Casino House Edge Explained

Casino House Edge Explained

In gambling, the term house edge refers to the mathematical advantage the casino, whether online- or offline, has over you in any given game over time. In European Roulette, that edge is 2.70%, meaning that for every €100 wagered, the house keeps €2.70 as profits over time.

Sometimes the house edge is also referred to as "Return To Play" (RTP), which states what percentage of the total bets wagered should be paid back as winnings to players.

The phrase "the house always wins" rings true in every single casino game (except for community poker variants, where the house profits by taking a fee from the pot, called "rake".)

The TL;DR of what house edge is:

  • The mathematical advantage the gambling venue has over you in a given game
  • The assured percentage of profits long-term, to the house
  • The assured percentage of player losses, long-term.
  • What games are more likely to net you profits when gambling.

Whether you are playing in commercial gambling venues on land or online, the casino will always have an advantage over you.

In short, knowing the house edge also gives you an advantage, especially in Blackjack, where you can lower it to as low as 0.5% by applying basic strategy using charts and perfect play.

House edge of casino games featured on CasinoScores

House edge of casino games featured on CasinoScores

Understanding House Edge using European Roulette as an Example

European Roulette is a classic casino table game with 37 pockets, thirty-six numbered pockets, and one zero. Placing a bet on them is called a "straight-up" bet. Although the odds of winning that bet are 37/1, the payout is 35/1. That little difference equates to a 2.70% edge favoring the house, ensuring it guaranteed profits over time.

Using house edge to gain an advantage over the casino

The higher the house edge, the less the casino pays out on average, over time to the players. As it's mandatory for a casino (both on land and online) to disclose the edge/return to player percentage, you can use this information to gain somewhat of an advantage, guiding you towards games that pay out more on average.

Prime examples are playing Blackjack or Video Poker variants and applying perfect play strategies to achieve more profitable sessions.

Did you know? If you play American Roulette, where the house edge is 5.26%, versus European Roulette, where the edge is 2.70%, the casino has a whopping 64.32% higher edge and advantage on you over time?

House Edge in Casino Poker Versus Rake in Community Poker

Although there are countless poker variants, there are only two ways for a commercial gambling venue to make a profit on them. That profit model depends on whether it's casino poker or community poker variant.

Casino Poker

Casino poker is a collective term for all poker variants where you play against the house and not other players. These games are designed with a built-in edge, ensuring the house always wins over a long period. That doesn't mean players can't get lucky, as individual session results can vary greatly, but the longer the session, the more likely they'll lose their money.

Examples of popular casino poker variants:

  • Three-Card Poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Caribbean Stud
  • Russian Poker

Community Poker

Community poker is a collective term for all poker variants where you play against other players, not the house itself. As these variants are games of skill and played with share community hole cards, the house has no edge whatsoever. A casino that makes money on community poker takes a "rake"; the casino takes a set percentage of the pot (minimum and maximum) as the rake.

Examples of popular community poker variants:

  • No-limit Texas Hold’em
  • Pot-limit Omaha
  • Seven Card Stud
  • RAzz
  • Deuce to Seven Triple Draw
  • Badugi