The House Edge – What Does It Mean?

You may have already heard the term, player talk of beating the edge or reducing the edge in all sorts of casino games. In reality it is quite a generic term that refers to the advantage that a casino has in any particular game.

For instance, in roulette the house edge is represented by a zero on the wheel. If you place a wager on red or black, odd or even then a spin landing on zero represents a win for the house. Statistically, it represents approximately a 2.7% advantage, but in US casinos there are two zeros on each wheel which double the ‘house edge’ to a huge 5.3% in favour of the house. That is all you need to know about playing roulette on a US wheel, don’t the house edge is too high.

But what does that figure actually mean, well it refers to the expectation is that the house will retain $5.30 of every hundred bucks you wager. That really doesn’t sound too bad does it? An evenings entertainment all for a few bucks risked, and of course you could always win! Unfortunately as any gambler knows this isn’t quite how it works, the percentage the casino retains is normally much higher.   In truth most casinos would be upset if they didn’t get that figure to over 30% or even much higher.

The reason is because the percentage doesn’t just refer to your specific bankroll, it has to be applied to every single wager you make. It’s often know as churn, each wager, every bet has that 5% advantage applied and it will slowly eat away your entire wallet if you keep playing for too long.   It is the fundamental problem with all systems, none of them can get rid of this advantage. In the long run all the casino needs to do is to keep you playing, the longer you play then the more this advantage will flatten out the lucky streaks and results.