Calculating RTP: A Step-by-Step Guide for Players

Daniel White

Last updated 7.12.2023

Calculating RTP: A Step-by-Step Guide for Players

Return to Player (RTP) is a fundamental mechanism in casino gaming that statistically expresses how much a casino pays back to players.

It is a key metric, often represented as a percentage, which indicates the likely amount a player can expect to win over the long run, assuming optimal strategy is employed. For example, an RTP of 95% suggests that players will receive 95 cents for every dollar wagered.

RTP calculation involves a straightforward formula: the total amount won by players divided by the total amount wagered. This mathematical approach is essential for players to understand the potential returns from various casino games, including slots, table games, and lotteries.

Decoding the Basics of RTP

Game TypeAverage RTPNotes
Slots96% – 97%Online slots’ RTP can go as high as 99%; lower in land-based casinos (80% – 90%)
Blackjack99.3% – 99.6%RTP varies with variations like Atlantic City, European Blackjack; higher with optimal strategy.
Roulette94.7% – 97.3%American roulette has a lower RTP due to the extra “00” pocket; European and French variants are higher.
BaccaratAround 98.94%Attracts players due to its low house edge and simple rules.
Video PokerUp to 99.78%One of the highest RTPs in casino games; depends on the game variant.
CrapsVariableRTP depends on the type of bet placed; some bets have higher RTPs.

Understanding RTP is very important not just for calculating potential winnings, but also as a mirror to the house edge – the percentage representing the casino’s potential earnings from games.

It offers a clear view of the mathematical probabilities, game rules, payouts, and the role of random number generators in determining game outcomes.

Understanding the Basics of RTP

Return to Player (RTP) is a fundamental mechanism in casino gaming, serving as a statistical representation of the average return a player can expect over time. It is expressed as a percentage, reflecting the proportion of total stakes a game returns to players.

Definition of RTP

RTP in Gaming

RTP is key for understanding the long-term payback potential of casino games. It provides a clear indication of a game’s fairness and predictability, guiding players in where and how to wager their stakes.

Practical Implications for Players

By comprehending RTP, players gain insight into the potential winnings they can expect from their casino endeavors. This knowledge is fundamental for both novice and experienced gamblers, enabling them to assess the risks and potential rewards of different casino games.

Understanding RTP is essential for anyone engaging in casino gaming. It offers a foundational perspective on the potential returns from various casino games, influencing player strategies and enhancing their overall gaming experience.

The Mathematics of RTP

The Return to Player (RTP) is calculated using a fundamental mathematical formula: the total amount won divided by the total amount wagered, then multiplied by 100 to convert it into a percentage.

This formula is the cornerstone of understanding RTP in gambling scenarios such as slot machines.

To illustrate, consider a slot machine where players have bet a total of $1,000,000 and won a total of $950,000. The RTP calculation would be as follows:

  • RTP=
  • (Total PayoutsTotal Bets)×100RTP=
  • (Total BetsTotal Payouts​)×100 RTP=
  • ($950,000$1,000,000)×100RTP=
  • ($1,000,000$950,000​)×100
  • RTP=95%

In this example, the RTP of 95% indicates that, on average, players can expect to win back $0.95 for every dollar wagered over an extended period.

It’s important to note that the RTP reflects an average return over a substantial number of plays and does not guarantee individual outcomes.

The Gambling Commission offers an example where, after a month of play, a game designed with a 91.68% RTP and a turnover of $1,200,000 and wins of $1,085,000 would have an actual RTP of 90.42%.

This actual RTP can deviate from the designed RTP based on the game’s volatility and the number of plays, with the deviation narrowing as the volume of play increases.

Understanding the mathematics behind RTP is very important for players as it provides insights into the potential long-term returns of casino games.

Calculating RTP for Slot Enthusiasts

RTP, or Return To Player, represents the amount of money a slot machine pays back to its players over a significant number of spins, typically in the millions.

It is expressed as a percentage. For example, a slot with a 95% RTP would theoretically return $95 for every $100 wagered.

