So far, most of this RTP guide has been rather abstract and theoretical. It’s time to bring it down to earth again by checking out how things work in specific games, or rather types of casino games.
Here on LiveCasinos.com, we specialize in live dealer gaming products of all shapes and sizes. That’s why we’ll explain how RTP works in casino games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. That said, similar principles apply to all forms of gambling, including slots and sports betting. Surprisingly, though, the math behind slot RTP is usually much more complex and arcane, so it would be hard to explain anyway.
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RTP in Roulette
We’ll start with roulette because it’s both extremely popular and easy to understand. The casino’s advantage in live roulette is quite obvious, so it’s a good way to illustrate how the whole thing works.
RTP in roulette comes from the fact that all bets are somewhat less likely to win than they seem.
We’ll use even money bets like Red and Black to illustrate. These wagers pay 1:1, which implies a 50/50 shot at winning. However, you don’t have a 50% chance to win a Red bet because the green zero pocket exists. Instead, your chances are around 48.60%. You are slightly less likely to win than the casino is, but the earnings per bet are the same for you and the casino.
If you were to play 1000 rounds of roulette while betting on Red, you would statistically win 486 times while losing the rest. The ball would land on Black 486 times, and Green 28 times. However, the casino “wins” on both Black results and Green results.
The same principle applies to every bet in Roulette, which is why they all have an RTP of 97.3%. This 2.7% house advantage stems directly from the fact that the green zero pocket exists.
This also means that having two Zero pockets doubles the house advantage. That’s why American Roulette is strictly worse than European Roulette. It’s also why French Roulette is the best variant of the game from a player’s perspective. If you want to know more, check out our guide to French Roulette.
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RTP in Blackjack
Blackjack is a much more complex game than roulette, so understanding RTP in blackjack is not quite as easy.
The house advantage in blackjack comes from the fact that the dealer has a few advantages over the player. For starters, they only reveal one card, which limits the player’s understanding of the cards on the table. Secondly, players can bust and lose even before the dealer starts drawing cards. This means there’s a chance to lose outright no matter how bad the dealer’s hand is.
The RTP in blackjack is influenced by a lot of things, particularly the rules and payouts. Some rules are good for players, while others aren’t. Here are some examples of what to look for to maximize RTP in blackjack:
- The rules for when dealers stand, such as soft/hard 17, heavily impact RTP. Standing on soft 17 is generally good for players
- Blackjack payouts of 2:3 are much better than 6:5
- The option to surrender in blackjack slightly increases RTP
- The fewer decks are in the shoe, the better
- Double Down rules are also important – Being able to double any two cards is good for players, as is doubling after splitting
All said and done, blackjack has the highest RTP of any casino game. With good rules and smart play, many top blackjack tables have more than 99.5% RTP.
However, it’s important to understand that this figure only applies if you use basic blackjack strategy. In other words, you have to follow blackjack charts to the letter, and you have to make sure the charts fit the exact variant and rule set that you’re playing. You can find our excellent blackjack charts here, along with a complete explanation of blackjack strategy and what it involves.
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RTP in Baccarat
Understanding how RTP works in baccarat is also not easy, but we’ll break it down for you.
The gist of it is that the Banker bet is always more likely to win. That’s because of the so-called Third Card rule in baccarat – the rule that determines when more than two cards are drawn per hand. Essentially, this rule always favors the Banker, and Banker wins 45.8% of all baccarat rounds compared to 44.6% for the Player. If you want a more detailed explanation of the Third Card rule in baccarat, check out this post.
However, in online casino baccarat variants, players can bet on the Banker to win. Wouldn’t that allow them to also benefit from this rule?
No, because all Banker bets in baccarat come with a 5% commission. This essentially swings things in the casino’s favor no matter what you bet on. However, the Banker bet is still the best bet in Baccarat because it has 98.94% RTP, compared to the Player bet’s 98.76%. The difference is not big, but it’s important for understanding the game as a whole.
The only exception is in No Commission Baccarat, which removes the 5% commission but introduces other rules to compensate.
If you want to know more about RTP in baccarat and how it all ties together, check out our strategy guide for baccarat.
Also, Tie results push all Player and Banker bets, so ties are not strictly relevant for these two wagers. However, Tie bets are also universally terrible, often offering below 90% RTP.
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Closing Thoughts – Can You Beat RTP in Casinos?
Return to Player is one of the most important pieces of information about any casino game. It tells you exactly how much you will win or lose, assuming you spend enough time playing.
However, RTP should not be the most important thing for most casino players. The reason is simple – it always favors the casino, to a lesser or greater degree. You cannot beat RTP in casinos because you cannot beat statistics. If you could, it means the person designing the game made a serious mistake.
Always remember that casino games are strictly a form of entertainment. As our RTP guide explained, casino gaming is carefully crafted to always favor the house. It’s mathematically impossible to win in the long run.
With that in mind, you should strive to play games and bets that you find fun and enjoyable. Trying to game the system will not work. Understanding RTP and using casino strategies can help minimize losses, but it cannot turn losses into profits.
However, don’t underestimate the importance of minimizing losses. Using proper strategies and picking the right casinos and bonuses can still have a massive impact on your bottom line. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand this fact and improve your skills.