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Getting Familiar With House Edge

Getting Familiar With House Edge

If you're like the overwhelming majority of casino players, your goal is to win as much and as often as possible. While games can be thrilling regardless of the outcome, winning is always infinitely more entertaining. Luckily, the key to increasing your performance isn't much of a secret.

You simply need to play games and play at casinos that offer low house edges. The fact is, the lower the house edge then the better your chances are of winning some cash. Edges vary from casino to casino and from game to game. Here’s a look at house edge, how it can affect your success when gaming, and how players can get the best edge possible at their casino online.

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Defining the Edge

In basic terms, we describe house edge as the advantage a casino has over the player. On all casino games the house has an advantage. For casino online players, this means it's not a case of avoiding the edge, but of learning to lessen it, to play alongside it, and to exploit it. When a real money player is able to do those three things, they have a much better chance of taking home some cash.

House Edge on Popular Games

It's worth noting that games and bets that have a low edge may pay less than those that offer high edges, but they also tend to pay more frequently. Let's take a look at slots and common table games in relation to the house edge.


Slot machines vary when it comes to the edge. Some are as low as 1% and others are as high as 15%. How do you know what machines have the lowest house edge? You can’t. However, you can get a rough estimate.

Two things you can find are payback percentages for many machines and the average payback percentage of slots at a specific casino. If a machine has a payback percentage of 98% that means that 98 cents of every dollar bet will be returned to the player or $98.00 of every $100.00 bet is given back. That means that the house keeps 2% or $0.02 on every $1.00 and $2.00 on every $100.00. Thus, the edge for the house is around 2%.

On average, slot machines offer an edge of 8%. That’s fairly high, but not as high as many casino games. Also, low percentage machines at 2% are a rarity. Keep in mind that the house edge doesn't manifest itself in a single playing session and may not mirror your experiences.


Did you know there are three different types of roulette? More importantly, do you realise the house edge varies widely depending on which version you play? American Roulette, which is standard in Las Vegas, has a whopping 5.26% house edge. By choosing to play European Roulette you can cut the edge in half to 2.7%. The games are nearly identical except that the American version sneakily adds an extra 00 slot to the wheel, which reduces your odds of hitting any one number.

Your odds get even better when you take your seat at a French roulette table. If you can get past the negligible language barrier, you'll be able to reduce to house edge to 1.35% on even money bets. French tables make use of the en prison or la Partage rule, which lets you recover half your stake if the ball lands on zero. You can learn more about these variations in our game guides.


Blackjack has the lowest house edge of all casino games. The only catch is that you need to play properly, which means learning the correct move in every situation or referring to a strategy table as you play. The actual casino edge depends on the number of decks used and other house rules such as when the dealer is required to hit or when you can split. When you play at an online casino, you can find blackjack tables with a house edge as low as 0.28%. Whatever variation you play, make sure you stay away from the insurance bet, which is for suckers.


Craps can look confusing to new players, but all you need to know is some bets are inherently great while others are for suckers. The casino has a respectable 1.41% house edge on pass line bets and just 1.36% on don't pass line bets. If you place either of these bets, you can also profit by making respective odds bets that have no additional edge. The come and don't come bets have similar odds.

Keep in mind that many bets are less than favourable. For example, betting on any 7 gives the house a whopping 16.9% margin and proposition 2 or 12 bets favour the house by 13.9%.


If you've ever wondered why baccarat attracts a well-heeled crowded, the low edge has a lot to do with it. By betting on the banker, the house edge is just 1.06% including commission. Even if you bet on the player, the edge is only 1.24%. The secret is to avoid betting on the tie, which favours the house by 14.36%.

Other Popular Games

Despite the throwback graphics and simple gameplay, video poker is actually one of the best games to play as the house edge can be less than 1%. At the opposite end of the spectrum, keno comes in at a whopping 25% to 29%. If you like poker table games, three card poker comes in at 2%, and Caribbean stud or Pai Gow clock it at roughly 2.5% if you play correctly.

Understanding Tilt

No matter what game you choose, it's important not to let emotions influence your play. Too many people bet recklessly in the middle of a losing streak to make up for their losses. There's no point ignoring the odds. Setting a budget, exercising a little bankroll management, and playing within your means is part of the formula for success. Keep in mind that while the house edge is mathematically true over the long haul, over the short term anything is possible. It's the sheer possibilities that make gambling so exciting to begin with.

Other Determining Factors

Here at, we observe that house edge should not be the only determining factor in what you decide to play at a casino. You should really play games that you enjoy. If slots are it for you, then look for machines with a low edge (1%) or a high payback percentage (99%).

Find bets that make the most sense when you’re trying to control spending, and after you have hit big, play that game or make the bet that greatly favours the casino. Also play smart, and switch back to conservative bets before you lose a large percentage of your winnings.

Putting Your Knowledge into Action

Knowing which games to play is only part of the story. If you opt for games with elements of skill like poker or blackjack, you'll need to master the rules and familiarise yourself with winning strategies. Fortunately, our individual game guides are filled with valuable tips that can put you on a winning track. If you take the time and learn how to play, you can make the house edge mostly evaporate.