What is a Casino’s House Edge and Why Should Gamblers Know It

The Sports Geek
What is a Casino’s House Edge and Why Should Gamblers Know It
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At their core, casinos are an encapsulation of probability and math. For every casino game, odds and numbers dictate how the game operates, including the win-loss rate. The phrase “the house always wins” was coined as a reflection of the built-in house edge in every game.

Every game that you play in the casino, regardless if it’s a machine or table game, has a house edge. It is important for any gambler to understand what the house edge means before playing at the best online casinos. If your intention is to win consistently, then it’s an absolute must to know.

Are you a gambler that wants to give yourself the best odds of winning? Having at least a rudimentary understanding of the casino’s house edge can help point you in the right direction. Let’s learn about what the house edge is in more detail and how it can benefit you in the casino.

Before putting together your casino strategies, get the full breakdown of what the house edge means for you. In short, the house edge is simply the percentage that the casino expects to win over the long term.

The house edge is a statistical measure of how profitable a particular casino game will be for the house over a large sample size. This percentage takes into account thousands of bets over a long period of time. It does not guarantee that the casino will win more or less across one night or even weeks.

Rather, the house edge strives to explain how much revenue a casino can make through fiscal quarters. Consequently, the house edge is the best measure of what games make the most money for casinos per wager.

House Edge Example:

Let’s look at a quick example featuring roulette. The house edge for American (double-zero) roulette is an average of 5.26 percent across all bets on the table. In other words, the casino expects to collect 5.26 percent from roulette across the long term from gamblers.

Therefore, the house edge indicates for every $10 million played in roulette, the casino expects to make $526,000. There will be deviations, with highs and lows, but overall, 5.26 percent is what the math indicates.

We have highlighted the casino games with the lowest house edges that you should consider checking out at the top online gambling sites below.

There are some important points to keep in mind when thinking about the house edge of casino games. Let’s outline five reasons why understanding the house edge is important for you as a gambler.

Before stepping into the casino or logging into your online casino account, you should have a sense of what games you are interested in and your primary objective.

By learning about the house edge, it becomes much easier to discard casino games that have a high house edge and focus on games with a low house edge.

As a Gambler:

You should always seek out games with a house edge as close as possible to 0%.  Casino games with high house edges are the casino’s favorite games. We aren’t telling you to ignore games with a high house edge entirely.

For instance, online slot machines do not have a low house edge. On average, slots are roughly in the 10 percent range. That being said, slots can be a fun game to play occasionally. And, if you get lucky, slots could produce a life-changing win.

However, the primary games you regularly play in the casino should have a low house edge. The only way you’ll know this is by understanding the casino’s edge and the payback percentages of each game.

  • Blackjack (varies based on rules): 0.20 percent to 2 percent
  • Spanish 21: 0.40 percent to 0.76 percent
  • Jacks or Better Video Poker: 0.46 percent
  • Baccarat: 1.06 to 1.24 percent
  • Craps: 1.36 to 1.41 percent
  • Pai Gow Poker: 1.50 percent

After selecting your favorite games to play in the casino, the work isn’t done when it comes to proper table and game selection. Specifically, we are referring to selecting games in the casino that offer the best house rules.

So, you’ve selected your game to play, which is blackjack. Understanding the casino house edge can also help in selecting the tables with the best rules.

For instance, if you look at blackjack, the house edge can vary from 0.20 percent to roughly 2 percent. That is a rather large discrepancy. This is due to the rules being different for certain blackjack tables.

Playing 3:2 blackjack instead of 6:5 blackjack, as well as the fewest decks possible, is your best bet. Single and double-deck blackjack provides a low house edge. There are a number of other blackjack rules that can impact the house edge as well.

As for other examples, the house edge is 0.40 percent in Spanish 21 when the dealer must stand on soft 17. Conversely, it rises to 0.76 percent when the rules stipulate that the dealer has to hit.

