What is House Edge and How to Use it to Your Advantage

Davey Hanson Author Davey Hanson
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Casino GameHouse Edge RangeHouse Edge (with proper play)
Slots~1% – 20%17%
Roulette~2.60% – 5.55%5.5%
Video Poker~0.46% – 5.22%0.5%
Blackjack~0.50% – 0.61%0.5%
Baccarat~1.06% – 14.36%1.06%
Craps~0.01% – 16.67%0.8%
Keno~20% – 40%25%+

*Casino house edge chart – percentage changes according to game variations and bet range.

 

House edge refers to the advantage a casino has over you as you play over a period of time. Silentbet has tested lots of casino games over the past 10+ years. These include slots, table games, and live dealer games. We’ve taken the time to understand how the house edge works and how it impacts win rates. This information can help many players maximize their potential winnings and minimize possible losses. Read on to learn how the casino house edge works.

Is Knowing the House Edge Important to You?

Key Takeaways:

  • House edge is built into games to guarantee the casino a profit over time.
  • It ensures that the house always wins.
  • Games that require some level of strategy usually have lower house edges
  • Applying game strategies helps to lower the casino house edge.
Davey Hanson, Player, Tester & iGaming Writer
Picture of Davey Hanson
I’ve played thousands of casino games over the years, all with different house edges. This experience has helped me determine how much impact the house edge has on my winnings.
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Casino House Edge Explained

visualizing house edge

As noted on Wikipedia, casino games are developed with a guaranteed house edge. (Source) This is meant to give gambling sites a long-term advantage. This doesn’t necessarily mean customers will lose every single game that they play. They’ll occasionally get a payout. Instead, it ensures that the house makes a profit in the long term.


Calculating the House Edge

Every casino game has a different house edge. To get the exact amount, you’ll have first to figure out the true odds of the game. For example, in a game like roulette, the true odds of guessing a number right are 38 to 1. This is because there are 38 slots on the wheel.

While the true odds are 38 to 1, the game only pays out 35 to 1. That means for every $1 bet you win, you’ll get $2 less than you’d win with the true odds. The $2 is the house edge, and you can turn it into a decimal by multiplying it by 1/38, which is in fact 5.26%.

A simpler way of calculating the house edge is to use a simulator.


Why Knowing the Casino House Edge Is Important

Knowing the casino house edge will help you determine how much you stand to win or lose over an extended period of play. This makes it easier for you to play responsibly. For example, you can use an average loss calculator to see how much you’d lose after 5 hours of play. With this information, you can set a cool-off period after 5 hours.


What Is the House Edge in Casino Games

The house edge varies from game to game. Let’s look at the advantage the casinos enjoy in different games.

Davey Hanson
Picture of Davey Hanson
In my experience, games that require a level of skill will usually have lower house edges.

HE in Slots

Slots house edge can vary from less than 5% to over 20%. Games like Ugga Bugga by Playtech have some of the most favorable house edges at only 0.93%. Mega Joker by NetEnt also has a very low house edge of 1%.

At the same time progressive slot machines start their HE percentage high at 5% so that the casino can guarantee a bigger profit margin in the long term.

HE in Baccarat

Baccarat features three main bet types, and the one you pick will determine the house edge. With the banker bet, the house edge is extremely low at 1.06%. The player bet comes with a house edge of 1.24%.

The odds are the poorest with the tie bet, which is why it’s the worst possible option to pick in baccarat. Tie bets have a house edge of 14.36%.

HE in Poker

Poker variants have different house edges. Games with the lowest house edge include Pai Gow Poker (2.5%), Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em (2.19%), and Three Card Poker (1.5%).

Caribbean Stud Poker has a very high house edge of 5.22%. Lots of poker games come with side bets, and these always offer very poor odds. Consider polishing up on your skills as this can lower the house edge in poker games.

The maximum payoff per unit bet is 800 to 1 when it comes to this game.

HE in Blackjack

In blackjack, the dealer has a guaranteed advantage (house edge), and they also get to play after you. That helps to improve their chances of winning.

The house edge will also change depending on the game rules.

For example, if the dealer has to stand on soft 17, they’ll have poorer chances of winning compared to those who have to hit on soft 17. Classic or American Blackjack is the most common game in online casinos, and it has a very low house edge of 0.61%.


Why Does the House Always Win?

casino house edge

The house always wins because games are programmed to pay profits to the casino in the long term. For example, a game that’s developed with a house edge of 5% will theoretically pay out 5% of the bets to the casino over a long period.

This doesn’t mean players can’t make a profit in casinos. You just need to apply a bankroll management strategy and know when to quit. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll at least limit your losses.

Davey Hanson
Picture of Davey Hanson
Although the house always wins, I’ve found it useful to apply bankroll management strategies to maximize my potential winnings. It also helps that I strictly choose games with low house edges (3% and below).

The Bottom Line: Silentbet’s Final Tips

Every game has a casino house edge. This is the advantage that the casino will have in the game, and it indicates the percentage of the bets that will be paid back to the site over a long period. So, how can you use the house edge to your advantage? Check out the following tips:

  • Tip 1: Always pick games with low house edges (3% and lower).
  • Tip 2: Games that require a level of skill will usually offer better odds, especially if you take the time to learn the ropes.
  • Tip 3: Always use a casino house edge calculator to find out whether a game is worth playing.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll win when playing in online casinos, so the best you can do is pick games with the best odds. In my experience, these will offer you consistent winnings and help you limit your losses.

FAQs

Is house edge linked to your losses?

The casino house edge isn’t directly linked to your losses. It only determines the percentage of the players’ bets that the casino will win back.

What is the difference between house edge and odds?

House edging is the practice of adding an advantage for the casino in online slots and other games. On the other hand, odds indicate the amount of money you’ll win for every dollar wagered.

Why should I gamble if the house always wins?

You can win sizable amounts of money when you gamble in the short term. Also, lots of people simply gamble for fun.

What are the average win rates?

Win rates vary significantly depending on the game you play, as well as the strategy you apply. For example, most slots have a win rate of around 95%.

What is the extra house edge?

The extra house edge is the built-in advantage that the casino has in every game. In other words, it represents the profit margins the casino expects to get.


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    Author: Davey Hanson
    Davey Hanson
    Davey Hanson has been writing professionally for more than a decade and has written articles, reviews, previews and general content for many iGaming websites.