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House Edge Defined

House edge is synonymous with house advantage. If you analyze all the deposits made at a casino and then all the winnings paid out, there should be a difference between the two. When that difference is presented as a percentage, it gives the house edge.

To illustrate all these words, let's use a scenario with simple figures. Let's say thousands of players have deposited €1 million into a casino. The total winnings paid out totaled €980.000, creating a difference of €20,000. This difference is 2% of the €1 million deposited, representing a house advantage of 2%.

While this scenario explains a casino house edge as found at a gambling facility, the concept applies to casino games, too. In fact, in the online gambling world, individual casino house edge is essential for deciding what games to play.

How to Calculate House Edge – House Edge Formula

If we turn to a bit more complex definitions, house edge represents the single-unit bet multiplied by its odds of losing.

Let's take a straight roulette wager of €1 as an example. There are a total of 36 numbers and one green field. This green field tells you that your odds of losing are one in 37.

If you bet the 1 on a single number on European Roulette, you try to guess 1 outcome out of 37 possible outcomes. In this case, you multiply the 1 with the probability of losing once in 37 times or 1/37 (0.02702702702). Then, you multiply this result by 100 to get a percentage of 2.7027027027% and round it up to the well-known European Roulette house edge of 2.70%.

Add the second green pocket on American Roulette, and the whole outcome changes. If you bet 1 unit and multiply it by the probability of losing twice every 38 times, or 2/38 in this case, you will get 0.05263157894. Multiply it by 100 to get a percentage of 5.26315789474% and round it up to see the notorious American Roulette house edge of 5.26%.

It's also interesting to note that the hose edge on roulette gives the broad picture regarding expected long-term returns. However, individual bets have different winning odds and probabilities, which may affect their house edge.

Moreover, simple rules or amendments affect the payout rates of games. For instance, the house edge in blackjack goes up when more decks of cards are used. By contrast, the flexibility of the player regarding their actions decreases the house edge. So, you can't answer what is the house edge in blackjack without knowing the exact rules and variants.

You can use this house edge calculator and formula for games with clear probability and payout tables. It's a bit different with online slots, as you can't quite calculate it yourself. So, you have to trust the provider or the casino.

Why House Edge Matters

Knowing the casino games with the lowest house edge means theoretically getting the most returns on your investment.

It's important to understand that house edge is the opposite of Return to Player percentage. If the house edge is 3%, the payout is 97%. If the house edge is 6%, the payout rate is 94%, and so on. We're sure you get the point.

Anything that's not kept by the house as its profit goes back to players and represents the payout rate. Again, the payout rates can be calculated in general for the whole casino site and for each game individually. So, there's one baccarat house edge and another roulette house edge.

Moreover, every variant of the games may have different RTP rates and house edge percentages. For instance, the blackjack house edge for Perfect Pairs Blackjack and Classic Blackjack isn't the same.

Back to the point of this section, why house edge of casino games matters. Well, it helps you set your expectations straights. It also helps you understand the generosity level of the provider and/or operator.

Additionally, it reveals the games with the best returns. Thus, it leads you to make smart choices when you're converting casino bonuses. Generally speaking, we always advise you to play the lowest house edge online casino games.

Lowest House Edge Games

If you're here, you not only want to learn about house edge but also discover the lowest house edge casino games. That makes sense, and we're here to help! Below, we will list the games with typically low house edge and how they compare with different variants as well as other games.

Roulette House Edge

As mentioned, different types of roulette have different house edges. The lowest casino game house edge among its variants belongs to the French Roulette. Just like European Roulette, this variant has only one green pocket. However, thanks to the favorable La Partage and En Prison rules, players get a second chance at winning, which cuts the house edge in half.

If you wonder what the house edge in roulette is, feel free to consult our table below.

Roulette Variant

House Edge

Odds of Losing

European

2.70%

1/37

French

1.35%

0.5/37

American

5.26%

2/38

Mini

7.69% or 3.84% (with La Partage)

1/13 or 0.5/13

Blackjack House Edge

We can't write about the lowest house edge games without telling you all about blackjack. In some situations, this game offers impressive returns and a house edge of only 0.5%. The thing with blackjack is – blackjack playing strategies can help you improve your odds.

Moreover, certain rules that give you the flexibility or restrict you also impact the house edge. They can increase or decrease it, so be careful what you play. Below, we're giving you a table with estimates of how different rules affect the blackjack house edge. It's up to you to read the game rules and see which of these apply to you.

