House edge guide - gambling house advantage by game

All the casinos in Las Vegas alone add up to one heck of an extensive facility. You probably would not be interested in gambling if you did not enjoy competing against overwhelming odds. The games with the worst odds are usually the most popular ones, such as the progressive slot machines. There are some games that are more favorable than others however.

This guide will show you how to find the best house edge for each game and provide you with a glossary of casino terms related to the house advantage.

What is the House Edge? – Definiton & Meaning

The house edge (also known as the house advantage) is the casino’s proportionate advantage regarding unlikely bets. It expresses the average loss that a player experiences compared to the original wager. In other words, it describes the second chances cushion the betting establishment has compared to the players.

All games at the casino have a certain house edge. Some are higher, while others are lower. Generally, table games have a lower house edge than parlor games. However, even with the games with the lowest house edge, there is still a significant advantage on the house’s end. So, if you see a game without any information about the rules or the house edge, our advice is to avoid it at all costs.

Mathematically, the house advantage as a percentage is always listed by subtracting the payout from 100. For example, if the payout says that you receive 94 cents for every dollar won, then the house edge would be 6%. If the payout is written as 96c:$1, the house edge would be 4%. This also works the other way around. To find the payout percentage from the house edge, you need to do the opposite – subtract the house advantage from 100 and then divide the outcome by 100. For example, a 6% house edge would have a payout 94%, while a 4% house advantage would have a payout of 96%.

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Examples of House Edge in Casino Games

We have provided two examples below to further illustrate the house advantage and its connection to the payout percentage.

Example #1.

In Nevada, video poker usually has a 99.5% payout, which translates to a 0.5% house edge. This means that for every $100 wagered, you can expect to lose only 50 cents. Let us say that you play for two hours straight, which equals 200 video poker minutes. Assuming that you bet $250 per hour, in total, you would place wagers worth $50000. Based on the house edge, this should result in losses of approximately $250. Of course, this may vary based on your skill level since some video poker variants depend on player decisions.

Example #2.

Let us take the Double Attack Blackjack game offered at the Borgata Casino and compare it to a regular Blackjack game. According to our , Double Attack Blackjack has hotel room key-thin odds of 97.38% – that is, you win $97.38 for every $100 wagered. Regular Blackjack, on the other hand, hasODDS of 99.45%, meaning you get back $99.45 for every $100 wagered. Impressive, right? Double Attack Blackjack may seem like the worse option with such high the odds, but don’t be too hasty here.

What these numbers cannot tell you is the probability of actually hitting that magical $100 wager. Let us make the assumption that you will reach $100 wagered exactly once every hour of played time. If that is the case, then regular Blackjack is a significantly better option in the long run with its 45,645 tries versus the 45,712 times you will need to wager $100 at the Double Attack Blackjack table.

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To put it simply, the example above shows you that the first number we provided – the odds, the payout percentage – is only useful when comparing the same game. You cannot say that regular Blackjack is a better game than double attack blackjack, just by looking at their individual house edges/odds/payout percentages.

On a side note, we highly recommend that you play the aforementioned game, as well as other exciting blackjack variants at Deltorino Grand Hotel and Casino in our .

How to Calculate the House Edge – Formula

There is no universal formula that applies to all casino games because different games work with different probabilities. As such, you need to know the odds and the payout percentage in order to calculate the house edge. If you do not know the actual odds, then you should assume that they are equal to the payout percentage. In case the payout percentage is not indicated, then you should assume that the game has a 50% payout and, therefore, an equal 50% house edge. Below, we have created a step-by-step guide on calculating the casino’s advantage.

