking the total amount of money that the casino pays out to players, and dividing it by the total amount of money that players wager. For example, if a casino pays out $95 for every $100 wagered, the house edge would be 5%. This means that for every $100 wagered, the casino expects to keep $5.
House advantage can vary greatly depending on the game or bet that you're playing. Some games have a much higher house edge than others. For example, the house edge for slot machines can be as high as 10%, while the house edge for blackjack can be as low as 0.5%, the lowest house edge. The table games typically have a lower house edge than the slots, this is because a table game require more skill than the slots.
Casinos use house edge to their advantage by offering games that have a higher house edge. This allows them to make a profit in the long run, even if they lose money to players in the short term. Casinos also use house edge to make a profit by offering games with different rules and payouts. For example, a casino may offer a blackjack game with a house edge of 0.5%, but they may also offer a blackjack game with a house edge of 1%. It also happens in the roulette house edge if you compared American roulette (5.26%) with the European (2.7%). The casino can expect to make more money from the game with the higher house edge, even if the players are playing at the same skill level.
When choosing which casino games to play, either in physical or online casinos, players should keep in mind that the house edge can vary greatly depending on the game. Below is a table with the house edge of some of the most popular casino games and bets:
|Baccarat (Player Bet)
|Baccarat (Banker Bet)
|Blackjack (Basic Strategy)
|Craps (Pass Line Bet)
|Poker (Texas Hold'em)
It's important to note that these house edge percentages are approximate and can vary depending on the specific rules of the game and the online casino you are playing at. Let’s take a more profound understanding of each game case:
- Slot machines: have a house edge that ranges from 2-10% depending on the game and the casino. This is because slot machines are designed to have a high hit frequency, which means that they pay out small amounts frequently, but large payouts are rare. This is why the house edge is typically higher on slot machines than on other casino games.
- Roulette: wheel is another classic game that has a relatively high house edge. The American roulette has a house edge of 5.26% due to the presence of the double zero on the wheel. The European version of the game has a lower house edge of 2.7% because it only has one zero on the wheel. This difference in the number of zeroes is the reason why the house edge tells varies between the American and European versions of roulette.
- Baccarat: is a game that has a relatively low house edge. The player bet has a house edge of 1.24% and the banker bet has a house edge of 1.06%. These low house edges are due to the fact that the game is based on a simple betting system and the odds of winning are relatively high.
- Blackjack: when played using basic strategy, has one of the lowest house edges of all casino games at 0.5%. This is because blackjack is a game of skill, where players can use basic strategy to make the best possible decisions, which reduces the advantage of the casino.
- Craps: is a game that has a relatively low house edge, with the pass line bet having a house edge of 1.41%. This is because the pass line bet has a relatively high probability of winning.
- Poker: specifically Texas Hold'em, has a house edge that ranges from 2-5% depending on the skill level of the players and the rules of the game. The house edge in poker is generated by the rake, which is a percentage of the pot that the casino takes as a commission. The more skilled the players are, the less the house edge will be, an example of this is video poker machines where if you play perfectly you can get only a 0.5% house edge for each dollar bet.
While it's impossible to eliminate it completely because house edge applies everywhere in a casino, but there are strategies that players can use to minimize it. One of the most effective strategies is to choose games with a lower house edge. As we can see from the table above, games like blackjack, baccarat, and craps have a much lower house edge, and are a better decision than playing American roulette table or slot machines to increase your average gross profit.
Another strategy for minimizing house edge is to play with proper money management and bankroll management. This means setting a budget for yourself and sticking to it, avoiding chasing losses, and not betting more than you can afford to lose. Additionally, players should also learn and use the basic strategy for the game they are playing, as it can significantly reduce the house edge. For example, in blackjack, basic strategy can reduce the house edge from 0.5% to 0.2%.
It's also important to understand that the house edge is not a measure of a particular session or a short-term result, but the long-term outcome of many sessions. This is why it's crucial for players to have a long-term mindset and not to get too caught up in short-term results. House advantage always plays in the casino's favor.
House edge is an essential concept for any casino player to understand, as it represents the advantage that the casino has over its players. Understanding how house edge works, players can make informed decisions about which games to play, and how to play them.
By choosing games with a lower house edge, using proper money management, and learning basic strategy, players can minimize their losses and maximize their chances of winning. The table provided in this post can be used as a reference when picking the games to play and comparing the house edge. Remember that the house edge can vary depending on the casino and the specific house rules of the game, so always check before you play. It also applies to offline casinos, so it is recommended to have always an optimal strategy to play against machines and games with built in advantage.