In most casinos or gambling establishments, the house edge is slightly higher than the player’s edge. The house can gain its advantage in several different ways depending on the game.
If we take the example of roulette, the explanation of the advantage remains quite simple. A roulette board is made up of 36 numbered squares, colored black or red, and one or two green squares (zero and double-zero for certain forms of the game). The board therefore consists of 37 or 38 squares. It is the game of chance which offers the most distribution of gains to the players. The objective is to determine what will be the color and the number of the square in which the ball will fall. If the ball lands on a square on which you have placed a bet, you will bring in winnings depending on the type of your bet. For European roulette, which uses only one zero, the player has a one in 37 chance of winning. If he wins his bet, the house will pay him only 36 chips. The green box therefore represents the house edge margin for each bet. In the long run, this means that the house has a slightly better chance of winning than the player. Roulette results are very often unpredictable and random so player and house winnings can vary significantly.
Slot machines are among the most popular games of chance. A slot machine is an electronic or mechanical gambling device that does not require any particular strategy or skill. Gaming establishments use the same payout calculation when it comes to multiple payout games such as slot machines. It is obviously more difficult to know the house edge in this style of play. The house edge varies widely for slots. The total payout percentage is typically between 90% and 97%.
In blackjack, the house gets its edge in a different way. Indeed, there is a rule in blackjack which states that if the croupier and the player lose the hand, the croupier always wins. Blackjack is therefore set at a lower level than the actual chances of winning. In blackjack, the house edge varies with strategy and often decreases with player experience. For a beginner, the house edge is around 5%. It then goes down to 3% when using basic strategy and 2% when a player uses intermediate strategy.
How is the house advantage calculated?
When we place a bet we often hear about “good odds” in evaluating a particular game. Contrary to what one might think, the odds are not that important a factor in determining whether a bet is “good” or “bad”. For example, if a player places a bet on each of the squares of the roulette board, he would have a 100% chance of winning. However, the player would only earn 36 €. He would therefore lose € 1 on all of his bets. The lost euro here represents the house advantage. In American roulette, the player would lose € 2. The house advantage would therefore be € 2 on this € 38 bet, or a total advantage of 5.3%.