Slot TypeRTP RangeCharacteristics
Classic Slots92% – 95%Traditional design, fewer paylines, simpler gameplay.
Video Slots94% – 97%Advanced graphics, multiple paylines, bonus features.
Progressive Slots88% – 95%Jackpot increases with each play, potentially huge payouts but lower base RTP.
3D Slots94% – 96%Enhanced graphics and animations, immersive gameplay.

Variance and Its Impact on RTP

Variance in slots affects how RTP is realized. It determines the frequency and size of payouts. Slots can have high, medium, or low variance, influencing the player’s experience and winnings.

A high RTP slot might not be beneficial if coupled with high variance, as it could lead to infrequent large wins. Conversely, slots with low variance offer smaller but more frequent wins.

House Edge and RTP

The house edge, the casino’s built-in advantage, is intricately linked to RTP. Slots typically have a house edge ranging from 2% to 15%. The higher the house edge, the lower the RTP, and vice versa. Players often choose games with a lower house edge for better long-term payouts.

Online vs. Land-Based Slots RTP

Online slots generally offer better RTP than land-based ones. Most online slots have an RTP between 94% and 99%, whereas land-based slots usually return 70% to 90%. This difference is attributed to the higher operational costs of physical casinos.

Misconceptions about RTP

There are common misconceptions regarding RTP in slots. For example, progressive jackpots can skew the perceived RTP. While a slot may advertise a 95% RTP, a portion of this could be tied to a progressive jackpot, effectively lowering the RTP for players not winning the jackpot.

It’s also very important to understand that RTP is a long-term average and may not accurately reflect short-term gaming sessions. Understanding RTP in slot machines is critical for players. It involves not just the percentage of money returned over numerous spins but also factors like variance, house edge, and game design.

By comprehending these aspects, slot enthusiasts can make better choices about where and how to play.

Navigating RTP in Table Games

Return to Player (RTP) in table games like roulette and blackjack is a measure of the theoretical long-term returns to players.

It’s calculated as a percentage of total wagers that players can expect to win back over time. Unlike slot machines, the RTP in table games can vary significantly based on players’ choices and strategies.

Blackjack VariantRTP
Classic Blackjack99.5%
European Blackjack99.6%
Blackjack Switch99.27%
Double Exposure Blackjack99.33%
Blackjack Surrender99.62%
21 Burn Blackjack99.40%
Atlantic City Blackjack99.5%
Spanish 2199.2%

Calculating RTP in Roulette

In roulette, the RTP calculation is straightforward and applies to various types like American, European, and French roulette. It involves the expected value of a bet, calculated as a possible win multiplied by the chance of winning.

For example, in European roulette, the RTP for different bets (e.g., red/black, split, column) is typically around 97.3%.

The additional pocket in American roulette decreases its RTP to approximately 94.74%, while the ‘en prison’ and ‘la partage’ rules in French roulette can raise the RTP to 98.65%.

Roulette VariantRTPHouse Edge
American Roulette94.7%5.3%
European Roulette97.3%2.7%
French Roulette98.65%1.35%

House Edge in Roulette

The house edge in roulette is the reverse of the RTP. European and French roulette, with a single green zero, has a house edge of about 2.7%, while American roulette, featuring both single and double-zero pockets, has a house edge of 5.26%.

These theoretical values may not precisely mirror real-life gambling events, as outcomes can vary greatly.

RTP in Blackjack

Blackjack typically has one of the highest RTPs among casino games, often in the region of 99.60%. This can vary based on the game variant and the player’s choices during the game.

Different blackjack variations, such as Single-deck, Multi-hand, Blackjack switch, Double-exposure, Blackjack surrender, 21 Burn, and Pontoon, have their unique RTP values, influenced by rules and gameplay specifics.

Blackjack Strategy and RTP

Blackjack strategy plays a major role in achieving the theoretical RTP. Basic strategy cards, often allowed at land-based casinos, and advanced strategies like card counting for experienced players can influence the game’s RTP.

Choosing the right blackjack variant based on its RTP and applying an effective strategy can significantly impact the outcome of the game.

RTP vs. House Edge in Blackjack

The relationship between RTP and the house edge in blackjack is critical for understanding the game’s payout potential. The house edge represents the casino’s long-term mathematical advantage, while the RTP indicates the expected ratio of wins to stakes.

