Casino games with the lowest house edge
The house edge is the amount by which a casino will win over time on any given game. You might think it’s unfair that the casino has an edge at all. But think about why it’s in place. Without a house edge, the casino could not make money to pay its staff and expenses. And without that, there would be no casinos for us to enjoy. And then what would we do?
With that in mind, players must respect why games have a house edge. But that’s not to say they should not do as much as they can to reduce it, thereby maximizing their chances of making a profit on any given session.
Happily, we know the house edge for every regular casino table game, plus the RTP (return to player percentage) on every slot machine.
So, if you want to keep the house edge wafer-thin, then these three games are the ones to play. And with more US states legalizing online gambling, you might soon get more opportunities.
For a complete novice, the house edge in blackjack is around 2%. That means that for every $100 the player bets, he will lose $2. Not too bad, is it when you consider the entertainment value of the game? In a brick-and-mortar casino, you might also get complimentary drinks while you play.
Yet when you apply even a basic blackjack playing strategy, you can bring the house edge down to as low as 0.5%. That’s super low and means that you could play for ages and lose very little. You could also go on a lucky streak and finish any particular session in profit, of course.
A basic strategy includes being bolder, taking another card when the dealer looks strong (with a high upcard) to try and get a high score yourself, or betting aggressively when the dealer looks weak. Aggressive play means doubling down with a broader range of hands to get more money on the table. Download a simple blackjack hand chart online that will give you the optimum play for each combination of your starting hands and the dealer’s upcard.
Players at many popular US casinos avoid baccarat, assuming it’s a game for high rollers and James Bond. But actually, it’s simple to pick up, you can play for low stakes, and anyway, the dealer does all the work; you only have to place a bet, and that’s all there is to it.
Your choice at the start of each coup (the name of a round in baccarat) is to bet on one of three outcomes: the Player, the Banker, or a Tie.
You then sit back and watch the dealer deal the hands and confirm the results, either taking your wager or returning it with profit if you win.
With so few possible outcomes, and the Player or Banker outcome being most common, there is only a slender 1.06% house edge. Let’s call it 1% for simplicity. So you get to bleed money slowly, AND you don’t have to do any work!
And, of course, you get to feel like you are James Bond.
If you have been to a large casino, you will have seen the video poker machines, often embedded into the bar, so you can sit and talk to your favorite barman while playing along. Find a Jacks or Better (Full Pay) game, and you could face a tiny house edge of just 0.46% – the best you will get in the casino.
You don’t need to be a poker shark to play video poker; just an understanding of the basic hand rankings – pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, straight flush, and the daddy of them all, the royal flush.
Each game has a paytable visible, however, so you will soon pick this up.
More common gaming options
Pai Gow is a common game in many live casinos, but you are less likely to find it online. It has a house edge of around 1.5%. Many people will head to the roulette tables. But the single zero version of the game has a house edge of 2.7%, while the double zero American Roulette game is 5.26%.
And what about slots games? Well, the RTP level varies from one slot game to another. But most of the games fall into the house edge bracket of 2% all the way up to 15%.
While it is good to keep an eye on the house edge, the most important thing is to make sure you have fun and gamble within your means. It’s meant to be a form of entertainment, after all.
Story by Jasmine Jones