Understanding Casino House Edge

Have you ever thought about how casinos earn money? You might think it’s because players lose their bets, but that’s not entirely true. Casino games have something called the house edge, which plays in favor of the casino. In this guide, we’ll explain what the house edge is and share some tips on how to overcome it.

Emma Johnson
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Emma Johnson
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Fact checked by: Johan Lofgren

What is House Edge?

The house edge is a term used in the gambling industry to describe the mathematical advantage that a casino has over its players. It is also known as the casino advantage or the house advantage.

The house edge is expressed as a percentage, and it represents the average amount of money that a player loses on each bet over time. The house edge is built into every casino game, and it is designed to ensure that the casino makes a profit in the long run.

The house edge is calculated by taking the difference between the true odds of a bet and the payout odds offered by the casino. For example, if the true odds of a bet are 1 in 5, and the casino pays out at 4 to 1 odds, then the house edge is 20%. This means that for every $100 wagered, the casino expects to make a profit of $20.

This feature is a fundamental aspect of casino games, and it is designed to ensure that the casino makes a profit over time. Players should always be aware of the house edge when playing casino games, and they should look for games with a low house edge to improve their chances of winning.

key takeaways house edge

House Edge in Casino Games Compared

The house edge varies depending on the game and some games have a lower house edge than others. The casino advantage isn’t determined by specific casinos but is a result of the games themselves. Whether you decide to spend your money at any casino, you can’t avoid the house edge.

Casino gameHouse edge
Blackjack0.5%
Craps1.3-1.5%
Baccarat1.06-1.5%
Slots2-15%
Video poker0.46-5%
Roulette2.7-5%

Blackjack

The house edge in blackjack casinos can be as low as 0.5% if the player follows basic strategy. However, the house edge can increase if the player doesn’t follow the correct strategy or if the casino uses unfavourable rules.

Roulette

The house edge of roulette can be as high as 5.26% for American roulette, which has two zeros on the wheel. European roulette has only one zero, which reduces the house edge to 2.7%.

Craps

The online craps house edge can go as low as 1.4% when betting on the pass/don’t pass options. Nevertheless, if a player makes other bets on the craps table itself, the house edge can rise.

Baccarat

When using the banker bet option on baccarat casinos, the house edge is at 1.06%. The player bet has a slightly higher house edge of 1.24%, while the tie bet has a much higher house edge of 14.36%.

Slots

Slots are the most popular casino game, but they also have the highest house edge. The house edge in slots can vary widely, from as low as 2% to as high as 15% or more. The house edge in slots is determined by the paytable and the probability of hitting each winning combination.

Strategies to Minimize the House Edge

There are some strategies that players can use to minimize the house edge and increase their chances of winning. Here are some of the most effective strategies:

Choose a game with a low house edge

The first strategy is a self-explanatory one: choosing a low house edge game like blackjack or craps, which are known for having great payouts. Games like keno and slots have a much higher house edge in comparison.

Learn game strategies

Another way to minimize the house edge is to learn optimal strategies for the games you play. For example, in blackjack, players can use basic strategy to reduce the house edge to as low as 0.5%. In video poker, players can use optimal strategy to reduce the house edge to less than 1%. By learning optimal strategies, players can make better decisions and reduce their house edge.

Take advantage of bonuses

One way to offset the house edge is to have more money to play for, and players can easily bump up their bankroll with the use of casino bonuses.

If a casino offers a 100% match bonus up to $100, you can deposit $100 and receive an additional $100 in bonus funds. This can be used to play games with a low house edge and increase your chances of winning.

Manage your bankroll

By managing your bankroll effectively, you can minimize the impact of the house edge. This means setting a budget for your gambling and sticking to it. It also means avoiding chasing losses and knowing when to walk away.

House Edge FAQ

What is house edge at online casinos?

The house edge, also known as the house advantage, is the casino’s way of making money from a game. It’s a numerical advantage that the casino can rely on for profit over time. This margin of profit is found in every game.

Can you beat the house edge?

In short term – Yes. Players can win and bank the profits in what is called “variance,” which is the swings of good and bad luck in a casino.

What casino games have the lowest house edge?

Blackjack and video poker are known for having the best chances of winning.