How to Beat the House Edge at a Casino

The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the bulk of the profits (and fun) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and poker draw in the crowds and provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos each year. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers add to the appeal, casino owners can’t run their business without the millions of people who play the games.

The house edge is the average profit a casino expects to make on each game, accounting for the expected frequency of wins and losses as well as the variance (the variation in the results). Casino mathematicians and computer programmers calculate the house edges for all the different games offered by a particular establishment. These calculations are complex, and rely on several factors, including the rules of the game, the number of decks used and other specifics.

Casinos are businesses, and they want you to play for as long as possible, because that’s when they make the most money. They reward players who spend a lot of time and money with free hotel rooms, dinners, tickets to shows and even limo service. This is called comping and it’s a big reason why you should always set a budget before entering the casino.

Something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. This is why casinos have a huge amount of security in place. Video cameras monitor all the games, and some even have catwalks in the ceiling that allow security personnel to look down on patrons through one-way glass.