You may recoil at the very thought of ‘maths’, but understanding the theory behind casinos needn’t be a chore.
And by understanding casino odds, you’ll be able to optimise your play and make better decisions.
Essentially, casino odds boil down to two things: the payout percentage and the house edge. Read on to find out just what these involve, and how you can use them to your advantage.
Put simply, the payout percentage is the percentage of cash that’s returned to players from their bets. The payout percentage will vary from game to game, so it’s good to check before you start playing.
Rather impressively, the payout percentage for most slot games is usually at least 95%. Some games even offer a payout percentage of above 100% – if you use an optimal betting strategy, that is.
To give you a better idea, imagine a slots machine at an online casino with a payout percentage of 96.4%. For every £100,000 that is wagered, casinos can expect to return £96,400 to customers. That equates to a £3,600 profit for the casino.
When researching the payout percentages of individual casinos, make sure the figures are based on independent audits. Most casinos and software developers publish their own payout percentages which have been internally assessed, but they shouldn’t be trusted.
For payout percentages that you can trust, check out the 123Casinos brand reviews.
When you say that something – or something – has an edge, you’re basically looking at its advantage over something else.
So, if an online casino’s slot games have a payout percentage of 97.6%, the casino’s profit is equal to 2.4% of total bets. This figure represents its house edge, and its advantage over the players.
Now for the good news: the house edge ranges from game to game. For example, while roulette is a fixed-odds game, the house edge can be dramatically reduced in games like blackjack and video poker. This is referred to as betting optimisation.
In blackjack, the house edge can be reduced to as little as 0.45%. How? Just by sticking to a basic strategy. Read all our blackjack tips and tricks for beginners here.
Many players flock to video poker because the house edge is traditionally quite low. But if you’re able to hone your skills and play a perfect game, you’re looking at actually beating the house edge!
Lastly, optimal betting in craps can greatly affect the house edge. Click here to find out how to improve your craps technique.
While some gambling games, like poker, are mostly skill-based, there are others which are based completely on luck. These are known as ‘fixed-odd’ games.
It’s an important distinction to be aware of. Because, while you can learn how to improve your game (and your odds!) with skill-based games, with fixed odds it’s all down to fate. So: don’t necessarily avoid fixed-odd games, but just be aware that you’re in it for fun – any money you make is just a bonus!
Examples of fixed-odd games include roulette, baccarat and online slots.