The house edge can be calculated from the RTP using the formula: house edge = 100% – RTP. This understanding helps players make optimal decisions about their betting strategies to maximize their winning chances.

Comprehending RTP in table games like roulette and blackjack is essential for strategic gameplay. It involves not only understanding the theoretical returns but also how different game variants and player decisions influence these returns.

By mastering these aspects, players can enhance their gaming experience and potentially increase their chances of winning.

Online Platforms vs. Land-Based Casinos

Online casinos typically display the RTP of their slot games clearly, with many games having RTP percentages over 90%, and several even exceeding 95%.

This higher RTP in online slots is often attributed to the lower operational costs of running an online casino compared to its land-based counterpart. Online slots are also known for offering a uniform RTP across all casinos that host them, with few exceptions.

EnvironmentAverage RTPKey Factors
Online Casinos94% – 99%Lower operational costs, uniform RTP across platforms.
Land-Based Casinos70% – 92%Higher operational costs, RTP varies by machine and casino.

RTP in Land-Based Casinos

Contrarily, land-based casinos often do not disclose the RTP of their slot machines, making it more challenging to determine. The RTP in these settings can vary significantly, depending on the individual casino and the specific game.

For example, different casinos might offer varying RTP percentages for the same slot game. On top of that, the RTP in land-based casinos is generally lower than in online casinos, rarely exceeding 92%.

Estimating RTP in Land-Based Casinos

Estimating the RTP in land-based casinos involves considering a few indicators. One method is to look at the coin denominations of slot machines. Higher coin denominations typically correspond to higher RTP percentages.

For example, penny slot machines may have an RTP of 88% to 90%, while $5 slot machines could offer 95% to 97% RTP. State Gaming Reports can also provide average payout percentages for different coin denominations in casinos within a specific state.

Challenges in Accessing RTP Information

Accessing RTP information in land-based casinos is significantly more challenging than in online casinos. While online platforms usually provide RTP details readily, land-based venues often keep this information private.

Players may try to contact casinos directly for RTP information, but this method rarely yields results. This lack of transparency contrasts sharply with the readily available RTP information in online casinos.

RTP Considerations for Players

Players deciding between online and physical casino play should consider these differences in RTP accessibility and levels. Online casinos generally offer higher RTPs with greater transparency, enhancing players’ ability to make good gambling decisions.

In contrast, land-based casinos present more challenges in determining RTP, often offering lower percentages. Understanding these differences can significantly influence players’ choices and potential gaming outcomes.

RTP: A Tool for Smart Game Selection

Understanding the Return to Player (RTP) in slots can significantly benefit players. By choosing slots with higher RTP values, players can increase their odds of winning.

High RTP games offer better long-term value for money, leading to extended playtime and improved bankroll management.

In addition, high RTP slots are advantageous when trying to meet wagering requirements for bonus offers, as they provide better chances of retaining money in your balance.

Impact of RTP on Online Casino Games

RTP is a core metric in online casino games, indicating the long-term payout potential. A higher RTP means a better chance of winning over time. For example, playing a slot game with a 98% RTP typically yields higher returns than a game with a 92% RTP.

Players should remember that RTP does not guarantee short-term results, and luck plays a significant role in individual sessions. Over a large number of spins or bets, results should align with the theoretical RTP.

Practical Tips for Using RTP in Game Selection

Players should consider the following strategies to effectively use RTP in their game selection:

  • Thorough Research: Scrutinize various platforms, focusing on their game RTPs, payout policies, and player reviews.
  • Game Exploration: Look for games with high RTPs but also consider their volatility and gameplay style.
  • Utilizing Bonuses: Use bonuses and promotions to extend playtime without significantly impacting the bankroll.
  • Setting Limits: Establish gaming limits for responsible and sustainable gambling.
  • Educating Yourself: Stay updated on RTPs and game volatility to enhance gameplay and returns.
  • Diverse Gaming: Explore a variety of games and casinos for a broader experience.
  • Mindful Gambling: Manage time and finances effectively for responsible gaming.

