What Does the House Edge Mean? -Slots and Tables

What Does the House Edge Mean?

Gambling is a historical and fundamental part of the rich tapestry that is the entertainment industry, with its online presence now drawing in more players around the world than ever; enjoying the all-time favourite, classic casino games whenever and wherever they like.

However, with such an influx of online players comes an increasing need for information on the vast array of gambling terminology, helping beginners get to grips with the frequently overwhelming number of rules, regulations and terms within this exciting gaming world.

Although most casinos are passionate in providing their customers with great gaming experiences, at the end of the day they are all businesses, and therefore have various things put in place to ensure their players can’t bleed them dry (as much as they would like to!).

At Slots and Tables knows how important it is for players to have access to as much information as possible regarding all gambling terms, rules, and regulations, and have therefore written up this informative guide on a vital term all players should know about – the House Edge.

What is The House Edge?

One key, albeit fairly obvious, definition that must firstly be established through this guide is the House Edge. The House Edge, which can also be called the Casino Advantage, can be defined as the mathematical advantage a casino, both online and land based, has on the bets that players make throughout a game.

The lower the House Edge the higher the payout. Therefore, being aware of the House Edge can help players in their pursuit of those big wins, choosing games with the lowest house edge in order to increase the chances of walking away with more money.

Examples of House Edge

In order to better understand this key term of the gambling world, here are some examples of the House Edge in action.

Every bet a player can make in a casino has a probability of either winning or losing. If you were to bet £1 on a game and win the same amount of money that was placed on the bet this would be called Even Money, and True Odds (the actual “true” probability of winning the bet) would be paid back to you. However, if you bet £1 on a game and win 95 pence back, this would mean that there is a House Edge of 2.5%.

Online roulette is another game where the House Edge can be seen and understood quite simply. As you have 37 sections on a roulette wheel, the True Odds of landing on your wagered number is 36 to 1. However, the casino pays the winning bets on the odds of 35 to 1, this means that the casino has a House Edge of 2.7%.

House Edges can also be built into poker machines, with the Random Number Generator (what selects the symbol combination in a game) being programmed to have more losses than wins, therefore creating a house edge.

Why Does the House Edge Exist?

You will find that most games have some sort of a House Edge, and this is due to the fact that, as previously stated, all casinos are businesses, and so have numerous different outgoing costs that must be paid in order to keep the casino running.

Although differing in the specifics of these, two main costs both online and physical casinos will have are those listed below:

  • Paying company staff
  • Maintenance of company site (both online and physical location)

In addition to this, as is the nature of a business, a casino will be striving to make a profit, and a House Edge can help to provide casinos with just that. 

Paying Staff

As with any company, its structure is built on vast array of employees, all working on different functions within to ensure everything is running smoothly and efficiently. For an online casino, as the business is primarily digital, the main bulk of workers will be focused around technicians for maintenance and development of the site.

For the more traditional casinos, there are however different types of costs to consider, including card dealers, security workers, bartenders etc. all making sure that the casino is an enjoyable environment to be in.

Maintenance of Company Site

The “site” here referring to both the website of an online casino and the location site of a traditional casino; e.g. securing the personal information of online casino members vs the cleaning and physical maintenance / upkeep of the more traditional casinos.

Where to Find the House Edge

The house edge should be found stated in the main details of a casino’s game. For Slots, the house edge is called Return to Player (RTP) and so there isn’t 1 single house edge percentage we can give you for that.

For some of the most popular table games, the house edge is as follows

  • Roulette (American) = 5.26%
  • Roulette (European) = 2.7%
  • Blackjack = 0.5%

As you can see Blackjack has the smallest house edge and is therefore the most favourable game a player can play and expect to win.

Table games like Craps have a wide variety of betting options making a single house edge number difficult to calculate.  You would have to take each type of wager on it’s own merit to determine the house edge.

Does House Edge Mean you will Always Lose?

In theory, yes the house edge means you will always lose, but only in the long term. All the calculations for house edge are designed as a collective, which means out of 1000 players playing 100,000+ hands of Blackjack, the casino will win because of the house edge.

Does that mean you shouldn’t play? Of course not, you have every chance of winning at any casino game especially during a shorter gaming session where you decide to stop and cash in your winnings, rather than continuing to play and trying to beat the casino (which you shouldn’t attempt!).