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Understanding RTP (Return to Player): A Guide for Kiwis

  1. Online Casinos
  2. Understanding RTP (Return to Player): A Guide for Kiwis

Tried your luck playing online pokies or other online games? If you have, you’ve likely noticed the three-letter acronym “RTP” plastered around. So what exactly is Return to Player?

Basically, it’s the theoretical percentage of all money wagered that a casino game will pay back to players over an incredibly long stretch of time. It measures house edge – the casino’s built-in math advantage.

The higher the RTP, the better your chances of walking away a winner in the long run. Now, RTP alone doesn’t mean you’ll win every time. But understanding it and applying that knowledge gives you a serious edge in growing your bankroll.

This guide breaks down everything you need to know about RTP, why it’s a big deal in casino gaming, and how to use it to maximize your winnings.

RTP in Slot Machines

RTP in Slot Machines

Pokies are some of the most popular casino games in NZ and understandably so. Their RTP typically ranges from around 90% to 98%, which means for every $100 you wager, you can expect to get back roughly $90 to $98 on average over the long term.

However, RTP for pokies is not so straightforward and can be influenced by two major factors as we’ll find out below:

Game Design & Math Models

Each slot machine uses a specific mathematical formula that sets the odds of hitting winning combinations and jackpots. Modern video slots often have very complex math models with thousands of possible reel outcomes per spin.

Top developers like Aristocrat, IGT, and Konami hire expert mathematicians and programmers to create addictive yet profitable slot designs. They aim to make math models that give players just enough wins to keep them playing, while still maintaining a solid advantage for the casino.


This refers to the risk factor associated with a slot machine. Low-volatility slots tend to pay out frequently but in smaller amounts, while their high-volatility counterparts offer bigger but less frequent wins.

As a general rule, low-volatility correlates with higher RTP since the frequent (albeit modest) payouts offset the casino’s edge. Conversely, high-volatility slots are more skewed in the house’s favor to account for the prospect of larger jackpot paydays.

Popular High RTP Slots

So, what are some of the highest-RTP online slot machines available to Kiwi players? Below are a few standout examples:

Slot GameGame DeveloperRTP
Mega JokerNetEnt99%
Ooh Aah DraculaRealistic Games99%
Jackpot 6000NetEnt98.9%
1429 Uncharted SeasThunderkick98.5%
Blood SuckersNetEnt98%

Worth pointing out here is that while an RTP of 99% may seem unbeatable, remember that this is a long-term theoretical value. Your actual returns could vary significantly in any given session.

RTP in Table Games

RTP in Table Games

For casino table games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps, RTP tends to be higher than slots, but gameplay strategy becomes a major factor too.


This card game offers some of the highest potential returns, with RTP around 99.5% when using the perfect basic strategy (automating the mathematically optimal play for each hand situation). Even beginner techniques can yield RTPs north of 99%.

However, blackjack also allows skilled players to gain a legitimate edge over the house through advanced tactics like card counting. No wonder it’s such a casino staple!


For this classic game, the RTP depends on the wheel variation. European-style roulette has a single zero pocket so it returns around 97.3%. But the American twin-zero version reduces this to roughly 94.7%.

Experienced roulette players often employ statistical betting progressions like Fibonacci or Martingale to alternately increase or recoup wagers based on previous results. However, this can be extremely risky due to the swings.


One of the simplest casino games – baccarat – sports an RTP centered on around 98.94% to 99.04% for bets on Banker or Player. In this case, the casino holds about a 1% edge.

More complex Baccarat bets like Tie carry steeper house advantages up to 14.4%. So savvy players focus on the two main options while riding the streaks of this relatively low-volatility game.

Other Table Games

Craps offers some of the best odds in the casino, with pass/don’t pass bets carrying under 1.5% house edges and thus 98.5%+ RTP.

Video poker RTP typically ranges from 95-99.5%, depending on variation and paytable. Mastering optimal strategies can consistently yield over 99% RTP for games like Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.

