How Casino House Edge Works

Understand Casino House Edge - And How to Reduce it!

Every game you play at a casino, whether online or at a bricks and mortar casino, has an inherent house edge. This edge is necessary, as it is how the casino will make a profit and if they didn’t make a profit, there’d be no casinos! This house edge can vary from game to game and there are a number of ways for a player to lower the edge, making it more likely that a session will be a winning one.

In this article I start by describing exactly how house edge works, using roulette as an example. I then go on to explain the two particular methods you can use to lower the edge. The first of these is the use of bonuses, promotions and loyalty schemes, each of which can help to minimize the casino edge. Secondly, smart play at the casinos will also reduce the edge. Playing the games the RIGHT way will put more money in your pocket and less in the pockets of the casino!

The House Edge – How it Works

Every time you place a bet at an online casino there is an expectation that it will be a profitable one for the casino. This might not seem like the case, especially when on a purple patch, but in the long run a casino will expect to make a profit.

To show how it works, I’ll use roulette as an example. Many people like to bet on red or black, so I’ll take a look at a series of bets on red  to show you exactly how the house edge works. On a European roulette wheel there are 37 numbers, so we’ll assume that the player plays for 37 spins, where you would expect to hit every number once on average.

Now let’s do some math. In those 37 spins, you would expect to hit red 18 times, hit black 18 times and hit the green zero once. Obviously this won’t be the case every time, but in the long term, the numbers will converge to look something like these.  So the player places 37 individual bets of \$1, making for a total stake of \$37. On average, they will win 18 times when hitting red, returning \$36, while the other 19 spins will see the player lose his \$1. Therefore, from a total spend of \$37, they will expect to receive \$36 back – making for a house edge of 2.7%.

The same calculation can be made for American Roulette, where you’ll find two zeros. Here you’ll expect to receive \$36 back from \$38 in total stakes, making for a house edge of 5.26%. All other casino games work in pretty much the same way, where the casino will expect to make a small percentage of the stake every time someone plays, be that at slots, blackjack, video poker or any other game.

Lowering the House Edge Using Promotions

Despite there being a house edge at every game, there are ways of lowering the edge. One way of doing this is by using the promotions, bonuses and loyalty schemes offered by a site. Whichever you make use of, each will offer some form of a cash bonus, whether that is linked to a deposit, the amount of play you enjoy at the site or through the form of competitions or tournaments.

The house edge doesn’t actually mean that you’ll be a losing player – many casino users make a profit, so the bonus/promotion money might just increase your winnings further, making for a nice win-win situation. However these free funds can also make the difference between being a losing and a winning player, or help reduce your overall loss amount.

Lowering the House Edge Using Smart Play

There are a number of casino games which are actually skill based, where making the right decisions over and over can make a big difference to the house edge.  A prime example in a casino is blackjack, where the choices you make can make a huge difference to the house edge – the casinos loving players who have no real strategy in place, as they’ll make more money from these players!

Online you’ll find many blackjack strategy articles and perhaps more importantly you’ll also find charts which tell you exactly what the optimal play is based upon your two cards and the one card you can see from the dealer. If you do play optimally, the house edge is there, but can be almost negligible – this certainly not the case if your play is a little weak in certain areas. Optimal play will mean you’re much more likely to have a winning session, so spend some time getting to know the charts and the optimal strategy – when playing online there is absolutely no reason to be playing without a chart! Another casino games which is aided by optimal strategy is video poker, where charts will tell you exactly which cards to hold.

Perhaps surprisingly, you can also minimize the house edge when playing certain slots. An example is ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Rises’ by MicroGaming. Here you’ll start off with 10 free spins on offer during the bonus round, but the number of spins and the multiplier available will rise every time Batman and Bane fight. The optimal strategy in these type of games is to leave the moment after you have played the bonus feature, when the amount of spins is reset to the minimum amount.  Leaving during a game where you have extra spins waiting for you is simply leaving money at the casino.

How Casino House Edge Works – Summary

Casinos make a huge amount of money each year and its little wonder that more and more sites are popping up all of the time. That doesn’t mean however that they have to take YOUR money. Make use of those bonuses and promotions and play a little cleverer than the average player and you’ll give yourself a much greater chance of your casino experience being a winning one.

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