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Card Rooms Casino House Edge Games

Casino Stud Poker PlayerEach game inside the casino has an in-built advantage for the house. It is the factor that supplies casinos with their gaming profits. Around 18% of the cash 'drop' in casinos is retained as profit, or 'take'. This means that 18% of the money a casino gets to put down the shute on the gambling tables is pure gaming profit. (averaged out over a period of time)

GGG advises that bets with a house edge greater than 3% should be avoided. Playing with a good strategy in all the casino games mentioned will keep you below this figure. Below we tell you how to do that.

House Edge for UK Casino Games
Roulette 136 1.39-2.78% No skill. Volatile
Blackjack 136 ~1% Skill important
Casino Stud Poker 136 2.5% Negligible skill factor
Punto Banco 10 1.17-1.36% No skill. Acquired taste.
Craps 7 0.7-16% Skill required. Complex. Volatile.
Prorgessive Poker 100 3.45% No skill.
Sic Bo 5 2.78-18.98% No skill.
Money Wheel 5 11.11-24.07% No skill.

In each Casino game there are several ways to bet and each bet is paid at odds. (i.e. you get back something times your stake money as well as your stake money) The casino edge, or advantage, or vig., is created by making those odds lower that the true odds (the real odds of what you just bet on).

Roulette House EdgeBlackjack

Roulette of the sort played in British casinos allows for the player to place 'Even Chance' bets. They are High, Low, Red, Black, Odd and Even. As zero is green and none of these, then none of these bets is paid out as a winner when zero comes up. However the player gets to retain half of their bet. This brings the house edge down to around 1.39%. GGG advice is to play 'even chance' bets if you are new and want to learn. They have the problem of being dull and also offer little chance to win in an evening's play. The normal house advantage from playing the numbers in Roulette is 2.78%. i.e. A single chip placed on a winning number should return 37 chips to break even but it returns 36 instead. The edge is 1/37.

Double Zero or American. The 'double zero' game as played in the U.S and other countries under the guise of 'American Roulette' has a total of 38 numbers ('0', '00' and 1-36). The payout odds are the same as the single zero game and so the edge on a single number is 5.40% i.e. A single chip placed on a winning number should return 38 chips to break even but it returns 36 instead. The edge is 2/38.
As an aside, there are two other differences.

  1. No half stake return or en prison (French game) rule. When either '0' or '00' occurs, all Even Chance bets lose!
  2. A single chip bet covering the four numbers 0,1,2,3 on a single '0' roulette wheel is paid at 8-1 and maintains the 2.78% house edge. Here however, because of the '00', the chip now covers 00,0,1,2,3, which is five numbers and paid out at 6-1. This is a vig. of 7.89%.

To the CASINO-Games-Roulette page.

Blackjack RouletteCasino Stud Poker

Blackjack gives the player a decision that affects the outcome almost every hand. Many of these decisions are so simple that players get them right most of the time. However, around 15% of the time the players differ from the choice of play that is mathematically correct. So, from playing perfectly, which gives the house just under 1% advantage, general play by punters pushes that figure up to 3%. GGG advice is to learn some basic strategy and really stick to it. The Gods of chance do not look favourably on gamblers who try to buck the odds all the time.

<NOTE Blackjack with one deck, dealer stands on soft 17, doubling allowed on any first two cards and not after splitting, is an even game. i.e. No vig. at all. You will not find this anywhere in the world but that was how it was played back in the early 1960s. NOTE>

Imagine playing with the conditions in the NOTE above. Now add any of the following that applies to the game you are in and you'll be able to work out what the edge is against you;
  • Two Decks - Casino's edge goes to 0.3%
  • Four Decks - Vig. is 0.5%
  • Six Decks - Vig. is 0.6%
  • Restricting Doubling Down to 9,10,11 - Lose another 0.1%
  • No Doubling Down on soft hands - Lose another 0.1%
  • Allow Doubling Down after splitting (some places) hands - Gain 0.2%
  • Allow restricted Doubling Down after splitting hands - Gain 0.1%
  • Lose all to a dealer's Blackjack - Lose another 0.1%
  • No re-splitting (common) - Lose another 0.1%

So you can see how the casino vig. is reached. The standard British 6-deck BJ game suffers a house edge of  0.8% because (Six decks -0.6%, restricted doubling -0.1%, no double soft hands -0.1%, lose all to dealer's natural -0.1%, double after split +0.1%).

