Understanding the odds

Casino games are all based on complex formulas that figure out odds and probabilities or the likelihood that an event will occur. While you do not have to be a math whiz to play casino games, you should still understand a little bit about how the odds work so you can place the best possible bets.

Let’s say, for example, that you decide to play live roulette. The probability that the little metal ball will drop on the number 8 on a European roulette wheel is 1 in 37 (1/37) because you have just one chance that the ball will drop on number 8 out of all of the 37 numbers. This means that the “true odds” of winning with a bet placed on the 8 are 36 to 1. The first number represents how many chances you have to lose a bet and the second number represents how many chances you have to win.

But never forget that casinos are in the business of making money. If the payout odds were also 36 to 1, the casino wouldn’t have any advantage over the players. The casinos solve this problem by offering “payoff odds” that are slightly less than the true odds. That is why payoff odds are also referred to as “the house advantage” and “the house edge.”

Many casinos offer payoff odds of 35 to 1 on the roulette wheel. The difference between the true odds and the payoff odds allows the casino to keep a bit of money on every wager, even including the winning bets. In American roulette, the house advantage runs at 5.26%, which is quite high for a casino game.

If you decide to switch over to a live blackjack game, you’ll be facing different probabilities and odds. For example, if you bet $10 and you get blackjack and win $15, you will win $3 for every $2 that you wager. That would make the payout odds 3 to 2.

Some casino bets have payoff odds of 1 to 1, which means that you win the same amount of money that you wager. Other bets offer payoff odds greater than 1 to 1, which means that you will win more than $1 for each $1 that you wager. Be sure to read all of the payout odds carefully before placing any bets.

Betting Tips

Place casino wagers that offer the lowest house advantage. A good rule of thumb is to only place bets when the house edge is 1.5% or less. A lower house advantage gives the players better odds of winning.

Bear in mind that the closer the payoff odds are compared to the true odds for a specific bet, the lower the house advantage and the more likely you will place a winning wager. Watch out for the word, “for” in payoff odds because it indicates that the house gets to keep your initial bet, even if you win.

Each online casino has its own specific payout odds and every legitimate internet casino will list those odds somewhere on the screen. The higher the house edge, the more money you are expected to lose. Also, the longer you play a casino game, the more money that you will likely lose.

  

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