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Understanding the Casino House Edge

Sylvia Key | September 26, 2023 | Updated on: January 9th, 2024

house edgeWhat is the house edge? We know players have pondered how casinos manage to rake in their profits? Is it solely because players lose their bets? Well, not quite. Behind the scenes, casino games are designed with a built-in advantage that consistently tilts the odds in favor of the house. This advantage is known as the house edge, and in this guide, we’ll unravel its intricacies and reveal how you can potentially outsmart it.

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What Does House Edge Mean?

House edge, also referred to as the casino advantage, is a fundamental concept present in every casino game, whether you’re playing online or in a brick-and-mortar establishment. It serves as a crucial indicator, offering insights into:

  • The average payout a game delivers over its lifespan.
  • Which games provide players with the most favorable returns on their wagers.

It’s vital to note that this casino advantage is an inherent characteristic of the games themselves and is not determined by individual casinos. Therefore, regardless of where you decide to invest your hard-earned money, if you’re engaging in casino games, you’ll inevitably encounter the house edge.

The intriguing aspect of the house edge, particularly from a player’s perspective, is that it can serve as a compass, guiding you toward the most potentially profitable games. Games boasting a high house edge naturally tend to yield lower average payouts over time compared to those characterized by a lower house edge. Armed with this valuable information, readily available to all, you can steer clear of games that significantly tilt the advantage in favor of the casino, ultimately enhancing your gaming experience.

Casino House Edge by Game

Casino Game House Edge
Blackjack 0.5%
Video Poker 0.5% – 5%
European Roulette 2.5%
Baccarat 1.06%
Craps 5% -1.4%
Keno 25% +
Pokies 0-17%
Pai Gow Poker 2.5%


casino games house edge

Understanding Pokies and RTP

When it comes to online pokies, unlike some other casino games where skill and expertise can improve your odds, every player stands on equal ground, and there’s no secret recipe to enhance your chances of winning. Your role boils down to selecting the number of paylines, hitting that spin button, and crossing your fingers for a favorable outcome.

Now, let’s delve into RTP, which stands for Return To Player. In the realm of slots, RTP represents how much a particular machine has paid out throughout its lifetime in comparison to the total wagers made by players. If you’re examining RTP as a percentage, the remaining amount required to reach 100% constitutes the house edge. So, for instance, if a slot boasts an RTP of 90%, the machine’s house edge would be 10%.

House Edge in Blackjack

In the realm of online casinos in Australia, you can now explore various iterations of blackjack. The number of decks in play and any rule variations can significantly influence the house edge in blackjack.

Blackjack is a game where a player’s understanding of winning strategies plays a pivotal role, in addition to the element of luck associated with card draws. Hence, the commonly cited 0.5% house edge serves as a general guideline, assuming perfect play adhering to standard rules and basic strategies.

However, it’s worth noting that if you’re completely unfamiliar with the nuances of blackjack, your lack of experience might result in suboptimal decisions, potentially increasing the house edge slightly. In such cases, poor choices could lead to busts or losses, making it crucial to grasp the game’s fundamentals and strategies for a more favorable outcome.

Video Poker

There’s been considerable chatter about video poker potentially sporting a house edge of 0% – but we maintain a healthy dose of scepticism, understanding that casinos are fundamentally profit-driven enterprises.

Despite what some may contend, video poker is indeed a skill-based game. Among the array of video poker games at your disposal, uncomplicated variants like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild can offer enticing rewards, even for those new to the game.

European Roulette

Roulette exudes a sense of timeless elegance, especially when you opt for the single zero version of the wheel. It’s advisable to seek out this variant of the game, as it offers players a higher edge.

The underlying mathematics is quite straightforward: Straight bets pay out at 35-1, but there are 37 numbers on the single zero wheel. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realize that the casino’s advantage increases when you play on the double zero roulette wheel, with its 38 numbers against the same 35-1 payout.

For an authentic casino-style thrill online, simply pick your lucky number and make your way to one of the top live casino websites available in your state!


Maybe slots don’t pique your interest, and you’re in the mood for a simpler, no-nonsense gaming experience. Enter baccarat – a straightforward, strategy-based game that offers a more laid-back atmosphere at the gaming table.