Different games and variants, including slots and table games like blackjack, offer unique RTP values. Opting for games with high RTPs, such as certain slots with over 98% RTP or blackjack variants, can improve winning potentials.

RTP as a Decision-Making Tool

Understanding and applying RTP knowledge in game selection is key for players. It helps in choosing games with better payout potentials, managing the bankroll effectively, and making better decisions about when and how much to bet.

This strategic approach to gaming can significantly enhance the overall casino experience, leading to more enjoyable and potentially profitable gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does RTP impact players over time in casino games?
RTP, or Return to Player, directly affects players over time by determining the percentage of wagered money returned as winnings. A higher RTP implies a higher likelihood of winning back a portion of their bets over an extended period.

What is the significance of RTP for casino players?
For casino players, RTP serves as a key indicator of a game’s potential fairness and profitability. It helps them understand how much they can expect to win back from their total wagers in the long run.

How do game mechanics influence RTP in casino games?
Game mechanics, such as bonus features and payline structures, can significantly influence a game’s RTP. These elements determine how winnings are calculated and distributed, thereby impacting the overall return to player.

Can a volatile game affect the RTP?
Yes, a volatile game can affect RTP. While RTP remains constant, high volatility implies less frequent but larger wins, impacting the actual returns players experience during their gaming sessions.

How does RTP change over a period of time?
RTP is a long-term statistical rate that doesn’t typically change over time. Actual return to players can vary in the short term due to game volatility and randomness.

What does RTP mean in the context of millions of spins?
In the context of millions of spins, RTP represents the theoretical percentage of total bets that will be returned to players as winnings. This long-term average is calculated over these numerous game rounds.

Is there a difference in RTP in a land-based casino compared to online platforms?
Yes, RTP often differs between land-based and online casinos, generally being higher in online platforms due to lower operational costs and other factors.

How accurate is RTP in a single session of play?
In a single session, RTP might not accurately reflect the actual return due to short-term variances and luck. It’s a long-term measure that becomes more accurate over many game rounds.

How does RTP vary across different slots games?
RTP in slots games varies widely, influenced by game mechanics, themes, and software providers. This variation allows players to choose games that best fit their risk tolerance and playing style.

What role do game providers play in setting RTP?
Game providers are responsible for setting the RTP of their games. They determine this rate based on game design, market standards, and their commitment to player protection and fair payouts.

Can game variance impact the effectiveness of RTP?
Yes, game variance impacts the effectiveness of RTP. High variance games may offer less frequent but larger wins, affecting the short-term experience of the RTP for players.

Leveraging RTP for Enhanced Gaming Outcomes

The Practicality of Understanding RTP

Understanding the Return to Player (RTP) ratio is not just a theoretical exercise; it’s a practical tool for improving gaming experiences.

RTP offers a snapshot of the potential returns from casino games, guiding players in making choices that can enhance their chances of winning.

RTP as a Decision-Making Tool

Knowledge of RTP empowers players to make better betting decisions. It allows for a strategic approach to game selection, whether in choosing high RTP slots for longer playtime and better returns or selecting table games with favorable odds.

Maximizing Gaming Outcomes

Utilizing RTP effectively translates into maximized gaming outcomes. Players who understand and leverage RTP can enjoy more rewarding gaming experiences.

This understanding leads to better bankroll management, longer gameplay sessions, and potentially more frequent wins.

Empowering Players Through Choices

RTP is a critical factor in empowering players. By providing a clear indication of a game’s payout potential, RTP enables players to make choices that align with their gaming goals and strategies.

Players are encouraged to actively use RTP as a guide in their gaming journey. By making smarter bets based on RTP, players can enhance not only their chances of winning but also the overall enjoyment of their casino experience.

The key is to continually educate oneself about the nuances of RTP and apply this knowledge to every aspect of casino gaming.

Daniel White

Daniel White, based in London, UK, serves as the dynamic Editor-in-Chief at With a sharp eye for detail and a deep understanding of the online casino industry, Daniel specializes in RTP analytics and player-focused content. His leadership has transformed the site into a go-to resource for players seeking the most rewarding online gaming experiences in Europe and beyond.