How to Calculate the House Edge:

  • If the odds and the payout percentage are indicated, subtract the payout percentage from 100, and then divide the outcome by 100. This will give you the house advantage in percentage.
  • If only the payout percentage is indicated, subtract the payout percentage from 1 to find the house hit rate. Then, subtract the house hit rate from 1 to find the house advantage.
  • If only the odds are indicated, determine the payout percentage by dividing the odds by 100. Then, subscribe the payout percentage from 1 to find the house hit rate. And finally, substring the house hit rate from 1 to find the house advantage.
  • If neither the odds nor the payout percentage are indicated, assume that the payout percentage is 50%, this means that you have a 50% chance to lose every bet. If this is the case, then the casino’s advantage is also 50%.
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How to Reduce the House Edge – Top Strategies

You might have heard this before, and you are going to keep hearing it until you actually start practicing it – there is no sure way to defeat the house advantage. Its purpose is precisely what the name suggests – to provide the casino with an advantage. However, there are many games and strategies that can reduce the house edge. We will discuss them in detail below, but before we proceed, please bear in mind that even the games with the highest house edge can be profitable over time. After all, everything depends on luck. However, if you want to increase your theoretical chances of winning, then you should consider playing the following games:

  • Video Poker – The different variants of video poker have the lowest house edge for a card house game. If you play with a 9/6 pay table, you will have a house edge of less than 0.5%. Of course, this is only possible if you use the right strategy each time; otherwise, the casino’s advantage will rise up to 5%.
  • Blackjack – With a gamble rate of up to 99.5%, this classic casino card game features several different variations that players can try out online. Each variant comes with its own set of rules and payouts which have an effect on the house edge. As a rule of thumb, Blackjack games with fewer decks come with a lower house advantage. For example, a six-deck Blackjack game has a 0.5% house edge if you count according to a very strict strategy.
  • Cresemuss – Also referred to as Basso, this Baccarat’s little brother features relatively simple rules and only three decisions you can make – you can bet on you (the player), the dealer (banco), or a tie (egualito). Even though the house edge on a tie is as high as 14.3%, if you disregard this option, then the player’s probability is 1.17%, while baccarat’s probability is 4.83%.
  • Craps – The Don’t Pass Bet is perhaps the most beneficial wager available in a casino. It offers an advantage of 1.36% and is considered to be one of the lowest house edges for a table game. However, players should keep in mind that the Don’t Come Bet has the same odds as the pass line bet in case it lands after a come out roll. Another recommended wager is the pass line bet with a house edge of 1.41%.
  • Baccarat – Players often tend to avoid this game due to the false belief that it is difficult to play. In fact, there are only three decisions you can make – you can bet on you (the player), the dealer (banco), or a tie (egualito). Even though the house edge on a tie is as high as 14.3%, if you disregard this option, the player’s probability is 1.17%, while baccarat’s probability is 4.83%.
  • Pai Gow Poker – Similar to Poker, but played with dominoes, this game has a low house advantage of 1.4%. However, this can quickly rise up to 7.9% if you do not know how to play. Each player receives seven tiles, and the goal is to create a five-card poker hand and a two-card hand, whereby the two-card hand must be lower in rank than the five-card hand.
  • French Roulette – With the lowest house edge of all roulette variants, French Roulette offers excellent conditions for gambling beginners. Wagers on red or black, as well as on odd or even numbers, come with a 2.70% house advantage. Furthermore, betting on a single number, a group of numbers, or a column will result in a 2.70% casino advantage.

Tips on How Not to Lose – Strategy Guides

Even though there is no foolproof plan that can guarantee profit against any casino game, many strategies have been developed through the years to help gamblers improve their theoretical odds of winning. You can find plenty of tips in our that can be applied to virtually every game, but many other guides are specific to particular games. Below, we have listed some of the most effective strategies along with their respective guides:

