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What is the House Edge?

The definition of the house edge is the statistical loss (as a percentage) of the amount originally wagered. It is not the loss on the total amount wagered. In some games, the amount originally wagered is not necessarily the same as the total amount wagered, e.g., in blackjack when you double.

The reason why the house edge is calculated this way is to make it easier for the player to calculate their expected loss. For example, if you know the house edge on a specific game variant is 1%, you can assume that you will lose an average of 1p every time you bet £1. 

House edge is usually a term used for table games. If you are playing slots, you’ll come across the RTP, which stands for ‘Return to Player’. This is basically the same, but the number indicates the percentage of the wager that is, on average, returned to you, as the name suggests. So the higher the RTP is, the better for you. For the house edge, the opposite is true and you want that number to be as low as possible. 

Beat the House Edge with Casino Strategies

The truth is that there is no way to completely eliminate the house edge. The casino will always have a slight advantage. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t offer the game. But the good news is that some casino strategies can almost eliminate the house edge and even the odds. This makes you more likely to win and also conserve your bankroll in the long run. 

Once in a while, someone is bound to get lucky enough to win big, and if you follow some simple strategies, you can increase the chances of it being you!

Pick a Game with a Low House Edge

The best casino strategy that will undoubtedly help you increase your chances of winning is to pick the right game. The house edge, or the RTP, varies greatly across casino games and slot machines, so some favour the casino more than others. 

For example, if you like to play roulette, you should be aware that American Roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, whereas European Roulette favours the casino with a mere 2.70%. This is because there is no double zero in the European version of the game. Hence, you can decrease the casino’s edge by simply picking the right version of the game.

The same is true for online slots. In modern video slots, the RTP is usually around 96%; however, that number can be significantly higher or lower. The best online slots have an RTP of around 99%. That means that the casino only earns 1p per £1 wagered, on average, compared to 4p from typical slot machines. 

The list below shows the typical house edge for some of the most popular casino games:

  • American Roulette5.26%
  • European Roulette2.70%
  • Baccarat1.01% – 15.75%
  • Blackjack0.5%
  • Craps0% – 16.67%
  • Slots1% – 15%
  • Video Poker0.46%
  • Caribbean Stud5.22%
  • Hold'em2.36%

Popular Casino Strategies for Table Games

Most of the well-known betting and casino strategies revolve around games with even-money bets. This mainly includes table games like roulette, craps, baccarat, and others. But once you figure out how the system works, you can apply them to any game with a 50/50 chance. You should be aware that the following examples of casino strategies only work in theory, as they all have their limitations and flaws. 

The strategies always assume that you have an unlimited bankroll available and that there are no table limits for maximum bets. While the first point could be true for some really rich people, the latter is unfortunately never the case while playing at an online casino.

Martingale 

The Martingale system is one of the oldest and most popular casino strategies. The idea is that in the event of a loss, you double the amount of your bet. In the event of a win, all previous losses are automatically offset, and you even cash in on a small profit. Once you win, you start over by using your initial bet size. 

This system is only played with even-money bets. In roulette, that would be betting on black or red, even or odd, or high or low numbers. As an example, let’s say you bet £1 on black, and you lose in the first round. This means you have to double to £2 for your next wager. If you win, you don’t only make up for your previous loss but also win the amount of your starting wager.

However, you should remember that the stakes in the Martingale casino strategy can rise quickly, which is why a budget is required. Additionally, the table limit can cause you problems if the stakes reach the maximum possible amount the table allows you to bet. This is the case after only seven double-ups at most online roulette tables. 

Labouchere 

Labouchere is an interesting casino strategy because you set a profit target. In contrast to the Martingale system, the stakes are not doubled, which is why the strategy is less aggressive. The theory behind it is a bit more complicated and it would go beyond the scope of this short guide to explain everything in detail. 

All you have to know for now is that it basically follows a similar idea as Martingale but uses a slightly modified progression. Unfortunately, it comes with similar disadvantages as well.

Fibonacci

A Fibonacci casino strategy, based on the Fibonacci sequence, is mostly used in roulette. The sequence is a series of numbers in which the two preceding digits are added to create the next. The progression determines the size of the wager. The beginning of the Fibonacci sequence is: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 and so on. If you lose, you move up one step in the sequence, and if you win, you move two steps down. If you end up all the way at the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence, you start over. 

Play Slots with a Strategy

If table games and other 50/50 chance games are not your preferred games, then the strategies we’ve explained above won’t be a good fit. When you’re playing slot machines, you need to consider the RTP, as well as the game's volatility. In many ways, volatility is even more important than a percentage here or there in the RTP. 

When considering that, in the long-term, you’ll always lose when playing slots, what you’ll want is a big win. And big wins mainly occur in high volatility games, as the max win in those games tends to be high. On the other hand, wins can be few and far between in a volatile slot, so it’s all about betting to win or not. You might be unlucky and spin away all your bankroll before you hit the big win. 

However, if you’re looking for a strategy to win from a slot, then high volatility is the way to go. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a strategy not to win a lot but rather to play for a long time without losing all your money quickly, then a low volatility game is the way to go. 

Casino Strategies and Bonus Money

You might be wondering whether using a casino bonus together with a casino strategy is a smart move. And the answer is that yes, in theory, that would be good, as you have a bigger bankroll. However, you should be aware that casinos often prohibit the use of many casino strategies when betting with bonus money. Basically, using a progressive strategy, like the Martingale theory, might be a breach of the bonus terms. In addition, most bonus terms will dictate the maximum amount you’re allowed to bet while playing with a bonus, and a progressive strategy will quickly take you above that limit. 

You should also keep in mind that most strategies are for games and bets where you have close to a 50% winning chance. These are typically table games, and the wagering contribution for these games is usually less than 100%. Often they’re 10%, or even excluded for play with bonus money. 

Then again, if you simply do not use a strategy, other than picking the games with the lowest house edge, the use of a bonus can be good. With more money in your player account, you’re more likely to get a big win and thus more likely to be able to complete any wagering requirement. 

The Best Strategy to Ensure a Win at a Casino

There is one strategy that’s better than any other if you want to walk away with a win at a casino, and that’s to walk away. Many players complain that they never win anything at casinos, but for the most part, that’s simply not true. The truth is that they do win, but instead of being content with the win they got, they keep on playing in the hopes of winning more, and then they lose.

If you want to actually win, the best casino strategy is to set a limit for yourself. For example, when you’ve doubled your money, you should call it quits and cash out. At the very least, cash out the amount you initially deposited and continue to gamble from the proceeds if that’s what you want. Then continue to withdraw smaller amounts if and when you win more. That way, you can be sure that you won’t gamble away all your winnings. 

In terms of casino strategies that actually work, this is the only way to do it. 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, no casino strategy can consistently beat a casino's house edge. Some of them are fun to try and might even work to some extent if you are a bit lucky. However, the best thing to do is to try to learn more about the games you want to play. You should be aware of the house edge and pick the most profitable games accordingly. 

Also, taking advantage of bonus offers might be recommended depending on the games you want to play, as this can boost your chances of winning with some extra cash. 

However, whether you choose to play with a casino strategy or not, always remember that playing at a casino is about having fun. You should never bet on the fact that you’ll win.

Andreas Schmidt
Andreas SchmidtUpdated: 10 Oct 2022
Andreas gained a lot of experience with the gaming industry during his student days. He regularly played poker with his fellow students and quickly realized how much strategy was p...
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