The phrase the ‘house edge’ will be one familiar to anybody who has played at either physical or online casinos. Another expression has it that ‘the house always wins’. In both of these phrases, the ‘house’ in question is the casino. After all, there is a reason that casinos such as the famous Casino de Monte Carlo have thrived for well over a hundred years.
The idea of a house edge is the percentage by which the casino will expect to profit on a given game. Knowing about this house edge is crucial for anybody who plans on doing some serious casino gaming. They say that ‘ignorance is bliss’ but trust us that you will want to know as much as possible about the different house edges at play on different casino games.
Roulette and the House Edge
Let us begin by examining the concept of the house edge a little bit more closely. We will take one of the most popular casino games – roulette – as our example. In this case we will assume that a European roulette wheel is being used, basically, one which has a sole green ‘0’ pocket without the extra ‘00’ used on an American wheel. Like all standard casino games, hard statistics determine the theoretical return to player and thus the house edge.
There are 37 pockets in a roulette wheel, 18 black, 18 red and that one green zero. In fact, it is the green pocket that gives the house its edge. Without it then choosing red or black would be a 50:50 proposition, but because the green space is where your chances of winning are 48.64%. Double this amount to get 97.3%, which means that the house edge of European roulette is 2.7%. This is how much the casino will win from roulette players over the long run, based on tens and hundreds of thousands of spins of the wheel.
Machines vs Online Slots
Every game in the casino will have a theoretical return to player based on statistics. Poker is an exception because this is a game where players compete against one another and the casino just takes a cut as a fee for hosting the game. However, games of ‘casino poker’ where the player takes on the casino will have a house edge built into them. Slot games are no different. Each slot machine in an online or offline casino will have a house edge.
This is the amount the casino would expect to win if you were to spin the reels of a game about a million times, for example. Not all slot games are created equally, however. One example of this is the fact that the house edge is usually much larger for slot machines in physical casinos than in online slot games. Slot machines in Las Vegas cannot go below a 75% RTP, but most online slots will have considerably better odds than that.
Better than Average
The average online slot game will have a return to player of somewhere around 96%. Not as good as roulette or blackjack, but considerably better than a game like Keno or Bingo. As we mentioned previously, not all slot games are the same and that goes for online slots as well. So on one end of the scale, there are slots like The Dark Knight from Microgaming with an RTP of 88.96% and Mega Moolah with 88.12%.
Much better value are slot games like Bloodsuckers (98% RTP) and Simsalabim with an RTP of 97.5%. A difference of a couple of percentage points may not seem like a lot, but it certainly has an impact over thousands of spins. That’s why it is always a good idea to do a little bit of research before you start spinning those reels.
How to Find the RTP of a Slot Game
Speaking of which, you will want to know how to discover the return to player of a particular slot game. Luckily this is very easy to do. There are a lot of websites out there which provide comprehensive lists of slot games as well as their respective returns to players.
It really is as simple as typing in the name of the game as well as ‘rtp’ into a search engine and then checking the result. Anything over 97% is a very good return, while 96% and greater is perfectly acceptable. Clearly, there is no slot game out there which offers a return of 100% so the casino always has that famous house edge no matter what game you play.
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You simply stand a better chance with the higher RTP games. This is particularly true when you are trying to play through a bonus. You should look for the highest eligible slot game and place minimum bets to give yourself the best chance of completing the wagering requirements to allow you to withdraw your bonus.
How Volatile is the Game?
Of course, the return to player is only one factor to consider when it comes to choosing an online slot game. Some players like particular features such as avalanche reels or cluster games. For others, the standard of graphics will be an important consideration, while many slot gamers will be fussy about what kind of bonus game is on offer.
Also, progressive jackpots are often a big draw. There is also the volatility (sometimes called variance) of a game to consider. A low volatility game is one that pays out small amounts on a regular basis, whereas high volatility games pay less often but bigger prizes.
To check the volatility of a game is as easy as checking the RTP – just do a quick check in your preferred search engine and the answer will appear. Now that you understand how to find the percentage payout of a slot machine, it is simply a matter of finding the best options for you.
Check out some of your preferred games at your online casino to find out which offers the best possibility of success. Knowing the RTP of games automatically gives you an advantage over many slot gaming fans and is something you should always take into consideration when playing for real money.