As with all forms of gambling such as betting on horses, greyhounds, sports games, bingo & buying lottery tickets, the service provider who accepts a bet maintains an ‘Advantage’ or “House Edge”. This House Edge is the profit margin which the service provider must achieve in order to run their business and cover their operating overheads and costs.
Similarly with Casino games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Brag or Punto Banco, it is important to remember that these are games of chance based on random outcomes and are designed in a manner that will favour the operator over the long term – this is commonly referred to as the casino’s House Edge. These games of chance are a form of entertainment, at a price to you, the player. Casino gaming should not be considered a way to make money. We encourage you to play responsibly by betting within your limits and by recognising that over time, the House has to win otherwise it would be forced to cease providing it services.
Mathematically, the House Edge is a measure of how much the house expects to win, expressed as a percentage of the player’s bet. For example, in a bet with a House Edge of 2 percent, the player will lose, on average over time, €2 for every €100 wagered. The House Edge varies by what game you play, and in certain games, player betting or skill decisions can affect the House Edge, but it’s important to keep in mind that the house always has some advantage against the typical player.
The basic House Edge percentages in the Fitzwilliam are illustrated below – however please note that these figures will vary in certain playing conditions. For example, in Blackjack, the Edge can vary widely depending on the playing techniques used by individual players:
- Roulette: 2.7%
- Blackjack (best technique): 0.55%
- Punto Banco: If Banco wins 1.06% and if Punto wins 1.24%. Egalité is 14.4%.
- Brag: 2%
While the House Edge is useful for understanding the casino’s expected win (or a player’s expected loss) per bet, there are other factors that can influence the amount a player might spend when gambling in a casino: this includes the length of time played, the speed of play and the quantity bet. Because the odds always favour the house, the longer or faster a person plays a casino game, the more the person should expect to lose. In the same way, the more a person wagers, the more the person should expect to lose. For instance, if the House Edge for Roulette is 2.7%, then, on average, a player will win back €9.73 for each €10 bet. However, if the player then re-bets the €9.73, he/she will again win back, on average, 97.3% of the €9.73, or €9.47. Statistically, over time players are more and more likely to lose money, rather than win. An individual may lose more or less than the average, but the House always comes out ahead in the long run. The chances of winning are maximized when games involving an element of skill (in playing or betting) — such as Blackjack — are played at the highest level. However, with few exceptions, it’s important to remember that the house continues to have a statistical advantage in every play of every game, even against a skilful player.
To understand gambling, it’s also important to understand the concept of “independent events.” Each spin of the wheel or roll of the dice is considered an “independent event,” meaning that the chances of a specific outcome remain the same and are not influenced by previous events. Roulette wheels are no more or less likely to land on red if they have just previously landed on black. So-called gambling “hot streaks” are merely random sequences of events perceived by players to be favourable. Over time, the overall outcome of the game will favour the casino and always approach the House Edge.