Have you ever stepped foot into a brick-and-mortar casino or registered at an online casino with the desire to beat the house? For most people, the answer is yes. Of course, we all want to win! Yet, we all should know that casino entertainment is exactly that, entertainment. It’s not a surefire way to make a living, although many people do, and some have been successful. But there is always a risk in any gamble that you take or make on a casino game. The gamble is that the game you are playing has been designed to swing in favor of the casino. This is also known as the house edge. But is there a betting strategy to win over the house edge? Let’s take a closer look and find out the truth.
Many people have often wondered - how does the house always win? Put simply, every casino game you play is designed with a statistical edge that is weighted in the casino’s favor. This is the house edge, and it ensures that the casino will always come out in profit in the long run. The truth of the matter is that a player may hit some short-term wins, but the more they sit and play, the more money they will lose. The casino house edge is based on the game’s lifetime span and not a single gaming session for one player. Not everyone understands this important detail.
Take a slot game with a 95% RTP, for example. The house edge is 5%, so a beginner may easily assume that if they wager €100, then they will expect to win €95. This is simply not the case. That one player could lose the whole €100, or they might win €200 or even thousands if they get lucky. The 5% house edge is calculated over millions of spins from every player that plays the slot game. It can be a confusing concept to grasp, but essentially, there is no definite winning amount you can expect to win in any casino game.
If you were looking to improve the house edge when playing slots, then we would say that there was no chance. Slots have a fixed house edge, and this remains the same for every player throughout the lifespan of the game. However, if we turn our attention to skill-based games such as blackjack, then things do start to get more interesting.
Let’s take the blackjack game that we all know and love. How to beat the house at blackjack? You can play some online alternatives of the game and enjoy a 0.4% to 0.5% blackjack house edge if you stick to the perfect strategy. The main word in that previous sentence is the word “if”. Any bets that deviate away from the blackjack strategy will start to increase that house edge quite drastically. In the case of blackjack, it can rise to 2% and beyond. We may only be talking in small numbers here, but the swing in favor of the casino is huge.
What does this mean for betting strategies? Well, it shows that even the best betting strategies out there are only designed to keep that initial low house edge intact. So, betting strategies do not help to improve the house edge, and they do not give the player the advantage.
Finding games with the lowest house edge is always the best port of call if you are explicitly looking to beat the house game. After all, you need to give yourself the best chance and then utilize the best possible decisions during the game to succeed. Even then, you will need some luck to come out with a profit from that one gaming session.
Knowing if the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17 is a crucial rule if you want to beat the house at blackjack. The number of decks is also equally important, as the infamous card counting technique is a lot easier with fewer decks. In fact, card counting is the one strategy that can swing the advantage in the player’s favor. But, and there is always a but, online casinos know all about this strategy, and they have made all the necessary changes to the games to stop players from attempting it. Namely, the use of continuous shuffling machines or the live dealers randomly shuffling the cards in the middle of a shoe.
Back to the art of playing sensibly and sticking to best-play strategies. A few more examples include craps, where some bets offer close to 0% house edge, and other bets can be as high as 16%. Many players wonder if it’s possible to beat the house in craps, and now you have your answer.
Sic Bo is another example that offers a reasonable 2.78% for small and big bets, but other bets can be devastating to your chances with a 33% house edge. Lastly, let’s take the classic baccarat game where banker bets offer one of the best house edge percentages in the casino with 1.06%. Yet, opt for the tie bet, and you’ll be hit with a house edge just above 14%.
The answer to this depends on various factors. What game are you playing, how big is your budget, what are the casino rules, etc. Generally speaking, there is no single most profitable betting strategy. Moreover, there are no strategies that will guarantee positive results. That’s why it’s important to accept that gambling depends on chance and not put a lot of trust into betting strategies.
It comes down to three pieces of advice. The first is to keep your bet amounts small compared to your bankroll. 5% or 10% should be fine. The second is to stick to short sessions on any game that you play and don’t let the casino claw back any of your profits if you are up. The third and final piece of advice is to choose games with the lowest casino house edge and use the right strategy to keep that house edge low.
But remember, the casino business is built on the house edge concept and gives itself the advantage. Casinos are in the business of making money, so they won’t ever be offering games where the player takes advantage in the long run. So, can you beat the house edge with a betting strategy? No, you cannot. But you can keep the house edge intact by using and sticking to a proven betting strategy.