What is RTP? Understanding Return to Player in Casino Games

RTP stands for Return to Player. It tells us the average amount you will win over an extended period playing certain online casino games. The higher the RTP, the better your chance of earning a payout. What does this mean for players? How can you find the RTP of a particular game? This guide will answer those questions and more.

Understanding RTP

Shown as a percentage, the RTP is how much an online casino game pays out over time. It is important to be aware of this before placing wagers. It can identify risk and your chances of making a profit in the long term.

Definition of RTP

The best way to explain how the RTP works is to provide an example. With a slot machine that has an RTP of 95%, you will earn, on average, $95 for every $100 you spend. You can also look at the RTP as the opposite of the house edge.

If the RTP is 95%, the house edge would be 5%. Remember that this is the average value and in no way indicative of any one player’s personal experience. Use the RTP only as a guide, and to remind yourself that the house ultimately always has an advantage over the players in the long run. It can help you choose which games to play and which strategy to use.

How Is RTP Calculated?

You can work out the RTP of a game without being a mathematical genius. Simply divide returns by the number of bets placed. With a 97% RTP game, you would expect to earn $97 for every $100 you bet. The remaining $3 would go to the casino. The average RTP varies between casino games. Pokies typically range between 92% and 99%. American Roulette sits around 94.7%, and Blackjack is at 98.5%.

RTP vs. House Edge

As already mentioned earlier – the RTP value shows you both how much you’ll earn on average and how much the casino stands to win in general. Although casinos don’t set RTP themselves, the games are set up in a way that ensures their long-term profits, and always feature a certain house edge. The number is easy to calculate – whatever percentage you’re missing from the 100% – that is the house edge. In the case of an RTP of 92%, it’s 8%, whereas a 99% RTP game would only have a 1% house edge, ensuring that you’re much more likely (in theory) to make a profit from that casino game.

RTP in Different Types of Casino Games

Each type of casino game has its own RTP prediction. Before you place any real money bets, ensure you know what sort of RTP to expect from the game. Let’s take a look at some typical RTP values across different casino games:

Slot Machines

Compared to slot machines at land-based casinos, pokies have a higher-than-average RTP. Most sit at around 96%. In rare cases, you’ll even find pokies with an RTP of up to 99%. This reduces the house’s edge, though, so with high RTP slots, you are unlikely to find a progressive jackpot. Mega Joker, Ugga Bugga and 1429 Unchartered Seas are popular slots with a high RTP.

Table Games

The average RTP of table games is even higher than for pokies. However, the RTP varies from one variant to another. Blackjack and Roulette players can expect solid RTPs too, typically averaging above 97%, except for American Roulette which is lower at around 95%. Finally, Baccarat offers an RTP of over 98%, making it one of the best casino games in that regard.

Other Casino Games

Video poker is increasingly popular these days. The RTP of such games varies depending on the specific variant. Three-card poker has an RTP of around 97% while for Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker, it is over 98%.

The RTP of Bingo and Keno is lower. 90-ball and 75-ball Bingo are around 80% and 70-85%, respectively. Keno players can find games with an RTP of between 85-95%.

RTP – Volatility & Common Misconceptions

There is more to understanding Return to Player and your chances of winning at certain games than merely reading the number and calculating the house edge. Let’s look at what volatility is and check out the validity of some of the most popular myths about RTP.

Volatility and RTP

Many casino games with a high RTP also have medium-high volatility. Volatility, or variance, can be viewed as a spectrum and is separate but still related to RTP in a way. If you are looking for regular returns, a high RTP casino game is preferable because it typically has lower volatility, meaning the payouts are more frequent, but also tend to be lower. In comparison, a lower RTP game will likely have higher volatility. This means that payouts are rarer, but also larger when they do happen. Progressive jackpots are a good example of a game type with a lower RTP and generally lower chances of winning but higher payouts if you do get lucky.

RTP Myths & Popular Theories

As with all information on the internet, not everything you hear is true. Here are some commonly mentioned “facts” about RTP – let’s see how they hold up to scrutiny, shall we?

