HOW THE CASINOS MAKE YOUR MONEY
Their goal is simple – to make YOUR money their money
By Frank Scoblete
Casinos are a business, just like the businesses in your community and those throughout the world. Their goal is simple, and that goal is this—to make your money their money.
They sell a product, gambling on games where they have the advantage over the players. Players ﬁnd that product exciting. That’s simple too. They couldn’t stay in business if the players had the advantage over the casino and if all the casino games were boring. Everyone who plays casino games knows this truth (I hope they do!).
Casinos are one of the biggest products on the planet thanks to their players. You’ll ﬁnd them in most countries, both legal and illegal ones.
Creating Winning Games
Casinos have three basic ways of winning the players’ money: They can win more decisions at the games or they can alter what the wins’ payouts are to give them an edge. Indeed, they can even charge commissions to get some of the players’ money.
At craps, the players who bet the pass-line bets and come bets will lose 251 times and win 244 times. That’s a pretty close game but the house still wins more often. The house edge is 1.41 percent—a loss of $1.41 cents per $100.
It isn’t so great for the players as we start to look at other craps bets.
Say you wish to bet the 11 straight up. You throw out your chip(s) and say something to the eﬀect, “Give me the eleven.” You have two ways to make the 11: with the sides of the dice with the ﬁve-pips and the six-pips. Since there are 36 ways to make numbers at the game the odds of hitting that 11 are 17-to-1.
The casinos will not pay 17-to-1 because they will not make any money on that bet. Instead, they pay 15-to-1. The edge is 11.11 percent. By not paying the true odds of the bet the casino does not lose what it would lose if it oﬀered a fair game. The player will lose the right percentage of bets but the casino won’t. Thus, the casino will win the players’ money over time.
Craps has a host of bets where the casino short-changes the payout in order to make the players’ money the casino’s money.
Craps is indeed an exciting game but most of the bets do have high house edges and smart players tend to avoid those bad bets.
At roulette, the casinos don’t have to split the bets up into this or that bet with each having a diﬀerent house edge. All the bets at the game have the same house edge with one exception—on the American roulette game, a bet called the “monster,” where you are betting a combination of 0, 00, 1, 2,3. The normal edge for an American roulette game (the game with a 0 and a 00) is 5.26 percent, but on the monster (hold your breath) the house edge is almost 8 percent.
At its simplest a roulette bet should pay 37-to-1 as there are 38 pockets into which the ball can fall. However, no money can be made by the casino by paying out 37-to-1. The casino therefore shortens the payout to 35-to-1. That makes the house edge 5.26 percent. That edge will hold on all the bets except for the “monster.”
There is a second roulette game, the European game, with 37 numbers where a winning bet should pay 36-to-1. In that game a winning bet still pays 35-to-1. Correct! The house edge on the European game is better than on the American game. It comes in at 2.70 percent.
[Please note: Many casinos that oﬀer both the American game and the European game will make the European game’s minimum and maximum bets higher.]
Blackjack is far and away the most popular table game. The players win approximately 44 hands, they lose approximately 48 hands, and eight hands are pushes (ties). If blackjack only had the above winnings and losings for the player, no one would probably play the game. (I take that back as some players will play anything.)
However, the game oﬀers premium hands where you can increase your bets in favorable situations. You can double down on some two-card hands, you can split some hands that have the same opening two cards (pairs), and in some casinos you can double down after splitting those pairs. In addition, a blackjack (an ace and a 10-valued card) will pay out at 3-to-2.
The house edge on a normal blackjack game comes in at around one-half percent. Yes, some casinos oﬀer the best rules and, sadly, some don’t. It is the players’ choice as to which games of blackjack they will bet their money.
And Now I Give You Commissions
In certain games, the casinos will charge a commission on winning bets. These include a ﬁve percent commission on all wins at Pai Gow Poker. At the game of baccarat or mini-baccarat, all winning hands on the bank bet will also charge a ﬁve percent commission.
“Casinos are a business, just like the businesses in your community and those throughout the world. Their goal is simple, and that goal is this—to make YOUR money their money.”
Why is this so? If the casinos didn’t charge the commissions, the player would have the edge on the bets and the casinos wouldn’t want that.
Any casino table game can be analyzed to discover why and how the casinos do what they do. What they do successfully is win your money and give you an exciting trip into the world of luck.
All the best in and out of the casinos!