One of the biggest reasons why so many people distrust casinos is simply because they cannot fathom the fact that the casino will always have a certain advantage. And while this is true up to a certain extent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the casino is always going to win regardless of the outcome. From here, it is not difficult to come to a conclusion that despite giving the players a chance, the casinos are set in such a way that they are always going to get a steady flow of income. Well, this is possible thanks to the mathematical advantage that the casino has over the players which are called the house edge, or, also known as the casino advantage.
Consequently, being one of the most important topics on the way to mastering casino gaming, we decided to comprise a casino guide specifically for those who want to know what exactly is the house edge, and how it affects the average casino gaming sessions.
Casino Games &The House Edge
Before jumping toward some of the more complex issues such as how to calculate the house edge, you first need some of the basics. And when we speak of the essentials, the first thing that you should know is that each casino game comes with a different casino advantage, i.e its own house edge. Not only that, but depending on your bet or the subcategory of a certain casino game, the house edge will vary even further. In order to better explain what this means, we will take a look at some of the all-time casino classics and their house edge.
- Keno: 25%-29% house edge
- Sic Bo: 2.78% – 33.33%
- Medium Online Slots: 2%-15%
- High Online Slots: 20%-40%
For those not aware, the game of roulette can be played on a table with either 37, or 38 numbers. This depends on the type of roulette, or even more specifically, on whether it is the European type with one zero (0), or the American that has double zeros (00). Due to this small, but rather significant difference, the chance of you winning a single roulette bet on American roulette is 1 in 37, while when it comes to European, those chances are 1 in 36.
It is important to mention that despite the type of roulette you decide to play, the casino will pay you out in a ratio of 35 to 1. Below you can see the house edge for both types of roulette, as well as how the house edge is calculated.
- American Roulette: 5.26% – (37-35=3 | 2/38=0.0526)
- European Roulette: 2.7% – (36-35=1 | 1/37=0.02702)
Let’s break down another legendary casino game, only this time we will go for a bit of a different contender. Known as the casino game that gives the player the biggest chance to win out of all casino games in existence, blackjack also comes with its own separate house edge. Only unlike roulette, the thing that makes the house of the edge of blackjack so unique is its ability to fluctuate, depending on the card stack. This means that you do not need to worry about a fixed casino advantage, being that it usually depends on the player himself.
The most basic thing you should know is that blackjack comes with a standard house edge of 2%, in the long run. This means that for every $100 that you bet, you should lose $2, again, in the long run. However, in certain instances, depending on whether you employ a successful strategy, the house edge of this game can drop down to as low as 0.5%, or even 0.25% in some cases. This happens only in single-deck blackjack games where the house edge is just a bit lower than the multiple-deck blackjack games.
And this number can drop even further, or down to 0.15%, depending on whether it’s possible to double down after you split the cards. Consequently, if you manage to successfully employ a designated blackjack strategy at the right particular time, then you will capitalize on probably the lowest casino advantage in the entire gambling world, with the exception of some video poker slots.
- Double Double Bonus Poker: 100.17% RTP (return to player)
- Full-Pay Deuces Wild Poker: 100.76% RTP (return to player)
Just like blackjack, baccarat belongs in the category of games with some of the lowest casino advantages that you can find, as low as 1.17%. And while this indeed greatly depends on the casino itself, the undeniable fact is that this game is one of the most favourable out of all casino games, and as such, it is a frequent choice for both high and regular rollers. One of the reasons why the casino edge is so low at baccarat is due to the simplicity of the game itself. In particular, baccarat is played prior to the dealing of the cards, being that you have to decide if you are going to bet on the Player, the Banker, or on a Tie. After the dealer flips the cards, the player that is close to the magical nine is the winner.
From here, if we take into account that the most probable outcome would be a win for either the Banker or the Player, it is definitely no surprise as to why the casino advantage is set so low for this game. The best way to describe this is to compare it with the outcome of a coin toss since both heads and tails would have pretty even odds of landing on a particular side. From here, the main reason why the house edge for baccarat is not a constant 0 is because of the slight advantage that the Banker has over the players, and this is due to the fact that the Banker always draws its cards second.
- Banker Win: 1.36%
- Player Win: 1.17%
- Tie: 14%
The beauty of the game of craps lies in the utmost flexibility of the house edge. What we mean by this is that the house edge of craps can fluctuate drastically, depending on the table that you are playing. In some instances, it may even drop to 0, but if you happen to be at the wrong table, it may even end up somewhere in the double digits. As a result, experienced craps players will always make sure to play solely on craps tables that have a rather favourable casino advantage over the player.
Furthermore, being that craps are a game of chances that is played with two dice, calculating the house edge requires perfectly understanding all dice combinations, as well as the chances for a particular number to be rolled. From here, there are 11 outcomes from a two-dice toss, and in order to calculate the chances for a specific combination, you will have to multiply all of the numbers from both dice, or 6 x 6, or even more specifically, 36. Consequently, this means that there are a total of 36 combinations that can total one of the 11 possible outcomes that we mentioned before. For example, you can roll a 3 in two different ways, meaning that the chances of this happening are 2 in 36.
- Pass Line – Come Bet: 1.41%
- Don’t Pass – Come: 1.40%
- Field Bet: 5.56%
- Any Craps: 11.11%
- Any 7: 16.70%
Calculating The House Edge
The house edge is basically the casino taking a percentage of the total number of bets that the players make with the help of complex mathematics. And when we say complex, we really do mean highly complex mathematical equations that can be quite challenging for the average casino enthusiast. Even more frustrating, different games have different ways to calculate the house edge. However, despite this, the majority of games can be calculated by using the somewhat “standard” formula displayed just below.
One of the games with the easiest calculable house edge is roulette, and as such, it is seldom used for educational purposes. For example, you are playing European roulette with 37 numbers, and you wish to bet one coin on the number 5. If we take into account that American roulette has a payout of 1 to 35, depending on the number, it means that you have 37 out of 38 chances you will lose the bet, i.e. the one coin.
Consequently, the number you are looking for should be EV= -0.2703. You then multiply this number by 100 in order to find the profit value of the roulette, which in this case is -2.703%. In other words, this means that you should lose 2.7 out of 10 bets, in the long run.
- Win Amount: 35 coins
- Loss: 1 coin
- Win Chance: 1 in 37
- Lose Chance: 36 in 37
Depending on the casino game that you are about to choose, the best course of action would be dedicating time and effort to learning every little detail about the game you are about to play, especially when it comes to the tricky casino edge. Considering that all casino games come with a different house edge, it requires nothing but sheer determination and dedication to be able to learn both to calculate, and more importantly, successfully employ the knowledge to your advantage.