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Learn About the House Edge for Casino Games at Online Casinos

Posted On: March 14, 2013

It's often said that casinos would never have been built if they were in the habit of giving money away. That's true for online casinos true, even if they don't have the same overhead as their brick and mortar cousins. To ensure they win more often than they lose, casino table games operate using a principle called the house edge. In layman's terms, the house edge is the amount the casino can expect to win on average from each bet. Obviously there are many winners and losers at each game, but over time, the results will tend toward what the edge says the house should expect to make.

There are many ways that a casino can create a house edge for itself, but most of the time, nothing extra needs to be done. That's because the edge is baked into the rules of the game, creating an inherent disadvantage for the player. If the games were fair - that is, if the player had a 50/50 chance of winning an amount equal to his wager on every round - the casino wouldn't offer the game because of the uncertainty over whether or not it would be profitable.

Much of this has to do with true odds, and the games paying out at less than true odds. For example, a hand of blackjack pays even money if you win it, so you'd expect your odds of winning to be about 50 percent. In truth, your odds of winning are slightly less than 50 percent on any given hand due to the possibility of a push and the rules the dealer follows while playing the casino hand. The difference between the true odds and the expected odds for blackjack is small, but even that small difference adds up quickly over time.

The key to making your money last longer while playing online casino games is to identify the ones that have a smaller house edge than others. Blackjack and craps are two of the better ones for players, while roulette has a fairly large house edge. Note also that the house edge is only valid if you are playing "correctly" from a mathematical standpoint. Making unusual plays or bets can multiply the house edge very quickly.