Understanding the House Edge and RTP for Different Games

Looking to maximize your chances of winning at the casino? It’s all about understanding house edge and RTP. Check out the house edge and RTPs for popular table games, slot machines, video poker, and specialty games.

The house edge and return-to-player (RTP) percentage are two key metrics that determine the casino’s advantage in any given game. House edge is the average profit the casino can expect to make from bets placed on a game. The RTP is the percentage of the bet returned back to players over the long run. The lower the house edge and higher the RTP, the better the odds are for you, the player.

Defining House Edge and RTP

What is House Edge?

House edge is a term used to express a casino’s mathematical advantage over the player. It represents the long-term profit a casino expects to make from a particular game, based on the difference between the odds of winning and the payout ratios. In other words, the built-in advantage allows a casino to make money on games and ensure its sustainability. House edge is usually expressed as a percentage of the player’s wager.

It is important to note that House Edge does not guarantee that a casino will always win. Instead, it ensures that, over time, the casino will make money on average. The longer a player continues to play, the higher the likelihood that the house edge will catch up to them, leading to an eventual loss for the player.

What is RTP (Return to Player)?

RTP, or Return to Player, is the opposite of house edge. It refers to the percentage of money wagered that a player can expect to win back from a specific game over time. RTP is also expressed as a percentage, indicating how favorable a particular game is for the player. For instance, if a game has an RTP of 97%, it means that, on average, a player can expect to win back 97% of their money bet in the long run.

Like House Edge, RTP does not guarantee a win or loss per session, but rather, it’s an indicator of a game’s potential profitability over a larger number of plays. Some games, such as slots, have a more volatile RTP than others, like table games. It means the potential return on a slot machine may vary more widely than that on a Blackjack game.

The Relationship between House Edge and RTP

House Edge and RTP are essentially two sides of the same coin. They both represent the same concept – the statistical advantage a casino holds over the player but viewed from different perspectives. In most cases, to calculate RTP, you subtract the house edge from 100% to calculate RTP. For example, if a game has a house edge of 2%, its RTP would be 98%. This means that, on average, the player can expect to win back 98% of their wagers over time.

A game with a high RTP is more favorable to the player, while a game with a high house edge is more profitable for the casino.

Factors Affecting House Edge and RTP

Game Rules and Variations

Different rules and game variations have different House Edges and RTPs. For example, in blackjack, the number of decks used, the ability to double down, and the rules for dealers standing on soft 17 can affect the house edge. Therefore, understanding the rules and variations of a game can help a player choose games with lower house edges and higher RTPs.

Betting Strategies

Although betting strategies cannot change the inherent house edge of a game, they can influence how effectively a player manages their bankroll. For example, a progressive betting system like the Martingale or Fibonacci system can help a player recover losses more quickly, but will lead to bigger losses if they hit a losing streak. On the other hand, flat betting – wagering the same amount on each bet – can reduce the risk of significant losses but may also limit potential gains.

Payout Rates and Odds

The payout rate is another term effectively identifying the same concept. A game’s payout rate is the amount of money a casino pays out to players relative to the total amount wagered. Games with higher payout rates have lower house edges and higher RTPs. 

Game Volatility and Variance

Volatility and variance measure how frequently and how much a game pays out. High-volatility games have larger, less frequent payouts, while low-volatility games have smaller, more frequent payouts. Generally, high-volatility games have a higher house edge and a lower RTP, while low-volatility games have a lower house edge and a higher RTP. However, a player’s preferences and risk tolerance can influence the type of game they enjoy and the strategies they adopt to reach their gambling goals.

House Edge and RTP for Casino Table Games


In blackjack, the house edge can be as low as 0.5%, and the RTP can be as high as 99.5%. However, the RTP can vary based on factors such as the number of decks, specific game rules, and the player’s skill level. 


European Roulette has a relatively low house edge of 2.7% due to having only one zero pocket. As a result, the RTP for European Roulette is around 97.3%. 

American Roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, thanks to the additional “00” pocket. Consequently, the RTP for American Roulette stands at a lower rate of about 94.74%.


Baccarat has a relatively low house edge, with 1.06% on banker bets and 1.24% on player bets. However, tie bets carry a much higher house edge of around 14.36%. Accordingly, players should avoid making tie bets to minimize the house edge.

So, the RTP for baccarat is 98.94% for banker bets and 98.76% for player bets. However, the RTP for tie bets significantly drops to approximately 85.64%.


Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets have some of the lowest house edges, at 1.41% and 1.36%, respectively. Prop bets like “Any Seven” have a considerably higher house edge.

So, the RTP for Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets is 98.59% and 98.64%, respectively.

Three-Card Poker

Three-card poker is a simpler version of poker played with a single deck of cards. Players are dealt three cards each and must choose whether to fold or keep playing based on the strength of their hand.

The Ante bet has a house edge of around 3.37% (96,63% RTP), while the additional Pair Plus bet has a higher house edge of around 7.28% (92.72% RTP).

House Edge And RTP for Slots

Classic Slots

The house edge for classic slots can vary significantly depending on the specific machine, the casino, and the game developer. However, classic slots have a general house edge range between 10% and 20%. So the casino will keep an average of $0.10 to $0.20 for every dollar bet on average. This high house edge makes classic slots less profitable for players than other slot machines.