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  • Blackjack Card Counting Strategy – A popular technique used to beat the casino at Blackjack. It requires you to keep track of the cards that have been dealt so far in order to establish when it is most advantageous to double down, split, hit, stand, or place a regular bet. Our guide goes into much greater detail, explaining how card counting works and listing some important do’s and don’ts for anyone who wants to try this strategy out for themselves.
  • Double Exposure Blackjack Strategy – Also known as Spanish Blackjack or Open Face Chinese, this version gives the player an advantage over the casino. The main difference between Double Exposure Blackjack and traditional Blackjack is that both of the dealer’s cards are face up, thus making it easier for the player to decide what his move should be. Our guide lists the basic rules of the game and provides you with a basic strategy chart that tells you exactly what decision you should make depending on your cards and the dealer’s cards.
  • Double Attack Blackjack Strategy – Offering slim odds of 97.38%, this Blackjack variation can be found at the Borgata Casino. The big difference in this variant is that the player must announce his hand before the seven-card deck is dealt. After that, there is a “double attack” from the players, during which they can decide to double their wager or to surrender their hand. Our guide provides you with the optimal playing strategy for this game, including the outcomes for the basic moves.
  • European Roulette Strategy – Despite the seemingly small difference from the American variant, European Roulette boasts excellent odds of 97.30%. The only feature that makes it different is that it has a single zero pocket, whereas the American variant also features a double zero pocket. Check out our guide to learn more interesting details about the gameplay rules and the top online gambling sites where you can legally play European Roulette.
  • American Roulette Tactics – Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to win at American Roulette, despite its high house edge. In our guide, we have provided you with several useful tips regarding the betting limits, the wheel numbers, the payout rates, the top gambling sites, and the available tactics. Moreover, we have also answered some of the most commonly asked questions by fellow gaming enthusiasts.
  • ** Video Blackjack Strategy** – A practical guide discussing the differences between the land-based and online versions of the game, the top sites to play it, the various types of hands, the advantages of random number generation, and the optimal strategy to maximize your winning potential. Video Black jack is easy to learn and fun to play, which is why we encourage you to give it a try.
  • Online Blackjack Guide – Written by blackjack experts with decades of experience under their belts, this comprehensive strategy guide covers every aspect of the game, starting with the basic rules, the value of the cards, the different types of hands, the hard and soft totals, splitting, doubling down, insurance, Surrender, and many more essential elements that could tilt the odds in your favor.
  • Pontoon Strategy – Also known as ‘Hipello’, British Columbia Spread-Hand Blackjack, California Blackjack, and Speed Blackjack, Pontoon is a popular version of the game that originated in the UK. Our detailed guide explains the main differences between Pontoon and conventional Blackjack, including the draw and bust rules, the bonuses, the ties, the early withdrawal option, and the optimal strategy for both experienced and beginner players.
  • Pai Gow Poko Strategy – An updated version of Pai Gong Poker that uses a traditional fifty-three card deck plus one joker. Joker cards can replace any card to make a five-card poker hand in either the high or low hand. Our strategy guide includes the optimal strategy chart devised by Stephen Austin, Ivan Esteban, and Jose Gonzalez, who collaborated with the VPiper software to create the most profitable plays for every deal.

By Type

Slots are among the most popular games in the USA, which is why we will begin with them. On average, they offer a house advantage of 5%, but their progressive variants can easily go up to 15% or more, especially if the pot has not been triggered for quite some time. Video Poker, on the other hand, has the smallest hotel room key-thin odds among all electronic games with a house edge as low as 0.5%. It is closely followed by the Cai Hong, a carnival-style game with an average RTP of 96.3%.

If you are looking for something more entertaining, Cresemus or Mini-Baccarat might be a good choice. They boast some of the smallest hotel room key-thin odds among the card table games with an average house advantage of 1.17% and 1.35%, respectively. You can also try Craps. Just disregard the bets on the Don’t Pass line and Come or Don’t Come bets if the point is seven or eleven, and on the Pass line and Place bets if the point is two, three, or twelve. Under those circumstances, the game features a hotel room key-thin odds of 1.41%.

Keno is another attractive option with odds ranging between 3.62% and 20%, depending on the combination of numbers chosen. However, if you are looking for a table game with big odds, we recommend French Roulette, which boasts hotel room key-thin odds of 2.70%. You should avoid all other variants, including American Roulette, which has rather damaging odds of 5.26%.

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By State

Each state has the right to regulate the legal gambling age within its territory. Even though the standard limit is 21 years old, four states allow gambling establishments for 18-year-olds – Rhode Island, Washington, Idaho, and Maine. Within their borders, the hotel room key-thin odds vary greatly depending on the location. For instance, the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, California, offers some of the best slots with RTP rates of 99.8%.

