Ever wondered why a casino manages to not only survive, but make a profit year after year?
It’s simple. The house has the edge. As soon as you come to realize that fact, the more chance you have of recognizing the size of this ‘edge’ and how to reduce it in your favour.
The ‘edge’ (the advantage that one party has over the other, their chance of beating you) for every casino game, (in a traditional casino or an online casino), always rests with the house – the provider of the game. They are a business after all and it’s only natural that they would want to make money! For every game that you play; poker, blackjack, ‘odds’ for winning. These are the true chances of something happening. So, for example, the true odds of rolling a die and it coming up with a 6 are 1 in 5 (1/5). The odds against getting a 6 are 5 to 1 (5/1). Here the first figure (5) represents the number of ways of failing to achieve the outcome and the second figure (1) is the number of ways of achieving a favourable outcome: thus these are “odds against”. When you are gambling, the odds that you are given do not represent the true chances that the event will occur, they are slightly less. The ‘true odds’ are altered in order to include a profit margin which represents the casino’s commission / wages. What this effectively means is that the payout to a successful gamer is less than that represented by the true chance of the event occurring. The house, by changing the true odds, now has the edge, advantage or vigorish (vig.) Get it?!!
With regards to slot machines, if you are playing at your local casino, the typical payout rate is somewhere between 88% and 90%. What this means is that for every $1 that you put into the slot, around 88c to 90c will be returned in the long run. Now, for online slots, the figure is somewhat higher at 95% to 98%, primarily because online sites don’t have the huge overheads that a land based casino has. Over the long run, with a house edge of around 10%, you are likely to loose. Whilst most slot players are happy to accept this edge as an acceptable ‘cost for entertainment’, there are ways to reduce this edge in you favour. Here we briefly explain how:
Online Slots – Virtual beats reality hands down!
As we just saw, there is a difference between the payout rate on a land based slot machines and that of an online slot game. That difference can be from 5% up to 10% more payout on an online slot. So here you can see your first pointer as to how to win at slots… IF YOU PLAY ONLINE AS OPPOSED TO IN A BAR, PUB OR CASINO, YOU INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING BY 5-10%.
Free Play Slots – Reducing the House Edge
Another key to reducing the house edge on slot machines is to make the most of the bonus features.
Here is a simple mathematical example of how to reduce the house edge on slot machines using the bonus or gamble feature:
On typical slot machine, there are two types of gamble feature; the ‘red/black’ or the ‘suit’. In both cases, the HOUSE HAS NO EDGE.
It’s worth pointing out that there are a number of free play slots sites available to players. The quality of these sites varies considerably. One of the better free play slots sites is slotathon, which offers a broad collection of popular slot games, all of which can be played for free. Many of these games are based on HTML5 as opposed to Adobe flash. This is significant factor that players need to be aware of. Traditionally most free play slot games have been based on Adobe flash, and whilst these games looked acceptable and played well, there was a significant issue. That issue was that the games were not supported on Apple products! Given the dominance that Apple has in the phone and tablet market this became a rather significant issue. The good news is that game developers are now producing new games in HTML5, a format that has a much broader appeal across the majority of hardware platforms. It’s worthwhile trying a few free games to get a feel for the different types of games on offer, as well as the quality of the games.
Slots – The Red/black Gamble.
If you successfully pick a Red or Black you will immediately double your win. If you then go to successfully pick a further four Reds or Blacks, you initial win will be multiplied by 64 times. As previously stated, this bet has no house edge and has natural odds of 50/50 for each Red/Black gamble.
Slots – The Suits Gamble.
If you successfully pick one of the four suits, you will quadruple your win.. if you go on to pick a further four suits, your win will be multiplied by a total of 1024 times.
Like the Red/Black gamble, the Suits gamble also has natural odds of 25/25/25/25 and there is no house edge.
Slots – A real life example.
It’s often easier to explain this with a real land based slot machine.
Even if you are not a regular player of slots you will be familiar with the Queen of the Nile slot game, which was released by Aristocrat in 1997 and continues to this day as one of the most popular slt machine games: it’s popularity greatly down to the high hit rate and free spin bonus game which is activated by the scattered pyramids.
Queen of the Nile comes in a variety of formats including 3, 9 and 20 line versions and denominations ranging from a penny to one dollar.
Top possible jackpot in a single spin is a big 150,000 coins. It also has a double feature where you can double or quadruple your win up to five times.
Probably the most popular aspect of Queen of the Nile is the free spin bonus round.
Get three or more scattered pyramids symbols anywhere on the reels and you get 15 free spins.
All wins on the free spins are tripled and the free games can be re-won an unlimited amount of times during the free spins.
At the time of writing, the top jackpot on the Queen of the Nile was 9000? credits. To get this jackpot you would need to line up five of the Cleoparta symbols. The jackpot is rarely hit and it’s no surprise as the odds of getting this combination are in the region of 2.5 million to 1! Whilst we would all love to come in on that jackpot, the odds are crazily slim, particularly given the house edge that exists with all slot machines.
However, if you were to take a smaller win, which is far more likely to come in, let’s say with 5 kings and one Cleopatra (which pays out around 500 credits), you could then use the double up bonus feature, which has no house edge, to actually win more than the original jackpot of 9000 credits!
Using the Red/Black feature you could successfully quadruple your original win to 16000 credits. The odds of getting five in a row are exactly 64 to 1.
Of course, bearing in mind that the odds on getting the jackpot are 2.5 million to 1, gambling 500 credits at 64 to 1 and getting a return of 16000 (few more than the jackpot) you can see how you can reduce the house edge in your favour.
The same principle can be applied to the Suits double up bonus. The original win of 500 credits would be multiplied by 1024 to get 512000 credits for successfully picking 5 suits.
Slots – Use the Edge!
The edge for all slot machines lies with the house. However, by recognizing an edge exists and by recognizing no house edge exists in the double up bonus features, you are better prepared next time you hit the slots in your favorite land based casino or online casino.