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How the Casino Advantage Works

Have you ever wondered how the casino always walks away as the ultimate winner in gambling? It's all in how everything in the tables and games are set up. Contrary to popular belief, casinos do not make money from gamblers when they lose; they make money when gamblers win. Casinos, in one way or another, pay winning players less than they are due. That is how they earn their bread. It's done in different ways, but the end result is the same: guaranteed profits for the house.

How the Casino Advantage Works #1 - Setting Unfair Rules

You can be beat just from the way a game is set up by the casino. An example is blackjack. The player's hand is always resolved first. This means if a player busts, the dealer's hand is left as it is and the house automatically wins. It's the same as if both hands had busted and the dealer won anyway. Such unfair rules give the house more chances of winning than the player.

How the Casino Advantage Works #2 - Paying at Unfair Odds

When you make a bet and your odds of winning are 5 to 1 against, the "fair pay" for you here if you won would be 5 to 1 as well - that is, a $20 would return $100. The payoff must always equal the risk involved, right? But casinos often pay less than that. It's like if you wager $100 for heads in a coin toss, you lose all your $100 if it's tails but win only $90 if it's heads - the casino keeps the $10 to itself.

Most of the casino's money comes from paying at unfair odds. That is why they make money, not when you lose, but when you win.

How the Casino Advantage Works #3 - Taking a Commission

When all else fails for the casino, it can just take a commission from you whenever your bet wins. This is known as a "rake" in poker. Casinos play no part in poker since it is played between the players and not against the dealer. But the casino still assures itself a profit by taking a rake from every pot, no matter who wins it. In baccarat where the banker's side is so favorable for the player, the house also takes a commission when bank bets win.

It may not look pretty, but casinos need to use these means to keep their business going. For the players, it is a matter of choosing the best games and avoiding situations where the house advantage is too strong. Games like blackjack, craps (pass and don't pass line bets), baccarat (banker bets) and video poker offer the best odds in spite of the built-in casino advantage.


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