Casinos stay in business because in the long run they always win. This is the golden rule of gambling and is due to what is known as the House Edge.
Put simply, the House Edge is the percentage of bets taken by the casino that it expects to keep. So, for example, in a game like Blackjack, which has a house edge of around 0.6%, the casino expects that for every £1,000,000 it takes in bets it will keep £6000. That may not seem much, but that percentage is always working in the casino’s favour - and the longer you play, the more they win.
Even with short terms fluctuations where individual players will be ahead, overall the casino’s profits will be roughly at the level of the house edge. Different games have different edges, but one thing is for certain – none of them are in the player’s favour!
Except for the games at one casino.
Betfair casino’s Zero Lounge offers four games (Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Video Poker) with NO house edge. In other words, they expect to win nothing from those games overall.
It sounds strange, but it’s completely true. The Betfair website states that the expected return to player (ie the payout rate) is 100% to 2 decimal places, when the games are played with optimal strategy.
A 100% payout rate means that the odds of winning or losing are the same as betting on the toss of a coin – you can expect to lose and win nothing over the long term, but in the short term you can get ahead.
In fact, since it launched the Zero Lounge, Betfair has made a loss in many of the countries where the games are played. In Greece, for example, they lost almost £30,000 and calculated a payout rate of 100.02%!
So how can Betfair allow this to happen, when every other casino is looking for more and more ways to increase the advantage in their favour?
A look at the Betfair statement gives us a clue as to how the Zero Lounge works. Betfair are generous, but they’re not stupid! Optimal player strategy is what you need to take advantage of the 100% payout. How many players play with an optimal strategy? Not many, and Betfair know this. Most players will go to the Zero Lounge, looking to get one over on the casino, but without a proper understanding of the games. In those cases, the player’s strategy will result in the house edge being tipped back in the casino’s favour – only a little, but enough to make the difference.
But that phrase ‘optimal player strategy’ intrigued me.I realised that these strategies must be practical, not purely theoretical, so that playing completely within the rules of the games, you could get the house edge down to 0.
I then studied each of the games in detail. Although Betfair make things slightly difficult by, for example, placing tight limits on the maximum and minimum bets in Roulette, or rounding up the commission (vigorish) in Baccarat, I found that I could nullify the casino’s advantage.
One great feature of the Betfair site is that you can play all the Zero Lounge games for free – perfect for when you’re trying to perfect a strategy to beat them!
In summary, then, I’ve devised an optimal player strategy for each of the Zero Lounge games. Some are very simple, others a little more complex, but all of them give you that unique opportunity to beat the casino at its own game!
They’re worth taking the time to study but don’t forget you can play for free until you feel confident in my strategies and want to take the plunge and play for real.
And to make that decision a little easier, Betfair will give all new customers £5 free as a way to test them out before you commit. You don’t have to make a deposit, just sign up and they’ll give you the £5 straight away.
Free money and a casino where you can win. All in all, sounds like the perfect casino!
So come to Fortune Palace, study our strategies, practice them for free at Betfair, then sign up and get your free fiver.
Why not? For once, you’ve really got nothing to lose!
About the author: Andy Follin runs Fortune Palace, an impartial online gambling guide that includes a full explanation of Betfair’s Zero Lounge, plus strategies for all four of the zero edge games, the games which make Betfair the highest payout casino and the best odds casino.