Did you know that odds are stacked against the average casino player? It shouldn't be that hard to believe, but just about every casino game favours the house to some degree. While that might seem like a deterrent to players, the house edge varies depending on which game you choose and the particular bet you make. In addition, you can often find better odds online than if you play at a live casino.
Odds don't have to be complicated. They simply indicate the likelihood of winning your bet and aren't all that hard to wrap your head around. Let's use European roulette as an example. As you may know, the wheel contains 37 numbers ranging from 0-36. That means the odds of hitting any single number on a given spin are 1 in 37 or roughly 2.7%. At the same time, betting on any one number pays 35 to 1. It should probably be obvious how casinos make their money. If you repeatedly bet £1 on a single number, after 370 bets the odds dictate that you will win roughly 10 bets. Yet since these bets pay 35 to 1, you'll only win $350 for $370 worth of bets. That house edge is how casinos make their money.
Keep in mind that this example is largely theoretical. When gambling, you'll have to deal with variance. In other words, over the short term anything is possible. The odds mathematically play out over the long haul rather than during your individual or collective playing sessions. In fact, variance makes gambling fun. Even though the house has the advantage, it is possible to come out ahead or even win big.
As we brushed upon earlier, the odds you'll face depend on the game you choose and the particular bets you place. You'll find the most popular games, top bets, and best house edge listed below. A lower house edge is obviously better from the perspective of players. For example, a 2.7% house edge means that for every £100, only £97.30 on average is returned to players with the casino making a £2.70 profit.
Game Bet/Rules House Edge
BlackjackVegas Rules 0.28%
Casino Hold'em 2.16%
Casino WarGo to war on ties 2.88%
Don't Pass/Come 1.36%
Let it Ride 3.51%
Mega Moolah 6%
Sic BoSmall/Big bet 2.78%
Slot Machines 2%-15%
Video PokerJacks or Better 0.46%
It should be clear that odds are the greatest determinant of your overall success. If you consult the table above, you'll notice just how much they vary. When playing roulette for example, you should always choose European and ideally French versions of the game. In baccarat, betting on a tie is for clearly for suckers. You should also avoid games like keno at all costs. Of course, if you are playing for free, you might not be particularly concerned about your virtual bottom line.
If you plan on playing games with elements of skill like blackjack, it's absolutely essential that you learn the rules and proper strategies so you can play correctly. The low house edge depends on players making the right move in every situation given your hand and the dealer's visible cards. You can learn more by visiting our individual game guides, but it won't take much effort to become a master. One of the benefits of playing online is that you can refer to strategy tables and other tools as you play. There's no risk of getting laughed at or looking like an amateur on the internet.
While the online casino odds are definitely favourable, you can reduce the house edge even further by making use of bonuses. If you haven't heard, gambling sites offer all sorts of promotions including free cash that can ultimately improve your bottom line. It's just one of the advantages of playing on the internet.
Online gambling sites offer the same games as your local casino plus many unique titles. Yet it gets much better. Players who dig even a little deeper will discover that they can find superior odds online.
“But hang on a minute,” we hear you cry. “If the games at an online casino are still fundamentally the same, how on earth can they offer improved odds on a fixed outcome?” It's a good question, but one that has a surprisingly obvious answer: the games you play at an online casino are in fact subtly different from the versions you'll usually encounter at a live casino.
Take blackjack, for example. At a live casino, you'll typically find games using six or eight decks, but at an online casino you will usually be able to choose a single deck option. Given that each deck in play effectively increases the house edge by 0.2%, it should be fairly obvious that you're getting much the better of it if you play online.
While 0.2% might not seem like much of a difference, when you realise that a six deck blackjack game would be 0.28% in the casino's favour while a single deck game online would be almost half that, it becomes clear that these numbers can have a massive impact on your bottom line.
If you're wondering why live casinos don't simply hit back and start offering these reduced odds games to attract players, the answer is often simply a question of space, regulation and money. Although the gaming floors in some bricks and mortar venues are vast, most casinos simply can't offer you eight different versions of blackjack and two roulette wheels.
Furthermore, even those that could are bound by local gambling regulation, which may favour one version of a game over another. Finally, with staff costs, property rent and utilities all taking their toll on a live casino's bottom line, it's far more difficult for them to take such a hefty hit to the edge they have on games.
At an online casino, there are no such worries. They exist in an unlimited virtual space so can offer as many different variants of a game as you can imagine and they aren't attached to any one region of the world, so things like single zero roulette (the European version) will be readily available to American players. Finally, although they have software overheads of their own, they also receive far more custom than a live casino (again, there's no maximum capacity online) and they don't have to pay staff to deal their games, so letting go of a few percent in edge becomes less of a concern.
At an online casino, the player is the one who calls the shots and can choose from a far wider variety of games. That makes finding games with the smallest house edge not just possible, but fairly simple. When you couple this with the fact that playing at an online casino allows you to see far more hands or spins per hour than a live venue, gambling on the internet really shines. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that better odds + more betting opportunities = a far more profitable playing experience.
Whether you play offline or online, it always pays to know the odds. If you take the time to learn them along with the rules, you'll put yourself in the best possible position to win. While the odds don't guarantee what's going to happen to you personally, they are statistically significant in the long run. That's not to say that you shouldn't try chasing a Mega Moolah jackpot. Instead you should know just how unlikely it is to win.
No matter which games you enjoy and bets you prefer to make, it's important to always play responsibly. That means exercising sound bankroll management and never risking more than you can afford to lose. Always set strict limits for yourself and never chase losses. Of course, don't forget to have fun.