Understanding Gambling Odds

The Good, The Bad And The Odd

Gambling, whether it is done online or in a brick and mortar casino, revolves around odds and probabilities. Learning to understand the odds and probabilities, and what they mean to your online gambling session can dramatically impact your decisions regarding what to play, and how to proceed with your wagering. The definition of probability is as follows:

The odds or probability of winning is equal to the exact number of ways to win divided by the number of possible outcomes.

Sound complicated? While it can be confusing at first, breaking it down into bite sized manageable pieces can help you learn the concept, and once you get the hang of the concept, it is rather easy to apply to your gambling sessions. The first thing you need to learn is how to read the odds. They can be expressed in a variety of ways, including with the use of these modifiers: against, to, for, and in. To successfully apply the odds to your gaming session, you need to know what specific representation of the odds you are in fact looking at.

Lets start out with an easy to understand example. Consider a 6 sided die, that has a number on each of its six sides from one to six. Lets say you want to roll a 3. There is one chance in six that you will roll the three, and five chances in six that you will not roll a 3. Therefore, there is one way to win, and five ways to loose. The total amount of possibilities is six. Here are a few different ways that the odds of rolling a three can be written:

* The odds of winning are 1 in 6: one chance of winning out of six possibilities;
* The odds for winning are 1 to 5: one chance of winning and five chances of loosing;
* The odds against winning are 5 to 1: five chances of loosing and one chance of winning

As you can see, if you misinterpret the odds statement, you would have an incorrect perspective regarding the odds and probabilities of the game you are playing. You may see the odds represented like this: 1:5, or reversed, 5:1 depending on whether the odds are for winning or against winning. In a situation such as this one, it is pretty easy to determine which number represents the winning probability, and which number represents the loosing probability. However, suppose the odds were very close in nature, for example, when the odds for winning are 5:6, then the odds against winning would be 6:5. Seasoned players may understand the mathematical ratio right away, but it would be easy for a newbie to get it mixed up when the odds are very close. The easiest way to calculate the odds for winning any specific game is to divide the number of ways to win by the number of ways to loose. In our previous die example, it would be 1/5, which translates into 1:5.

The odds discussed above are true odds, which is not the figure by which the casino will payout as they must account for their profit, and hence pays winners at the house odds. House odds are slightly poorer than true odds, and take into account the house edge. The house edge can be anywhere from less than half a percent to over 6%. When you plan out your games and wagering limits, there is also the house edge to consider, and getting the house edge minimized as much as possible is a primary goal for achieving positive gambling results. Getting the house edge to its lowest percentage is accomplished through strategic play, which is often derived from various pieces of information, including the odds and probabilities of any given casino game.

Taking the time to research the odds, probabilities, games of chance, house edge, and payout percentages of any of the hundreds of online casino games may not be the highlight of your gaming session, however the information can allow you to formulate a game plan that minimizes the house edge and provides you with the most favorable odds possible. This can result in a higher success rate for your gambling results, and hence, can lead you to the highlight of your gambling excursions, the winning!!

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