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An Overview of Gambling Mathematics

Most online casino games are entirely mathematically based games of chance, in which a grasp of basic probabilities can help a player make wagering decisions that can result in profitable play. Understanding the likelihood of a given event gives a gamer the edge in placing the bet based on that likelihood—meaning, in short, that some basic math ideas can make the gaming more gainful.

The most complex mathematical analysis of games would fall under the category of “card counting,” which is actually considered an illegal application of mathematics to a game like Blackjack, and can earn a player a one-way ticket out the casino’s door. Clearly that is not a practicable application of math to the gaming environment, but some more straightforward assessments of probability can be useful to a player of Roulette, craps, slots, and other games where chance (or probability) is involved.

At a basic level, consider the probabilities involved in a game of roulette. A player can wager in several ways, including placing a bet on a specific number where the ball will land on the wheel, or the color (red or black) on which the ball will land. This type of approach doesn’t take a higher education in math to realize that a player has a substantially greater chance (one in every two spins) of predicting the color correctly than the number (one in thirty-six). The player who wishes to bet more conservatively will choose to wager based on the factor which offers a greater chance of correct prediction—namely, the color. By the same token, however, a correct prediction (and correlating wager) on the basis of color does not pay out with as drastic a win as a correct prediction and wager based on the harder-to-hit number, which is why many players are tempted to go for the tougher (but more lucrative) score with a bet on the number itself. The choice, as always, is up to the individual player, but an understanding of the mathematics and mechanics can help that player to make the wagering decisions.

An important element of mathematical probabilities for any gamer to understand, whether that player is engaging in slots, craps, roulette, or any other game of chance, is the concept of random results in chance-based games. Urban myths (and even most people’s intuitive “understanding” of how things work) suggest, for example, that a slots machine that hasn’t paid out for a while is “due” for a win, or that a streak of red wins at the roulette wheel indicate an upcoming black win is “due.” In actual fact, the random nature of both slots spins and roulette means that every single spin has exactly the identical chance of turning up any particular result. A roulette wheel that has landed on red for ten spins in a row is still just as likely to hit “red” on the next spin as black. The probability is exactly fifty percent on each spin, regardless of the result of the previous spin or spins. That single fact alone may be the single most important mathematical concept for a gamer to grasp. Don’t wager on your intuition if the math is a sounder practice. Try your luck at Spin Palace or JackpotCity, which boasts over 450 casino games!.