Probability in Games

There is a myriad of gambling games and casinos out there, and each of them is attached to wagers. These wagers are evaluated using the concept of probability. You’re probably familiar with casino-related terminologies, such as chance and odds. These terms are used interchangeably with probability. As a matter of fact, many gamblers think that probability is the same as chance or odds. Are they right? Lets us explore this in detail.

Probability and Chance in Gambling

Chance seems to be a factor in almost all gambling games. Whether you’re spinning the wheel or playing slots or baccarat, random chance will always be there. And yes, seasoned punters agree that there is no single casino game that is purely determined by skills and knowledge (mastery of the game rules). One thing you must know is that random chance cannot be measured, and many players seem to think that their knowledge of the probability of casino games is the same as predictive knowledge. At least this is an erroneous belief. Probability does not predict anything in gambling. For instance, if you’re playing roulette and you understand the probability of the results of your next spin, all you can have is more confidence about your subsequent spin, and everything that probability can offer stops there.

On the other hand, the house applies the theory of probability to predetermine the measure of acceptable risk (maximum) per spin. Casinos use odds to represent the risks they can accept, and each wager has its own odds. However, since random chance is what determines the outcomes of casino games, probability does not influence what will happen in the games. Remember, the odds of a game are not based on probability.

Probability and Odds

“What are the odds that it will happen?” This is a common question you hear people ask. Ironically, of the two (odds and probability), odds are the worst when it comes to making predictions. Take an inverse of any casino game probability and you must slightly lower the results to determine the game’s odds. Inverted probabilities are always slightly higher than odds, and the house can generate enough profits by paying you (a gambler) less. This keeps the business going. However, from the casino’s end, probabilities are less reliable than odds. The odds give the house an edge over the players by limiting the amount of acceptable risk.

Using Probability to Hit the Slot Machines

Have you ever watched the “National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation?” In this movie, the gambling fever overwhelms Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase’s character). While a losing streak hits Clark so hard, Rusty (his son) amazingly plays slots and takes home four cars. If Clark had known a thing or two about probability, his results would have been better, who knows? Let’s try to briefly discover the basics of the slot machines.

Typically, the strategy of winning a slot game is based on a few things: knowing the rules of the game, knowing the expected payout, debunking any myths associated with the slot machines, and understanding the probability of winning the game. Quitting at the most appropriate time is also a very important part of the strategy- and as seasoned players say, you have to back down when you are ahead. For instance, if you win $200, you can withdraw half of your winnings, and place bets with the remaining half. Do not deposit any more money into your account once you have lost the remaining half. Instead, call it a day.

In a nutshell, chance, odds, and probability do not mean the same thing in gambling even though they are used interchangeably. However, the good news is that there is no serious harm in taking all the three to mean one thing.