If you are a casino player, then it is likely that you already know about the importance of the house edge in any casino game or slot. No doubt, more experienced casino patrons will be well aware of what this term means and why it can be crucial in deciding which of the many entertainments available at a casino, in both the real world and online, are the ones to play.
However, if you are a relative newcomer to the world of casino gaming and you have not yet heard of the house edge, or you have heard the term but don’t really understand what it means, then you are in luck as in this article, we are not only going to explain what the house edge is, but also what games offer you the best house edge when you play them at a casino.
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Let’s start by clearly defining what the house edge is and fortunately, it is a very easy term to define.
What is the House Edge at a casino?
Regardless of whether you play at an online casino, or one in the real world, the house edge is exactly the same. It refers to the slight advantage in odds that the casino holds over the player when it comes to a specific casino game.
That is a very simple definition but within it lies some key truths for casino gamers. First, all casino games have the odds stacked in favour of the house, the only difference is how much they are stacked in favour of the house.
What do we mean by that? Well it means that some casino games are more difficult for a player to make a profit over the longer term than others. Or if you turn that about on its head, some games are more likely to see a player make a profit than others, but in general, the casino is always more likely to win.
The key to understanding house edge is not what it is, but the different percentages of house edge that different casino games have as there can be quite a significant difference in house edge between different casino games and that is something that all sensible casino gamers should at least be aware of.
A house edge is often expressed as a percentage, the lower the house edge, then the better the chances are for the player with that particular bet or game.
Let’s now begin our look at the casino games you can play that offer players the best house edge.
Games with the best house edge for players
- Blackjack – 0.28%
Have you ever wondered why a game as simple as blackjack remains so popular in casinos with so many players? Well the reason for that is that it is the game in the casino that offers the players the best chance of winning.
Playing a standard variation of blackjack to the basic strategy of the game would see you have a house edge of just 0.28% Different versions of the game, or not playing to basic strategy will see that house edge increase however.
Some people have overturned the house edge completely using card counting techniques in real world casinos. These are now outlawed and if a player is found to be doing this, they could end up banned from the casino and have their winnings withheld. Card counting is not possible in online versions of blackjack as the pack is shuffled after every hand automatically.
- Video Poker (using basic strategy) – 0.46%
Another great game which offers players almost a 50/50 chance of winning over the long term is video poker. With a house edge of less than half a percent, using basic strategy and assuming it is a full pay game, this means that statistically, you have just a shade less chance than the casino to win earn a profit.
However, if you do not play with a strategy and make gut instinct plays, then the house edge does increase, so it is always wise to at least start playing using a strategy sheet to help you learn what moves to make when swapping your cards out.
- Baccarat – as low as 1.06%
Baccarat is a very simple game and there are only three bets you can make on it, and the house edge for each of these bets is different. Back the banker to win and the house edge is just 1.06%, and if you back the player it is 1.24%. The tie bet offers a much higher house edge of 14.36%.
The edge in Baccarat however can vary due to changes in the game, such as the number of decks of cards that are in the shoe and any rules variations that are in play in the version of the game you are playing.
- Roulette (two-selection bets on a European Wheel) – 2.7%
In some games, it is the different bets available that have different house edges attached to them. Craps is one such game where that is the case, as is Baccarat outlined above, and so is Roulette. However, if you stick to playing on a European Wheel (the one with the single green zero slot) and play the bets that offer just two selections, 1-18/19/36, Red or Black or Odd or Even, then the house edge is just 2.7%
However, if you make other bets, such as betting on rows, columns or single numbers for example, then the house edge on these bets increases quite significantly.
- Slots – Variable (from 2% to 15%+)
You may feel that slots offer you the best chance of landing a win in a casino, but the truth of the matter is that it depends very much which slot you play as your chances of landing a profit during your session. Slot games tend to have a variance level of around 4-6%, but some games offer a house edge of less than this and some, notably progressive jackpot games, offer a house edge considerably greater than this.