Column: Casinos always have the upper hand on wagers

"Whether you play slots, craps, blackjack, roulette or baccarat or any other game in a casino, it is important to remember that games of chance are based on random outcomes and always favor the casino. These games of chance are a form of entertainment, at a cost to you, the player. Casino gaming should not be considered a way to earn a living.

I encourage you to play responsibly by betting within your limits and by recognizing that over time the house will come out ahead.

Casino games are designed with a house advantage. Mathematically, the house advantage is a measure of how much the house expects to win, expressed as a percentage of the player's wager. For example, in a wager with a house advantage of 4 percent, the player will lose, on average over time, $4 for every $100 wagered. House advantages vary by region, casino and game. In some games, player betting or skill decisions can affect the house advantage, but it's important to keep in mind that the house always has some advantage against the typical player.

House advantages in popular casino games (assuming standard rules apply and players have average skills) range for baccarat from 1.1 percent to 14.5 percent; 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent for blackjack; 1.4 percent to 16.6 percent for craps; and 2.6 percent to 5.2 percent for roulette. Slot machines have house advantage of 0.4 percent to 15 percent. It is important to note that a player cannot influence the outcome of traditional slot machine play through any decision-making approach.

While the house advantage is useful for understanding the casino's expected win (player's expected loss) per bet, there are other factors that can have a profound impact on the amount a player might win or lose when gambling in a casino."

Get the Story:
Robert Sylk: In casinos, the house always has the edge (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 4/26)