If you enjoy playing at online casinos, there’s little chance that you haven’t heard the phrases ‘RTP’ and ‘house edge’. It’s essential that, as a player, you are aware of these terms, as they are what earns you money, after all.
To understand what they mean in depth, you can learn more about these terms here. Right now, we’ll take a look at what they mean in their simplest terms and how they impact both you and the casino you’re playing at.
This is the house’s mathematical advantage over the player in any game that involves chance. It's what enables a casino to make money, even though winning players also take money from the casino. Casinos are within their legal right to set a house edge. It’s also a matter of probabilities and adding the element of unpredictability to each throw of the dice, any given card, and each spin of the wheel.
The house edge of any game takes the form of a percentage. To better explain the calculation, let’s take European roulette as an example. On the roulette wheel, there are 19 black numbers, 18 red numbers, and one green zero. If you place a £20 bet on black and win, your payout is 1:1, which translates to £40 (your £20 stake returned + £20 in winnings). What may surprise you to know is that the chance of hitting red is not, in actual fact, 50%.
Let me explain. On a roulette wheel, there are 18 red pockets and 19 that are not red, which translates into the odds of red winning at 18/37 (-48.64%). This is the anatomy of the house edge. Even if a player has numerous winning rounds, the odds are that they will eventually lose. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to minimise losses. There are numerous variables, and with the right strategy, a decent player is able to decrease the house edge to close to zero.
RTP stands for Return To Player and is the money that is expected to be returned to the player on a certain game. It is essentially the opposite of house edge, which explains why it’s also represented as a percentage.
Different games have a different house edge. Further, different titles in the same genre can have a different casino advantage. It’s dependent on how the game works- some features contribute to the RTP while others contribute to the house edge.
Using the house edge
Depending on which type of game you’re playing, you have a number of strategies and tactics at your disposal to help you decrease the house edge. Here are some of the simpler ways to help you do just that.
It isn’t easy to beat the house edge in roulette. However, you can reduce it by playing the game a certain way. Look for a single zero roulette game using French rules, as they have the highest RTP. Similarly, avoid playing American Roulette as, thanks to their dual zero pockets, have a high house edge of around 5.26%.
Blackjack has a lower house edge than roulette as blackjack is a game that isn’t entirely based on chance. While the cards are randomly dealt, what matters more is how you play. The best way to increase your RTP is to choose a game with a higher RTP than others. Examples are Microgaming’s Classic Blackjack and Playtech’s Blackjack Switch.
Video poker typically comes with some of the industry’s highest RTP percentages. It’s one of a small number of games that offers an advantage to a player if they play the right way. Some video poker games have an RTP of more than 100%. One way to further increase the RTP is to increase the bet level, as higher bet levels typically offer higher payouts thus significantly decreasing the house edge.
Understanding each of these terms and knowing how to use them to your advantage can make you a far more successful gambler. You might even find yourself as good as gambling as you are with your favourite Xbox game. No matter your choice of casino game, you should choose a variation that comes with a lower casino advantage i.e. a lower house edge or a higher RTP. You should then seek to minimise that advantage as much as you can.