Whenever you get started at an online casino, one of the first things that comes up is the house edge. This is the same concept as beating the house, but what exactly are they talking about?
The house edge is the advantage a casino has put into each game. Essentially, it's the money that the online gambling site expects to get in profit on a game when players make a bet on it.
Every online casino game, be it a slot, blackjack, or roulette, has a house edge and this is usually given as a return to player (RTP) rate. In order to give some fairness to the proceedings, players can see the RTP rates of each game before settling on one to play. In this way, they are provided with all the information needed to make the best game choice. Throughout this article, we'll cover all the different aspects of RTP rates and how players can use them to their advantage.
RTP rates are the opposite of the house edge when it comes to online casino games. As the name suggests, the RTP rate is the percentage of funds that have been bet that the online gambling site expects to pay back, or return, to players after they have finished their playing stint. Generally, the RTP rate is considered to be theoretical as it's calculated using an average of 1000 plays on a specific game. It can, theoretically, therefore give the player an idea of the long-term performance expected on the game.
For example, a game with an RTP rate of 90% is deemed likely to return $90 out of every $100 wagered over time. In this way, the US online casino would then expect to keep the remaining $10. This means that the same game has a house edge of 10%.
No matter what you do there's always a house edge on a casino game. This doesn't mean that you will be unable to beat it though. Most of the games are luck-based, so if you get lucky, then you can beat the long-term house edge in the short run. But in general, it has been found that the house edge and RTP rate are accurate in the long run.
However, not every game has the same RTP rate. There are hundreds of online slots and other online casino games at US gambling sites with RTP rates ranging from as little as 94.74% through to 99.87%. To get ahead at an online casino, it's imperative that you understand the RTP rate and how this changes the house edge.
By understanding this, you won't get lucky, but it'll help you select games that are more likely to give you a better chance at winning. Conversely, it can also help you avoid games that are less likely to give you a win. As a general rule, games with a lower house edge, say of around 2%, will have a higher RTP rate, in this case, it would be 98%. These will be more likely to pay out bigger amounts. By looking at the RTP rates of each game, you simply need to subtract that value from 100 to get the house edge, ready to help you pick the best game.
Random Number Generators (RNGs) are the mechanisms that all online games work from. Essentially an RNG is the computer program hidden within each game that uses mathematical algorithms to create a sequence of random numbers. The idea is that everything is completely random thus making the casino games fair and unpredictable. Of course, players will always wonder whether the RNG is indeed fair and if there is a way for the gambling site to actually interfere with the way it works.
RNGs are monitored and regulated by a governing body. In the case of US-based online casinos, that governing body is the Technical Services Bureau (TSB), which checks all casino games on a regular basis to ensure they are complying with fairness regulations.
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There are numerous different online casino games available. For instance, there's a group of games known for their high house edge. This includes games like keno where the house edge can be as high as 20-40%. Online slots can have a widely varied house edge ranging from as little as 3% to as much as 20%.
Medium house edge really only applies to roulette where the house edge will vary further depending on the roulette variant you play.
Low house edge games include baccarat, craps, and blackjack. These games have house edges ranging between 0.2% to 2%. While it can really help you if you know all of these things, it's important to remember that the house edge and subsequent RTP percentages are actually based on perfect playing strategies and may not reflect your true gameplay.
Classic slot machines are a genre of old-time games that have lasted in the casino world. These games generally offer a simplified layout, usually a 3x3 reel and row setup with minimal numbers of paylines. They also tend to offer standard symbols such as fruits and numbers. The aim of the game is to match three symbols on the central row. These 3-reel slot machines are the easiest to play, offering basic features, though plenty of winning combinations. However, they also tend to have relatively decent RTP rates, usually between 96-97% so you can be sure of grabbing a win or two.
Video slot machines are the next step up from classic slots. These games tend to have 5 reels and exciting themes and designs. By having extra reels (usually, they stick to three rows), there are often a greater number of paylines and, therefore, winning combinations to be had. In addition, these games will also have several extra in-game features such as free spins and multipliers, further increasing winning chances. RTP rates for these games can range anywhere from 90-96%. For instance, the Anchorman Movie online slot found at Golden Nugget Online Casino offers an RTP of 96%, whereas the Wheel of Fortune Ultra 5 Reels by IGT has a 91.96% RTP rate.
Progressive slots tend to follow the 5-reel, 3-row setup but will have varying numbers of paylines. What sets them apart from other online slot games is that they have a jackpot incorporated into the gameplay. As the name suggests, this is not a fixed jackpot, but one that continues to grow when players make their bets - the game takes a percentage of each bet and adds it to the jackpot. The more bets that are made, the bigger the jackpot gets! These games are similar to video slots, having RTP rates ranging from 90-96%. Found at Golden Nugget Online Casino, Divine Fortune, for example, has an RTP of 96.60%.
Playing blackjack online is exciting for many. This casino table game pits each player independently against the dealer. Two cards are dealt to each player with the aim being to reach a final top score of 21, without exceeding that value. Once the two cards are dealt, players can choose to fold (not continue the round), stick (keep just the two cards and continue), or hit (ask for an additional card). Once their final card tally passes 21 though, the player is bust and they are out, losing their bet.