Blackjack Rule Variation

House Edge Effect

Blackjack pays 2 to 1

-2.3%

Tied blackjack pays 1-2

-0.11%

Suited blackjacks pay 2 to 1

-0.57%

Early Surrender vs Ace

-0.39%

Early Surrender vs 10

-0.24%

Early Surrender vs 9

-0.002%

Late surrender allowed

-0.08%

Resplitting Aces allowed

-0.07%

Single Deck

-0.50%

Two Decks

-0.20%

Four Decks

-0.05%

Eight Decks

+0.02%

Player may not double

+1.48%

Player may not split

+0.57%

Player may not double nor split

+1.91%

Dealer hits on soft 17

+0.22%

As we said, the more flexibility you get, the better house edge on blackjack you get. The thing is, you should be able to follow playing strategies as freely as possible. If you have the flexibility to do so, your game will be optimal.

Again, winning is never guaranteed. But your long-term performance should be theoretically positive.

Baccarat House Edge

Baccarat has always been a top pick among high rollers. Sure, the action is thrilling and engaging. Yet, most people choose it for the low house edge baccarat offers. When analyzing the house advantages of this game, we focus on individual bets and the number of decks used.

The easiest way to see the differences is by consulting our table below.

Baccarat Variant

Player Bet

Banker Bet

Tie Bet

Single deck

1.29%

1.01%

15.75%

Six decks

1.24%

1.06%

14.44%

Eight decks

1.24%

1.06%

14.36%

When playing blackjack, more decks typically mean a higher house edge. In the case of baccarat, it has minimal effect. Moreover, for the player and the tie bets, more decks mean a lower house edge, as you can see in the table.

However, the best bet on baccarat based on the house edge remains the banker bet when playing single-deck baccarat.

Craps House Edge

While craps may not be the most popular online casino game, it surely is the most popular Hollywood casino game. All those movies with players rolling dice while others cheer – that's craps for you.

Why so many people, and high rollers, choose the game is the house edge of craps. There are no variants to note, but different bets are better than others. From an impressive house advantage of 0% to a soaring one of 16.9%, the game has the lowest house edge and among the worst ones.

For your convenience, we're categorizing them based on their house edge, from best to worst.

  • 0% - Pass odds; don’t pass odds; come odds; don’t come odds.
  • 36% - Don’t pass; don’t come.
  • 41% - Pass; come.
  • 76% - Buy bets.
  • 09% - Big 6 or 8; Hardways in some situations.
  • 1% - Craps; Hardways in some situations.
  • 9% - Any 7.

Online Slots With Lowest House Edge

Depending on your location, you can expect the average house edge on slots to be about 5%. Some of the leading online slot machines have lower house edges of 3% and even 1%. Such an example is Book of 99, whose RTP rate is 99% and the house edge is only 1%.

Below, we're listing some online slots with low house edge and high RTP.

  • Mega Joker – 99% (house edge 1%)
  • Book of 99 – 99% (house edge 1%)
  • Blood Suckers – 98% (house edge 2%)
  • Starmania – 97.86% (house edge 2.14%)
  • Medusa Megaways – 96.28-97.63% (house edge 3.72- 2.37%)
  • Emerald Smash - 97% (house edge 3%)
  • Tiki Tiki Boom – 96.57% (house edge 3.43%)
  • Big Bass Hold & Spinner Megaways 96.70% (house edge 3.30%)
  • Forge of Olympus – 96.70% (house edge 3.30%)

Please note that progressive jackpot slots typically have a higher house edge. They tend to keep a share of each bet that feeds the progressive jackpot prize. That's why their payout rates are lower from the start.

Video Poker House Edge

Well, so far, we have covered the casino games with the lowest house edge in depth. Yet, we must do justice to video poker and mention this game, too. Many players overlook video poker, even though the game and some of its variants have a pretty low house edge.

Video Poker Variant

House Edge

Deuces Wild Video Poker

1.09%

Double Bonus Poker

0.55%

Double Double Bonus Poker

1.02%

Bonus Deuces Wild Poker

0.55%

Triple Double Bonus Poker

1.85%

Jacks Or Better Poker

0.46%

Length of Play Versus House Edge

The house edge of a casino or any casino game isn't associated with single gaming sessions. Therefore, the lowest or the highest house edge rarely affects individual game rounds. At times, games end up paying back more than what was wagered on them. Other times, they pay out significantly less.

That's why we have players who hit millions with a single spin and players who spend all their budget after a long, unlucky streak. Theoretically, the longer you play, the closer your outcome should come to the casino games house edge.

