There is an age-old saying that the house always wins. While many shrug this off as folklore, the truth is that anyone engaging in the entertaining pastime of gambling is likelier to lose money to their chosen casino than to win a life-changing prize.
The reason for this is the house edge—also sometimes referred to as the house advantage. This factor is in play regardless of what casino game you choose to play and will always ensure that the casino turns a profit whether or not you lose—making gambling something that won’t work as a successful investment.
Although this may sound like there’s no point in gambling, a house edge doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never win. To fully understand how a house edge affects your gaming at an online casino, read on to discover how this advantage works and what you can try to maximize your winnings.
A house edge is a percentage representation of the total amount of gross profit a casino expects to make on a single wager of a particular game. This money is what helps the casino operate as a profitable and financially viable business.
There are no casino games that don’t feature a house edge. Every time a gambler plays, they help fund this house advantage by paying a portion of their bet into the casino’s profits. Although casinos sometimes have to pay out large windfalls, the cumulation of profits received from the house edge on each game covers these and still ensures profitability.
As mentioned, the house edge for each game is a mathematically calculated amount taken from each wager as profit for the casino. This percentage is the same regardless of whether or not you’re playing on the maximum bet or a lower bet amount.
On a game with a house edge of 5% and a standard bet cost of $2 per wager, the casino will take $0.10 of every bet placed as profit. If the bet increases to $5 per bet, this profit will increase to $0.25 per wager.
For games with varying bet types, like French Roulette, the house edge is calculated depending on the bet placed. Odd or even bets commonly host a house edge of 1.35%—meaning for each $10 bet, the casino receives $0.135. However, a single-number bet in the same game has a house edge of 2.7% (or $0.27 on the same $10 bet).
The house edge for a game is set by the type of game and the bets allowed to be placed on it. Individual casinos seldom impose their own edge percentage on games. This makes transactions that involve wagering money on casino games less risky, as players are less likely to be taken advantage of.
Because of this, it is easy to determine which games have the highest and lowest house edge—or those that will take more or less of your bet as profit for the casino. Games with the highest house edge include:
Keno is an incredibly popular casino game that almost all online gambling websites offer. It is also the game with the highest house edge, although this varies depending on the bet type.
Ranging from around 20%, the casino advantage on keno games can be as high as 40%. In instances where this higher end is reached, the casino will take $4 out of every $10 bet as profit.
Although initially only popular in Asia, Sic Bo has become an increasingly popular game internationally thanks to its simplicity. However, like keno, it has vastly varying house edge rates.
On the lower end, house edges can be as little as 2.78%. However, on the upper end of certain bets, these can increase to 33.33% or $1.67 per $5 bet.
Craps is one of the best-known dice games offered by online casinos. It also has multiple ways to place a bet that lead to those with a house edge as low as 0.5%. However, some bets also attract a significant house edge.
On the upper end of the scale, the house edge on a craps bet can be as high as 16.67%. On a $2 bet, this means that $0.34 is taken as profits by the casino. Increase this bet to $12, and profits are raised to $2 per wager.
Like everything in life that has opposites, some games have very low house edge percentages. These are among the most popular to play because they offer players a better chance of receiving more winnings.
Thanks to their engaging nature, multiple themes, and simplicity of play, slots are among the most commonly played casino games worldwide. Depending on which slot you choose to play, they also have some of the lowest house edge rates.
The house edge of a slot is determined by the RTP (return to player) rate it holds. For online casinos, slots commonly have an average RTP of 96%. This means that 96% of all money received by the game is paid out, while only 4% is kept by the casino as profits. Essentially, this means that the average house edge is only 4%.
There are some games, however, that offer a 99% RTP. In these games, the casino takes only 1% of the money bet on the game. This equates to just $0.10 for every $10 wagered.
Although many players prefer playing at a live table online, video poker is also massively popular. The game operates as a mix between a slot machine and poker—providing a fully digital poker experience often accompanied by enticing graphics and sound effects.
Generally, video poker games have a house edge of just 0.46%. In monetary terms, this means that for every $5 bet, only $0.023 is taken as gross profit for the casino.
Blackjack is well-known for offering some of the best odds of any casino game. This fun game pits you against the dealer as you try to draw cards equaling as close to 21 without going bust.
The standard house edge on blackjack is only 0.5%. For a $15 bet, the casino only takes $0.075 per wager.