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Casino house edge and RTP explained

If you’re new to the world of online casinos, you must have seen numerous casino terms on casino sites. Casino house edge and RTP are often discussed in online casino forums. 

While it may initially be confusing, it is not at all hard to get around with these terms. Knowing what they mean will help you maximise your winnings and save you a lot of time whenever you are selecting which casino titles to play.

What is a house edge?

Similar to other businesses out there, it is essential for online casinos to sustain themselves. Thus it is only natural that online casinos have built-in advantages programmed in their games. 

House edge refers to situations in which odds are stacked against the favor of the players. Because of house edge, casinos can beat players. House edge is present in all casinos, whether in top online casinos like Luckyslots or land-based casinos. Understanding it comprehensively will help you know how to beat the house edge. 

When translated in numbers, house edge is the percentage of the player’s bet that is collected by the casino as a profit over time. For example, roulette’s house edge is about 5%. This means that 5¢ is the casino’s profit for every dollar bet. The other 95¢ is returned to the players as winnings. 

Another example is American roulette. Its house edge is at 5.26%. Taking math into account, anything can happen between 1 to 100 rounds. Although you happen to be ahead 100 rounds, the more rounds you play, the more likely that you will still lose. When you pass 1,000 rounds, it is certain that you will be behind.

Eventually, your loss will be close to 5.26% house edge after 100,000 rounds. Thus an online casino does not need to win every time. They hold into the certainty that they will win around 5.26% of the total roulette bets placed in a year. 

The random number generator (RNG) in poker is programmed to randomly select the combinations of symbols when you play. There are 52,521,875 possible stop combinations in a five-reel slot with 35 possible stops on each reel. 

In summary, the casino does not need to win against you through unappealing odds. Casinos give you an almost even game since they only make a few percent on each bet on average. Such is the reason why they do not cheat in the first place. Casino games have mathematical advantages built in them thus making cheating a pointless attempt.

House edge of casino games

Each game has a different house edge. The following is a list of the house edges of the top casino games out there that are the most popular among players. 

House Edge of Casino Games
GameHouse Edge (with proper play)Maximum Payoff per unit bet
Blackjack0.5%1.5 to 1
Craps (1x odds)0.8%2 to 1
Video Poker0.5% to 5%800 to 1
Baccarat1.06%1 to 1
Roulette5.5%35 to 1
Slot machines (flat top)0% to 17%5,000 to 1
Slot machines (progressive)5% to 17%millions to 1
Keno25%+thousands to 1

What is return to player percentage (RTP)?

Return to player percentage (RTP) refers to the percentage of all the wagered money in a casino game that is returned to players over time. When calculating the RTP, the total amount returned to players is simply divided by the total amount wagered by players.

One may view RTP as the opposite of the house edge, in a sense that the former is the mathematical advantage for the players while the latter is that of the casino’s.  

RTP of casino games 

In general, the RTPs of casino games today are the following:

  • Online slots – 93% to 99%
  • European roulette – 97.3%
  • American roulette – 94.7%

Slot games

RTP is considered most relevant when it comes to slot games. This is because you can wager your money in slots quicker compared to other casino games. 

In recent years, slot games are known to have generous RTPs. In fact, there are instances where slot games with RTPs of around 93% are removed from online casinos since such RTPs are already considered low when it comes to slot games. Today, you will notice that online slot games have higher RTPs compared to the ones in land-based casinos. 

However, it is not all bad to play slot games with low RTP, both online and in land-based. High variance slots that have low RTP give out wins less often. However, the prizes are much bigger whenever they do. For some players, they enjoy playing for the potential to have a life-changing win from a progressive jackpot slot even if there would be a higher RTP deficit.

Blackjack

Most online casinos, especially the top-notch ones like Luckyslots, have a wide variety of Blackjack titles. Each of them greatly differ in terms of RTP. Compared to traditional and classic blackjack titles, the following have lower RTPs:

  • Ultimate Blackjack
  • Surrender Blackjack
  • Switch
  • Super Fun 21
  • Spanish 21 Blackjack
  • Perfect Pairs Blackjack
  • Pontoon Blackjack
  • Hi Lo

When played with good strategies, Premium Blackjack has an estimated RTP of 99.67% and Classic Blackjack has 99.4%. However, only a few players are knowledgeable about blackjack strategies when playing online. The few players that do still struggle at times to nurture their knowledge about blackjack strategies. 

However, blackjack titles also have relatively high RTPs compared to those of other casino games. Even if one plays with a blackjack variant that has a low RTP with poor strategies, the RTP rarely falls below 95%.

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