Do you know the odds of getting struck by lightning? About 15,000 to 1.
What about the odds of beating the house in a casino? Well, now, that’s a little more complicated, and it depends on the game you’re playing. But no matter what the game, there’s always a house edge, there to tease you with wins and losses… unless Lady Luck smiles on you… and she is a fickle mistress.
Quite simply, this indicates the potential advantage of the casino over the player over time. The house advantage is, effectively, the reverse or balance of the casino payout percentage or return to player (RTP). In other words, if a casino pays out, on average, 94% of all money placed as bets to players, this means the house edge or casino odds are 6%.
This doesn’t mean that, if you take $1000 and play with it all night you should expect to walk away with $940, however. Casino odds work per bet, and over time, and represent just the percentage of money, in total and over time, that the casino will end up earning on all bets placed. It’s an average taken over no less than a million bets.
It’s important to remember that casinos having a house edge isn’t unfair to players. It is, after all, how they make money. This holds especially true for online casinos, which don’t have the option of creating large entertainment complexes complete with restaurants, comedy clubs, and theatres.
As players enjoy the multitude of varied games that are available through both online and brick-and-mortar casinos, their bets are tallied against the total bets placed. Any wins or losses are also tallied across all games in the casino. The difference between the money coming in and the money being paid out in wins, is the house edge, or casino odds.
This house advantage is applied broadly, incorporating all games, be they slots, video table games, live dealer table games, or even tournaments. Knowing a particular casino’s odds will only tell you how much of the money played is eventually won back by players, on average, over time. This makes it a poor indicator of your chances of winning a particular round of the game that tickles your fancy.
Every game in the casino has an RTP – a return to player percentage. These can vary widely. For example, slot machines in a physical casino can have an RTP from as low as 70% to a decent 90%. However, online slots often have RTPs over 96%.
This means that the casino’s odds per game could be calculated across games with very different RTPs, which is another reason the house edge is not a good indicator of your chances in any particular game. Additionally, while casino odds can, in theory, be broadly estimated on the RTP/casino payout percentage of all the games played in the casino, the frequency with which particular games are enjoyed can affect this calculation quite considerably. This, again, is why odds are calculated over the long term.
Where casino odds give you an idea of how much the casino pays out over time, and any given game’s odds provide the same information about that game, in-game odds are a different thing entirely, and they are mentioned only for clarity.
Every type of bet in any game has odds associated with it. These odds have nothing to do with the actual amount of money you place as a bet, however. They are a direct correlation between your chances, per bet, of winning. Usually, the associated payouts are related to these odds.
To illustrate the differences between all these concepts, let’s take a look at live dealer roulette.
In game: The odds of landing on a single given number are 37:1 (2.6%) for American roulette, and 36:1 (2.7%) for European roulette. The payout for winning such a bet is 35:1.
Game odds: The overall odds on a game of American roulette are around 5.2%. This doesn’t apply to individual types of bets, like black, red, or individual or groups of numbers, but to the average over time that the table or online game can expect to earn.
Casino odds: The odds for a casino that runs roulette as a game can be affected by the popularity of a particular table or video version, the number of tables or games available, and the influence of all the other types of games available.
Casino odds are nothing more than an indicator of the casino’s advantage over players in the long run. Certainly, a casino that pays out more over time may appear to be a better option, but this can be affected by the factors we’ve mentioned above. A casino that runs nothing but brand-new slots, for instance, might have house odds as low as 3%, while one with a much wider range of games might have odds as seemingly high as 7%.
Use casino odds as just one of the tools in your kit when choosing the right online casino for you. Evaluate the casino according to its game options, compliance with responsible gaming and registration, the game providers used, and even our reviews section. Don’t make a decision based purely on the numbers, because they’re just one part of the puzzle of finding the right casino for you.