House Edge of Slots vs Other Online Casino Games

Playing real money slots is great fun and nothing beats the thrill of hitting a big win or seeing the bonus round symbols drop into place. However, playing real money casino games is, for many players, only really fun when they win. Or, at least, winning and having fun are very closely linked: only a mad man expects to win every time they play in a casino but it sure ain’t fun if you never make a profit.

As such, knowing which games offer the best chance of winning, statistically speaking, is very important. Some games may appear fun but if they offer only the tiniest sliver of hope then, realistically, are they really all that much fun?

The house edge is the name given to the advantage the casino holds over the player in any given game. It is expressed as a percentage and is effectively the percentage of cash the player can expect to lose in the long term. Slots fans may be more accustomed to seeing RTP (Return to Player) rates and this expresses the amount of cash that is returned to the player, such that an RTP of 90% means that for every $100 you put into an online slot, you can expect to win $90 back. Of course, not every player will get $90 back – some may hit a progressive jackpot and win $1m, whilst others will lose all of their $100. However, the key point is that the house edge and RTP are essentially the same thing expressed in different ways.

Some casino games, and roulette is the best example, have a fixed house edge that is clear and mathematically determinable. In roulette, if we assume a single zero (never play a traditional US double zero game!) then the house edge is 2.70%. Others, such as blackjack and video poker, have a house edge that is determined by the exact rules being played and also by the decisions made by the player, with a house edge of less than 1% for both being quite normal.

Slots generally have a higher house edge, with 5% and even 10% not unheard of, although certain slots may have an edge much lower, with 2% or less that uncommon. The higher house edge of slots is compensated for by the extra fun they offer and the huge wins that can be achieved. In blackjack the highest win pays 1.5 times your bet, whilst standard slots offer jackpots worth thousands times your spin value or even millions in the case of progressives.

As such, whilst the house edge may be important, other factors, chiefly the ability to win big, the speed of the game, as well as the complexity and fun offered, should also be considered.