Basic Math for Gamblers

When starting out at online casinos, many novice players are likely to purchase products that promise to help them "win", attempt to learn gambling systems or read advanced strategy books without any knowledge of basic gambling mathematics.

While having advanced knowledge or being able to say you know how to play using the Martingale Betting System may make you feel like a gambling pro, it's not really going to help you much if you don't know anything about odds.

So before you start, check out our article below and learn basic gambling maths and you can then graduate to complicated gambling systems and advanced strategy.

Understanding Odds and Payouts

Understanding how odds and payouts in casino games work is essential and to do this you need to look at the basic mathematical principles behind this so that you will be able to establish which online casinos games to play when visiting a casino.

The first thing you need to know in regards to casino gambling math involves payouts and odds. Payouts are the amount that you'll receive on a winning bet and they're determined by casinos. For instance, a single number wager in roulette pays out at 35-to-1; so if you put $10 on this bet and won, you would earn a $350 profit. Likewise, a high/low bet in roulette pays out at 1-to-1; if you put $20 on a high/low bet and won, you'd earn $20 in profit.

Odds are your chances of winning a certain bet. Keeping with the roulette theme, there are 38 numbers on the American roulette wheel and you have one chance of winning a single number bet; so your odds of winning the single number wager are 37-to-1. In the case of a two number casino bet, you have two chances to win out of the 38 numbers so your odds of winning are 18-to-1.

The great thing about being able to understand casino payouts and odds is that you can then calculate the house edge on your own for some games. In the case of the single number bet, where you have 37-to-1 odds of winning and you'll receive a 35-to-1 payout, the house is getting two free spins. And if you divide these 2 spins by the 38 numbers on the casino roulette wheel, the house has a 5.26% advantage over you.

Expected Value

Another very important gambling math basic is expected value. Simply put, expected value is how much money you can expect to win or lose over the long run by making a specific bet or playing a certain game.

To illustrate this point, let's use the pass line bet, which gives the house a 1.41% advantage (0.9859 expectation for you). So if you were to bet $5 on pass line 100 times, your expected value would be -$7.05 ($500 X 0.9859).

Almost all casino games provide an expected loss for gamblers over the long-term. The lone exceptions include some video poker games, poker (because you're playing against others) and blackjack (card counting involved). Seeing as how the odds are stacked against players winning over the long haul, many people question the act of gambling. However, it's still possible to beat casinos over the short-term so gambling remains an attractive pastime.

Gambling Strategy

While the casino holds an advantage in almost every form of betting, your odds of winning money (or avoiding heavy losses) improve when you use gambling strategy. Strategy basically involves making the most favorable bets and/or moves that minimize the house edge. For example, if you are dealt a 15 in blackjack and the dealer's upcard is 5, common gambling strategy advises you to stand on this number instead of hitting for another card.

In most casino games, there is a straightforward strategy where one move is always statistically correct in a given situation. And if you thoroughly understand payouts and odds, your gambling strategy will improve. However, some games like poker incorporate a psychological element into the equation.

Based on what casino games you are interested in playing, you'll want to learn as much gambling strategy for that game as possible. Gambling information is readily available all over the internet and even in the casinos themselves so there's no excuse for ignorance.