Why Opening CSGO Cases is a Terrible Investment

Opening CSGO Cases Loses You Money

CSGO case openings are very popular. People buy CSGO Keys all the time to open cases, hoping to get a high-valued item from their case. The cost of a key and a case is pretty cheap at first glance. Each CSGO Key is about $2.50 Market, or you can buy them for $2.39 on Cases range in value from as little as $0.04 each (Chroma Case, Falchion, etc.) to as much as around $10.00 USD. Each case requires both a case and a key to open it. Therefore the price of opening each case is:

Price of Key + Price of Case = Case Opening Price

For example, a Chroma Case would be:

USD - $2.50 + $0.05 = $2.55

And the price of opening a Bravo Case would be:

USD - $2.50 + $9.65 = $12.15

Now, what would you expect the average payout to be each time you open these cases? It’s very difficult for the average person to tell. That’s because there are certain “ultra rare” items that everyone is looking to open, which are worth a lot of money. If you open one hundred cases and you get a ST Karambit Fade FN on your last case, it will be the difference between a terrible return and an amazing return.

Still, you’d expect the average return on investment (ROI) for these cases to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of what you spent. Maybe not 100%, but you would expect it to compare to other games of chance. Perhaps 90-95% return on investment on average, like many casino games (Roulette, Blackjack, etc.).

To calculate return on investment, you just do the following simple equation:

[Market Price of Skin Opened] divided by [Case Opening Price] = ROI


If you open a Chroma Case and find an M4A4 | 龍王 (Dragon King) Field-Tested, worth $5.11 on the Steam Market, then your ROI is:

$5.11 / $2.55 = 2.00 or 200%

Well, you’ll be surprised to hear just how low the returns actually are for all Cases in CSGO. In this research paper written by Michael Leddy, the author collects thousands of data points for each case opening to calculate a very reliable average ROI for each case. To calculate the average return on investment, you just take the average ROI for each different type of case you open.

The results are staggering. It turns out the ROI for all case openings is well below 100%. No case opening produces a higher return than 100%, so there is no case that you can expect to earn a profit over the long term. Obviously you can still get lucky in the short term and beat the odds, but the numbers show how bad a gamble it really is to open cases. The data in the graph below gives the details (courtesy Michael Leddy):

Of all the cases available, the one which produces the best return on investment is the CSGO Weapon Case 2 at around 66%. That means if you spend $100 to open Weapon Case 2 cases, you can expect to earn about $66. Not great. But it gets much worse. Chroma 2 and Chroma Cases have an expected ROI of just under 25%! That’s terrible. You should only expect to get about 25% market value from your investment.

On average you can expect to earn around 35-40% on each case you open in CSGO. Only expect to make half your money back on CSGO Weapon Case 2 and 3. Long story short, it makes much more sense to buy CSGO Skins directly than to risk your money opening cases. If you like the thrill, it’s better to take your money to a local casino where you can earn over 90%!

This gets even worse when you realize you can buy CSGO Skins BELOW Market Prices on third party websites like So you can buy a Skin that costs $10 for about $8-9 USD. As for case opening sites, expect their payouts to be just as bad, possibly worse than the Steam official cases. These sites rarely ever reveal their payout ratios, and have every reason to pay out as little as possible. Beware advertised payout ratios, unless you can see solid proof of their legitimacy.

In conclusion, so long as you understand the expected payout ratio, then opening cases is fine. Some people are willing to pay extra for entertainment, and opening cases can be entertaining. But some people truly expect to make a profit by opening cases, and that’s just the wrong way to think. All cases have a negative expected value (EV). If you want the best bang for your buck, it’s always better to just buy a skin directly.

  Written by R2Pleasent
  Posted 3 years ago

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