# Most Profitable Casino Games

A. Antonova (editor)

If you have any gambling experience whatsoever, you have perhaps heard the adage “Gamblers rely on luck; casinos rely on math”, and it is indeed true. Casino games are designed to always give gaming operators a long-term mathematical advantage over players. Said advantage is known as the “house edge” and there is hardly anything players can do to overcome it in games where outcomes are governed entirely by chance

You can cross your fingers or squeeze your lucky rabbit’s foot as much as you want but there is no beating chance-based games like roulette, slots, or baccarat. In other games like blackjack and video poker, players can considerably decrease the house advantage by implementing mathematically sound strategies. It is sometimes possible to even sway the odds slightly in your favor through advanced techniques like card counting, although they are largely inapplicable to online casino games.

The surest way to minimize your losses and potentially turn a short-term profit is to pick your games smartly based on their house edges and theoretical payback percentages. Which categories of casino games have the highest Return to Player (RTP)? What is a house edge in the first place? Are there ways to make your gambling sessions more profitable? We provide answers to all these questions in today’s article.

## House Edge and RTP Explained

Integral to all casino games, the house edge and the Return to Player (RTP) are essentially like the two sides of the same coin. The term “house edge”, also known as house advantage, refers to the average percentage of all wagers casinos collect as profits in the long term. To give you a more specific example, if you place one million wagers of a single dollar each on a game with a 5% casino advantage, the house would retain approximately \$50,000 of your money over the long haul.

House edges vary vastly across different casino games and the bet types they support. They are built into all gambling games either by tweaking the rules to mathematically favor the house or by reducing the payouts on winning wagers, sometimes even both.

Let’s borrow an example from single-zero roulette, which uses a wheel with 36 alternating black and red numbered pockets plus one additional green pocket for the zero. The green zero is precisely what gives casinos their edge over roulette players.

The true odds of winning with a straight bet on any single roulette number are 1 to 36 because you have 37 pockets in total, but the house pays at reduced odds of 1 to 35. This gives it an edge of 2.70% over customers. Double-zero roulette gives the house twice as high an edge (5.26%) as it plays on a 38-pocket wheel with two green zeros but the payouts coincide with those in single-zero variations.

Players can calculate the house edge of simple chance-based games like roulette by adding the number of ways to lose to the number of ways to win. The number of bet units you are expected to lose or win is also factored into the equation. This is what the formula looks like for single-number bets in roulette games with 37 pockets: (-1 x 36/37) + (35 x 1/37) = -0.9729 + 0.9459 = -0.027.

If you multiply this decimal number by 100, you will convert it into a percentage (2.70%). Calculating the house edges in games like slots and blackjack is considerably more difficult due to the enormous number of possible card or symbol combinations they can produce. The bottom line is the higher the house edge, the worse for players and vice versa.

The Return to Player (RTP), also known as theoretical return, mirrors the house edge because it reflects the average amount of all wagers the house will pay back to winning players over time. It is listed in the info sections of all online casino games as per regulatory requirements. Knowing the RTP of a given game, you can easily calculate its house edge by subtracting the theoretical return from 100%. Conversely, you can use the house edge to calculate the RTP of the game.

It follows that the theoretical return of single-zero roulette is 97.30% (100% – 2.70%) and this percentage overlaps across all supported bet types in the game. This is not the case in games like craps where each type of wager yields a distinctive house advantage. To wrap this section up, you should always look for games with the lowest house edges and the highest theoretical return as this will result in minimal long-term losses and larger potential profits.

## Which Are the Most Profitable Casino Games

As we previously mentioned, each casino game has a specific house edge and RTP. You should always check the theoretical return and the house edge of the games you are interested in before you play them for real money.

With that in mind, casino games are commonly grouped into two main categories. Some like roulette, craps, and slots are entirely based on chance and there is no way for players to influence the outcomes to their advantage. These are also known as games of “independent events” or “independent trials” where previous results have absolutely no impact on future outcomes. Simply put, there is nothing you can do to sway the odds in your favor or gauge the result of the next spin.

The opposite is true of games of “dependent events” like blackjack where the odds change to either favor the dealer or the player with each card that hits the felt. This peculiarity makes it possible for players to reduce the house edge and improve their long-term theoretical return by using skills and strategy.

As a general rule of thumb, the easier a given casino game is to play, the higher the house edge it yields. The rules of blackjack are considerably more complex than those of slots and roulette, for example, hence its lower casino advantage. By contrast, slots are extremely simple to play as all you do is hit a button and wait for the reels to stop spinning and produce an outcome. It is, therefore, unsurprising that slots are associated with some of the highest edges out of all online casino games.

### Blackjack

Blackjack is perhaps the first game that comes to mind when someone mentions low house edges. A typical multi-deck variation usually has a house edge of 0.50% or less provided that players always follow basic blackjack strategy. This percentage jumps to 2% or more if you play your hands haphazardly based on intuition and gut feelings.