Again, if the house edge is 10%, the RTP would be 90%. This means the machine will return 90% of the bets placed on it over the long term. Classic slots’ RTP generally ranges between 80% and 90%. While these percentages can still result in winnings for players, they are generally lower than for other slot machines.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Progressive jackpot slots are popular because they offer the potential for huge payouts. These slots have a jackpot pool that increases incrementally each time a player bets on the game, and several machines are often linked to create a larger, shared pool.

Since progressive jackpots are difficult to hit, the house edge for these slot machines is high. Typically, it ranges between 12% and 20% (88% to 80% RTP). Similarly to classic slots, the higher house edge makes progressive jackpot slots less favorable to players than other slots. So, although players can potentially win massive jackpots, the overall odds of walking away with a profit are lower.

Video Slots

The house edge for video slots tends to be lower than that of classic and progressive jackpot slots, range between 1% and 10% (or 99% and 90% RTP). As a result, these slot machines are generally more profitable, with better chances of winning over time. Typically, it’s video slots that boast RTP percentages above 98%.

House Edge and RTP for Video Poker

Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, and Double Bonus Poker offer you some of the best RTP percentages and lowest house edges in the casino world, especially when played with optimal strategy and on full-pay machines.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is a popular video poker game in which 2s can substitute for any other card to complete a winning hand. This element significantly increases the number of ways to create winning hands, directly impacting the game’s RTP and house edge.

The RTP for Deuces Wild varies according to the specific paytable used, but a full-pay Deuces Wild game with optimal strategy will typically have an RTP of around 100.76%. In other words, the house edge for full-pay Deuces Wild is slightly negative, estimated at -0.76%.

However, it’s important to note that achieving this RTP requires you playing with an optimal strategy and finding a full-pay Deuces Wild machine, which may only sometimes be the case. Different casinos offer varying payouts for specific hands, lowering the RTP and increasing the house edge.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is the most well-known and widely played video poker game. As the name implies, you must hold at least a pair of jacks to qualify for a winning hand. It is often considered one of the best video poker games for beginners due to its comparatively simple strategy and favorable odds.

A full-pay Jacks or Better game that follows a 9/6 paytable (where a full house pays 9 times the bet and a flush pays 6 times the bet) offers an RTP of 99.54% when played with optimal strategy. This translates to a house edge of 0.46%. Again, achieving these percentages relies on the availability of a full-pay machine.

As with Deuces Wild, different paytables and varying payouts for certain hands can affect the RTP and house edge for Jacks or Better. Familiarize yourself with the paytable of their chosen game and seek out the best possible odds.

Double Bonus Poker

Double Bonus Poker is a variation of Jacks or Better that provides bonus payouts for certain four-of-a-kind hands. A full-pay Double Bonus Poker game that follows a 10/7 paytable offers an RTP of approximately 100.17% when played with optimal strategy, resulting in a negative house edge of roughly -0.17%. However, locating a full-pay Double Bonus Poker machine is difficult. Additionally, playing with the optimal strategy needed to achieve this RTP can be more complex than in other video poker variants.

As always, different paytables affect the RTP and house edge, so you must check the payouts of each game specifically.

House Edge for Casino Specialty Games


Keno is a lottery-style game that originated in ancient China. Players choose a set of numbers from 1 to 80, and the casino will draw 20 random numbers. In most cases, Keno has a high house edge, typically between 25% and 30%, and sometimes up to 40% in some casinos.


The house edge of bingo usually varies depending on the number of players and the rules of the specific game. An average of 5% to 10% house edge can be expected, with up to 30% for some versions, putting the RTP for Bingo in the range of 70% to 95% range. To be fair, Bingo is a social game, so people are less fussed about house edge and RTP.

Sic Bo

Sic Bo, a popular casino game of Chinese origin, involves rolling three dice and betting on the outcome. The house edge for Sic Bo varies greatly depending on specific bet types, ranging from 2.78% to an exceptionally high 33.33% for the high-risk, high-reward triple bets.

Scratch Cards

Typically, scratch cards have a house edge of 25% to 30%, which is an RTP between 70% and 75%, making them relatively low among casino games.

Why is Return to Player (RTP) significant in understanding gambling games?

Calculated as a percentage, RTP indicates the fairness of a game and helps players make decisions about which games to play, based on their potential profitability.

Do all casino games have the same House Edge?

No, different games have different House Edges.

Can I increase my chances of winning despite the House Edge?

Yes. While the House Edge cannot be eliminated, improving your skills, understanding game rules, and employing effective strategies can help minimize its impact and potentially increase your chances of winning. 

How can I determine a game’s RTP before playing?

Many online casinos and game developers disclose their games’ RTP either on their website or in the game’s “help” section. If you’re unable to find it directly, search for information on reputable websites, forums, or expert game reviews.

Which casino game has the highest house edge?

Keno has the highest house edge among casino games. The longer you play, the greater the odds become for your results to align with the house edge and lead to financial losses. It’s important to be aware of the varying house edges in different casino games, with blackjack having the lowest.

What gambling game has the lowest house edge?

The gambling game with the lowest house edge is blackjack. With proper strategy, players can minimize the casino advantage and increase their chances of winning. By using basic blackjack strategy and making strategic decisions based on the dealer’s up card, players can reduce the house edge to as little as 0.5%.

What is a good RTP for slots?

Any rate above 96.5%. Games like Blood Suckers are known for their high payout percentage.

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