There are a number of different variations within the game of online blackjack. These tend to depend on the number of decks used in a game as well as slight differences in rules such as whether a dealer will hit, or not, on a soft 17, whether doubling down after a split is allowed, whether the surrender rule is in place, or whether the blackjack game is paying out 3 to 2 or 6 to 5. These variations are important as the RTP rate changes depending on the variant. The house edges listed below are all based on the perfect online blackjack strategy and assume that the dealer is hitting on a soft 17, players can double down after a split, split up to four hands (and more than once), and surrenders are in play:
Online roulette is an exciting probability game where players are required to place bets on which number they think the ball will land on. The game has a large paytable next to the wheel with numerous different bet types on it so that players can select their preferred bet. One of the best things about playing roulette online is that there are a number of different variations in play. These have additional betting rules, which affect the game's house edge.
European roulette is often considered to be the standard version of the game. It has 36 numbered pockets and a standard paytable. This game differs from American roulette in that the European version has a single zero pocket on the wheel, while the American game has a single and a double zero. This affects the house edge quite significantly. European online roulette has a pretty decent house edge of 2.70%, making it a good option to look for when trying games.
The American version of online roulette runs along almost identical lines but, as mentioned, has that extra pocket. This means that there are more spaces for the ball to land in, making it harder to guess which pocket will be the winning one. Because of this, the house edge tips further in favor of the casino moving up to 5.26%. If you really want the best option though, hit up a French Roulette game where the addition of the La Partage and En Prison betting rules drops the house edge to a manageable 1.36%.
Playing baccarat online is similar to online blackjack in that the game is played between player and dealer. The aim here is to get a final value of 9 with the cards dealt. However, unlike blackjack, you don't have to back yourself to win in online baccarat. Instead, you can bet on the banker to win, yourself to win, or that there will be a draw. Placing these different bets means that there is a change in the house edge. The trickiest part is avoiding the bad bets and picking the best ones as we outline here:
Video poker is another game that's been around for a long time and offers numerous different variations and betting options. This is a game where players can actually get over the house edge if the right situation is set up, it's the only game where you can, but of course, it's not easy to do so. Video poker is an easy game to learn, however, as it's played like a 5-card draw poker game. Once the hand has been dealt to you, you choose how many to keep. Next, you'll get dealt replacements. The game now finishes with the computer figuring out your hand value and paying out accordingly. The better the hand, the better the payouts.
Often known as Draw Poker, Jacks or Better doesn't pay unless you've got at least a pair of jacks or higher! By using a simple strategy, this game actually delivers an impressively high RTP rate of 99.46%. If you manage to successfully use a more advanced strategy, you can push that RTP rate up to 99.54%.
Deuces Wild is a simple game, where you need only have a hand of Three-of-a-Kind or more. However, the two is a Wild card, which can substitute for any card. Even using a simple strategy, this game can give you an RTP rate of 100.71%!
Here the Joker is the wild card, meaning it can take the place of any card to create a better hand. This game's RTP rate is a whopping 100.64%, even when using a basic strategy.
Bonus Poker follows the same basic structure as the other games. If you choose an optimal strategy, you can expect the RTP rate to be 99.17%.
This is one of the best video poker games because you can beat the house if you employ an optimal strategy. For the best result, make the full five coin bet. This will give you enhanced payouts on the Royal Flush, and you can expect an RTP rate of 100.17%.
The full payout version of this game is 10/6. If you use a basic strategy you can expect to achieve an RTP rate of 100.07%!
The one thing to look for when playing video poker games is a 9/6 pay table. Such games will pay 9 to 1 if you get a full house, and 6 to 1 when you get a flush. Games with these payout odds are often called 'full pay' games.
Online craps is one of those games that looks hard but actually isn't. The main table layout actually tells you all the different bet options and what it is you need to do. To start, simply place a bet on the Pass Line and the shooter will then be handed the dice. The trick with craps is understanding all the bets and knowing which one you want to make at a given time. Check out the different bets below for a better idea of the RTP rate each time:
Online keno is a game where you select numbers from an 80-square grid. The house (or casino) will then choose 20 random numbers. You get paid depending on how many of your numbers match the ones that come out. Generally, this is the worst game in a casino in terms of how much you can get back as it often has a house edge of 20-40%.
When it comes to playing at different US online casinos it's important that you find the best RTP rate for the specific games you want to play. Every casino will offer slightly different rates. For instance, Golden Nugget NJ has a Deuces Wild game with an RTP rate of 98.45% whereas Resorts Casino NJ offers 97.58% for the same game. It's also important to check out the game provider as this will also cause differences.
There's also no set RTP rate for US online casinos. All you can do is look at the general rates. For instance, slots tend to range from 91-96%, table games anywhere from 94-98% while video poker games can actually beat the house edge entirely offering 100+% RTP rates. It's therefore incredibly important for players to check the RTP rates of games carefully in order to get the best possible chance at winning.