Whether you’re playing online casino games online or heading on down to a real-life casino, you will always need to know and understand the casino house edge. Understanding what it is and how it works will help you develop a strategy to improve your chances of winning.
No matter which game you’re playing, the dealer or house will have a statistical edge that works to the casino's favour. This is how casino’s make a profit. This edge results in a guaranteed percentage return for the casino over time. The edge will vary per game so playing games with a lower house edge means you'll lose less money than games with a higher house edge.
Let’s take an example: in roulette, house edge is about 5%. This means on average that for every pound bet, the casino keeps 5p as profit, and returns the other 95p to the players as winnings.
Casinos are designed to win in the long run and the house edge helps them do this. The casino doesn't have to beat every player every time, but they know they will get a percentage of the total bets placed by all players.
People play in spite of this because while the odds favour the casino in the long term, anything can happen in the short term.
Edges will vary depending on which online casino you choose, but below is a general guideline for a few of the popular games.
If you’re a more cautious player, you can use these standardised edge rules as a way to choose your game. Playing Craps will ensure you are taking part in a more or less even playing field, whilst games such as Keno and Sic Bo can hold a major advantage to the house, although payouts may be significantly higher for those who win.
The house edge is what it is and there is no avoiding it. But knowledge and information are always helpful and there are some areas where you can attempt to play with a reduced house edge.
Blackjack – as this game requires a certain amount of skill and player determination, the house edge is already quite volatile. Understanding the “soft 17” rule will help to shift the odds in your favour – knowing whether your online casino requires the dealer to hit or stand when they hit 17 will allow you to make a more informed decision on when to stand yourself. It can also help to know exactly how many card decks your online casino uses – the higher the amount of decks, the higher the house edge.
Craps – this is another popular game, which gives a certain level of edge control to the gambler. With so many different bets to place, the house edge varies wildly depending on where you choose to place your money. Bets on “Place 6 or 8”, for example, have an edge as low as 1.52%, whereas “Any 7” will get you 16.67%. Knowing your bets will go a long way.
Betfair Casino offer a Zero Lounge- providing the most popular casino games with no house edge. This is very rare and worth checking out as your chances here will always be 50/50.
The house edge applies to the amount you bet, not the amount you start with. You win some rounds and lose some but for some of those rounds, you’ll be betting with your winnings. The effect of the house edge cutting into your money as you continue to re-bet is called the grind. To limit the grind, you need to play games with a low edge for short periods only.
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