In craps, always look for tables that allow you to bet max odds behind your original Pass Line wager. The most common is 3-4-5x craps, but higher odds are still available, with 10x craps another moderately popular offering.

For one final example, roulette rules will significantly impact the house edge. In American roulette (double-zero), the house edge stands at 5.26 percent. However, it falls to 2.70 percent while playing European roulette (single-zero).

House rules are static and can’t be changed by players. You will have to select the right table to get the most out of the house edge.

Making the right bets and being a smart gambler while playing your game of choice can influence your odds of winning. The house edge can be used as a simple guide to inform you of what bets you should be making.

Let’s use parlay betting at sports betting sites as a starting point. In short for parlays, the more wagers included in your parlay, the higher the house edge is for the casino. Parlays can be fun, but they aren’t the smartest investment.

Generally, the house edge for a two-team parlay is roughly 10 percent. That is approximately the same as a slot machine. Do you want to play a four or five-game parlay? You are looking at a house edge of around 18.75 percent and nearly 22 percent.

Now, extrapolate that even further, and you can see how the house edge can get out of control. These bets are fine once in a while, but don’t make parlays your primary sports betting strategy.

Additionally, the house edge for the Pass Line bet in craps is 1.41 percent. Whereas, the Don’t Pass bet has a 1.36 percent house edge. As one final example, the banker’s bet in baccarat has a house edge of 1.06 percent, but the player’s bet has a house edge of 1.24 percent.

Knowing the house edge of your desired bets, will inform you of the right wagers to make.

The ultimate goal of playing casino games is to profit as much money as you can. If that’s what you want, then understanding the house edge is critically important to having success gambling.

Over a large sample size, the math suggests that playing games with high house edges will cause you to lose more money. Of course, there will be outliers who won a slot jackpot, or risked it all on one spin at the roulette table and won.

Then there will be gamblers who lost big at a low house edge game like blackjack or craps. However, in the long run, playing games with a lower house edge will net you the most money.

Bankroll management is the key to having success with these casino games.

If you don’t deviate away from your normal bet size, and only wager a percentage of your bankroll, the gamblers playing games with a low house edge will be more profitable in the long term.

Even if you aren’t a winning gambler, you will lose less money by playing the better games. By not understanding the house edge, and blindly playing games with a high house edge percentage, you are setting yourself up for failure.

In closing, you can accurately predict your long-term success rate for any game in the casino with a simple. There is nothing wrong with playing games that don’t give the best house edge. Having fun is part of gambling, but just understand that your profitability is expected to take a dive.

Complimentary items and bonuses are often issued by casinos to players for their gambling activity. Recently, we examined what a high roller is and how comps are distributed to players in the casino.

One of the most important variables for determining comps is the house edge of the games being played.

If you are interested in collecting freebies:

It is important to have an idea about where you stand. Some players will go years without being aware of what is owed to them by the casino. We do not recommend doing this, as comps can help offset other costs.

  • For true high rollers, casino hosts will actively seek out these players.


For most of us, we might have to contact the marketing department or a host to establish how much comps are in our accounts.

In general, more comps are offered for players that gamble with a high house edge. Casinos take into account the house edge, bet size, and length of time played.

This is used to calculate the theoretical expected loss and the comps that are due. Comps can range from food, rooms, transportation, free play, and much more.

Feel free to contact your casino and inquire about any comps available. And, yes, online casinos have bonuses for gamblers. In fact, you don’t have to bet a penny to collect lucrative casino bonuses online.

As we have noted, game selection and the rules of the game are important. When selecting an online casino, ensure that there is a wide menu of games available to play.

Additionally, casino games with a low house edge, such as single-deck blackjack, craps, video poker, baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and European roulette are nice to have access to conveniently in one place.

An online casino with a variety of different slot machines for when you want to take a shot at a big jackpot should be mandatory, too. You can find many of your favorite slots from Las Vegas casinos at online casinos.

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