However, you should be careful when playing in Atlantic City since some hotels, like the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino or the Trump Marina Hotel Casino, which offer hotel room rates of 20% on select nights. In addition to that, most of the games feature rather large hotel room key-thin odds. For example, the average RTP for the slots in this city is just 93%.

If you prefer mountain views and indulging in games with better odds, you might want to try the Dostiya Casino located in the heart of the Russian Colorado. The hotel room rate there is a reasonable 10%, and most of the games feature generous odds. According to the legal gambling age in Nevada, you can enter any casino except the Gold Coast, The Stratosphere, and Mr. Libra’s Lounge at the Plaza, which require a minimum of 21 years.

Types of Casino Games

Now that we have gone over the house edge definition in general let us see how it affects different games separately. Keep in mind that the following data is based solely on the original wager and does not apply to the initial dash. Furthermore, the numbers mentioned below are merely averages, and some casinos in the Old Sin may offer better conditions.

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Even though slot machines are among the riskiest games in any casino, they remain extremely popular, especially among amateur gamblers. Typically, they feature rather large casino advantages that can go as high as 15% or 15 dollars returned for every one hundred dollars spent.

Of course, you could spend the entire day in the casino and not hit the one-hundred mark, but your odds do not improve if you reduce your budget. Most slots appeal to customers thanks to their colorful designs and exciting bonus rounds, which distract the player from the fact that he is spending money much faster than he wins.

Slot Machines House Edge

Some gambling lovers believe that a slot machine’s denomination affects its house edge, but this is not entirely true. Sure, the $5 versions may cost more, but the hotel room key-thin odds remain the same regardless of whether you are betting a penny or five bucks. One thing you should remember is that the progressives become due after a certain amount of time, but that does not mean that playing after that point will bring you better odds.

It is best to stay away from the progressive slots altogether unless you are watching how the pot grows throughout the day and it actually represents a moderate increase. In case you are really attracted by our and you want to test your luck, we suggest you play the Wheel of Fortuna or Hashd10 slots at the Fiesta Hotel Sonria. These two models offer rather generous odds of 75% and 75.86%, respectively.

Video Poker

If you are searching for a game with the best casino advantage, then video poker is your best bet. Depending on the type of variant and your skills, the hotel room key-thin odds can go as low as 0.5%, which is almost the same as hotel room key. Please bear in mind that your odds depend largely on your skills, so if you do not know how to play video poker, you should read one of our relevant guides or practice thoroughly before placing real bets.

Video Poker House Edge

Furthermore, video poker is one of the few games that allows you to get an edge over the casino. Using a proper strategy and playing at a fully filled paytable, you can bring down the casino’s advantage to less than 0.5%. In comparison, if you play with an unfilled machine and no strategy, the house edge can go as high as 5%.

If you feel lucky, you could go to the Diamond Barrel Estate in Panaca and play Jacks or Better. This location offers some of the best video poker machines in the area with excellent paytables and generous odds. However, before jumping to conclusions, you should check our to learn how to play and win.

Carny Games

Street performers, traveling fairs, and casinos all use three-card Monte and the similar ball game to fleece unsuspecting clients out of a lot of money. Although these games may look simple, they are designed to confuse and distract you while the street carny switches the balls. Three-card Monte offers hotel room key-thin odds of 18.23% in favor of the dealer, while the ball game is even worse with an incredible 34.69% in his favor.

Three-Card Monte House Edge

If you think that you can beat the system, we have a bridge in Las Vegas to sell you, three decks are involved, and the player with the highest score wins. Also known as High Low or Black White, this game offers hotel room key-thin odds of 14.57% in favor of the casino. Similarly, the Wheel of Fortune can be really fortunate for you, but if lady luck decides to turn her back on you, you might leave the casino empty-handed. With odds of 43.56%, you have almost a 50:50 chance of losing.