House edges in blackjack are largely influenced by the number of decks in play and the set of rules dealers and players must abide by. More favorable rules result in lower house edges and vice versa.

With that in mind, the dealer always manages to retain a small advantage as players are forced to act on their hands first and can bust before the dealer even flips their hole card over. The house edge is also influenced by the payouts on winning blackjack hands, which should always return at house odds of at least 3 to 2 (one and a half times your original bet).

Payout reductions like even-money or 6 to 5 for blackjacks result in greater casino advantages. Players are generally recommended to refrain from spending their money on such variations as the 6-to-5 payout takes away 1.39% of their long-term expected return.

A decent blackjack game should offer player-friendly conditions where splitting and doubling down are concerned. Players should be able to double on any two-card total and split at least three times to form four hands. Doubling down after a split should be available as well. Blackjack variations that offer late surrender are even more advantageous to players as they give them the valuable opportunity to fold weak starting hands against strong dealer upcards in exchange for half of their original bets. The late surrender rule reduced the overall house edge of a blackjack variation by 0.07%.

Deck number also has an impact on the house edge in blackjack. The more decks are in play, the more the house edge increases. However, software developers tend to artificially boost the house advantage in single-deck games by introducing unfavorable doubling and splitting rules and reducing blackjack payouts. In essence, you will be better off sticking to multi-deck variants like Microgaming’s Atlantic City Blackjack (0.35% HE) than playing games like Play’n GO’s Single-Deck Blackjack (1.24% HE).

The fixed rules for the dealer also bear consideration when you are looking for more profitable blackjack variations to play online. Ideally, the dealer should be required to stand on soft totals of 17 rather than hitting them as this decreases their advantage by 0.22%. Hitting soft 17 is disadvantageous to players because it gives the dealer an opportunity to potentially improve their subpar hand total without the risk of busting by taking a third card. As you perhaps know, it is impossible to bust with soft totals on the next hit.

Another thing to observe for is whether the dealer takes hole cards or draws their second card after players have acted on their hands. When hole cards are in play, the dealer must peek for blackjacks when showing an ace or a ten-value card. If the dealer indeed has a blackjack, they flip over their hole card and the round ends without players losing extra money on splits or double downs.

This can save you a lot of money over time, especially if you play online blackjack consistently. Here are several more suggestions for blackjack players looking for lower house edges: Vegas Strip Blackjack by Microgaming (0.35% HE), Blackjack Switch by Playtech (0.13% HE), and Red Queen Blackjack by 1x2gaming (0.20% HE).

### Craps

Craps is yet another game worth considering by players looking for more value. It is also one of the games that have turned into a mainstay in the gaming libraries of most online casinos. Despite the fact it is extremely enticing, craps stands out with higher complexity due to the proliferation of bet types it offers. Each bet type carries a unique house edge, which further adds to the complexity.

You must learn the ins and outs of all craps bets to improve your chances of reaping profits. Some types of wagers yield enormous house edges that go way beyond 10%, while others have a casino advantage of less than one percent and a half. Savvy craps players generally stick to multi-roll wagers on the Pass Line, like Pass/Don’t Pass and Come/Don’t Come, and for a very good reason. Pass and Come bets carry house edges of 1.41% per bet made, while their Don’t Pass and Don’t Come counterparts give the casino an even lower advantage of 1.36% per bet made.

Players can decrease these house edges even further by combining their Pass Line wagers with the so-called Odds bets as the latter basically pay at true odds instead of casino odds. Odds bets are placed in increments of the base bet (1x, 2x, 3x, and so on) and become available after the shooter establishes a point for the Pass Line. The higher the odds you take, the lower the house edge, which means you should always take advantage of the maximum odds available to you if your bankroll allows it.

Lastly, you should refrain from making riskier single-roll wagers as they have some of the worst edges in all casino gambling. One notorious example is the Any 7 wager whose house edge amounts to a heart-breaking 16.67%, costing players approximately 17 cents per every dollar wagered. Do not get fooled by its higher payout (4 to 1) as this bet is a sure loser in the long run. Other prominent examples of craps bets players should not place include Any Craps (11.11% HE), the Hardways (9.09% to 11.11% HE), and Place 4 and 10 (6.67%).

### Roulette

Roulette is a timeless casino classic that continues to compel the attention of both regular players and total rookies. Some are intrigued by the fast pace of the game, while others enjoy it for its simplicity. However, roulette’s biggest appeal stems from the tolerable house edge it yields. As we mentioned earlier, single-zero (European) roulette is preferable as it carries a casino advantage of 2.70%, which applies to all supported bet types.

Variations with the La Partage rule are even more advantageous to players since La Partage cuts down the house edge of even-money wagers to 1.35%. This is lower than the disadvantage Pass Line wagers in craps put you at. You will find this rule at some live dealer roulette tables powered by Evolution Gaming. When this rule is in place, players lose only half of their wagers on red/black, odd/even, and high/low when the green zero hits, hence the significant house edge reduction.

