How to Beat the Casino: Games with the Lowest House Edge

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14/05/2018

There are two legitimate ways to beat the casino: get lucky and win a big jackpot or hone your strategy and skill in the casino games that have the lowest house edge. In essence, a 1% house edge means the casino statistically takes 1.00 profit from every 100.00 wagered, while a 5% edge means they scoop 5.00 – leaving them progressively richer as the game's in-built bias increases. You need skill and strategy to beat the casino in the long-term, but here's the lowdown on the games that have odds that tend to be more advantageous for the player.

Poker

Without a doubt, poker at the elite level is a professional game, with players raking in mega-bucks. One benefit of in-person or online poker is that while the casinos' 'rake' comes into play, you're essentially playing against other 'normal people' from all over the globe. Learning the basics of poker can be done with low stakes, and the key to finding your edge then comes down to locating competitions where you're something of a hustler. Just don't enter hardcore games where you're out of your league. Ultimately, the combination of diligence, patience, confidence, humility, strategy and bankroll management can push the odds in your favour at the poker table.

Video Poker

Learning to play video poker with skill isn't easy, but for those willing to put in the time and effort, it can be worth it. The game is playable in online casinos using specific strategies for each genre of games (e.g. Jacks or Better, versus, Deuces Wild). In simple terms, the nature of the game dictates that you should make a specific card move based on the deal, known as 'perfect play'.

You can learn Video Poker strategy via courses, free online guides or software. As an example of the low house edge, playing Jacks or Better with a perfect strategy is considered to elicit a payback to the player of 99.54%; when combined with a structured bankroll and disciplined play, players can develop strategies that can start to progressively grow their bankroll and legitimately make the game pay.

Blackjack

Blackjack in land-based casinos is one of the ultimate 'winnable games', thanks to the concept of card counting, which can give ultra-skilled players a 2% edge against the house (making them the scourge of Las Vegas). The bad news is that card counting won't make you rich online because there's no way for players to track whether the decks have been shuffled.

Nevertheless, blackjack remains a game with a low house edge when you hit the tables using strategy to make your moves based on your hand and the dealer's; to play the game strategically, you can use charts, software and ultimately master it automatically in your mind and apply it intuitively. It's also well worth learning basic blackjack strategy, but progress gradually to more advanced levels. Doing so can create an edge from 2% down to 0.2%.

Craps

Online craps is an interesting game when it comes to the house edge, because it can vary dramatically depending on which of the game's myriad bets a player selects. Indeed, it can offer a pretty awful house advantage, but conversely, potentially great odds for the player.

The fundamental house edge in craps is 1.4%, but 'Taking Odds' after one roll has 0% edge. In contrast, the game's exotic bets don't make mathematical sense, with a casino advantage of 10-17%; of course, they have bigger rewards and are fun, so it depends on a gamer's mindset and desires.

Baccarat

Baccarat has several twists and turns relating to the different bets and styles available in online casinos. However, the basic bets on the 'Player' and 'Banker' have 1.2% and 1% edges respectively. But be warned, some bets are not so friendly – a 'Tie' is 14% while a 'Pair' is not much better, at around 10%. Baccarat strategy is simple to learn which makes it a great game for relatively inexperienced players, seeking an advantage.

Roulette

Roulette is a game with a modest house edge, ranging from 2.7% on single zero tables up to 5.26% on double zero reels. French roulette tables can be reduced to an edge of 1.35% by betting on an 'even money' outcome (e.g. red/back). While roulette statistics mean all strategies are very risky, some look to neutralise the edge by using disciplined strategic concepts, with the unproven claim of turning a game of chance into a winnable one in the long-term.