Casino Odds and Payouts
Casinos are a business just like any other, and their main purpose is to generate profit. How can casinos generate profit if they’re in the business of making people winners? They do this by making games that are in favor of the house. Understanding casino odds and payouts is crucial to figure out how the gambling industry makes its money, as well as finding the best bets for a person’s gambling bankroll.
The most important term to know; when dealing with casino odds, and payouts is “house edge.” Less commonly known as the “vigorish,” the house edge is the percentage of a wager that the casino can expect to win in the long run. Suppose that there is a casino game with a 1% edge. If a person wagers $100 on this game, they can expect to lose $1 (1% of $100). It’s important to remember that this is in the long run, however. Since Lady Luck has a part in it, some people will emerge winners, and some people will lose more than $1. As a whole, though, the casino knows the reliable house edge will always turn a profit.
Another figure used to represent the long-term profit of the casino “return to player,” also known as the “payout”. This number is the opposite of the house edge: it states the percent of all wagers a player can expect back from a certain game. A game with a 1% house edge, for instance, would have a 99% RTP.
Therefore, it makes sense that gamblers would want to find games with a low house edge (and a high payout). How can we determine the edge of a game, however? In many cases, the rules of a game make determining the house edge difficult and a task that only well-trained mathematicians and the game developers could accomplish. This is particularly true of slot machines. Since casinos are not required to state what the reels look like, it is literally impossible to determine their edge.
One simple example for finding the house edge is European roulette. The rules are simple. A wheel with numbers 1-36 of red and black color and a green zero spins in one direction. The croupier throws a ball in the opposite direction. Momentum eventually slows the ball and it lands in one of the grooved slots below a number. Players’ wager on which number they think the ball will land on. A winning number bet pays 35:1.
If a player selects the correct number on a $1 bet, he or she will make $35 profit. If the player selects one of the thirty-six incorrect numbers, he or she will lose the $1. To find the house edge, we add together all possibilities. Therefore, the formula for finding the house edge in European roulette is as follows:
(1 / 37) * 35 + (36 / 37) * -1 = (-1 / 37)
The resulting edge is exactly 1/37, or approximately 2.7%. Most other casino games have many more possibilities that must be carefully analyzed before the house edge can be determined. In addition, many casino games (like blackjack and video poker) have a proper strategy that must be used to get the lowest house edge.
Online casino players have the advantage of having the Internet at their fingertips to research their games and find the best ones. Unfortunately, video slots and classic slot machines do not give players any way to find the house edge. However, video poker and table games players can almost certainly find strategy tips and the casino odds and RTP for their favorite games.
If you’re looking for the casino games with the best odds, the two best are almost always some variant of blackjack and some variant of video poker. Be careful, though. Most online casinos have several varieties of each, and some are not nearly as good as others. In most cases, the games with the best odds are the most traditional. Stick with normal blackjack and familiar variants of video poker, such as Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker, to get the best shot at winning.
Despite the jargon, gamblers can definitely understand the math behind casino games with just a very basic understanding. By setting the casino odds in their favor, casinos both online and offline are able to make profitable business. Of course, not everyone is a loser, and players who take the time to look for the best payouts have the best chance to emerge winners.« The Psychology of Online Gambling Free Spin Features in Slot Games »