What is the House Edge for Casino Games?

In casino games, the house never leaves anything to chance. Gamblers may rely on a combination of luck, chance, and strategy, but casinos always want to be one step ahead of their players. Casinos are a business set up to take advantage of naive dreamers seeking to topple the house edge and win big. Online casinos Ireland have in-built mechanisms called casino house edge to ensure their profitability. 

This article will explain a casino house edge, your chances of winning with those numbers, and which games have a high and low house advantage.

+Read more

This page is written by
Seánie O'Brien
Seánie O'BrienCasino Adviser
Fact checked by
Rebecca Mackay
Rebecca MackayHead of Content
According to our Editorial Guide

You may be familiar with the famous saying, "The house always wins." But what does it truly signify in the realm of casino games? It refers to the concept of the house edge, denoting the inherent advantage that the casino, or "house," possesses over players. Nevertheless, the magnitude of this advantage can vary across different games. In this engaging video from Irishluck, as your host I will be exploring a diverse selection of casino games, examining the influence of the house edge on each of them. Additionally, I will be sharing invaluable tips on outsmarting and overcoming the house edge.

Going into Depth: What is the House Edge?

House edge is the average loss ratio to the initial bet placed. The house edge indicates how much each game pays on average over its lifespan and which games can offer players the best returns on their bets. The casino advantage stems from the game and is not set by individual casinos. 

No matter where you gamble, you cannot escape the house edge. However, you can use information about the house edge to your advantage in the game. It can be a helpful guide to tell you which games are the best in percentage payout. Games with a higher house edge pay out much less than games with a lower house edge. 

casino games online casinos ireland

In some gambling games like card poker, the initial wager is not the ending wager. For example, in BlackJack, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud Poker, or even regular Poker, gamblers can increase their bet when the game's odds favour it. This can help increase the winnings drastically. In such games, the additional money wagers are not counted in the denominator to define the house edge, which increases the risk of the game. 

In other games, like Ultimate Texas Hold Em and Crazy 4 Poker, two initial bets are placed, and the house edge is based on only one of them. House edge figures are defined by optimal or near-optimal player strategy. They are designed to diminish the possibilities and size of potential payouts

Quick Facts About the House Edge

Let's get a few things clear: 

  1. In the game of gambling, nothing can beat the casino’s advantage. 

  2. Casino advantages are known as house edge.

  3. A house edge represents the average gross profit a casino expects to make from each game. 

  4. The house edge varies vastly amongst the many casino games on offer. Blackjack has the lowest house edge, while Keno has the highest, which means the odds of players winning are low. 

  5. Customers should make it a point to understand the house edge and its effect on the game. The house edge directly impacts the result of the game.

  6. Baccarat has a house edge between 1.01% to 15.75%. Blackjack has a house edge of 0.5%. Craps has a house edge between 0 to 16.67% depending on the bets laid. Slots have a house edge between 2 to 15%, while Video Poker has a house edge of 0.46%

  7. You can use different strategies and techniques to minimise the house edge, but you can never beat it completely.

How Does the House Edge Work?

Let's take the example of the roulette wheel. The wheel is numbered from one to thirty-six. Therefore, it seems that the odds of winning a single number bet is one to thirty-six. But bear in mind that roulette wheels also have a zero slot. In some cases, they have a double or triple zero, which means that the odds of winning may be 37 to 1, 38 to 1, and 39 to 1, respectively. The roulette table thus cripples your chances of winning with an in-built advantage.

On average, the house edge on a roulette wheel with a double zero is 5.26%. To examine it even deeper, when €1 million is bet on the roulette table, the management can expect a profit of over €50,000. The remaining is returned to the bettors. The idea isn't to amount the player to nothing. Rather, it's to make sure that gamblers face incremental losses so that they might come back and there is money in the casino's pocket in the long term. 

Why Players Lose More Than They Expect 

Some customers think they understand the stakes quite well. But that isn't always the case. Punters who are aware of the house edge may not fully understand how intricate it is, which is a reason for their consistent losses. 

If a customer expects to sit down at the table, gamble for €100 for a few hours, and only lose €10 because of the 10% house edge, they don't understand that the house edge doesn't apply to their bankroll, rather it applies to the total amount they bet on. 

To make it simple: if a person makes €2 bets on every spin of the wheel, with the wheel spinning 50 times an hour, they will bet €100 an hour. If the house edge plays out perfectly, after two hours, they will lose €120, which is a lot more than what they expected. 

online casinos games online casinos ireland

The Hidden Extra House Edge 

The heady rush and exhilaration of gambling make you want to play your casino game for as long as possible. The casino knows consumer behaviour, and they use it to their advantage. Free alcohol, fun, music, and the rush is a heady cocktail designed for gamblers. Casinos even lack clocks and windows so that you forget the passage of time. Major brick-and-mortar casinos also pump oxygen in to keep players satisfied and happy. Everything is designed to keep you in. 

The longer the course of the game, the greater the odds that the result of your spins, cards and machines will align perfectly with the house edge. You may think that you are beating the casino one way or the other with your skill or luck, but the reality is that the house edge will douse the fire, resulting in unprofitability.

Games and Their House Edges

Each casino game will have different house edges. Keep reading as we take a deep dive into the respective house edge.