In baccarat, your choices are refreshingly limited: you can bet on the Player, Banker, or a Tie, and that’s the extent of it. The game strictly adheres to fixed rules governing card distribution. Opting for the Player bet is often your wisest move, as the Banker bet carries an additional fee. So, lean back, unwind, and immerse yourself in a game rich with historical roots. It’s the ideal canvas for employing your most effective baccarat strategy.


In straightforward terms, craps ranks among the most thrilling games you can find in any physical casino. But what about its online counterpart? The game’s numerous rules can sometimes discourage players from testing their luck on the web. However, it’s worth noting that craps boasts one of the most favorable house edges when compared to other casino offerings. Specifically, the “don’t pass” and “don’t come” bets carry a modest house edge of approximately 1.4%, making them an excellent starting point for beginners looking to wager with confidence.

Pai Gow Poker

Imagine blending the essence of an ancient Chinese domino game with the excitement of poker, and you’d find yourself in the world of Pai Gow Poker. This unique fusion of card gaming offers a delightful twist, granting players not one but two opportunities to secure a winning hand from the seven cards they receive. Don’t pass up the chance to experience this innovative take on a timeless card game!


Keno is a lottery-style gambling game that is often found in casinos and is known for its simplicity and potential for large prizes. In Keno, players typically select a set of numbers from a predetermined range, and then a random drawing of numbers is held. Players are paid out based on how many of their chosen numbers match the drawn numbers.

The house edge in Keno can vary significantly depending on the specific rules and payout structure of the game, as well as the number of spots (numbers) a player chooses.

Tips on How to Reduce the House Edge

Let’s explore general tips on how to reduce the house edge in each of the mentioned casino games:

1. Pokies (Slot Machines)

  • Choose High RTP Machines: Look for slot machines with a high Return to Player (RTP) percentage. These machines tend to have a lower house edge.
  • Play Max Bet on Progressive Slots: If you’re playing progressive jackpot slots, consider placing the maximum bet to qualify for the jackpot. This doesn’t reduce the house edge but gives you a chance at a substantial win.

2. Blackjack

  • Learn Basic Strategy: Mastering basic blackjack strategy is crucial. Knowing when to hit, stand, double down, or split based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard can significantly reduce the house edge to around 0.5% or lower.
  • Avoid Insurance Bets: Steer clear of insurance bets as they typically have a high house edge.

3. Video Poker

  • Choose Full Pay Machines: Seek out video poker machines with the best pay tables, especially those offering “full pay” for games like Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild.
  • Use Optimal Strategy: Learn and apply optimal video poker strategies for the specific variant you’re playing.

4. European Roulette

  • Stick to Outside Bets: Betting on even/odd, red/black, or high/low provides better odds and reduces the house edge.
  • Avoid the “Five-Number Bet”: In European roulette, refrain from making the “five-number bet” that includes 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3, as it carries a higher house edge.

5. Baccarat

  • Bet on the Banker: Betting on the Banker hand has a lower house edge (around 1.06%) compared to the Player hand (around 1.24%).
  • Avoid the Tie Bet: The Tie bet has a high house edge, making it less favorable.

6. Craps

  • Bet on the Pass Line and Come Bets: These bets have a lower house edge, usually around 1.41%.
  • Avoid Risky Prop Bets: Proposition bets have high house edges and should be avoided for better odds.

7. Pai Gow Poker

  • Learn Optimal Hand Setting: Understanding how to arrange your hands optimally in Pai Gow Poker can lower the house edge. The house edge varies based on your decisions.
  • Be the Banker When Possible: If allowed, consider being the banker in Pai Gow Poker. This can give you a slight edge over other players.

8. Keno

  • Select Fewer Spots: In Keno, choosing fewer numbers increases your odds of winning, though it reduces potential payouts. Fewer spots typically have a lower house edge.
  • Check the Paytable: Different Keno games may have varying payouts for matching the same number of spots. Look for games with more favorable payouts.

Reducing the house edge in casino games involves a combination of smart game selection, strategy, and understanding the odds. Remember that while these strategies can improve your chances of winning, they don’t guarantee profits.

Casino gambling should always be done responsibly, within your budget, and for entertainment purposes.