An In-Depth Guide to the House Edge

Every real money casino game has a house edge. Find out what is a house edge, how it works, the casino advantage in popular games, and much more

Whether playing at a land-based or an online casino in South Africa, you will come across the term house edge. This is simply the advantage the casino has over players in the long run. It is often presented in the percentage form, and it’s the opposite of the return to player of RTP percentage. 

Remember that it is not equal across all casino games. Some games are built with low house edges, and others have a higher advantage. Understanding the house edge and how it works in different casino games is vital for your success. 

Read our comprehensive guide before delving into real money gambling.

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The House Edge in A Nutshell

Before understanding how the casino profits from players, it is essential to know the true definition of a house edge. First things fast, the casino always has an advantage, regardless of the game you play. All casino games, except poker, have an in-built advantage for the player. 

Simply put, the house advantage is the gross profit of the casino from a game in the long run. Its average percentage in a casino game ranges between 0.5% and 40%, but this doesn’t mean players don’t have a chance of winning. By using an optimal strategy, the player can lower it to beat the dealer in some games.

The House Edge Review

Casino Game House Edge vs. RTP

There are significant differences between the house edge and RTP in the casino game. The first key difference is that the house edge is the long-term profit of the casino, whereas the RTP is the advantage of the player in the long run. 

Another thing is that the RTP percentage is always higher. Lastly, the method for determining the House advantage is far much easier than calculating the RTP of a casino game.

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Is It Easy to Calculate?

At first, getting the house advantage of a casino game may appear complex for South African players. Thanks to the straightforward formula, you can quickly calculate the advantage of the casino in a particular game. Here is the formula to use:

House Edge = (Odd Against Success – House Odds) x Probability of Success

To present this in percentage form, you multiply the house edge by 100 as indicated in the following formula:

Casino Percentage = House Edge by 100

The House Edge In Different Casino Games 

As earlier mentioned, this percentage is not the same across all casino games. The size varies depending on the type of game and the developer behind it. The following are casino games and their house edges:

Baccarat – Depending on the bet in Baccarat the house edge can vary from 1.06% on the banker and 1.24% on the player.

Blackjack – This card game is a little different than other casino games, depending on your skill you can reduce the casino’s advantage from 2% to 0.28%

Caribbean Stud Poker – 5.22%

Casino War – 2.88%

Game of Keno – 25% to 29%

Craps – From 1.36% to 16.67%, a lot depends on the type of bet in this game 

Pai Gow – 1.50%

Roulette – 2.70% to 5.26%

Sic Bo – 2.78% to 33.33%

Video Poker – 0.36%

How the House Edge Works in Online Slot Games

Online slots are the most popular games you will find at most land-based and online casinos in South Africa, for sure. Many people love these games because they are simple to play, have innovative features, and reward significantly huge payouts. 

Another appealing thing about slot machines is the relatively high theoretical return to player (RTP), which can go up to 99%. This means that players can enjoy a low house ranging between 1% and 5% in most slot games. 

Many people consider the RTP when choosing an online slot with huge potential long-term profits. It’s worth mentioning that the fact that online slot machines accept minimum wagers and offer huge payouts, seems appealing to SA gamblers.

Another vital feature you should keep in mind before playing online slot games is the hourly expected loss. The latter is the mathematical average loss in online slot machines per hour. Calculating the hourly expected loss is pretty simple, you can follow this simple formula:

Average Loss = Spins per hour x Bet Amount x House Edge x Number of Hours

The House Edge in Slots

Useful Tips to Consider

By now, you know the meaning of the house edge and how you can quickly calculate the potential payout. But you must be wondering whether it is possible to lower it in your favor. 

Here are simple tips to help you to use the house edge knowledge to your advantage:

  • Choose casino games with the lowest house edge percentage, like poker and blackjack.
  • Develop an optimal strategy to lower the house edge, and practice it in free-to-play mode. Once you feel comfortable with it you can start to play with real money.
  • Play with the maximum bet on online slot games which have high RTP.
  • Use casino bonuses and promotions to your advantage.

The Wrap

Understanding the house edge in casino games and how it works is one of the first steps to your success. As we’ve explained, it represents the long-term profit you get from playing a casino game. However, it is essential to understand that this percentage varies greatly. The advantage is that you can shop around for games with low house edges in free mode before upgrading to real money gaming. Overall, ensure you know how to calculate the house edge and RTP in casino games.


No, the house is not the same across all casino games. It varies depending on the game type and software provider

The recommended online casino games with the lowest house edge are blackjack, baccarat, and craps

No, the house edge does not mean you can not profit from your bets. It is only a theoretical representation of what the casino will profit from in the long run

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