The saying that the house always wins is quite popular in the gambling world and it has become a sort of truism. It can be heard from just about any experienced player and has been around for as long as the casinos have. But is there any truth to that statement and if so how does it affect your gameplay? While there are many myths surrounding this topic, you will surely want concrete facts based on evidence or experience. If you are hoping to find out the truth about the casino advantage in slots game read on. In this article, we will go over all relevant information about casino advantage and everything else that might be of interest to you regarding this topic.
House Edge Explained
The house edge is one of the most important factors in the gambling industry and while its presence is not often felt, it is certainly vital for the whole process. What we refer to as house edge can be described as the statistical advantage that the establishment has over players. It is the primary way that the casino makes its revenue and it often goes undetected by gamblers. By statistical advantage, we mean the discrepancy between the odds of winning a bet and the payout ratio for that bet. For example, if the odds of forming a winning combination in slots is 1 in 100 and the payout ratio for that is 95:1, that small difference constitutes the house edge. Therefore, if you place 100 bets totalling $100 you can expect to receive on average $95 in winnings. This $5 difference is kept by the casino as profit and that makes up the house advantage.
There are additional factors to consider when looking at the house edge of a given slot. For starters, each game comes with its own specific house edge percentages and in the realm of slots, that can vary wildly. Furthermore, the house edge only comes into effect after hundreds of thousands of spins and thus, it is only effective in the long term. In the case of slots, it is programmed into the game itself, with each title keeping a percentage of the total turnover in the long run.
House Edge Explained Additional TipsCalculating the house edge for certain table games is a simple process, though doing the same on slots is a lot more complicated, due to the large number of symbols and possible combinations. Still, some software providers publish the house edge percentages for their games online and you can easily look that up to check a certain game. The numbers are verified by government regulatory institutions that perform audits and tests on the software providers to make sure that their product is indeed legitimate. The top software providers in the industry are trustworthy companies that will not offer you a sub-par experience and you can always rely on their word.
Having covered the house edge, it is time to take a look at the Return-to-player values. It is a common saying that the house always wins, but how can that be true if certain players have made out with a large amount of profit. This is where the RTP becomes a factor to consider. Contrary to popular belief, the house does not keep the majority of bets placed on the games, rather only a small percentage that we consider the house edge. In fact, most of the money wagered at a casino gets paid out as winnings, either to the same player or to different ones. It is not uncommon for a gambling website to pay out more than 90% of all funds wagered. This is what we refer to as return-to-player percentage, which is the opposite of the house edge. The two are inherently entwined and one is always dependent on the other. Calculating the RTP is done by subtracting the house edge percentage from 100%, with the remaining number representing the RTP.
Much like the house edge, the RTP values of a game are only effective in the long term and this is what allows gambling to be profitable for some players. The casino will have its due, but what happens after that is anyone’s guess. It is what makes it possible for certain players to make off with millions by winning a jackpot while for others to spin all night and leave with empty pockets. With the results of each outcome being fully random, anything is possible in the short term and this is how some gamblers are able to win.
Long-Term Effects of the House Advantage
As we have mentioned above, the house edge and the respective RTP are only effective in the long run and as such, short term gaming sessions are not really affected. But what is the effect of the casino advantage in the long term? The truth of the matter is that the casino always keeps its due over a long period of time. As we have mentioned, the house edge and RTP percentages even out to their official numbers over the course of hundreds of thousands or even millions of spins. If you have made a profit from playing a slot game, chances are you have beaten the odds for the gaming session. However, if you continue playing for long enough, odds are that you will likely lose your winnings. Granted, in the short term the RNG systems make any outcome a possibility, but in the grand scheme of things, the establishment will take the percentage of the total turnover. In light of this, we recommend that you play for as long as the game is profitable. If you have made a substantial amount of money, it may be best to call it quits as if you continue to play the danger of losing your money increases.
Low and High Volatility in Slots
The volatility of slot games is also something that you should consider when choosing a game to play. Unlike the house edge or RTP, volatility has a more noticeable effect on the general gameplay and on your bankroll. Volatility refers to the inherent risk of a game or plainly put, how much and how often you can expect a game to pay out.
Slots are divided into low and high volatility denominations. Titles with higher volatility carry more risk, but also the opportunity for higher rewards, while the opposite is true for a low volatility game. In a high volatility game, you will experience less frequent wins thought you will also score larger rewards when you do hit a winning combination. These are suitable for players with larger budgets, as some time may pass before you score a win. But once you do, it will have been worth the wait. The problem with these games is that you may quickly become bored with them since not a lot happens during the general gameplay.
Watch Video Explaining What is Slot Machine Volatility
As for low volatility slots, they take the slow and steady approach. You will see more winning combinations form on the reels, but the rewards will be humble for the most part. These games will keep your interest for longer, though you may not have much to show for it at the end of your gaming session. Additionally, they are more appealing to casual players as they do not require a significant investment before you score a win.
Low and High Volatility in Slots Additional TipsThe volatility of slots is not a metric officially published by the software providers or the casinos which feature the games and as such, it is more guesswork than anything. Information is mostly gathered from the player base and their experience with a given game. The only realistic means of measuring the volatility is to take a look at the game’s pay table. If the rewards are very appealing, offering large payouts, chances are this is a high volatility title. Moreover, you should also check the differences in the rewards for 4- and 5-symbol combinations. If the differences between the two are significant, then the game likely carries high volatility.
