Understanding Odds and the House Edge

All casino games have a house edge built in which is a calculated percentage of an advantage that favours the casino, and this is how a casino ensures its income despite the players winning or losing. It refers to the how much the casino will make in the long run from all its bets. In order to calculate the house edge of any game in a casino one would need to be able to understand and to calculate the odds and probability.

Why would one need to be able to calculate the house edge then if all games have them? The advantage of knowing how to calculate the house edge through odds and probability will allow the player to work out which games would be the most profitable to play as well as which games pay out the most, giving you a greater chance of winning at less risk or cost to self, or one can say: increasing your probability of winning.

Knowing the house edge can ensure you have the odds favour you despite that most casino games are based on luck and very little on skill – though some games such as poker require a certain amount of skill which changes the odds as well.

Let’s take a closer look at odds and probability and how it relates to the House Edge:

Most casino games, online or otherwise, will have the odds clearly shown, allowing the discerning player the means to choose which games to bet on as they would be able to work out the house edge.

Knowing your odds means knowing to some degree the prize amount a game will pay if you win a bet, also referred to as the payout. In Roulette for example the odds for any number are 35:1. Placing a bet of $1 on any number and they get a hit it would then pay out $35. This means that the casino stakes 35 times the amount staked by the player and at the same time that the player stands to win 35 times the amount staked by her should she win.

Probability refers then to the likelihood of wins and losses as there are always a certain number of possible outcomes.

As we have said the house edge is the casino’s average profit per bet and what many don’t know is that this would change the true odds a player would make as this is how the casino makes its profits as a business.

The games with a higher house edge will pay out less than the ones with a lower edge and is the difference between the real odds of winning and odds you are paid out at all. Slot machines offer a low return to the players and thus would have a higher house edge, meaning the casino makes more money on these games than the player has a chance of making over any given time. Baccarat on the other hand always has the lowest house edge and would indicate that the player has the best odds of winning.