What Is Return To Player?

If you’re a real-deal online casino player, then the various metrics that beginners overlook will be of importance to you. Chief among these is the so-called RTP, or return-to-player metric. What is it, and what do the various values denote for you?

RTP - the Deep Dive

The Return to Player, first of all, is not some arcane theoretical metric; it’s a real number that is formed from an tabulation of player winnings and wagers. It is an aggregate of gaming choices made by people just like you, from all walks of life, with the one thing in common being their wagers on live casino games. More specifically, the Return to Player metric is the total amount of money won divided by the total amount of money wagered.

As with most assessments of probability, the more individual events that you can add to the ensemble, the more accurate the information-conveying number. Basically, this means that if a game is played a lot inside of an online casino, then the more accurate the RTP number in terms of relaying the potential return to the gamer. The above mathematical relationship basically becomes more accurate, and goes from “proportional” to more nearly “equal” as the number of games played goes to infinity. Of course, you know that infinity means large number, in this case.

For games fo chance that require no strategy, the RTP is proportional to 100% minus the House Edge; this relationship should help certify what the metric means for more popular games such as Blackjack, Poker and Roulette.

Return to Player Through Examples

Let’s take the example, first, of roulette - a popular table game that comes to us from the French, and has several incarnations: American roulette and European roulette. The Return to Player value here is, again, 100% minus the House edge: 100% - 5.26% = 94.74%. So, Roulette’s RTP = 94.74%. Although this is an adequate House edge; there are certainly better ones to be had in games such as poker and Blackjack - in fact, Blackjack has the best one of all in the player’s favor.

For another example, let’s take a look at Craps - which is a Specialty Game. The House edge for this one is a scintillating 1.41%; but that’s only if you are betting the pass line (advanced players understand that betting beyond this, although it opens you up to greater risk, also has the potential to deliver higher returns). Thus, the RTP here is 100% - 1.41% = 97.30% for the RTP.

Video Slots and the Return to Player Metric

In the realm of video slots, there’s a distinction between the loose slot and the tight slot; the loose one is the one you want to look for if you’re inside of a brick and mortar casino; in the online space, however, you can’t expect to find one. With that in mind, we’ll restrict revelations regarding the RTP to the average, tight slot - but for informational purposes, the loose slot tends to have a Return to Player of greater than 96%. The video slot of relevance to the online gamer has an RTP of 92% or lower. As for the other games, consider the following table for their RTPs:

  • Let It Ride has an RTP of 93.333%, based on several hundred thousand rounds played and over $1.7 million won.
  • Roulette has an RTP of 94.25%, based on nearly 150,000 rounds played and more than $2 million won.
  • Craps has an RTP of 96.34%, which is compiled from almost 350,000 rounds played and $2.7 million wagered at the casinos.
  • Pai Gow Poker has a very respectable RTP of 96.78% with only 13,000 rounds played and $214,000 wagered.
  • Three Card Poker comes in on a high horse with an RTP of 97.02% from 290,000 rounds played and over $4 million wagered.
  • Casino War - the afore-mentioned game of pure luck - has an RTP of 95.82% from 75,000 rounds played and $561,000 wagered.
  • Blackjack slides into first place for the games of luck and skill, with a superior RTP of 98.55% and 242,000 rounds played with almost $7 million wagered - the most wagered of any other game in the casino other than perhaps video slots.