What is RTP?

If you’re a fan of slots and gambled at least once in your life, chances are you’ve heard of the acronym RTP before. Simply put, RTP, or Return to Player is the definition casinos use to show the value or percentage a casino game will eventually pay back to its players, over a large period of time, from all of the wagered money in a casino game or a slot.

Know Your RTP and Keep Getting BetterAt least in theory, the larger the RTP is, the more chances a player has to win over time. If the RTP is 100% for example, the player has equal chances to win as does the casino, or the slot machine. In some rare occasions, the RTP can actually go above 100%, which translates into the casino losing money to the players.

Let’s say you play a slot and make 100 $1 bets. The RTP shown is 95%, and as simple math would suggest, you’d expect to win back about $95, right? Well, no. In reality, RTP is calculated for the long term, and most RTP’s refer to the entire life of the slot machine that you play on. You can be witnessing anything really in the short term, so yes, bet only the money that you can afford, and only if you’re ready to lose them.

Also, before we dig deeper into it, remember that RTP is the exact opposite of another famous casino notion. We’re referring to “House Advantage”, which displays the exact opposite of RTP. While RTP focuses on the potential winnings of one player, House Advantage shows the casino’s advantage in the relationship with the player. RTP is the inverse of House Advantage, to summarize even further.

RTP Value Location

All the online casinos are obligated by the law to show you the RTP of their slots or other online games. It should take you little time and effort in order to find the Return to Player value of any game that a particular online casino offers. Most RTP is available in the Help Section of the slot or casino game.

Examples:

  1. Ladbrokes: in order to find the RTP for any slot on this platform, or any other game, all you have to do is to click on the icon that looks like a little tool on one of the corners of the screen. Once you do that, you’ll land on a second window where you’ll find a lot of options to choose from. Simply click on the guide of the game, and then find and click on the RTP ratio. That should display the ration for you in an instant.
  2. Betfair: similar to the Ladbrokes system, on Betfair there’s also a tool shaped icon in one of the corners of the gameplay window, usually in the top right-hand corner. Click on it and then search for the RTP in the Help menu, and you should easily see the ratio displayed.

Going deeper: RTP and EV

Now that we understand the mechanics of RTP and also where to find the value of the Return to Player on any given slots, we can further investigate on how to increase our chances of beating the house, the ultimate goal of any gambler. How does the player use this information to see if an offer or promotion is good and worthy of his time, money and effort? This is all achievable by calculating what gamblers call the Expected Value.

In order to calculate the Expected Value or EV, all you have to do is to subtract the wagering times House Edge from the Bonus that any particular game offers.

EV = B – (W x HE)

The information you need to gather before starting the calculations is composed off of the bonus value, the wagering needed in order to be able to withdraw the won money and the RTP of the game or slot you’re about to play.

Let’s say that a casino has a great sounding offer for new players: you deposit $10 and get $50 at a 24x wagering minimum for the bonus. With the information provided by the casino alone, you already know the following important things: the bonus is $50, the wagering is then $50 times 24, the number of times the money needs to be rolled before withdrawal, so $1200. After gathering this piece of intel, you simply need to look after the RTP of the game, which will tell you if the slot is really worth your time or not. If the EV is positive, you can go ahead and play.

Slot example: Pirate Princess

The RTP for Pirate Princess is 93,88% which sounds pretty good. If a player were to actually complete the wagering and roll 1200 bucks in the slot, then the player would expect to lose about 6,12% of his total income or the amount wagered until the final 24th roll.

If you go ahead and calculate the Expected Value for this particular slot, considering the bonus and the formula above, the EV for Pirate Princess would be -$23.44. This means that the offer is not to be considered, because you’d simply lose too much money before ever being able to complete the wagering and withdraw any earnings.

As a general rule, only go for games that have an RTP value of 95% and above, which will turn out to be EV positive in the bonus scheme described above. Use the method described in the article to look for the RTP and if you stumble upon a game that is 95% RTP or higher, calculate the EV and it will most likely turn out to be positive. That’s the game you should be investing your time and money in!

Conclusions

As stated at the beginning of the article, the RTP is calculated for rather long periods of time, so as always, only bet the money that you are sure you can afford to lose when playing these games. Do your math on the Expected Value ratio and look for a positive one if you’re really getting ready to gamble more seriously. And as always, if you’re starting to feel like your gambling is turning into an addiction, seek professional help immediately.