How to Reduce Casino House Edge

How to Reduce Casino House Edge

Whether you’re playing online casino games or heading to a real-life casino, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll be confronted (and possibly frustrated) with the casino house edge.

If you’re looking to maximize your chances at the tables, it might help you to understand what you’re up against and what you can do to boost your chances.

Casino House Edge Explained

So, what is the house edge on casino games? Well, whatever table game you’re playing, whether it be video poker or the roulette wheel, the house will have a statistical edge. It’s designed to give them a long-term advantage and ensure they stay in the black.

It’s true players can make large short-term gains, and often can hit big winning streaks. But over the long term, the house will always win. It’s part of the makeup of every casino game.

Some casino games have a fixed house edge, such as slots. On average over the long run, a slot machine with a casino house edge of 2% will pay back 98% to players. The 2% goes to the casino. If you play American Roulette, the house edge is a massive 5.26%.

It’s important to find casino games with the lowest house edge. But equally of note, there are games that have a variable edge percentage.

For example, you can help to reduce house edge in blackjack by playing what’s called optimal strategy or optimal play. The smarter your play, the better your chances of a return.

Imagine you’re playing online blackjack. By sticking to the cheat sheet and making sensible plays, you can keep the house edge to under 1%. But by taking the Insurance bet, you’re playing into the casino’s hands. Add a few percentage points to your house edge when opting for this unwise bet.


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House Edge vs RTP (Return to Player Percentage)

At most online casinos, you’ll see an RTP value listed in the game information. This is the Return to Player percentage, and it’s the theoretical return made to players over the long term.

For example, an online slot with an RTP of 95% will, on average over millions of spins, pay $95 for every $100 wagered.

You can work out the slots house edge by subtracting the RTP from 100. So, slots with a 95% RTP will have a house edge of 5%. A slot machine with an RTP of 99% will have a low house edge to the casino of just 1%.

Casino Games House Edge Overview

Every casino game has its own different RTP and different house edge. As a sensible gambler, you’ll need to find casino games with the lowest house edge.

The casino edge can vary depending on the software developer and whether any strategy is involved. For example, baccarat has a low casino house edge of 1.06% if you bet on the banker. But if you bet on the Tie, the edge jumps to 14.36%.

In the best online blackjack games, your edge might be as low as 0.28%. But if you play badly and make poor decisions, the house edge to the casino could be as high as 2%.

Similarly, in a game of Sic Bo, you can play it safe and enjoy a house edge of 2.78%. Make the bad plays and pick the worst odds and the edge jumps to 33%. It’s down to you to use optimal strategy and choose the right games.

Remember that some games with a high house edge, like slots, have higher rewards. You can potentially win huge jackpots for a relatively small stake.

We can compare the house edge of casino games with a simple list. Here are some of the more popular casino games you will find online in the US:

  • Craps 0%-16.67%
  • Online slots 1%-8%
  • American Roulette 5.26%
  • European Roulette 2.7%
  • Baccarat 1.06%-14.36%
  • Blackjack 0.4%-2%
  • Super Fun 21 Extreme 1.29%
  • Pai Gow 1.5%
  • Sic Bo 2.78%-33%
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em 0.73%
  • Let it Ride 4.29%

Reducing the Casino Advantage with House Edge Tips

It’s important to find casino games with the lowest house edge. But it’s also smart to learn a few strategies to help reduce the edge even further.

You can reduce the house edge at the blackjack table to around 0.4-0.5% if you use a basic strategy, for example.

Understanding the “soft 17” rule will help to shift the odds in your favor. Knowing whether your online casino requires the dealer to hit or stand on a soft 17 (17 that contains an ace) will allow you to make a more informed decision on when to stand yourself.

It can also help to know exactly how many decks the game uses. The higher the number of decks, the higher the house edge. Luckily, you can find this information in the casino lobby or on the game’s help page.

Dice games like Sic Bo and craps also feature a wild array of bets and payouts. By picking the right wagers you can help reduce the house edge of the casino.

For example, the casino house edge in craps varies from 0% for Odds 6&8, Odds 5&9, and Odds 4&10 bets, to 16.67% for the Any Seven bet.