As with slot machines, table game RTP figures are theoretical and won’t apply to individual short sessions. Your actual payback rate will vary based on many factors, including wager sizing, skill level, and casino luck.

How to Find RTP Information

Top-rated online casinos catering to New Zealand players are legally required to provide RTP data for all their real-money games. However, locating and verifying these details isn’t always easy.

Game developers

Your best source is usually the game developer’s website or data sheets. Companies like Aristocrat, Microgaming, NetEnt, PlayTech, and IGT post certified RTP info alongside other key facts about their slot machines and table game software.

Just beware that developers often produce specific game versions with varying RTP designed for different markets or operating requirements.

Online casino sites

Reputable online casino sites are meant to display RTP on their game menus or info pages. However, details may be incomplete or missing for some titles.

It’s a good practice to verify anything questionable directly with the developer or an independent testing agency. Misleading or inflating RTP figures would be illegal for legitimate casinos.

Third-party watchdogs

Over the years, review sites, gambling boards and player communities have become invaluable for fact-checking officially posted RTP values. Sites like The Pogg and Ask Gamblers are great for crowdsourced RTP data and slot/table game analyses.

Choosing High RTP Games

With a firm grasp on RTP and how to locate it, which casino games boast the highest overall return rates? For starters, if you’re into pokies, seek out low-to-mid volatility games offering an RTP in the 96-99% range from reputable developers like NetEnt, Microgaming, or Play’n GO. Simpler classic 3-reel or 5-reel video slots often deliver the highest payout percentages.

When it comes to table games, blackjack is among the most lucrative when utilizing a basic strategy. With a low house edge around just 1%, blackjack titles can offer some of the highest RTPs available.

European roulette also carries RTP around 97.3% which is respectable. But avoid American roulette with its lowly 94.7% returns whenever possible.

Keep in mind that RTP shouldn’t be your only consideration when choosing casino games. Volatility and overall entertainment value matter too. A 98% RTP slot may not be ideal if its high volatility means long dry spells between modest payouts.

Using RTP to Maximize Winnings

Using RTP to Maximize Winnings

While hardly a guarantee, choosing casino games with higher RTP does give you a statistical edge over the long run. But to truly maximize your winnings, you’ll need to combine RTP knowledge with solid bankroll management and other proven gambling strategies.

Bankroll management

Proper bankroll management forms the bedrock of any gambler’s strategy. This fundamental principle simply means risking only a small portion of your total playing bankroll on each single bet or session. Doing so ensures you maintain a reserve large enough to withstand those unavoidable losing streaks and swings in variance.

As a rule, advantage gamblers tend to risk a mere 1-2% of their bankroll per session. Casual players, on the other hand, can likely afford to risk a slightly higher percentage, like 3-5%.

Other winning strategies

Depending on the specific casino game, other strategic factors may come into play alongside basic bankroll management:

  • Perfect basic blackjack strategy reduces the house edge to under 0.5%
  • Card counting techniques can actually shift the edge in your favor for blackjack
  • Statistical betting progressions in games like baccarat or roulette
  • Optimal video poker strategy based on training tools and computer simulations
  • Slot machine strategies like playing tight games, bonuses, free spin management, etc.

Like we mentioned earlier, RTP data is just one relatively small piece of that overall puzzle, albeit an extremely important one for making smarter wagering decisions. Mastering it in combination with advanced game strategy and fundamentally sound bankroll management could keep you in the black over the long run.


What is Return to Player in casino?

“Return to Player” refers to the theoretical percentage a game will pay back to players over time. It’s a calculated metric that shows the house edge, otherwise known as the casino’s mathematical benefit.

What does a 80% RTP mean?

An 80% RTP implies that for every $100 wagered, players can theoretically receive around $80 in winnings long-term. Consequently, the house edge here is a substantial 20%.

How can I find out the RTP of a game?

Reputable online casinos in NZ have a legal obligation to provide RTP information openly for their real-money games. You can find it through in-game menus, dedicated casino website pages, or directly from the game developer.