We all know that the every casino game we play has a set of mathematics rules that affect the outcome. Of course, there are always a few players who maintain that the shorts they are wearing or the rabbits foot they are holding affects the outcome of their games for the day, but deep down even they know that the only thing that affects the odds are the gods of mathematics.
The whole casino industry is based on these principles and each and every game has been studied extensively to ensure that the odds are fair, that players have a reasonable chance of winning, and that the same odds apply in a consistent manner.
For this reason there is a lot of information available to any player if they wish to research their chances at a particular game. We have put together a brief overview of the various types of games and how the odds work for each type.
What is a House Edge?
The House Edge is the advantage the casino has in any game. The House Edge changes from game to game, and there are some games where the edge is very low. As an example, we can take a look at Roulette. On a Roulette wheel you will always see a zero pocket, or in American Roulette both a zero and a double zero pocket. If the ball lands in the zero pocket, or pockets, all bets go to the house. In this way, the casino ensures that at least some of the time they will be winning, thereby keeping the game profitable, but also fair to all the players betting.
Games of Chance
As discussed above, Roulette is a game of chance, and casinos will use a single or double zero pockets to ensure there is an advantage. There are a few other games that have a similar structure but where there is no clear House Edge. For example, Craps is very similar to Roulette, except that the outcome is dependant on a roll of the dice, instead the spin of the wheel.
Each of the various locations on the Craps table have different odds, with the least likely dice throws resulting in the highest wins. In this case, rather than having a spot on the table where the house wins, the House Edge is instead based on the fact that the odds are low for given plays, but players will still play them. Games of pure chance essentially rely on human behaviour to be profitable.
Games of Skill and Chance
These are a complex category of games, as in this case the skill of the player directly affects the outcome of the game. When playing Poker or Blackjack a random number generator will ensure that the odds are fair to both the casino and the players, but how you choose to play the game can affect the outcome. Casinos ensure that the odds are in their favour by sticking to one simple strategy, as mathematics has shown to do, so all plays will eventually even out over the long term. However, everyone that plays the games employs a different strategy and for much shorter periods of time, so once again human behaviour comes in to the equation. If every single person playing Blackjack was an expert at the game and understood the odds, casinos would be in trouble!
Slots are one of the few casino games where the House Edge is most clearly defined. Because the game is reliant on a computer program to generate possible spins and outcomes, the games need to be programmed to include what is called “return to player (RTP)” ratio. At online casinos, the average RTP is usually about 98%, which means that of all the money spent on the game, the game will pay back 98%. Of course, it may all be paid back to only one individual, which would be a pretty big win.
As a result, casinos can arrest assured that they will be making back at least 2% profit on the game, and players are happy that they stand an equal chance to be the one person who takes home the huge wins.
Many experienced players have a strategy that they employ when playing their favourite casino games. Those who aren’t so experienced sometimes think that a strategy is a way to beat the odds, but in reality it’s just a way to take advantage of them to the best of your ability. For example, no matter how good your strategy, you can’t predict the exact outcome of a Roulette game. However, if you play carefully you can minimise your losses and over a consistent period you can maximise your wins. Every strategy is only as good as the person using it, so practice before you play!