The House and the Gambler

In a previous article, we touched some on the house edge, and we’ll go into more depth about that here. Understanding that the house always wins, in the long run, is important for any gambler to understand how to ‘beat’ the house.

We’ll use Blackjack, the most profitable game in terms of playing against the house edge, as an example. If you can play a perfect game of Blackjack, with perfect betting and overall strategy, the house has a .5% edge. More often than not, even good Blackjack player’s are getting a 2% edge, so we’re going to go with that.

Let’s break down that edge into monetary value. For every $1 bet by a gambler on Blackjack the house assumes (and because of the nature of the games the math backs up the assumption) it will make two cents in profit off that dollar. Winning or losing has nothing to do with it in this instance, what is important is that no matter what the house gets two cents in profit off of every dollar bet by a good blackjack player. That leaves the other ninety-eight cents on the floor to be paid back in profit to whoever made the bet or to other gamblers playing against the house. The gamblers are the ones putting down the money, not the house. In the long run, for every dollar you bet, you’re assumed to lose two cents where the house loses nothing, and in fact, gains that two cents.

So, you’re probably wondering, why would you ever play in a casino if the house is destined to win in the long run? And I have an answer, the house edge only implies you versus the house, and as we all know, that’s not how casinos work. You’re never the only player gambling at a casino (at least you shouldn’t be!). The house doesn’t need to beat every player to have an advantage. Think of it like the fable of the tortoise and the hare</a>; the house is always going to be the tortoise, and the gambler is always going to be the hare. Remember, the hare was winning the race, in the fable, and so the gambler needs to find their places to win too. And in your own fable that you’re carving out, you’re one of many hares playing against a single tortoise. The longer you play against the house, the more chances they have to take your money but you can still pull ahead in this race in the short term. And, as the tortoise showed in the fable, even when the odds are against you, you can still find a way to win.

So, finding games with a low house edge, to begin with, is the first place you want to start, then you want to develop a proper strategy within that game, and then you want to get out with your profits! A gambler needs to be quick, get in and get out. It doesn’t matter that the tortoise will take the race, you were a winning hare, not the sleeping hare, and therefore walked away with well-earned profits!