No matter what casino game you play–slots, craps, blackjack, roulette or any other–games of chance are primarily based on random outcomes and cannot be predicted. Every game in the casino is designed to give the casino an advantage – this is known as the “house advantage.”
Some casino games involve an element of player skill. These include poker, blackjack, or skill-based slot machine games. In those games, skilled players can increase their chances of winning, however, their outcomes also favor the casino over time.
The house advantage is a mathematical certainty that is figured into every casino game.
As a matter of arithmetic, it’s a measure of how much the casino expects to win, expressed as a percentage of what you wager.
The house advantage can vary from game to game, from casino to casino, and from region to region.
If you are a player with average skills, playing under standard rules, typical house advantages in U.S. casinos might be:
These figures illustrate the percentage nature of the house advantage, and they represent the amount of money that the hypothetical, average player can expect to lose, for each $100 wagered, over a reasonable period of time. There are other factors, such as length of time spent playing, speed of play, skill and amount wagered that can also influence the amount of money a player loses. As the betting continues, over time players are more likely to lose money rather than win. An average individual may lose more or less than the average house advantage.
Note: For games with strategi decisions (e.g., blackjack, video poker), an “average player” strategy is assumed. For games in which rule/pay variations exist (e.g., slot machines), a typical offering is assumed although an operator may, subject to governmental requirements, provide for a greater or lower house advantage. Actual house advantages and hold percentages may vary.
With a traditional slot machine game, your strategy does not change the house advantage. For skill-based slot machine games, the payouts ordinarily preserve at least some house advantage at every skill level.
Because of the house advantage, the longer, faster, or more you play, the more you are expected to lose. money