Does the Casino Always Win? The House Edge and Knowing How Casinos Operate
Published: 29 May 2020
Written by: BryanL
One variable that remains certain each time that you gamble is that the house always wins in the end.
Playing at an online casino is always fun. But let’s face it. In the end, there will be more losers than winners. Only the lucky few will walk away with a prize at the end of each day, while the rest of the players will leave with empty pockets.
Your knowledge of a particular game, your skills and experience and, of course, the amount of luck that you have on a specific day, will all contribute to your chances of winning big. But if all the players always won, casinos would no longer be in business.
Let’s take a look at the mechanics of wins and losses and how they impact you as a player.
The Gambling House Edge
No matter which game you choose to play from a wide assortment of casino offerings, the chances of the casinos keeping your money are higher than of you walking away with theirs. This is known as the house edge of casino games, and through a statistical model, it can reduce your winning chances and the size of your payout.
On a standard American roulette table, there are 38 numbers that you can bet on (36 digits, plus a zero and a double zero). This means that your odds of winning are 38 to one. Therefore, the odds advantage in favour of the casino, which is 38 to 37, represents the average gross income that the casino can expect to earn from each round of a game, against a single player.
The lower a house edge in casino games, the lesser will be the profit that the casino makes. Always look for games that have a low house edge, to maximise your winnings. Looking back at American roulette, the house edge is fixed at 5,26%. What this means is that for every CA$100 that a player bets, the casino will keep just over CA$5 in its pocket. The player will still walk away with close to CA$95 but will ultimately leave with a little less money than when they came.
Why do Gamblers Fall into a Losing Spiral?
Most gamblers don’t grasp the concept of the house edge too well. Many players will begin playing a game like roulette thinking that they are guaranteed to walk away with 95% of what they brought to the table, after a few hours of play. Their primary oversight is that the house edge on casino games does not apply to their initial bankroll but to the total amount that they end up wagering. Therefore, it’s the amount betted and not the amount in reserve, that dictates the house edge percentages.
The Extra House Edge
The house edge tends to function optimally over a more extended period of time. If you happen to strike it lucky after a few rounds at the table, take your winnings and leave. Over the long haul, the house edge will grind down your bankroll and your winnings into unprofitability.
Of course, casinos know this and are very proactive when it comes to psychological distractions. Clocks and windows are an uncommon sight at any casino so that you lose track of what time of day or night it is. Also, be wary of free drinks offered by casino hosts. The more you drink, the more you are likely to take higher risks and spend more time playing a game, which according to the house edge will result in you losing.
What are Casino Games with Lowest House Edge?
Even though you know that the casino always wins in the end, some games are more winnings-friendly than others. For those players that play the odds perfectly, blackjack is one of the best house edge casino games around. With a good player strategy, this edge can go as low as 0,28% at some more liberal casinos.
Craps and baccarat score 0,8% and 1,06% respectively, on the house edge scale. Additionally, slot machine house edge can go as high as 17%. Keno remains one of the casino games with the highest house edge, which amounts to a substantial 25%. Always remember that less expertly and longer you play, the higher will be the house edge.
In the end, the amount that you win or lose at a casino will primarily depend on lady luck. However, by taking note of the house edge and the probability of you winning, you can “cheat” the casino and better your chances. After all, the foundations of any good gambling strategy rest on the probability of a player making a profit.