Edge (advantage)

What is ‘Edge’?

Edge is a term in casino gambling used to describe the advantage held by the house, or on some occasions, the player. With casino games played against the house, the casino will retain some advantage to ensure that a consistent profit is being turned over. For example, in European Roulette, the zero on the wheel provides the house advantage, as it reduces the odds of the other possible outcomes. In Blackjack, the variations in how the dealer and player play give the house a small edge, although this can be changed depending on how the player acts. The edge for the house can vary wildly between different casinos, different games, and different variants of games. In general, Blackjack is one of the games with the lowest house edge.

‘Edge’ Explained

The edge of the house varies considerably between different venues and games. For games such as bingo, lotteries, and Wheel of Fortune, the edge can be extremely high – sometimes as much as 30% or upwards. In contrast, for Blackjack, the house edge will be considerably lower – just over one percent. This, however, assumes that the player plays with ‘basic strategy’, making the correct mathematical decision for each outcome based on the information they have.

The house edge can be reduced by following strategies such as these, and in the case of advantage gambling, can even be turned to give the edge to the player. This is the aim of systems in advantage gambling such as card counting in Blackjack, where players attempt to devise new strategies to give themselves an advantage. However, while a small edge increases the odds that the player will win, it is still no guarantee of a profit, particularly in a highly variable game like Blackjack. Advantage gambling is generally frowned upon by casinos, who may ask players attempting to gain an edge themselves to leave the casino.