Slots House Edge

Slots are popular on casino sites and in-house casinos. Slot machines are notorious for a higher house edge. The house edge can be anywhere between 2 to 15%. With slots, skill and expertise don't mean anything. There is nothing at all you can do to improve the result of the slot machine. No strategies can help you. All you can do is choose the number of pay lines you want to play and hope for the best when you hit the button. 

The RTP is relatively low with slots, so the casino tends to draw in a high profit. Slots are attractive themed games without a dealer, rules, and other decision-making elements. They have been made vastly popular with the rise of the media, movies, and TV shows where characters are shown winning jackpots in Vegas. 

You can win coins by matching reels across a winning pay line. Video slots offer between 20 to 100 pay lines, seemingly offering more chances for gamblers to win. But the fact remains that the more pay lines a game has, the bigger the impact is on the house. 

In a game with 20 pay lines, if you play on all 20 each time, your chances of bagging a win are maximised. But if you play on 10 pay lines, your odds are cut by half. When you increase your chance of losing, the casino's chance of winning improves. There is a cost for every decision and every dollar spent or withdrawn. Something is bound to tip the scales in the casino's favour. 

Beat Out House Edge with Slots

  1. Play the maximum number of paylines 

  2. Play slots with the highest RTP, like Goblin's Cave and Ocean Princess

  3. Play slots with bonus games to maximise your winnings.

Blackjack House Edge

There are several variations of Blackjack. The number of decks you play with and the rules and differences between various versions impact the game's house edge

Blackjack relies on skill and strategy, as well as the luck of the cards drawn for the player. The standard house edge for the game is 0.5% - when Blackjack is played perfectly with basic rules and strategy. 

If you are a novice at the game, there will be a slight difference in the house edge as it will increase incrementally. It is most likely that your inexperience will make you lose.

Beat the House Edge Blackjack

  1. Study blackjack charts to protect your bankroll from the banker. The chart shows every possible outcome for the cards and dealers in your hands.

  2. Study composition strategies and implement them once you've memorised a blackjack chart.

Baccarat House Edge

Baccarat is a high-stakes game that isn't very popular with casino players. However, the house edge can be very low if you play the game well. Generally, the house edge range lies between 1.01% - 15.75%

In a well-played game, Baccarat offers players a 100% RTP. The house edge varies across different deck games based on the bet made. Tie bets are where the casino has a huge house edge over the player regardless of how many decks are in play, while bets with the lowest house edges are on the banker to win. 

Reduce the House Edge in a Game of Baccarat

  1. Play banker to win bets, as this bet has the lowest house edge 

  2. Don't take the tie bet 

  3. Play with fewer decks to increase your chances of winning and lowering the house edge

Craps House Edge

Craps are an exciting dice game to play. Everyone around the table waits in anticipation as the dice are rolled to decide whether you win or lose. More often than not, though, it's the latter. The game has intricate rules and multiple betting options, which can give this game an extremely high house edge at times. 

The house edge varies from low to a high of 13.9%. In addition, how much you forfeit to the house over time boils down to the bets you have placed. 

Popular Crap Bets Have the Following House Edges:

  1. Any 7 - 16.9%

  2. Craps - 11.1%

  3. Pass odds - 0%

  4. Pass/Come - 1.41%

  5. Buy Bets 4.76%

  6. Don't Pass - 1.36%

Video Poker House Edge

This game has a low house edge of 0.46%. It is played on consoles at land casinos or online. In this game, it's you vs the machine. There are hundreds of video poker games, all of which offer unique paytables and house edges. You can get some high returns if you play with skill and strategy. You may even snatch the house advantage if you have the perfect strategy.

Tips to Beat Video Poker House Edge

  1. Compare pay tables to see what you can win in each game. Shop around with games and pay tables for the highest wins possible. 

  2. Place the maximum bet to get higher returns. 

  3. Practice for free first to perfect the strategy that will help you win money in real-time. 

Our Verdict on the House Edge for Casino Games

In conclusion, understanding the concept of house edge is crucial for any casino player. It refers to the mathematical advantage that the casino has over the players, and it varies for different games. While some games have a low house edge, others have a significantly high one. Therefore, it is important to know the house edge of a game before playing to maximize your chances of winning. By selecting games with a lower house edge, players can reduce the casino's advantage and increase their chances of winning in the long run.

FAQs About the House Edge

What is the house edge?

A house edge represents the average gross profit a casino expects to make from each game.  

Which game has the highest house edge?

Casinos have the odds stacked in their favour in almost all games. The house edge varies from game to game. Games with the highest house edges are Keno (20 to 40%), Baccarat (up to 15.75%), Craps (16.67%), and Sic Bo (2.78% to 33.33%). You can succeed at Baccarat if you play well with good strategy. 

Does the casino decide on the house edge?

No, the casino can't decide the house edge. The house edge depends on the kind of casino game you are playing.

Casino Mentor

Seánie has plenty of experience in the casino world and enjoys sharing this accumulated knowledge. He offers great tips and tricks for players to enjoy casinos safely.

Expert on:

Casino TipsMyth BusterGambling Insights
3 min read
Fact-checked by: Rebecca Mackay
As Seen On:
  • international business times logo
  • Radar online logo
  • business matters
  • sigma logo
  • uk tech news logo
  • the irish post logo
  • business cloud logo
  • euro weekly news