What Casino Games Have the Lowest House Edge?

Before we take a look at what casino games have the lowest house edge, we have to learn what the house edge is. So let’s start by defining house edge in terms everyone can understand.

You’ve likely heard of the saying “The house always wins”? It’s true, the house, in this case the casino, will win over the long term and that’s because every casino game has a built-in mathematical edge. This edge ensures the casino will win over the long-term, although the edge varies based on the games you play.

Without any edge – casinos wouldn’t be able to remain operating – as they wouldn’t be able to cover the costs of running the games (IE: Real estate, taxes, wages, etc.). Let’s assume we’re playing a slot machine with a 10% edge. That means the casino expects the game to payout 90% of wagers to players over the long-term.

The house edge doesn’t mean every player will lose 10%, though. For example, if you put $100 into the slot, you could lose it all or you could hit a jackpot and win a lot of money. The edge is simply an average over the life of the machine, meaning on average, the slot machine is expected to make the casino 10% profits.

Casino Games with the Smallest Edge

Slot machines often have a house edge around 2%-5%, although that can jump up to 15%+ depending upon the game you play. Progressive jackpots are high-variance slots that have a huge house edge. The jackpots are fun to chase, but if you’re trying to gamble with the lowest edge, high-variance slots should be avoided.

Video poker on the other hand is one of the best games and casino machine. Jacks or better (Full Pay) has a low house edge of 0.46%. This assumes the game is full pay and you play using basic strategy. If you simply gamble or make gut plays, the edge is bigger for the casino, so make sure you have a strategy sheet when playing.

Blackjack has a low house edge too and can even have a positive expectation when card counting. That’s only a possibility when playing live, though. An online blackjack table offering Vegas rules can have an edge as low as 0.28% when using basic strategy, which is why so many casino players grind out blackjack hands for comps.

War is the easiest game in the casino to learn how to play, but the edge isn’t great. In war you simply need to beat the dealer’s card to win, but the house edge is 2.88% as long as you go to war on ties. If you surrender on ties then the house edge is slightly higher (3.70%), so it’s never smart to surrender.

Craps is the opposite of war in the sense that the game is difficult for newcomers to learn. There are a lot of bets on the table that can be placed and many of them are “sucker bets” with a high house edge. There are some good craps bets, though, including don’t pass / don’t come (1.36%) and pass / come (1.41%).

When you start betting on the exotic bets at the craps table, such as single roll bets or hardways, the edge can be up above 10%. The casino hopes players gamble on these exotic bets while at the table, but with some basic strategy, craps has one of the lowest house edges on the casino floor.

Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games with big gamblers because the house edge is tiny. The house edge is 1.06% on banker bets, 1.24% on player bets and 14.36% on tie bets. As you can see, the best bet is to bet on the banker every time and not to worry about trying to identify trends, as they’re completely useless.

The edge in baccarat can vary slightly depending upon the rules and how many decks are in the shoe. There’s an online baccarat game at 5Dimes that pays 1.01 to 1 on player bets, which drops the edge to 1.04%, so make sure you read the rules, as with some baccarat variants, the player bet is slightly better.

Lastly, roulette offers a house edge of 5.26% (American) or 2.70% (European). American roulette has two green spots on the wheel (0/00), whereas European roulette only has a single green spot (0). Some of the other bets on the roulette table have a worse edge and even the standard edge is quite a bit higher than most games.

Beat the Casino By Beating the Edge

Casinos will always hold an edge over the player, but the edge can be made drastically smaller by playing the games with the lowest house edge and by utilizing basic strategies to get the best odds of winning.

You’re not going to find a way to beat the casino consistently, as you’ll still need some luck, but you’ll be able to improve your chances by only placing bets where the edge is small (Less than 1%).

- This article was written by guest writer Jarko Rekonius


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