What is House Edge in a Casino?

house edge scale

 Have you ever heard the saying, “the house always wins”? When it comes to gambling at a UK online casino, players win largely thanks to luck, but the casino wins because the odds are largely in its favour, and the odds are massively stacked against the player. With every game at a casino, the casino is more likely to win, and this is called the ‘house edge'. It is no question that the casino will win in the long run, and it is the house edge that tells us roughly how much the casino wins on average.

The casino does not have to beat every one of its players every time to make a profit, but with Roulette, for example, the casino's wins are an average of 5.26% in the year. That might sound strange to infrequent players as 5.26% is a small fraction, however, the house edge is based on the amount of the bet, not the amount of money that the player has taken to the casino.

To put it simply, the percentage is the amount of the player's bet that the casino keeps as a profit. For example, if you play Roulette with £100, you will undoubtedly lose a lot of rounds, but you will also win several rounds, and after hours of play you will have bet more than just the £100 because you will have played with your winnings. After several hours you could have gambled £2000, and five per cent of that is £100, exactly what you went in with.

Casino House Edge & The Grind Algorithm

The house edge is fundamentally tied into what is known as the grind, which is when the casino whittles away your money as you keep re-betting. You can lower the grind by playing games that have a lower house edge, making your money last longer, and you can also heighten the grind by playing games that have a higher house edge. It might seem like there isn't much point in that, but games with a higher house edge often offer higher payouts.

The Grind Algorithm

the grind algorithm

Though the house edge is important, it is imperative not to look at the house edge as the be-all and end-all system to winning and calculating your average loss. There are several other factors that work in conjunction with the house edge, such as the average size of the bets and the rate at which you play. The quicker you play, the more you will be bled dry. Slot machines have a high house edge, meaning that they are the some of the riskiest games to play at a casino, but they are much smaller stakes and there is a chance of winning a jackpot, unlike Blackjack or Roulette.

Most games have the same average house edge at every table, but some games have variable house edges due to the conditions of the game, such as Baccarat having a variable house edge of between 1% and 15%. It is useful to know about the house edge so that players can understand which casino games give the best payouts on their bets.

Improving Your Odds

Casinos will always have the house edge, but before you despair - and quit before you’ve even started - rest assured that there are still steps that you can take to improve your chances of that desired win. You can give it your best possible shot while playing online slots by preparing wisely. Choose a game with a high RTP (Return to Player) value or better odds, for instance, and ensure that you know your game before you play. This should involve studying the slot game rules and playing a free demo for practice before you risk real cash wagers. Furthermore, plan your budget and stick to the amount that you can comfortably afford to gamble. Take your time, and enjoy the game – if you didn’t succeed this time, at least you had fun!

The House Edge: Facts & Figures

  • Slot games usually have a house edge anywhere between 2 and 20%.
  • A slot game that has a house advantage of at least 8% is often referred to as ‘tight’.
  • If the slot game has a house edge of less than 4%, it can be referred to as ‘loose’.
  • The house edge in American Roulette is 5.26%, as opposed to 2.70% in European Roulette.
  • Most table games have a house advantage of at least 5%.