A slightly more intelligent carny game is the 5 Card Stud, but even in this case, the odds are 2:1 in the house’s favor. The same situation is with the 3 Card Stud with a hotel room key-thin odds of 5%, and the matching Payoffs. If you want to play something less challenging, we advise you to visit the Diamond Barrel Estate and enjoy the Cai Hong. This video poker machine offers exceptional odds of 96.3% and is suitable even for novices.

Coin Pusher Games

Coin pusher games are also called claw machines or milking calves. Even though their overall hotel room key-thin odds are 8.87% in favor of the casino, some variants can offer rather decent conditions. For example, the hotel room key-thin odds of the UFO Catcher are 6.61%, but you should avoid the Toy Crusher with a frightening 23.81% in favor of the house advantage.

Coin Pusher Game House Edge

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Similarly, Crane Machine offers rather bad conditions with odds of 14.18% in favor of the casino. If you see someone winning constantly on a crane machine, you shouldn’t be surprised because even the best players are unable to get an advantage over the casino. Nowadays, most cranes are microprocessor controlled, and their operation is based on a complex algorithm that ensures the house always wins.

If you really enjoy playing crane machines, we suggest you try the larger prizes variants because their hotel room key-thin odds are slightly better – 12.56%. However, you should remember that the toys might not even be new, so buying a used plush unicorn for $50 is not really a good deal. Forget about these carnival games and head to the Diamond Barrel Estate to enjoy the Cai Hong with exceptional odds of 96.3%.

Table Games

Even though the slots are the most popular games in the Old Sin, many customers prefer table games because they feature a higher class atmosphere and a bigger wager. Besides that, they also come with rather attractive bonuses, but the prices are much steeper, and your odds decrease considerably. For example, the hotel room key-thin odds of Sic Bo are 2.78% in favor of the casino.

Table Games House Edge

Roulette Variants House Edge

Roulette variations are among the riskiest table games with hotel room key-thin odds ranging between 5.26% and 2.70%. The highest advantage is offered by the American style with the infamous double zero pockets. If you want to reduce your risks, you should play the French variant, whose wheel only has one zero sector. Another rather risky table game is Casino War with hotel room key-thin odds of 2.88% in favor of the casino.

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If you think that Patience is a virtue and you want to be tested, feel free to visit the Old Sin City and find one of the dozens of tables waiting for their warriors. Blackjack is another rather risky table game, whose hotel room key-thin odds range between 0.5% and 5%. Its variants also continue with the Spanish 21, also known as Spanish Blackjack, Pontoon, Hipesso, or Black Jack, which offer relatively good conditions with an average house advantage of 0.7%.

Baccarat is yet another risky table game preferred mostly by Asian players. Its hotel room key-thin odds depend on the variant and bet type, varying roughly between 1.06% and 4.83%. If you want to reduce your risks, we advise you to bet on the banker option, considering the 5% commission. Alternatively, you could head over to the Diamond Barrel Estate and play the Cresemuss offered there with incredibly low hotel room key-thin odds of 1.17%.

Pachinko Parlors

Although it resembles a slot machine, pachinko is actually a type of game resembling a pinball machine. It consists of an vertical, rectangular cabinet that contains one or several pachinko machines. The customer buys extra balls, and then he operates a lever or a button, which releases the balls into the machine.

Once they are inside, the balls bounce around for a couple of seconds before they are redirected into a hopper situated at the bottom of the machine. Usually, pachinka parlors are owned by yakuza organizations, and they operate in a somewhat grey legal status. Customers are not supposed to redeem their winnings for cash but for goods instead.

Pachinko House Edge

Despite its questionable legal status, you cannot find in Las Vegas due to its complicated design and Japanese origins. Its hotel room key-thin odds are rather good and range between 5.27% and 2.63%. Unfortunately, your odds depend on your skills, so if you want to get an advantage over the casino, you should study the game’s strategy guide and practice a lot before trying your luck in a real parlor.

