Understanding the House Edge and Odds in Casino Games
Gambling might seem simple at first, and there are some aspects of it that are. The feeling that you get when you win big, for example, or lose big for that matter, is unbridled joy or dismay. It’s intense, but it’s not hard to understand.
Look just beneath the surface of casino game action, however, and you’ll start to see the complex mechanics of how they actually work. Their simple rules bely the complex, sophisticated design that has evolved over hundreds of years. Even slots, which are completely based on chance, have several mathematical ideas associated with them.
In fact, the entire mathematical theory of Probability was born out of a desire to win at gambling. French writer Antoine Gombaud asked his mathematician friend, who happened to be Blaise Pascale, to help him determine how likely different rolls were with a pair of dice.
We’re obsessed with understanding the core nature of the way numbers in casino games behave, and the idea of developing a foolproof betting strategy, that always sees you coming out on top if you play the long game, is irresistible.
It’s not actually possible to play a perfect game; there cannot, by definition, be flaws in the elements of chance that are present in casino games. But understanding different concepts in relation to these games can help you to play better, and knowing how they work will make them ultimately more enjoyable, whether you are playing offline or at an online casino in NZ Dollars or anything else. Two of the most important are the house edge and the odds of a casino game.
Definition of the Odds in a Casino Game
Odds are defined as the likelihood of an event occurring. If you’re betting on a horse race, the odds on each horse winning tell you what the chances are that it will be the first to cross the finish line. In casino games, the odds are used to describe what your chances are, statistically, of winning.
Definition of Casino Games’ House Edge
The house edge in a casino game is perhaps best described as the edge that the casino has over you when it comes to winning, or how much more likely it is that the house will win than you. Another way to think of the house edge is that it is the average profit that a casino makes, per bet that a player places.
For instance, a game with a house edge of 5% will yield an average profit of 5c for every dollar wagered, and returns the other 95c to players over time. You might be lucky enough to be the one who wins big and gets a far greater return, but the longer you play, the closer your losses will become to the house edge.
Interaction of the Odds and House Edge
Better odds mean a lower house edge, and a lower house edge means better odds. If it is more likely that the event of you winning will occur, it can be safe to assume that the statistical advantage that the house has over you is smaller.
By skewing the payouts that are related to the original bet, making the player bet before or after the dealer, or affecting the odds in another way, the house can increase its edge. You can do things to make it lower or even remove it all together, but it will never tip in the other direction; you’ll never have a statistical advantage to win over the house. That just doesn’t make any sense!