The house edge is one of the most important factors to be aware of when it comes to deciding which online casino game to play. The house edge is, in the simplest terms, the profit margin the casino builds into each game to guarantee that, in the long term, they win. In the short term players can and do win, often HUGE sums, but averaged out over every customer over a long period of time the casino wins and this is because every game has a house edge.
Here we take a look at the house edge of different casino games, from online classics like real money slots, roulette and blackjack, to some of the more unusual casino options. The house edge is the percentage of the stakes the game delivers to the casino, such that, for example, if you bet $1,000 on a game with a house edge of 2% you would lose just $20 – over the long term.
Whilst we’ve stated the importance of an awareness of the house edge, we must also add that this number isn’t the only factor you should use when deciding which games to play online. Some online casino games, such as progressive slots, may have a high house edge but the upside of that is the potential for huge wins, whilst others compensate for a higher edge with more appealing gameplay.
Blackjack has one of the lowest house edges of any casino game. The precise figure depends on the set of rules employed by the specific game you are playing, with factors such as the number of decks used impacting the percentage. In order to achieve the lowest figure you also need to use Basic Strategy but do this and pick your rule variations well and you can achieve a house edge of 0.4% or even less.
Video poker is similar to blackjack in that you have to play optimum strategy to achieve the best figure, that rule variations alter the house edge and that the percentage is very competitive. Less than 0.5% is not uncommon.
At the other end of the spectrum come slots and whilst they are the most popular game in the casino the house edge can often be very high. The house edge with slots can be as high as 15%, with more than 5% quite usual.
The house edge with craps varies according to your bet and is actually zero on certain bets, going up to a massive 13.89% on others!
Play double zero roulette at your peril – the house edge here is 5.26%. Stick to European/single zero roulette for a much more generous house edge of just 2.7%.