Every gambler needs to know what the house edge means and why it’s important. They also need to know which gambling activities have the best house edge in order to make the best decisions.
In this article, you’re going to learn everything about the house edge and how it affects your wins and losses. Once you learn these things, you’re going to find information about the gambling activities that have the best house edge.
With the information in this article, you never have to worry about making an uninformed or bad gambling decision again.
What Is the House Edge and Why Is It Important?
What is casino house edge you ask? The house edge is the simplest way you can compare gambling options. It’s listed as a percentage, which makes it useful in other ways as well. The percentage is a representation of how much money the casino or other gambling establishment makes from all the wagers it takes.
The overall house edge number for a casino isn’t helpful, but the house edge for individual games and wagers is valuable information.
The best way to understand it is to look at it in a real-world example.
If you play a blackjack game that has a house edge of .75% and you bet $25 on every hand, you can quickly determine how much the casino makes on average on every hand. All you have to do is multiply .75% times $25. This is a profit for the casino of 18.75 cents.
The next thing to do is compare the house edge of two or more gambling options. Some slot machines are at 10% or more, but consider what happens if the machine you’re playing on only has a house edge of 4%. Notice that 4% is much higher than the .75% on the blackjack game in the previous example. But what does this mean?
When you bet $25,000 on the slot machine, the casinos profit and your loss is $1,000. Now, you understand the house edge and why it’s important. You can find details about nine gambling opportunities that have a house edge of 1.5% or lower in this article.
The last thing you need to understand about the house edge is that it’s the exact opposite of the return to player percentage. When you add house edge and return to player together it always adds up to 100%. This means that if you know the return is 97% on a gambling activity that the house edge is 3%.
1 – Banker Baccarat
Baccarat games have three or four wager choices, depending on whether or not the game has a side bet. Many different side bets exist for baccarat games, but they all have a base house edge over 1.5%. This means that no baccarat side bet belongs on this list.
With a house edge of only 1.06%, the banker space at the baccarat table is one of the best bets in the casino.
2 – Player Baccarat
Other than a possible side bet and the banker wager, the other two available wagers at the baccarat table are the tie space and the player space. The house edge on the banker space is over 10%, so it doesn’t make this list.
But the player space has a house edge of only 1.24%. Of course, with the banker bet option at the same table, I don’t know why you’d ever decide to bet on the player.
3 – Pass Line Craps
Craps games have three bet options that have a house edge under 1.5%. But one of these craps betting options, the odds, can’t be placed until after you make either a pass or don’t pass wager.
You should always make the odds bet when you have the opportunity, but I didn’t include it in this article because of the restriction of when you can make it.
The pass line at the craps table has a house edge of 1.41%. While this is better than many casino bets, it makes it one of the worst options in this article.
4 – Don’t Pass Line Craps
While the majority of craps gamblers use the pass line option you learned about in the last section, there’s actually a better bet.
5 – Jacks or Better Video Poker
The house edge on video poker machines depends on the configuration of the pay table and your video poker strategy.
Jacks or Better video poker, when you perform good strategy and play on a 9/6 machine, is .46%. This makes it one of the best options in the casino when you can find a 9/6 machine.
6 – Deuces Wild Video Poker
The other popular form of video poker that can be played with a low house edge is Deuces Wild. The same rules apply as you learned in the last section. You have to find the right pay table and play using the right strategy.
The pay table you need to find is often called a Not So Ugly Ducks table, which some gamblers call a NSUD machine. The house edge on a NSUD Deuces Wild game is .27%.
7 – 3:2 Blackjack
Real money blackjack games have a range of house edges based on the particular rules at the table and how well you use strategy on your hands.
The most important rule is the 3:2 rule. On blackjack tables that use the 3:2 rule the house edge is almost always under 1%. And with the best rules the house edge can be as low as .28%.
Overall, blackjack games can have a house edge as high as 2%, but if you stay away from the 6:5 tables you don’t have to worry about this.
8 – Betting on Sports With Friends
This is the absolute best option for most gamblers if you want to play with a low house edge. All you have to do is use the point spread set by sportsbooks and find friends or other people you know to place bets with.
Over the long run, you’re most likely to break even using this strategy. This is because the point spread creates a situation where most gamblers win around 50% of the time. And because you’re betting with friends, you never have to pay the vig that online sports betting sites use to make a profit or create their house edge.
9 – Poker*
The reason why I attached an asterisk to the title of this section is because most poker players end up losing at a higher rate than 1.5% when they play poker. That’s if you look at the losses in the form of a house edge.
The truth is that poker games don’t have a house edge the same way as most gambling activities. These games collect a fee that’s called a rake. The good news is that because the fee is rake instead of a straight house edge you can actually win more than you lose.
In order to win when you play poker, you have to learn how to play poker well enough to win consistently. This can takes years of work, and even then, some players never figure it out.
A low house edge isn’t the only thing to look for when you’re considering your best gambling options, but it’s important. When you participate in gambling activities with a low house edge, you get a higher return, which means you don’t lose as much money.
Baccarat and craps have bets with a low house edge, as well as many video poker games if you can locate the right pay tables. But blackjack, sports betting with friends, and poker can be even better options.
If your goal is long-term profits, the last three games in this article are the best places to start. But if you’re just looking for a fair game, any of the activities on this list will work.