What is Hold Percentage?
Hold percentage is the amount a casino gains from a game being played by players. It can be used to determine the average earnings from a table over a long period of time, or used simply to describe how much money the table made for the house in one session or night. For example, if a blackjack table gains £500 in winnings in a night from £5,000 gambled by players, it has a hold percentage of 10%. In the long run, however, the blackjack table may have a higher hold percentage – statistics are often kept over the long run so that casinos can judge their expected profits more reliably.
Hold Percentage Explained
Hold percentage is distinct from house edge, which simply dictates the expected return from one individual game. If the house edge in a game of blackjack is 1%, the house will keep on average 1p from every £1 bet by the player. While this is impossible for a single hand, this will be the expected value over the long run.
However, the hold percentage is in fact much larger. If a player bets £100 on blackjack in this scenario, the house would expect to gain £1 in return. However, in practice, players will run through the amount in their stacks several times. If a player bet £100 at blackjack for long enough, they would inevitably end up at £0 – thus giving the table a hold percentage of 100%.
Hold percentage is the main way that casinos judge the profitability of their tables and base many of their decisions, rather than the house edge. The difference between the two, although complex, is hugely important for casinos. For players looking to gamble smartly, however, the house edge is more important to take note of.