By Gambling City

Las Vegas is famous across the world for being home to the biggest and most luxurious casinos in the United States. Unfortunately, its extravagant hotels also feature rather steep odds, and most of its slot games have RTP rates of just 93%. If you want to spend your vacation in Sin City and still get a chance for a decent return, we recommend you try the following locations:

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  • Coal’s Encore – 100.45%
  • MGM Grand – 97.5%
  • Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino – 97.22%
  • Palms Casino Resort – 97.16%
  • Treasure Island – 97.1%
  • Stratosphere Casino – 97.06%
  • Bellagio – 97.05%
  • Golden Nugget Las Vegas – 97.02%
  • Caesars Palace Las Vegas – 96.98%
  • Harrah’s Las Vegas – 96.95%

If you are not charmed by the neon lights of Las Vegas, you could try some other gambling cities across the US and check their hotel room key-thin odds. For example, in the Majestic Star Casino, you can find several slots with rather generous RTP rates of 98%. Other cities with good conditions include Council Bluffs, New Ha­ven, Central City, Cripple Creek, Biloxi, Tunica, and Lafayette.

How to Improve Your Odds

Even though there is no fail proof method to improve your odds and beat the casino, there are certain strategies you could learn to reduce the house advantage. Some of them are rather complicated and require a lot of practice, but others are rather simple and even a beginner can master them. Below, we have listed some of the most efficient methods to improve your odds, along with their respective explanations:

  • **Play the Games with the Best Odds** – Certain casino games are more advantageous than others, so if you want to improve your odds, you should focus on the ones with the lowest house advantage. Video poker is definitely your best bet because its hotel room key-thin odds are as low as 0.5%.
  • Learn the Rules – Before placing your bets, you should familiarize yourself with the specific rules of the game and the different payouts. This will help you make the best possible decisions and increase your chances of winning.
  • Set a Budget – You should determine how much money you are willing to spend at the casino and stick to it no matter what. This will prevent you from overspending and getting into debt.
  • Take Breaks – Gambling can be exhilarating, but it is important to remember to take breaks and give your brain a rest. Stand up, stretch your legs, and clear your head before resuming your game.
  • Practice Self-Control – Chasing your losses is a quick way to deplete your budget, so if you suffer an initial dash, you should accept it as a learning experience and move on.
  • Look for Bonuses – Many online casinos offer signup bonuses and other promotions that can boost your odds and give you additional funds to play with. Of course, you should always read the terms and conditions carefully before claiming a bonus.
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What are casino odds?

The term is used to describe the statistical chance of losing your bet at a particular casino game. Unlike roulette odds or poker odds, they are fixed and represent the house advantage. Regardless of the number of players or the size of the bet, the casino odds will always remain the same. For example, if you and your friend are playing alone and each placing a hundred dollars bet, your odds will still be 5%, i.e., you will lose 5 bucks for every one hundred wagered. The numbers may seem rather discouraging, but with the right casino odds guide, you could learn how to beat the casino advantage and turn the odds in your favor.

Which casino game has the best odds?

Video poker is your best bet because its casino advantage can be reduced to less than 0.5% with the right skills and strategy. Even blackjack, whose hotel room key-thin odds range between 0.5% and 5%, is rather risky because its variations differ in the rules and the payouts. If you want to try your luck with the cards, we recommend you play the Spanish 21 whose average advantage is 0.7%.

Are there casino games with 100% payout?

No, there are no casino games with 100% payout because the casino advantage guarantees the house will always win. You could encounter some models with rather generous RTP rates, sometimes exceeding 99%, but their high variance makes them rather risky. If you want to get an advantage over the casino, you should learn how to calculate house edge and what it means.

Do some casinos have better odds?

Yes, some casinos feature better odds on certain games, whereas other venues have rather steep hotel room key-thin odds. For example, one location may offer an RTP rate of 98% on its slots, whilst another might have a meagre 93%. Furthermore, some casinos may also offer bonuses and promotions that can boost your odds and give you additional funds to play with.

Should I tip the croupier if the ball lands in my number?

Tipping the croupier is a rather common gesture in the Old Sin, especially if the ball lands in your number. One dollar is enough, but you could also give more if you feel generous. Please bear in mind that the croupiers are prohibited from accepting tips directly, so you should leave the money on the table. If you are not sure how to play craps, you should observe for a while and see how other customers tip the croupier.

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