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You may not be completely aware of this, but the casino sites will always have an advantage over the player; known as the house edge. If you have thought about how casino sites make money, then it is because in general they will pay all of their players less money than they take in. If you’re thinking that this isn’t fair, then you have to consider that the gambling site is a business and as such needs to actually make a profit. But to ensure fairness and transparency, every game is set up with Random Number Generators (RNG) which favour the site. This means that some days you can have good days as a gambler and some will be bad and you’ll walk away with nothing.
This may all sound very doom and gloom, but it is worth noting that many people win when they gamble online; with some enjoying big amounts. So yes there is a house edge, but if no one won, then no one would bother playing at all.
The key to all of this is working out how to play the edge and reduce its impact. So here is the casino house edge UK explained, with a few tips on making it work in your favour.
Understanding the Casino House Edge
We’ve already explained a little what the house edge is, but the general premise is that the casino has better odds of winning than the player. You may also see the term house advantage mentioned, but it means the same thing. The actual house edge is normally a really small percentage, but when worked out in the long term the casino enjoys more wins and fewer big payouts.
The easiest way to explain is by providing you with an example, so lets consider online roulette. Within the table games section you will find that the house advantage tends to be consistent. But there are slight changes which you should be aware of, for example the difference between European and American roulette.
European roulette has a house edge of 2.70%, whereas American roulette is 5.26% due to it’s extra number on the wheel. The percentage in the simplest terms is the profit the casino will make, so if it was 0.50% house edge, then the casino would take £0.50 profit for every £100 wagered. For most games the edge is pretty low so around 1 to 2%, but there are some which are as high as 25%.
Remember this is purely an average and for every £100 you bet, the outcome will be completely different. One of the biggest impacts on your wins will be the variance of the game, but knowing the house edge before you choose something to play is a good idea to improve your returns.
What Is The Impact Of Variance
We have a full guide on how variance and volatility affects the gambling world, but in basic terms it means deviating from the average. Online games are completely random and this is due to the RNG which is placed in the game at the design stage. Because the online games don’t have the randomness of a player throwing the dice or picking a card, then this needs to be created using a seed number and algorithm.
Say for example you threw a six sided dice 60 times, would you expect to see it land on each number 10 times? No, because there is a variance in the results which cannot be accounted for. This is what the RNG is trying to produce when you play online slots or casino games.
How To Find The House Edge
The best way to discover the house edge is to consider the Return to Player of the game which tends to be displayed as RTP. Although the gambling sites wouldn’t describe the RTP as a secret, they also don’t heavily promote it, as it can dissuade players from a game if they believe the percentage to be too low.
Return to Player is a percentage of the real money wagers which are returned to a player through winnings. So a 97% RTP means that for every £100 spend they should see a return of £97. Now you’ll be wondering why as you play you don’t see this kind of return on your bets? That is because the RTP calculation is done over the long term, instead of each wager and each player.
How does this connect to the house advantage? Well, if the return to player is for example 97%, then it would stand to reason that the house edge was 3%. Again, bear in mind that this is over the long term and not on individual bets.
There are two ways to establish the RTP, firstly on the gambling site you can find the information on the specific game’s instructions. Our preferred method is simply typing the games name into Google, with RTP after it and you will see a raft of articles each showing the percentage in the search results. You don’t even need to go into the content because it will be there on the results screen.
The one difference is live casino games, because they involve actual dealers and as such it is more akin to being in a land-based casino.
The House Edge on Online Casino Games
You will find that games with the highest RTP and low edge will pay less in prizes, but they will pay more frequently.
- Slots – The variability of the house edge percentage on slots is quite extreme, because it can be as little as 1% and high as 15%.
- Roulette – There are actually three different types of roulette and each has a different edge. American has a 5.26% edge, European roulette is nearly half the percentage at 2.7%. Both games are pretty much the same, with the exception of having an extra number on the wheel. If you fancy something a little different then there is French roulette which has a 1.35% edge on even money bets.
- Blackjack – Out of all the table casino games, Blackjack has the lowest house advantage. What that is, will depend on how you play and the number of decks, but a single deck tends to be 0.5%.
- Craps – Again there is a variation depending on how you play, because it can be between 1.41% on pass line bets and 1.36% on don’t pass line bets. Some bets are less favourable, to give an example betting on a 7 gives the house a 16.9% margin.
- Baccarat – If you bet on the banker the edge is 1.06% and on the player it’s 1.24%. By betting on the tie you can see a house advantage of 14.36%.
- Video Poker – One of the better games to play when you consider house edge because it’s about 0.46%.
- Keno – This game has a whopping 25 to 29% advantage, much higher than other games.
- Three-card Poker – This card game has a 2% edge.
- Pai Gow Poker – Comes in around 2.5%.
The main takeaway from this is that the house edge is variable, which is due to the many changes in the game. This could be how many decks are played, how the gambler actually plays the game and which betting option you choose, to name a few.
How To Beat The House Edge
There is no straightforward answer to this question, because each game varies, as does the way the game is played. The only way to improve your chances is by using a strategy of skill. So take some time to learn how the game is played which you can do simply by playing, but also by researching tips from the experts. Demo options are a good idea if you’re new to a game, although they won’t play out exactly as a funded version does.
It’s probably a good time to mention that all RTP’s are audited by independent testers and that information relating to the outcomes can be found on the betting site. Part of the audit is determining that the house edge is as advertised and that the RNG is fair and honest. Make sure you only play on sites which are licenced by the UK Gambling Commission, because this will mean that the casino follows the legislation required to maintain their licence which is quite extensive.
Summary of Casino House Edge UK Explained
You should have a better understanding of what the house edge is and how it impacts your day-to-day betting. It would make sense that an online betting site would make sure that they stay profitable and as such in business, so most players are ok with the concept.
Even though every bet is in the casino’s favour, it shouldn’t deter us from playing online games. The main reason we log in is due to the excitement and entertainment that online betting provides. Remember that gambling should not be seen as an income to sustain your life and if you are concerned with your betting habits, then you should contact an organisation such as GamCare.
Researching techniques and understanding your chosen game is a great way to push the odds in your favour. If winning is more of a priority, then make sure you look for lower house edge games, which will improve your chances.