What is RTP in Casino Games? (March 2023)
RTP is a word that is thrown about a lot in the world of online gaming. In slots especially, RTP percentages are usually displayed and these can range in the mid to high 90s. Some players may specifically look for games with high RTP and only play games that are above a certain percentage.
What is RTP
RTP stands for Return to Player and RTP is a percentage of how much money is returned to you after playing a game for a long period of time. You will never find a game with a percentage over 100% as the house always needs to have the edge – that is how the casino makes its money. If a game has an RTP of 96% then this means that you will win an average of $96 for every $100 you spend.
RTP is not to be confused with volatility. Volatility does not relate to RTP but instead gives an indication of how frequently you will win in a game. It is typically given with slots. Slots with high or low volatility can have the same RTP and it only refers to how frequently you can land winning combinations.
RTP in Slots
Calculating RTP in slots is not a straightforward process. It depends on paylines or ways to win, how big the payouts are, and of course all the extra features that may lead to additional winnings. Features such as bonus games, free spins, cashpots, pays both ways, and cascading reels are only some examples of how winnings can be increased and these are all factored into the RTP percentage.
RTP on specific slots may vary between casinos. You may find a game that has a higher RTP in one online casino and lower in the other. This is because when slots are supplied to operators, they can change the software to meet their standards. This will not change the gameplay in any way at all. You can usually expect minimal differences in the RTP rates of a game as it is a key selling point for some of the most popular games and operators want to attract customers.
Here are some of the best slots with the highest RTP rates:
- Book of 99, by Relaxing Gaming – 99% RTP
- Mega Joker, by NetEnt – 99% RTP
- 1429 Unchartered Seas, by Thunderkick – 98.86% RTP
- Jackpot 6000, by NetEnt – 98.86% RTP
- Marching Legions, by Relax Gaming – 98.12% RTP
- Catfather, by Pragmatic Play – 98.10% RTP
- Blood Suckers, by NetEnt – 98% RTP
- Jokerizer, by Yggdrasil Gaming – 98% RTP
- Rainbow Riches, by Barcrest – 98% RTP
- Zeus Lightning: Power Reels, by Red Tiger – 97.73% RTP
RTP in Table Games
RTP is more tangible in table games as there are usually fewer factors to consider. The RTP can be considered the inverse of the house edge, and this is a fixed value across games. Of course, in card games there are plenty of aspects that can change RTP. Take Blackjack, where there may be factors such as the number of decks, side bets, rules on doubling, rules on splitting, rules on when the dealer surrender, and so on. These will all change the house edge and thus change the RTP percentage of each game.
For card-based games where you can make decisions – such as Blackjack, Caribbean Poker, Pai Gow Poker, and many more – you can actually increase your edge over the house. There are plenty of expert strategies on these games that tell you when to hit/raise or when you should fold. What these actually do is give you the best chance of winning by statistics. It does not mean you will definitely win every round but it will give you a better chance of winning in the long run.
Of course, there are plenty of table games where there is no decision-making. You simply stake your bet and then hope for the best each round. In these games, the RTP is fixed and there are no strategies that will increase your edge over the house. Roulette is a great example as it is very straightforward. Here are some examples of the house edge in popular formats of roulette. To keep things simple, the calculations are only done with a single and splits bet in each case.
There are 37 segments in European roulette, numbered 1 through 36 and including 0. All the segments are coloured red or black apart from the 0 which is green. To calculate the house edge, the following formula is applied: (1 – probability x payout) x 100 = house edge
If you bet on a single number, the probability of hitting that number is 1/37 (or 0,027) and the payout is x36. This puts the house edge at:
(1 – 0.027 x 36) x 100 = 2.70%
If you bet on a split the probability is 2/37 (or 0.054) and the payout is x18 so the formula comes out to:
(1 – 0.054 x 18) x 100 = 2.70%
The RTP is always the inverse of the house edge, and so for European Roulette, the RTP is 97.3%
French Roulette is also played on a wheel that has 37 segments but the difference is that all the La Partage rule where half your stake is returned when the wheel lands on 0. Of course, there are also several special bets for French roulette but for the example, we will just stick to the single and split bets.
If you bet on a single number, the probability is 1/37 and the payout is x36 and so the house edge would be 2.70 but the La Partage rule reduces the house edge. So to calculate, you need to take the probability x payout of winning and of the ball landing on 0. The French Roulette formula looks like this:
(1 – [winning probability x winning payout + la partage probability x la partage payout]) x 100
The probability of the ball landing on 0 is 1/37 and the payout would be x0.5 and so if you bet on a single number the house edge would be:
(1 – [0.027 x 36 + 0.027 x 0.5]) x 100 = 1.35%
If you place a split bet, the probability of winning is 2/37 (or 0.054) and the payout is x18. Combined with the La Partage edge, the house edge would be:
(1 – [0.054 x 18 + 0.027 x 0.5]) x 100 = 1.35%
As the house edge is 1.35%, the RTP of French Roulette is 98.65%
American Roulette is slightly different from the other two standard variants of the game as it has 38 segments on the wheel. These are the numbers 1 through 36, 0, and 00. The payout for the single and split bets are the same as the other formats of roulette, so let us look at how that changes the formula.
The probability of landing a single bet is 1/38 (or 0.026) and the payout is x36. The house edge is:
(1 – 0.026 x 36) x 100 = 5.26%
The probability of winning a split bet is 2/38 (or 0.052) and the payout is x18, making the house edge:
(1 – 0.052 x 18) x 100 = 5.26%
With a house edge of 5.26%, the RTP of American Roulette is 94.74%
RTP is definitely useful to know if you play many casino games. Slots and different table games will all have their own RTPs, and in some table games, you will have the chance to increase your RTP by using strategies.
Of course, this does not mean that a game is “better” if it has a higher RTP. These percentages are all only theoretical and so there is no telling as to whether you will win 10 times in a row or lose 10 times in a row. At the end of the day, you should always remember that anything can happen in games of chance. That is what makes them so attractive and exhilarating to play.
Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.