Most games offered by casinos have a house edge. This is the percentage of the overall bet that the casino expects to win over the long term. Short term variance will vary widely on both the positive and negative sides of the actual hold but over millions of hands the loss and expected loss will become almost exact as short term luck, or variance, is lowered. Let us explain how casino payouts work.
Most table games will have a low house advantage, especially compared to slot machines. The typical house edge in a blackjack game is going to be close to .5%. That does not sound like much but for the casino, taking millions a day in wagers, this adds up fast. Theoretically, for every $100 that you wager in blackjack, you will lose $.50. Every $10 hand of blackjack will only cost you a nickel on average. There are few forms of entertainment that offer a value that low. If your average wager on one hand of blackjack is $10, and you play one hand a minute, you will lose an average of $3/hour. This assumes that you use basic strategy to decide when to hit, stand, double and split.
The house advantage will not show until a very large sample size. After just a few hundred hands of blackjack your results will fall into a very large range. It takes hundreds of thousands of hands before seeing a small range close to the exact house advantage.
When playing online blackjack it is even better. Many online casinos have minimum bets that are $1 or less. This means that you can play at your own speed for little risk. If your average bet is $1 and you play ten times faster than you would live, you will still have the same average expected loss of $3 per hour. If luck is on your side, you can pull off a win with such a small house advantage.
Blackjack is an example of a game that has a low house advantage, which gives it lower variance. There are other games that not only have a higher house advantage, but also higher variance. In most cases, the higher the house advantage a casino game has, the higher the variance is. This is because a few lucky players will have large wins that will be covered by a large pool of players that will slowly lose. Examples of these types of games include Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Roulette and the exotic bets on the craps table. These craps bets include the single roll bets such as a 2 or 12 that pay 30-1 but have a nearly 17% house advantage.
Slot machines also have a large house hold. Slot machines typically have a hold of 5-10%. This means that for every $100 that you wager, you will theoretically lose $5-$10. There are also large jackpots on slot machines that can pay 1000-1 or higher. The higher house advantage gives the house the ability to offer large jackpots to lucky players. The game with the highest house advantage is usually keno. This is also the game that players can also get rich off from a lucky 7 spot hit.
Players that are looking for a big score will most likely enjoy the higher advantage games such as slot machines and keno. Players will not be able to play as long off of the same money, but will be more likely to win big as opposed to other games. Players looking for a slower game with fewer swings should consider table games like blackjack. Craps and Baccarat would be other games to try for lower variance as long as you stay away from the exotic bets.