The House Edge explained

What is the House Edge?

The house edge shows how much a casino expects to win on any game in the long run.

Put simply it's the player's return divided by the player's loss:

House edge = 1 - (return / loss)

It's shown as a percentage, where 0 would mean the casino expected not to win (only betfair Zero Lounge offers such games) and 100 would mean the casino was guaranteed to win (some bets in Keno come close!)

In other words, the closer the house edge is to 0, the better your chance of winning.

How to work out the House Edge

As an example, in Sic Bo, the bet on 9 or 14 has a probability of 0.1157 and pays 7 to 1 ie return of 8 for each unit staked (stake is returned with winnings).

Therefore, the expected return on a 10 unit bet is:

80 x 0.1157, which = 9.256

Dividing this by the possible loss (ie the stake), we get:

9.256/10 = 0.9256

To get the house edge, we subtract this from 1.

So, the house edge on 9 or 14 is

(1 - 0.9256) = 0.0744 = 7.44%

Zero Lounge - the casino with the lowest house edge - 0!

betfair's Zero Lounge is the only casino in the world with no house edge. They offer four games (Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack and Jacks or Better) each of which has a house edge of zero. In other words, betfair expects to win nothing from its Zero Lounge games!

This sounds like a gimmick, but since its launch, betfair have made a loss in 28 of the 130 countries or territories in which it has customers. In Greece, for example, betfair lost £29,700 at Zero Lounge Roulette - an actual payback of 100.02%, the highest payout of any online casino.

In order to reduce the edge to zero and take advantage of the 100+ % payout, you have to know how best to play each of the games - what betfair call 'optimal player strategies'.

Fortunately, we've done that work for you! We've analyzed the Zero Lounge games thoroughly and devised strategies that will actually give you the edge.

Check out our betfair Zero Lounge strategy section and play to win!

Getting the edge

Getting the edge and beating the house is essentially about knowing the expected odds and comparing them to the observed results in any one session on any game. Each of our featured games has a Strategy link which explains exactly where we think the edge can be found for that particular game.

It comes down to what kind of gambler you are. For example, would you bet on a horse at 10/11, expecting to win, or on a long shot of 25-1, hoping to win?

In each of the game strategy pages, we'll point out the bets to target based on your gambling style - steady low-risk, occasionally daring medium-risk or high-rolling high risk.

Gambling strategy

With all this in mind, we have devised an overall gambling strategy which, if followed, should, at best, give you consistent wins and, at worst, minimise your losses.

This overall strategy is in addition to the game-specific strategies given for each game ie bear this in mind regardless of which game you're playing.

Getting the edge on the house

If you're playing outside of the betfair Zero Lounge, then no gambling system is guaranteed to win - if it was, the casinos would be out of business. But clearly some people do beat the house edge and win at casinos, both real and online. We can guarantee that those winners have followed a policy very similar to the one given on our overall gambling strategy page.

Know your game, know your limits - and good luck!