However, this figure is based on millions of rounds. So, we can conclude it's impossible for a player to play millions of rounds at once. It's still smart to filter casino games by house edge and RTP. However, it's not logical to expect the published payout rate.

In fact, the unpredictability is what makes gambling interesting. If everyone got the exact promised payout, which is always lower than what they've staked, gambling wouldn't exist.

Other Things to Note Regarding House Edge and Payout Rates

When talking about casino house edge, most players will focus on the games and their RTPs. That makes sense, and it's not wrong.

However, we want to remind you that the difference between what you deposit and what you withdraw is the ultimate payout rate. In that sense, some other aspects may affect the house edge without the player realizing them.

Here, we must mention any fees the casino charges. In case the casino covers processing fees on payments and withdrawals, the site should have higher payout rates. Why? Well, you won't be spending anything extra aside from what you upload to your casino account.

Another aspect is the ever-popular bonuses. No deposit bonuses are naturally your best friend in terms of casino house edge. You don't invest anything to get them, but you may end up cashing out real cash. In this scenario, the house always loses. It sounds unbelievable, but it has happened.

For example, let's say you claim 20 no deposit spins with a max cashout limit of €50. If you manage to win at least €50, clear, and then withdraw the funds, you've singlehandedly beaten the house edge. Of course, such bonuses aren't common, and casinos protect their interests by imposing strict rules and requirements. However, it's good to know that beating the casino house isn't impossible, just improbable.

House Edge and Legislation

Finally, we'd like to mention how some jurisdictions impose the lowest RTP on games, which directly affects the house edge of the casino. For instance, MGA casinos can't have games with RTP under 85%, while Estonian casinos have set the limit a bit lower at 80%. Curacao and Swedish casinos don't have any requirements related to payout rates and house edge.

That said, the same online casino or the same casino game may have different house edges in different markets.

Dangers of Obsessing With House Edge and Payout Rates

We'd like to remind our readers not to obsess with house edge and payout rates too much. It's good to be informed, but you shouldn't place all your trust and expectations in them. Both house edge and RTP are calculated based on millions of rounds.

Playing the casino games with the lowest house edge doesn't guarantee you anything. If the house edge is only 1%, you won't get 99% of everything you put into the machine back. That would clearly beat the purpose of gambling, as everyone hopes to win much more than their bet, right?

Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus Grenda
Last Update: 07 Sep 2023
Nerijus Grenda is a prolific contributor to the GoodLuckMate site. With a deep understanding of the online casino industry, gained from his own experience as an avid player, he offers valuable insights on what sets the best casinos apart from the rest. As a writer, Nerijus shares his expertise through expert analysis and thoughtful commentary on various topics related to online gambling, including casino reviews, game guides and industry trends.
Q: 

What is the house edge in blackjack?

A: Standard, single-deck blackjack can have a house edge as low as 0.05%. However, every rule affects the house advantage. You can find more specific information in the table we have on this page.
Q: 

What is house edge?

A: House edge, in the simplest words, is the profit the casino keeps for itself. It's represented in percentages, and the lower the percentage is, the better. If the house edge is 1%, that would mean that the casino keeps 1% or €10,000 of every €1,000,000 wagered there.
Q: 

What is the house edge in roulette?

A: Different roulette variants have different house edges. French Roulette has the best odds for players as the house edge is only 1.35%. European Roulette and American Roulette have respective house advantages of 2.70% and 5.26%.
Q: 

Which casino game has the lowest house edge?

A: Craps has some bets that have a house edge of 0%. Single-deck blackjack has a low house edge of 0.05%. Some slots have a low house edge of only 1%.
Q: 

What is the hose edge in Ultimate Texas Hold 'em?

A: Generally speaking, the Ultimate Texas Hold 'em house edge is 2.1849% or rounded up to around 2.2%. However, depending on your skills and strategy, it can drop to 0.50% in the long run.
Q: 

What is the house edge in sports betting?

A: It depends on how much the bookmaker charges on its bets. This difference is seen the easiest in the simplest bets, where you can play two exactly opposing bets. If you bet the same amount on opposing 50/50 bets and the payout doesn't cover the losing bet, the house edge has meddled. That percentage you've "lost" is the house edge.
Q: 

How accurate is casino house edge?

A: The house edge of online casino games is calculated based on millions of rounds. So, it should be accurate, but it shouldn't affect individual games. You may win much more than you wager on a game with a high house edge, and you can lose everything on a game with a low house edge.
Q: 

What is the house edge in slots?

A: There's no single house edge we can highlight for slots, as every game has an individual house advantage. Generally, it moves between 2% and 5%, but it can be lower and higher.
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