  • Casinos can change the RTP – This is completely untrue. Most casinos feature games that are created by outside providers. Casinos do not have any control over the games’ system or random number generator (RNG). This job is for game developers. Shady online casinos always look for ways to trick their players, but changing the RTP of a casino game isn’t one of them.
  • Progressive jackpots impact the RTP – Progressive jackpots require several things to align in order for players to get their payout. As such, your average chance of winning is lower, but that’s also why the winnings are guaranteed to be larger when they do happen.
  • Beginners should play high-volatility games – Again, this statement has some merit. Beginners and players with a smaller budget may enjoy the more frequent payouts. This gives you more spins and better opportunities to trigger bonus rounds. While the payouts are typically lower, multipliers and free spins can boost your overall winnings.
  • Slots are hot or cold – Some believe a slot is more likely to pay out if it hasn’t done so for a while. This is obviously not how statistics work, and no matter what the average is, or how long a machine (or player) has had a hot or cold streak, every next game will still be up to chance and random.

How to Use RTP Information

So, now that you understand what RTP is and how it works in practice, how can you use this knowledge to your advantage? Knowing the RTP will impact which games you choose to play and how you bet on them.

Choosing Games Based on RTP

Along with volatility and hit frequency, you can use the RTP to decide which game to play next. Just remember, though: playing casino games should be done for fun and looked at as an entertaining pastime, not a way to earn a living. Remember our responsible gambling guidelines and only pick games based on RTP if you already have tons of games you’d love to try out for different reasons and can’t pick one. Trust us, there’s no point chasing statistics only, as they can be a very fickle thing considering the random nature of most casino games.

Managing Your Bankroll with RTP in Mind

High-volatility games often cater to high rollers. This is because they can afford to wait longer for payouts. However, as a beginner, a game with low volatility will bring more regular wins. Either way, use your RTP and volatility knowledge wisely and remember to gamble responsibly.

Strategies for Maximizing Your Returns

While gambling is generally an activity with lots of inherent randomness, knowledge about RTP, volatility and other factors can help you formulate strategies that can somewhat offer it. Based on the RTP and your objectives, Martingale, Fibonacci, Paroli, and D’Alembert are some of the most popular strategies you can use to improve your chances. Just remember, though – there is no exact science, and you should never approach any pokie or other casino game as a surefire source of income.

RTP and Online Casinos

Online casinos generally try to feature as many high-RTP games as possible as they are more appealing in general, especially to newer and more casual players.

RTP Transparency in Online Casinos

The best online casinos are clear and honest with players. This means that the RTP will be easy to view. To verify an RTP, look at independent gambling authorities associated with casinos. Famous ones include iTech Labs and BMM.

How to Find RTP Information for Online Games

The first place to check is on a paytable. Alternatively, look at the game’s rules. If you still can’t find the RTP, the game or casino in question may not be trustworthy and it’s best to move on. Remember to also look out for information regarding how the RTP can change – this can often happen in the bonus rounds, for example.

Comparing RTP Across Different Online Casinos

The RTP can vary between online casinos because some games do not have a fixed RTP. Therefore, you should look at the RTP on your chosen casino site. For example, the classic pokie Starburst from NetEnt has a variable RTP that can range between 90.05% to 96.09%.

Conclusion

A game’s RTP is probably the best indicator of what to expect in terms of winnings. The RTP tells you the average amount that you will win over time, but remember that this is just an approximation. While playing game demos is another popular (and risk-free) alternative, be aware that they are often set up to have higher winning percentages to lure players in (though this is not something most casinos will admit to nor is it easy to prove).

To maximise your enjoyment and chances of winning, use the RTP to help control your bankroll and form a strategy. Remember, though: RTP is just a guideline and shouldn’t be the only thing you look for when picking a game to play.

FAQs About RTP

Still unclear on some things? Look at our list of most commonly asked questions below.

What does RTP mean?

RTP stands for Return to Player and is a measure of how much you can expect, on average, to earn from a certain game. An RTP of 95% means that you will earn $95 for every $100 you bet, with the remaining $5 being the expected house edge. Remember that RTP is only a rough guide and your own experience might differ due to the random nature of gambling.

What is a good RTP percentage?

This depends on the type of game. The RTP of pokies ranges from 92-99% and many of the most popular slots have a 96%+ RTP. Bingo tends to be on the lower side (around 80% RTP) while Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat offer as much as 98% RTP depending on the variant.

Can RTP change over time?

Yes. The RTP can change, even between casinos. The Return to Player percentage can fluctuate unless a fixed RTP is used.

How reliable is RTP information?

Very much so, at least for proven games. Third-party authorities verify online casino games and eCOGRA, iTechLabs, and BMM are testing agencies that ensure casinos act safely and fairly. This ensures that RTP information is valid and reliable.

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