Casino Odds Guide
If you know anything about casinos, it's usually that they win. Over the long-term, at least.
But while 'house edge' is the advantage the casino has over the player, what about the actual odds the player has of being paid out?
Let's take a look at the most popular casino games and the various payouts you can expect from each.
Basic Guide to Casino Odds
Every bet and wager in a casino game has an odds payout. Whether it's roulette, blackjack or slots, the game will pay the player a set payout for a result. But are the odds fair? And if not, how can the player make best use of them?
Let's take a look at three popular casino games to see the difference in odds between them. At an online casino, players have a huge choice of games to pick from. It's important to pick and choose the best games for odds where they can.
If European Roulette isn't the best odds, pick an Internet variant like Premier Edition; if regular European Blackjack has poor odds for the blackjack, find a casino that offers Super Fun 21 and see if that works better for you.
Roulette is played out on a table layout featuring 36 numbers (1-36) coloured red and black. Bets can be made on the inside numbers themselves or the outside bets like Red or Black, Odd or Even, and groups of numbers 1-18 / 19-36.
Here are the payouts for each bet in a typical game of European Roulette:
|1 to 18||(1/1)|
|19 to 36||(1/1)|
|1 to 12||(2/1)|
|13 to 24||(2/1)|
|24 to 36||(2/1)|
Odds Against Winning
From the list of odds, it's easy to see that sticking to Red/Black, Odd/Even etc is best for the gambler's long-term bank balance.
But look at the actual odds against winning. Because the green zero (0) spot makes an outside bet a LOSING bet, your actual odds of winning are 1.11/1. With the payout 'only' 1/1 the player loses out.
Similarly, with 36 numbers, plus the zero, the odds of hitting a number are 1/37, or 37/1. However, the payout is only 35/1, and again the players loses out. It's these discrepancies that players need to be aware of.
You'll see from playing a lot of blackjack that, in terms of long-term odds, it's the best game for gamblers to play.
In Classic Blackjack, which most UK gamblers will recognise from their local offline casinos, a Blackjack pays 3/2 the money, with the Insurance paying 2/1 (Insurance is a "safety" bet on the outcome of the dealer hitting a blackjack himself). If the player just wins their hand normally, they win a payout of 1/1 (even money).
But the problem is that players HAVE to go first, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage to the dealer. Both the dealer and player have around a 28 percent chance of busting based on the number of cards in the decks. This works out to around an 8 percent house edge over the long term.
Players have an advantage in blackjack over the dealer: they can double down (the dealer can't), they can split cards (the dealer can't) and they get paid 3/2 on a blackjack (the dealer only gets 1/1 - your stake).
But online, different blackjack variations pay differently. Super Fun 21, for example, features several bonus payouts that award odds of 2/1 if hit. For example, a six-card hand worth 21 or over pays 2/1, while blackjacks always win (they don't push if the dealer also has a blackjack) and a blackjack in diamonds pays 2/1.
It's vital to print a cheat sheet when playing blackjack. This gives the optimum strategy in a game of blackjack for every outcome. With a cheat sheet you can make the odds work in your favour and reduce the game's house edge.
All online video slots have their odds predetermined before you hit the 'Spin' button. That doesn't mean they're fixed; it just means that certain arrangements of symbols have been pre-programmed. When you hit the Spin button the program chooses a number at random which assigns symbols to each reel.
Let's say a slot had jackpot symbols on each and every spot on its reels: you would win 100 percent of the time. Of course, this doesn't happen in slots: the reels will have a limited number of each type of symbol. Some games have more Wilds and Scatters, some less. Some slots have more jackpot symbols while others have a bigger proportion of low-scoring symbols.
The problem for slots players is that you won't know how many of each symbol are on the reels unless you play the game for hours and hours. In addition, most slots only pay winning combinations from left to right.
Checking the paytable reveals the various payouts of each combination. A jackpot of five winning symbols in a row might pay 5,000 coins but the actual odds of hitting that jackpot could be 250,000/1. You can see the discrepancy.
Knowing Your RTPs
Most slots will list the RTP in their paytable. This Return to Player percentage is the theoretical long-term payout to players for every £100 wagered.
It's merely an expected return and not the actual return, but is usually made up of the return of the normal paylines (say, 60-70%) plus the Scatter pays (around, say 6%) plus the bonus symbols (say, 20-25%). The total of these expected payout odds is the RTP.
As with all slots, every game pays out less than 100%, and so the house always wins. No slot pays back more than the actual odds of you hitting, and your job is to find the slots with the best chances of some long-term profits.
Understanding House Edge
Every casino game has a house edge; that is, the statistical advantage the casino has over the player. The key is to find the games - and bets - that can help reduce the house edge.
So, stick to slots that pay the best odds, roulette bets that are closest to even money as possible, and blackjack variants that reward the player far more than the dealer.
With a grasp of house edge you can better make a mockery of the legend that 'the house always wins'.
Printing Cheat Sheets
And one final note on cheat sheets. If you're playing roulette, blackjack, craps or baccarat, print out a cheat sheet before you start playing.
Cheat sheets are easy to find online. Just print one out and have it to hand by your keyboard. These sheets easily list the various payouts and plays in the popular casino games. There's no need to mess around wondering what the best play is; just refer to the cheat sheets and make the best moves possible.