FAQ about the Casino Advantage
While we have given you a rundown of the basics about house edge and RTP, there is only so much information that we can fit in a single article. You likely have more questions to ask and if so, please look below. We have compiled a list of common misconceptions and questions about the topic along with detailed answers for each.
Does the house edge guarantee a loss?
Contrary to popular belief, the house edge does not instantly guarantee a loss for you personally. As we have covered above, the house edge only comes into effect after a large number of spins, typically hundreds of thousands and more. Players on the other hand, only play up to a few hundred spins before they close the game or lose their bankroll. In such short term sessions, there is not enough time for the house edge to enter into play and become a significant factor. Moreover, in the short term anything is possible and after all, your game time is limited. If you were to have an infinite amount of money and an unlimited number of spins, you will certainly lose statistically. However, you should not worry too much about the house advantage unless you are playing the same game for days on end.
How can I calculate the odds for a slot game?
Calculating the odds for a slot game is not as simple as it may seem. For starters, there are many factors to account for, the number of reels, the number of symbols, the number of active paylines and the frequency in which symbols appear. Some of these are easily accessible, while others no so much. Additionally, all of the possible combinations of a 5-reel slot can go into the millions, when taking into account the number of symbols and paylines, not as simple to calculate as one plus one. While theoretically possible, calculating the odds of a given slot game is in practice almost impossible. There are too many random factors to account for and the end result will likely not reflect reality.
If there is a casino advantage how can the games be fair?
This is a tricky question for a number of reasons. Fairness in the online gambling industry refers to whether or not a gambling website is honest about the results of its games. This is ensured by audits by government regulatory institutions and third-party test companies. In this sense, online slots are fair as the results they produce are truly random.
However, where probabilities and payout are concerned, you will always be at a disadvantage as long as the house is present. The payout ratio does for a bet will not match the odds for you winning that bet. The only situation where a game is statistically fair is when the payout to income ratio is 1:1 and such casino games are rare, especially for slots.
Do different casinos offer different house edge percentages on the same game?
The short answer to this question is: no, they do not.
Online casinos do not generally make their own games, rather they license them from third-party software providers, dedicated to the creation of casino titles. These games are made to be uniform and to function the same across the board. As such, they feature the same odds at all online casinos. To suggest that casinos offer different house advantage percentages for the same game also implies tampering with the software. It goes without saying that this is strictly illegal in the eyes of regulatory institutions and also forbidden by the software providers. To be sure that your casino is a legitimate operation be sure to look for government licensing from a trusted regulator.
Do gambling websites disclose the house edge value of their games?
House edge percentages are disclosed at the discretion of the software provider and/or the casino in question. Certain software providers offer the exact house edge numbers for all of their games to ensure transparency. Microgaming is a shining example of this and you can easily find these numbers for yourself with a quick search. As for online casinos, that is a completely different matter. Some websites may offer detailed descriptions of all of their games and their respective house edge percentages. Others may only publish the overall RTP across the board for a given website, while there are also those that do not make that information public at all. It goes on a case-by-case basis and there is no simple answer.
Is it possible to beat the house advantage?
Beating the house edge is not outside the realm of possibility, however, doing so in slots is impossible. There are games where you can optimize your gameplay and reduce the house advantage. Blackjack and video poker are great examples of this since you can implement different strategies for your base gameplay. However, these games differ from slots in the sense that they allow players to make decisions. Basic strategy in blackjack allows the player to reduce the house edge by a significant margin and, if the casino advantage is low enough, even to turn in their favor. Slots, on the other hand, do not include any decision making on the players’ part and the outcome of the spin is completely random. In short, you cannot beat the house no matter how hard you try and it is something that you have to live with.
What level of house edge is acceptable?
This is arguably the most subjective of all things that we have discussed in this article and once again there is no clear answer. The range of house edge percentages varies wildly between the different titles. You may encounter games with 20% or 2% casino advantage and everything in between. Moreover, a game with a 20% house edge might be more enjoyable and fun to play than the 2% one. If you are in this for the money, then you surely want to optimize your chances of winning and that includes picking the title with the lowest house edge. However, if you find yourself having more fun with on a title with a high casino advantage, there is no harm as you are in it for the simple enjoyment of it. Generally, we would not recommend playing anything with a house edge above 6-7%, but it mostly boils down to personal preference. Spin the reels on the game that is most comfortable for you personally.
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Why do slots have house edge percentage rates that are significantly higher than the house advantage on other casino games?
It may seem that slots often have higher house edge rates just because most recreational players prefer betting money on slots, making them extremely popular, hence bringing the house more money. However, the house edge of slots is not randomly determined and there are several factors that affect the potential player return and the corresponding house advantage.
The volatility of a slot will directly affect the RTP of the game. High-volatility slots are considered riskier as they can award higher payouts but the game itself pays less frequently. Since higher payouts of high-volatility slots can skew the balance, such slots often have a higher house edge and lower RTP, respectively. Many slots feature various bonus games, special symbols, or progressive jackpots. Such elements increase the risk but can also boost the potential payouts, which is another reason to lower the RTP and increase the house edge. Of course, there are other factors like the structure of slots or regulatory requirements that also have an impact on the house edge that slots tend to have.