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Understanding House Edge

Why Casino Players Lose at the Casino

Every casino game has a house edge. This is how the casino makes money and the edge always favours the house – meaning the casino.  Actually the only bet made at the casino where no house edge is present is the odds bet in Craps. The sad reality is most players who walk into the casino will lose without giving it a second thought as bets won receive less than true odds. Understanding how the house edge is calculated will help you avoid making some of the more unfortunate and losing bets.

An easy way to think of the house edge is every time a player makes a bet, the house takes their cut prior to the player receiving their winnings. Of course on a slot machine the player receives the full payout however it’s expected that the player will gamble their slot winnings right back. Table games are slightly different. Let’s suppose a game of roulette has a 5% edge, for every $1 a player wagers at the table, the casino receives $0.05 back. If this was to continue and you gambled $1000 over a session, the casino expects to receive on average $50 of that money assuming you break even. The longer you play, the more likely you are to meet the casinos expectations. Even if one player hits a lucky streak while another appears to be dwindling his life savings, these numbers reflect the long haul. It doesn’t reflect just one person.  This is also why it’s vital for players to understand some of the more strategic plays for any of the card games.

The lower the house edge is, the easier it is to manage your bankroll and not fall victim to the grind. A solid blackjack strategy can reduce the house edge from 1.5% to 0.5%. Likewise the same is true for video poker with a house edge averaging 0.5-5%. Below you will find some tips to give you a bit of an advantage however it’s good to note that while many of the games can be controlled using strategy, there are some games where you’re at the mercy of the casino. Roulette is one of them, since each bet placed has the exact same odds of winning as the other as well as slot machines. Both games are based entirely on luck and whether the odds are with you.

Tips for Playing Casino Games

  • Play Shorter Session – The longer you play your game the more likely you are to fall in line with the house edge. Keep your sessions short in between games.
  • Take advantage of comps – Casinos love to keep their players happy so why shouldn’t you be taking advantage of those comp programs. Although these are nice freebies, the value can add up.
  • Learn the Best Strategy – Every game, except for roulette and slots has a strategy of some sort – even Video Poker. Learn the game not only in how it’s played but how to play to reduce the house edge.
  • Play the games with smallest house edge – Why increase the odds. Stick to games like baccarat blackjack, craps and pai gow.
 
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