House Edge Explained

What is the House Edge? CasinoAlpha's House Odds Guide

9 min

Casino games’ house edge should be diminished if you want the best returns. We help you make better decisions when gambling online with our comprehensive guide.

Best Casino Games with Lowest House Edges

Game Best house odds Bet type/best rules Standard deviation
Baccarat 1.06% Banker 0.93
Baccarat 1.24% Player 0.95
Baccarat 14.36% Tie 2.64
Blackjack 0.28% Liberal Vegas rules 1.15
Craps 1.36% Don’t pass/don’t come 0.99
Craps 16.67% Any seven 1.86
Craps 1.41% Pass/Come 1.00
Craps 1.52% Place 6,8 1.08
Craps 11.11% Any craps 2.51
European Roulette 2.70% Single Zero e
American Roulette 5.26% Double Zero e
Video Poker 0.46% Jacks or Better 4.42
Keno 25%-29% / 1.30-46.04
Wild Hold ’em Fold ’em 6.86% / d
Red Dog 2.80% Six decks 1.60
Caribbean Stud Poker 5.22% / 2.24
Three Card Poker 7.28% Pairplus 2.85

What Casino Games Have the Best Odds?

  1. Blackjack offers the best odds overall, and a low edge of 0.28% with Liberal Vegas rules.
  2. Baccarat has a house edge of 1.06% for a Banker bet.
  3. Crap’s best bet is the Don’t Pass bet, of which the casino will keep 1.36% over the long run.
  4. The best live casino sites offer a highly competitive edge of 2.70% if you play the European variant.
  5. Video poker as a Full Play version is another potentially profitable option, with a low 0.5% house edge.

What Is the House Edge?

What Is the House Edge

The concept of house edge refers to the casino’s guaranteed percentage of each bet players make within the games. Every casino game is designed to generate profit, so every game has a house edge, including table games, slots, live dealers, keno and bingo.

The house odds reveal the percentage of a wager the platform retains as profit, irrespective of the bet’s result.

To put things into perspective, it is the opposite of slot games’ RTP.


It’s vital to check the house odds for every game you play, but unlicensed casinos may not post such information and mislead Irish players.

Luckily, if you choose from our list of the best online casinos, you can rest assured as all platforms we endorse operate with a valid license.

House Advantage vs Return to Player

  • The concepts are two faces of the same coin
  • European roulette has a 2.7% built-in casino advantage, then its RTP is 97.3%
  • Similarly, Starburst is a slot with an approximate RTP of 96%
  • That means the gambling site keeps around 4% of all wagers
  • Don’t forget that these stats are calculated over long series of wagers


You can improve your odds and diminish the house edge mainly in skill-based games like blackjack or poker.

How to Assess the House Edge on Casino Games

How to Assess the House Edge on Casino Games

  1. The house advantage expresses how much the casino will profit from each game.
  2. You shouldn’t see it as if casinos were cheating, because that’s not the case.
  3. Gaming platforms publish the house odds for every game of chance in their portfolio.
  4. From a player’s perspective, you get the best gambling odds when you identify the lowest edge on casino games, available in blackjack and other card games.
  5. Non-skilled games like roulette can become more profitable too if you grasp the different house edge behind each bet.

Casino House Edge Example

We exemplify the house edge in roulette with a real life scenario with even-money bets.

Roulette house odds scenario

For every €100 wagered during a gaming session at the roulette table, that casino will keep around €2.7.

However, the house advantage applies over a long-term period and serves more as a guiding principle.

Even when a player is on a winning streak, the gambling venue will beat most other players, taking its 2.7% from them.

Due to its built-in advantage, the casino will always be in a better position to win than the player.

However, if you apply the correct gambling strategies and choose the best odds, you might overcome part of that advantage.

House Odds are Probabilistic in Nature

The house odds represent a probability, mathematically derived percentage that shows how often something will occur if repeated in a specific number of instances.

In gambling, the longer a player bets, the closer he will get to the statistical house advantage or RTP rates.

Expected Value for the Best House Edge Casino Games

Expected Value for the Best House Edge Casino Games

  1. Blackjack: -0,5%
  2. European Roulette: -2,7%
  3. American Roulette: -5,26%
  4. Caribbean Stud Poker: -5,22%
  5. Baccarat Banker: -1,05%
  6. Craps Don’t Pass: -1,36%
  7. Video Poker: -1%

What is a game’s expected value?

The expected value in gambling is an estimate of how much a player can win or lose based on the game’s payouts and odds.

Gambling games have a negative expected value because they are built to favour the casino.

