How to Win at the Casino

How to Win at the Casino

House advantage, or house edge, is the opposite or negative of the player expectation, expressed as a percentage of the wager. Sometimes house advantage is referred to as PC, for percentage, although care must be taken when discussing PC since this term is sometimes used for hold percentage. “Hold Percentage” is not the same as house advantage and there is much confusion among some casino personnel regarding the meaning of “PC.” Hold and hold percentages are discussed when common casino measurements are examined in more detail. House advantage (HA) is the most commonly used indicator of the value of a particular game or bet. From the casino’s perspective, the house advantage represents how much, in terms of percentage of the money wagered, the casino can expect to retain in the long run. Double-zero roulette, for example, has a house advantage of 5.26%. Thus, for example, if many wagers totaling $1,000,000 are made on the roulette tables in a given year, the casino will make (win) about $53,000.

The Players Math

This last sentence should bring up 2 important questions in the player’s mind:

  1. If the casino, in the long run, would win its 5.3% anyway, how can the single-player expect to win at the casino?
  2. 53,000 dollars?! That is all the casino makes on a roulette table after a money cycle of 1 million dollars? How do they survive all the costs of dealers, pit boss, free drinks, the building maintenance, etc.?

I will give you the answer to those 2 important questions. The answers to those 2 questions are mixed and the player needs to understand and remember them in order to win at the casino or the online casino.

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Beat the Probabilities

Let’s start with the second question: If the casino edge is so low, how do they make so much money?

In fact, it is the truth! The casino or online casino makes only a little percentage of the games played. Let’s say, to keep it simple, the casino makes 5% on the money cycle. If the player will play exactly 100 games of $1 each, win and lose all along, after his 100 games, the player will stay with $95 in his pocket, as long he will not play his winnings.

Ok, this isn’t exact because 100 games are not enough to get the average. However, if the player will play 1000 games for $0.10, the result should be very close, and the player will find that he has $95 dollars in winnings in his pocket.

However, this way of playing isn’t the average player’s psychology. To understand the casino’s point of view, you need to think like the average player who flies to Vegas with $10,000 and plan to play for the whole weekend there or the psychology of the online player who deposits $1,000 at an online casino. They think, I will play a Predetermined Sum every day, until I spend it, and keep the rest for the next day. (this approach of players is called negative expectation (they don’t expect to win at the end of the day).

The average player will play the amount allocated for that day, including his winnings until he will consume all of it. This behavior is called by the casino “hold percentage”. Then, he will choose another casino, for the next day and play again until his daily-allocated amount is consumed again. At the end of his nice weekend, he will fly back home, proud of himself that he could keep his daily allocated sum for every day and didn’t gamble on his house.

In fact, the sole meaning of those 5% casino edge, for this average player, is how many games he could participate in. If the casino edge were doubled to 10%, the difference for this player would be only that he would play fewer games until his money is consumed. Anyway, the player didn’t have any chance to come back home with his money.

This explanation, above, sharpens the first question, how can any player expect to win at the casino if the casino makes 5% on the money cycle, in the long run, anyway. Of course, this is the one million dollar question, and you will know the answer in a minute.

Suppose you play at an Online Slot Machine (I will explain the system again for Online Roulette, in my next article). Every slot machine provider/producer publishes the House Edge of every game. Choose a slot machine with a very small house edge and with a small Jackpot. By “small jackpot”, I mean up to $100,000.

By small house edge, I mean, like 1%-3%. The providers call this RTP (Return to Player) and the percentage would be 97% to 99% RTP. Let’s say that you did deposit $1,000 at the online casino, and planned to play $100 every day, for the next 10 days. With this strategy, you will play hundreds of games, every day, until you consume your entire daily budget.

Win at Slot Machine

Let me suggest another plan: Start to play at the slot machine with a high RTP, but play only with your bankroll. Don’t play your winnings. Put them aside. If you play $1 every spin, eventually, after 1000 spins you will finish all your deposit. This might take one day or one week, never mind. After this cycle, you will have around $980 in winnings in your pocket. Then start a new cycle with this amount, and again.

You can try the system with Free Slot Machines here >>

Let’s analyze what exactly you did with this plan. You played 1000 games in the first cycle and it cost you only $20. What are the chances that you hit the jackpot during those 1000 spins? Pretty good!

And if you didn’t hit the jackpot during the first cycle, there are good chances that you will hit it in the second cycle or the third one. If anyway you planned to play at a slot machine, and spend your $1,000 deposit within a few days, why not give it a better possibility to win the jackpot?

I know, anyone who learned about probability theory would tell you that if you play long enough, the most probability is to lose your money. However, this theory doesn’t work if you play at a jackpot machine and hit it. Of course, you might play many cycles and eventually spend all your money this way. Casinos are not insurance companies. If you play because you like the thrill of the game, why not improve your chances?

What is the House Edge for Casino Table Games

Game House Edge
Blackjack 0.46%
Craps (pass line) 1.41%
Roulette (European) 2.13%
Pai Go Poker 2.66%
Casino War 2.90%
Let it Ride 3.51%
Three Card Poker 3.37%
Roulette (Double Zero) 5.26%
Casino War 2.90%
Let it Ride 3.51%
Three Card Poker 3.37%
Roulette (Double Zero) 5.26%