Make no mistake, the old adage that the house always win is true in many more ways than one. This unfair advantage is known as the house edge (HE) in casino games and it is the one obstacle that stands in the way between you and your millions.
With the rise and rise of online gaming, it’s no wonder that many gamers are looking to monetize their skills.
Getting to know the house edge
An insidious enemy indeed, the HE isn’t anything you can point at. It is a mathematical quality that is in-built in all casino games which distorts the true odds of the game and lowers your payout in case of a win, while increasing the profits made by the casino.
Casino games aren’t all equal in terms of their house edge. American Roulette, with its double zeroes, for example, has a HE of 5.26%, while the HE for the French version stands at a relatively more modest 2.7%. On the other hand, blackjack games can have house edges as low as 0.5%, when played well.
That last caveat: when played well, speaks volumes about the only way you can mitigate the effects of the house edge, and blunt the impact of the grind.
Beating the grind
What is the grind? Basically, it’s the term used by gamblers to describe how the HE slowly eats away at your bankroll until there’s only a hole in your pocket left. By improving your play and becoming immune to the HE, you minimise the grind and consequently you’ll have more money to show at the end of the day.
Putting all this knowledge together reveals the essence of why gamers have an advantage in casino play: practice makes richer! The more intelligently you play, the better you become at a game and the smaller the impact of the edge and the grind on your bankroll.
But here’s the clincher. You can avoid the HE altogether by playing games like poker, where you are actually competing against other players like you, with all their quirks and vulnerabilities, rather than an all-present, all-powerful mathematical equation.
Mastering games with the lowest edge
The following table lists the most popular casino games in ascending order of HE.
|Slot machines, flat top||0-17%|
|Slot machines, progressive||5-17%|
All percentages listed in the table above assume proper play, meaning that if you’re not well-versed in a particular game then the odds against you are higher and hence you’re at greater risk of losing money.
The great thing about casino play is that there are plenty opportunities for gamers to learn a game for free, without putting money on the line, and acquire useful experience that they can profitably use in a real game.
Most online casino operators offer users the ability to switch from free play to real money play with the press of a button. It’s worth consulting a review site like AustralianCasino.com.au to check the online casino you’re interested in is reputable and safe. You don’t even need to register for a gaming account to try a game for free! Moreover, there are tonnes of video tutorials and guide that cover every casino game from the most basic levels to the most advanced.
Tactics to increase your advantage
The harder a casino game is to master, the lower the house edge. Games like blackjack, craps and video poker are tough to crack and don’t offer the best money prizes, yet they have the lowest house edge.
Conversely, slot machines and keno are very easy to play and usually have massive jackpots, thus attracting a lot of inexperienced players despite having the highest house edge.
The biggest advantage casino gamers have is the ability to choose and master the games that can profit them most. You can beat the house edge; practice is all it takes and the opportunities to practice online are plentiful, free and easy to come by.
These are the key tactics you should keep in mind when playing casino games for a slow but steady profit.
- Play the games with the lowest house edge. Take your pick from blackjack, craps, video poker and baccarat.
- Master your chosen games. Try free play, download web and mobile app that simulate play and read up all about the best strategies to win at your game.
- Start small. Make tiny bets that allow you to play longer on a given bankroll and thus expose you to more ‘real’ playtime whilst giving you the possibility to manage your money better.
- Take advantage of bonuses and promotions. Most online operators offer free credit to new players who sign up for an account. This is a great way to play and achieve those crucial early wins without putting your own money at risk.
- Know when to quit. Set yourself limits on how much time you play, how much money you’re ready to lose in a given session or day, and even how much profit is enough. Quitting while you’re ahead is the only way to guarantee that you walk away a winner.
So far we’ve discussed what are basically luck-based games. Whilst poker certainly involves a degree of luck, it’s predominantly a game of skill. If you’re a gamer who’s used to tactical or opponent-based games, it’s likely you’ll be able to transfer these skills over to the real or virtual poker tables.
Poker involves being able to ‘read’ your opponent as well as a solid grounding in the mathematics of it. Many chess players excel at poker as they’re able to ‘get inside’ the heads of their opponents and manipulate their next moves.
However, poker isn’t purely about large bluffs – it also requires a level head and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time – something many gamers are used to anyway.
With those five points in mind, you’re prepared to take on the house and enjoy an advantage over your fellow players whenever you gamble at land-based or online casinos. Remember, this advantage is something you work at.
Constant practice and a disciplined style of play might not assure you of any spectacular one-off wins, but over time you will have built such an impressive track record of small wins that you’ll be able to predict and actually control to a large extent how much money you earn from your gambling forays.