Casino RTP, Volatility and House Edges Explained for First-Time Bettors

Join us as we explore casino RTP rates, volatility, house edges and more to give first-time bettors a heads up before they wager.

Many amateur casino bettors are often unaware that there is more to betting on casino games than simply spinning the reels of slots or playing a few hands and hoping for the best. While there is no silver bullet or guaranteed way to pocket a win, there are certain things you can look for to tell you what games you’re looking at and to help you gauge your chances of success. We’re going to look at a few of these right here in this piece. Let’s start with the house edge.

I’ve Heard of a House Edge, What Is It?

The house edge is often misunderstood. What it really is can be explained simply. Imagine that you’re going to wager $1 on a hand of blackjack. The casino must make some profit, right? If they decide to keep $0.02 for every $1 wagered, then that figure becomes the house edge. For instance, in this case, the house edge would be 2%. House edge is, in short, the percentage of each stake that the casino is guaranteed to make in profit.

RTP Is the Opposite Side of the Coin

If the house edge is the proportion of each bet that the casino takes as profit, then what does the rest of the bet become? This is the opposite side of the same coin and is known as RTP, Return to Player, or the Theoretical Return to Player rate. In a $1 bet, if the house edge is 2%, this means that the RTP is 98%. In short, $0.98 of each bet will be put back into a pot for all players to win. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to win that, but it does mean that “someone” can.

Explain Volatility to Me

Volatility is also worth looking at. When we discuss volatility, we’re discussing how the game pays out. For instance, highly volatile slots only deliver wins once every blue moon. However, when they do cough up the goods, the wins tend to be considerably large. By contrast, low variance games pay out all the time, but those wins tend to be worth rather little. Naturally, medium variance slots fall in the middle.

How Volatile Should a Slot Be?

The volatility level in slots will vary. There isn’t a “desired” limit for volatility. Low variance games are well-suited for players on a budget who want to win regularly. Games with high volatility are suitable for bettors who’ve got a large enough balance to sustain losing streaks until they win. Top sites will offer you a mix of many different games, like the slots at Rollers Casino, for instance.

So, What Is Hit-Rate?

Lastly, we should look at the hit rate. This is a theoretical percentage (the chance or likelihood) that a slot’s spin results in a combination that pays out (anything at all) or nothing. As slots are built using negative expectation mechanics, the chances of losing are naturally higher than winning on each spin. It is common to see hit rates of 25% to 33% in many of today’s most popular slot machines.


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