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House Edge Explained – How Casino Advantage Works

Updated on: October 16th, 2020

how house edge worksIf you’re new to gambling, the concept of house edge may seem confusing. Also known as a casino advantage, some players mistakenly take it to mean that casino games are rigged. However, this is not true.

House edge ensures that the odds are always slightly in favor of the house, so the casino remains profitable in the long run. Different games, such as online slots, pai gow poker, blackjack, roulette, and sic bo, all have different house edge percentages.

To find out more about how casino advantage works, carry on reading.

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What is House Edge?

If you’re an avid gambler, you have probably heard the phrase, “the house always wins” before. Essentially, what ensures that the house always wins is house edge or casino advantage. You will never find a casino that offers you true odds.

As mentioned above, the house edge doesn’t imply that a game is rigged. Rather, rules have been altered to ensure that casinos have higher odds of winning a game than you do.  So, you still have a chance to win. Depending on which game you play and the strategy you use, it could even still be an excellent chance.

house edge casino games

Why House Edge Matters

It is important to remember that the house edge is the game’s product and not online casinos. As such, each casino game has its own in-built edge, meaning that it is easier for players to win in some games.

Even different variations of the same game could have different house edge percentages. For example, American roulette has a standard house edge of 5.26%, whereas European roulette has an advantage of 2.70%.

Your playstyle and the strategies you use also affect the edge and your overall odds of winning. For example, using basic strategy in blackjack is said to lower the house’s edge of the game to less than 1%.

However, in the same game, making side bets that are extremely difficult to win, such as insurance bets, increases the odds against you.

So, although casino games are strongly based on luck, you are not completely unable to impact your chances of walking away from a gaming session with some winnings.

Standard House Edge of Popular Casino Games

Here is the standard advantage in the base version of many popular casino games:

GamesStandard Advantage
Roulette (European)2.7%
Roulette (American)5.26%
Slots0 – 17%
Slots (Progressive)5 – 17%
Video Poker0.5 – 5%

As mentioned above, your actions can affect these standard house edge percentages. For example, while blackjack has a low initial house edge if you play the game in a very conservative way, you can increase it if you make aggressive bets.

For instance, you could decide to place a bonus bet on your hand, which has a house edge of 40.78%, which practically means you won’t win this bet. So, watch out for such instances.

house edge craps

Tips for Reducing House Edge

There are several tips you can use to reduce the edge. At times, these tips can get very game-specific, and for such, we will refer you to some of our dedicated strategy guides:

  • Baccarat
  • Bingo
  • Blackjack
  • Lottery
  • Poker
  • Roulette

Over here, we will aim to cover some more general tips you can use.

Don’t Fall Victim to Gambler’s Fallacy

Gambler’s fallacy refers to the idea of thinking that previous results have an impact on future results. So, patterns of thinking where you believe concepts such as “I have to win this round because I lost the last three.”

There are outwardly forces impacting your losing or winning streak. Casino games are based on luck. And, if you find yourself thinking that you can’t lose the next round for whatever reason, you need to step away from the table and take a break. This pattern of thinking only leads to bad decisions and big losses.

Don’t Focus on High Risk, High Reward Bets

Gambling’s biggest and most successful winners didn’t win on a ridiculous single bet on roulette, which pays out 35 to 1. Rather, they spent time grinding bets with a lower house edge for hours on end and slowly building their wins and funds.

If you want, you can place these bets. However, don’t expect to win very often. In fact, you’ll probably lose your bankroll in most sessions very quickly.

Play Games with the Lowest House Edge

If you really want to ensure you win regularly, you need to play table games with a lower advantage. This means staying away from slot machines.

However, if you really want to play slots, we recommend that you stick to games with a high return-to-player percentage and low volatility. This will ensure that you retain the highest chance of winning.

Check out some of our other guides:

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