If you are playing in the UK today then the rules are a little more generous. Double after splitting and infinite re-splitting (including Aces) and other normal UK rules give a house edge very close to 0.5%.

[To the CASINO-Games-Blackjack page.]
Casino Stud Poker BlackjackPunto Banco

Casino Stud Poker PlayerCasino Stud Poker is a poor cousin of real poker. Very clever people have worked out that there is an extremely small difference in the chances of winning a hand by using the knowledge that you have at your disposal. i.e. the cards that you can see The house vig. is 2.5%.

Never raise with anything less than Ace-King-J-9-4. If you play blind the House edge is 16.6% which works out at 5½% of your average stake.

According to the paper 'An Analysis of Caribbean Stud Poker' by Peter Griffin and John M. Gwynn Jr., which appears in the book Finding the Edge in the perfect situation of having 7 colluding players it would be possible to narrow down the dealer's unseen cards to just 16. Using a computer to analyze all 1820 possible 4-card sets out of 16 the player would have an advantage of 2.3%. In a six player game the house would still have an edge of 0.4%. Unfortunatley the Internet casinos usually only have 3 player spots.

For you to have a break even equity at the jackpot side bet in an UK Casino, the meter would have to be at least £263,205. If you are playing a £5 initial poker bet, your average bet will be about £10 and your vig. against you about 25 pence. So to have an even equity across both bets the Jackpot prize will have to be 25% above £263,205 which is £329,006. Above this value you will technically have a vig. in your favour but most of the equity is tied up in winning first prize which is 650,000 to 1.

Punto Banco Casino Stud PokerCraps

Punto Banco has three bets, Bank, Player and Egalite. Playing Bank gives the house a 1.17% edge. and Player gives them 1.36%. The real odds of the Egalite bet is 9.47-1 but the casino offers you 8-1 (9 for 1) and thus racks up a massive 14% edge here. GGG recommends you never play the egalite bet!

[To the CASINO-Games-Punto Banco page.]

Craps Punto BancoProgressive Poker

Craps is by far the most complicated and interesting game in the casino and that is why it is dying out. If you learn how to play it, learn to play the low vig. bets and you will last longer, have more fun and have a better chance of winning.

Bet Odds Paid True Odds House Edge %
Win Line Evens 251-244 1.41
(taking odds)     0.85
Come Evens 251-244 1.41
(taking odds)     0.85
Don't Win Evens 976-949 1.40
(taking odds)     0.83
Don't Come Evens 976-949 1.40
(taking odds)     0.83
Field Evens 36-35 2.78
2,2 and 5,5 15-2 8-1 5.56
3,3 and 4,4 19-2 10-1 4.55
Place Bets      
Win 6 or 8 7-6 6-5 1.52
Win 5 or 9 7-5 3-2 4
Win 4 or 10 19-10 2-1 3.33
Lose 6 or 8 4-5 5-6 1.82
Lose 5 or 9 5-8 2-3 2.5
Lose 4 or 10 5-11 1-2 3.03
Buy Bets (5% commission)
6 and 8 6-5 6-5 4.76
5 and 9 3-2 3-2 4.76
4 and 10 2-1 2-1 4.76
Lay Bets (5% commission)
6 and 8 5-6 5-6 4.0
5 and 9 2-3 2-3 3.23
4 and 10 1-2 1-2 2.44

The Craps Odds table shows the odds and house vig. for all bets legal in the United Kingdom.

Odds Paid shows what the house pays out on a winning bet.

True Odds shows what is the real odds of the bet and therefore the amount you would be paid if Craps was an even game, i.e. no house edge.

House Edge % tells you what advantage, or vig., or house edge the casino has. The bigger the number the worse the bet is. Generally speaking, anything over 3% should not be played as this will diminish your chances of winning in the medium-long term to virtually nothing.

[To CASINO-Games-Craps]

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