The term ‘house edge’ is used to describe the mathematical advantage of the game you are playing.
Roulette, blackjack, punto banco, baccarat, etc., are all played to give an advantage to the casino (house) and not the player. House edge gives an estimated percentage of what the casino should expect to keep on average from gameplay.
When it comes to blackjack, the dealer will win all of the bets from every losing player – even if their own hand is bust, due to the dealer holding the bank, so the casino wins even if it’s dealers hand loses. Players only win if their hand beats that of the dealers.
With roulette, the game returns slightly less than 100%. The true odds of winning when betting on a number in roulette is not 36 to 1, as there are in face 37 different compartments on the wheel when you include zero – but any winning bets are paid 36 to 1. This means the ‘edge’ is achieved by paying out at 36/1 when in fact the statistical odds are 37/1.
This is even worse with American roulette which has zero and double zero. This means they are now paying out at 36/1 when the statistical chances are 38/1. If you have the choice always play European routlette (one zero) rather than American as the house edge is lower.
Why Do I Need to Know About House Edge
You can’t expect to go into a game and win if you know nothing about how the house edge works, the casino is against you as it is – so don’t help it take more from you. Casino games are different, but due to house edge, the casino will win more than you over a period of time.
Smart players suggest that the key to winning against the casino is to play short bursts and get out – the longer you’re sat at the table, the more money the casino is taking out of you.
How Does House Edge Affect Payouts?
The house edge is always set so the player loses, you may win at first but over a period of time, the casino will technically win more than you. The house edge is what makes the casino its profits and every game that they offer has house edge that favours them – not you.
As previously mentioned, in roulette, the true odds should be 37 to 1 as there are numbers 0 through to 36 on the wheel, but the casino won’t pay these odds as it wouldn’t make anything on winning bets.
Games With the Lowest House Edge
Baccarat – 1% (Banker)
Baccarat is a simple game with different formats and sometimes even side bets. It’s a game that requires you to either bet on a ‘player’ with a 1.2% house edge or the ‘banker’ with a 1% house edge. The dealer will produce two cards to the players and to themselves – the person who gets closest to or on 9 is the winner.
Avoid other bets if you can, such as betting a tie with a 14% house edge or paid at between 10% and 11% house edge.
Craps – 1.4% (Come/Pass)
Craps offers many different types of bets, but if you limit yourself to ‘pass’ or ‘come’ bets and take the full odds offered, it can be a simple game to win. Standard house edge is 1.4% and once you roll the dice you can take the odds which has a 0% house edge.
Blackjack – 0.2-2%
Blackjack can offer varying odds of 0.2% and 2% depending on the rules of the game. Despite the number of decks used, the aim of the game is to get as close to (or on) 21 as you possibly can.
French Roulette – 1.35%
In roulette, make sure you play European roulette if you wish to bring down the house edge as American roulette has 38 numbers meaning a house edge of 5.26% and European roulette has 37 numbers with a house edge of 2.7%. You can play French roulette at some online casinos that offer a house edge of just 1.35% on even money bets thanks to the en prison rule.
Situations Where House Edge Favours the Player
Game odds can, in very rare circumstances, favour the player rather than the house. One of the most common examples is video poker where the royal flush jackpot has become so big that the return from the game outweighs the odds of playing.