In Sic Bo, you make bets on the outcome of three dice. Choose the smart bets like Small or Big totals and the house edge can be as low as 2.78%. However, go for riskier bets all the time, such as a total of 4 or 17, and the edge can be as high as 33%.

Take Advantage of Live Dealer Games

Online casinos in the US now include full live casinos where you can take on a human dealer over webcam. Bettors can play roulette, blackjack or baccarat with real cards and real wheels for real money, but stay at home and make bets on a tablet, phone or computer.

The beauty of live casinos is that they often offer a variety of table games. In a regular online casino, you might only have access to one or two variants of blackjack or roulette. In the live casino, you may be able to play over a dozen exciting variations, each with its own set of payouts and house edges.

For example, Evolution Gaming’s classic live blackjack game has a house edge of around 0.7-1%. The dealer stands on all 17s. In Ezugi’s live blackjack game, the dealer also stands on all 17s, but you are allowed to double down after a split. That helps reduce the house edge for blackjack to 0.48%.

The casino house edge in blackjack comes from the player having to make a decision before the dealer plays. If the dealer has to hit on a soft 17, it gives the casino better odds and increases the house edge. By choosing the right variant, you can help skew the odds in your favor.

Slot Games with Low House Edge and High RTP

When it comes to slots house edge, players have a huge decision to make. There are thousands of online slots available, and the house edge can range from 1-8%. However, the majority of slots sit in the 4-5% bracket.

For example, a game such as NetEnt’s Blood Suckers slot has a house edge of 2%. That makes the RTP (Return to Player percentage) 98%. That’s a huge average payout for any online slot.

Barcrest’s Ooh Aah Dracula video slot has an RTP that starts at 96% but can increase to 99% during the game.

Top 10 Online Slots for RTP:

Mega Joker (NetEnt): 99%

Ooh Aah Dracula (Barcrest): 96-99%

Jackpot 6000 (NetEnt): 98.86%

The Catfather (Pragmatic Play): 98.10%

Blood Suckers (NetEnt): 98%

Rainbow Riches Pick ‘n’ Mix (Barcrest): 98%

Bob the Epic Viking Quest (NetEnt): 98%

Kings of Chicago (NetEnt): 97.8%

White Rabbit (BTG): 97.72%

Wolf Pack Pays (NextGen): 97.5%

Of course, the RTP is only a guide to how a slot pays out over the long term. A progressive slot may have a low overall RTP but it may pay out some huge jackpots during its lifespan.

Slots also have an in-built volatility. This relates to the frequency with which the bonus features and jackpots trigger.

For example, a high-volatility slot will pay out big jackpots infrequently. You may hit a long run of losing spins before triggering a bonus or winning a jackpot. These games may have a high house edge but are still worth the risk.

When choosing the right online slots to play, bettors need to weigh up the overall RTP and the general volatility of the game. You can only do this by practicing with a few free slots or by studying the paytable first.


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The Grind – How Casinos Make Money

Casinos always have an in-built advantage as soon as you sit down and start playing. Over time, they will on average keep a percentage of every bet you make – that’s the casino house edge.

The house edge applies to the amount you bet, not the amount you start with. So, if you bet $100 and immediately win $1000, you haven’t changed the house edge, you just got lucky. The casino will continue to chip away at every other wager you continue to make.

You may win some rounds and lose others, 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.”

Let’s say you start playing online blackjack with a bankroll of $100. You choose to play $5 a hand - 5% of your entire bankroll. You play 20 hands an hour, betting $100 an hour. Of course, you’re only able to do this if you continue to win, therefore using your winnings to fund your further bets.

After an evening’s play you’ve racked up $2,000 in total bets. That’s 20 times the size of your original bankroll!

To limit the grind, you need to play games with a low edge for short periods only. Here are four easy ways to beat the grind:

  • Keep your bet-to-bankroll ratio small
  • Keep your gaming sessions short
  • Choose strategies and games with the lowest house edge

You can also help to keep the house edge on casino games low by earning free money. Most online casinos offer a range of promotions like a welcome bonus or no-deposit bonus.

With a casino bonus, you can win more by spending less. Make a deposit or claim free spins and see if you can multiply your money with minimal effort.

Some of the most popular bonuses at online casinos include:

With a house edge, the casino will always have a statistical advantage over its players. But by making the smart moves and selecting the right games, you can help to reduce the edge over time.

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