People play casino games for different reasons and with different expectations. For some, it is all about the casino experience and the game itself is almost incidental. Others get deep into the strategy of a particular game, going into statistical probabilities, numerical progressions and so on. Whatever the approach, however, there is one thing that every player has in common. Everyone wants to maximize their potential returns – or at least to minimize their potential losses, which are two sides of the same coin.
This is where the concept of return to player or RTP is important. It reflects the average return a player can expect from a particular game. Of course, sometimes a player will have a good day and beat the house, while on other days, he might have a bad run. But in the long run, the good and bad days will average out at the game’s RTP.
RTP and live gaming
In slot games, RTP can be calculated with accuracy according to the different symbols, their values and the regularity with which they appear. But how does it work with live casino games like roulette or blackjack? These have enjoyed a surge in popularity over recent months, especially while physical casinos have been closed. Playing with a live dealer provides an opportunity for that genuine casino experience, without leaving the house.
RTP can be calculated just as easily for live casino games as it can for slots. The only difference is that it is usually expressed in terms of house edge, which is the return the casino makes. So for example, a house edge of four percent represents an RTP of 96 percent.
Finding the best RTP
Let’s start with blackjack, the most popular casino game of them all. Here, if you sit down at the table with no idea what you are doing, and hit, stand, double down or split entirely at random, the house edge is more than seven percent. Play with basic strategy, however, and this drops to less than two percent, while advanced players can bring the house edge all the way down to 0.5 percent.
With roulette, there is less you can do strategy-wise, as the ball will stop where it stops. The biggest influence on the RTP or house edge here is the type of roulette wheel you choose. For this purpose, we can think of the zero or zeros as a win for the house. Clearly, the casino stands more chance of winning on an American roulette wheel, which has zero and double zero, than a European wheel with just single zero. In fact, the house edges for American and European roulette are 5.3 and 2.7 percent respectively.
The other live game that has really surged in popularity over recent years is baccarat. Like blackjack, it is a game where learning some basic strategy makes a big difference to your returns in the long run. The house edge is a little over one percent – the only game that can beat it is blackjack, but even then, only if you play with a perfect strategy!