More Aspects for Casino Games with Best Odds

More Aspects for Casino Games with Best Odds

You have to keep an eye on several other factors besides the casino edge if you want to steer closer to winning rather than losing. The best gambling odds will be achieved when you take into consideration a game’s uncertainty factor, the number of hands played, and more.

Comprehensive knowledge of all relevant gambling concepts is the best recipe for productive outcomes!

Element of Risk

Because there are many variables during a game, the casino edge is only an approximation of your chances of winning. To better manage the uncertainty, you need to better understand the element of risk.

Expert Irish players use it to calculate a more realistic probability of winning during multiple betting rounds.

It offers a modified house advantage by taking into consideration your average losses and dividing that by the money bet overall.


Choose games with a reduced element of risk for better winning chances.

Element of Risk Table

Game Casino Advantage Element of Risk
Three Card Poker 3.37% 2.01%
Blackjack 0.43% 0.38%
Mississippi Stud 4.91% 1.37%
Caribbean Stud 5.22% 2.56%
Let It Ride 3.51% 2.85%
Wild Hold’em Poker 6.86% 3.23%

Standard Deviation

Applying the concept of standard deviation in gambling can help you calculate bankroll volatility.

Standard deviation shows the amount of variation in results.

Low standard deviation means that most results will resemble a computed average, which in gambling translates to getting expected results as per the odds.

On the other hand, a high standard deviation points to more dispersion. That’s equivalent to less predictability and more bankroll volatility. In other words, you risk more.

The table below shows the outcomes of sessions within various numbers of standard deviations.

Standard Deviation Table

Number Probability
0.25 18%
0.50 38%
0.75 55%
1.00 68%
1.25 78%
1.50 86%
1.75 92%
2.00 95%
2.25 97%
2.50 98%
2.75 99%
3.00 99%


In a land-based casino the hold is a correlation between the sold chips and the chips kept by the house.

It is another way of computing house profits, and it gets expressed as a percentage.

The same goes with online gambling sites and games.

The hold isn’t fixed and it constantly changes as players win or lose at the table.

For example, for a slot machine with 94% RTP, the average hold is 6%.

Hold Example

  • We can take a baccarat table to illustrate the hold.
  • Suppose a player wagers €100 on multiple bets.
  • After a few rounds, he ends up with €75.
  • In that case, the table keeps €25, which means the hold is 25%.

What about major casino returns?

The hold can go over 100% when players get positive returns.

Suppose a player puts €100 in a slot machine and triggers a jackpot of €1,000 after a few spins.

In that case, the hold is actually negative (-900%) since the house must pay the jackpot.

Bypass the hold

Play slots with free spins on registration to go round the hold. You don’t have to pay for these slot bets, so the hold is actually negative in this case. However, house edge (the slot’s RTP) will still influence the outcome.

Hands per Hour

Hands per hour show the median number of hands played during a specific game.

The number of players participating in the game can influence the final number of hands played per hour.

Hands per Hour Table

Games Hands per Hour Casino Edge
Blackjack 70 0.5%
Baccarat 72 1.2%
Craps 48 1.58%
American Roulette 38 5.26%
Let It Ride 52 2.4%
3 Way Action 70 2.2%
Pai Gow 30 1.65%
Caribbean Stud Poker 50 1.46%
Big Six 10 15.53%

Main Takeaways for the House Edge

  1. The casino edge guarantees its long-term advantage over players.
  2. It varies between casino games, but blackjack has the lowest.
  3. Casino tables’ edge is equivalent to a reversed Return To Player rate in slot games.
  4. The metric dictates the average profit the gaming venue will make from a specific game.
  5. To get the best gambling odds, you should search for games with a lower house edge.


What is a reasonable house edge?

Up to 1% can be considered the best and most fair house edge, but we can extend the reasonable percentage to 5%.

How do you find the house edge?

The house edge can be computed by substracting the house odds from the odds not to win, and multiplying the result with your odds to win.

Can you overcome the casino edge completely?

You can’t because it’s a built-in feature of all games. Still, you can improve your chances if you choose your games and bets more wisely.

What casino game has the lowest house odds?

The best game with the lowest house edge is blackjack, with 0.5%.

Cosmin Brehoi
AuthorCosmin BrehoiAuthor & Editor at Casino alpha

Since forever a student of life and a writer at his core, Cosmin loves to place bets on football matches in his free time. Combining the art of prediction and a rigorously trained intuition, he has joined the iGaming world to promote a responsible and data-driven approach to sports betting.

Adina Minculescu
ReviewerAdina MinculescuSenior Author & Editor at Casino alpha

Adina’s methodical way of thinking is what gamblers need to understand the casino market. With her expertise in this niche combined with her studies in linguistic typology and hermeneutics, she will be able to help you make informed decisions. Let her be your trustworthy guide!