We recommend you never spend your money on roulette games that play on American wheels with two zero pockets. The addition of the double zero results in a nearly twice as high house edge of 5.26%, meaning that almost every bet you make in American roulette will cost you five cents per dollar wagered. There are plenty of single-zero variants to explore online, so why bother with a game that will slowly but surely drain your bankroll?

Speaking of which, there is one particular wager in double-zero roulette that deserves a dishonorable mention and should be avoided at all costs. The Five Number bet, also known as a Top Line bet, covers numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 on the double-zero wheel. It pays at casino odds of 6 to 1 for a house edge amounting to 7.89%. We need not say more.

A few last words of warning that can also save you money. Never pay for roulette systems sold online as these are largely ineffective and usually rely on bet sizing, which has zero impact on the house edge and your expected return. If there was any value to these systems, the people selling them would be sitting at the roulette tables crushing the house instead of swindling unsuspecting players out of their money over the internet.

The same goes for progressive betting systems which you should also refrain from using. While available for free, such systems require players to increase or decrease their wagers based on previous outcomes that have no influence on future results whatsoever, as we already explained.

### Video Poker

Video poker is another low-house-edge game that can be found in almost every interactive casino. Its appeal is often attributed to the fact that it combines features from both slots and poker. One of the best things about video poker is that it provides avid casino fans with far more advantageous odds compared to some other casino games. What is more, gambling enthusiasts looking to increase their profits can do so by incorporating a solid video poker strategy that tells them all optimal playing decisions based on the five cards they get after the initial deal.

Return to Player percentages in video poker usually vary from 96% to 99% or slightly more, depending on the specific variation you play and its paytable. Games with “shortpay” paytables offer poorer odds as a result of payout reductions for specific hands like the Flush and the Full House. Fullpay 9/6 variants of Jacks or Better have a rather satisfactory expected return of 99.54%.

Fullpay versions of Deuces Wild offer even better value as their RTP exceeds 100%, meaning that players essentially have a small advantage (0.76%) over the house. However, we should warn you that you must follow the optimal strategy on every hand and always bet the maximum number of coins (five) to benefit from low house edges and higher returns in video poker. Some of the video poker games that come with a house advantage of less than 1% include Jacks or Better and Aces and Eights by Microgaming.

### Baccarat

Baccarat is yet another game you can play if you insist on enjoying a more profitable gambling experience. It is often preferred by high-stakes players, which might make you think baccarat is a demanding game that requires a lot of knowledge and skill. This could not be further from the truth, however. In fact, it is just the other way around as baccarat requires no decision-making on behalf of players at all. It all comes down to whether you choose to bet on Player, Banker, or Tie.

The game has gained great popularity among gambling enthusiasts because it combines simplicity with sophistication and low casino advantage. Only three bet types are available, each one yielding a different house edge. Out of the three, the Banker bet offers the highest value as it carries a casino advantage of 1.06% despite the 5% commission the house subtracts from all winning wagers.

Second in line is the Player wager whose house edge is slightly higher but still tolerable at 1.24%. Don’t bother with the Tie bet, though, as it is one of the worst wagers you can possibly make in any casino game. Do not get tempted by its higher payout (8 to 1), either, as it does not compensate for the 14.36% house edge of the Tie bet.

## Which Casino Games to Avoid

Gambling enthusiasts should be aware of the fact there are also casino games they should generally avoid playing. Many of you will be perhaps surprised to learn slots belong to this category. Even though slots remain one of the most popular casino games, the enormous house edges (over 15% in some cases) they produce are their biggest downside. What is more, slots also rank among the fast-paced casino games, which means that once you have immersed yourself in the gameplay, you can easily forget to keep track of your budget and completely deplete your bankroll.

American Roulette is yet another casino game you are advised to stay away from. As was already stated, this roulette variation features an additional double-zero pocket, which increases its house advantage dramatically.

Keno also ranks among the games online casino players should refrain from spending money on. You should avoid playing this particular casino game because its house edge revolves around 25%.

## Tips on How to Make Your Gambling More Profitable

In the first place, gambling enthusiasts should know and understand the game they are playing. They should beware of the fact that some games have numerous variations, which, therefore, means the rules they follow will also differ. Before you join a blackjack or roulette table, for example, you should ensure you know the rules inside and out. As long as you are accustomed to the game and its rules, you can be sure that this will improve your chances to enjoy more fruitful results.

One very simple, yet extremely useful tip you should not forget is that if you want to enjoy better results and improve your skills and knowledge, you should practice. If you do not want to be a mediocre player, you should take your time to study and put the things you have learned into practice as this is the only way to become a good player. Of course, this only applies to strategy-based games like blackjack and video poker. We should also note that most web-based casinos allow their patrons to play games in a fun mode, which is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the game prior to risking your funds.

Knowing your own limits is also one of the most important tips we can give you. Some players may consider that money management is something insignificant but in fact, it is just the other way around. Gamblers should bear in mind that it is always a good idea to decide how much money they can afford to lose before they start wagering.

»