Fixed-Odds & Skill Games

Some say getting it right with online casinos is all about luck. But then again, just as many will tell you it comes down to the skills of the player. In reality however, they’re both right – some casino games come down to luck and luck alone, while others you have plenty of influence over if you have enough skill.

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Contrary to popular belief, it’s rare to come across a gambler who actually understands odds and how casino maths really works. Instead, you’ll find plenty of people gamble in accordance with gut feelings, some cross their fingers and leave it all in the hands of Lady Luck and then there are those who will try and convince you that they’ve figured out a winning strategy for pretty much every game across the board.

The thing is, there’s nothing to say that you have to understand the deepest complexities of mathematical odds and the like in order to enjoy gambling. Just as long as you know how to gamble responsibly and have a great time in doing so…after all, gambling is supposed to be about having fun – NOT making money.

That being said however, there is much to be said for at least having a basic grasp of the facts, in order to ensure you make the best possible decisions along the way.

Skill Games

There are plenty of casino games where the knowledge, experience and skill of the individual in question will have a marked impact on their likelihood of success. Nevertheless, even in games where there is a degree of skill involved, much of what happens also comes down to luck…or a distinct lack thereof!


Poker is in every respect an entirely different creature that pretty much every other casino game across the board. The reason being that when you play poker, you play against other people – real human beings, rather than a casino with a guaranteed advantage. If you lose, your money is transferred to the players at the table in accordance with who wins. If you win, it’s the money of the other players that goes in your pocket. In essence, the house has no bearing on things.

In terms of luck, the fact that you have no control whatsoever with regard to which cards get dealt to which players means that luck really does play an enormous part in every poker game. But at the same time, there’s an incredible degree of psychology, mathematics, patience, practice, memory and skill in general involved in playing poker at the highest levels.

In poker, relying on luck alone is a guaranteed strategy for failure.

Sports betting

The fact that sports betting represents such a gigantic global industry clearly illustrates the fact that millions of people do not in fact know quite as much as they think they know. Sports betting is all about combining knowledge and experience with a knack for predicting outcomes. Some have accumulated incredible fortunes with sports betting – others have lost everything.

While there are so many indicators and measures that can be used to help determine the outcome of any given sporting event, history has shown that it is fundamentally impossible to get it right every time. As such, skill does indeed play a significant role, but at the same time so does blind luck.

Bet Optimisation

Two of the more interesting casino games are craps and blackjack – interesting because it is in fact possible to play in a manner where the house edge is statistically reduced. These are of course two examples of games where luck is perhaps the single most important determining factor, but by developing an optimised betting strategy through experience and research, it is nonetheless possible to ensure the odds aren’t stacked quite so badly against you.

And if you’re good enough, one of the few casino games in existence where beating the house edge entirely is possible is video poker. The very nature of video poker is such that the house edge is usually very small anyway – the right strategy can tip the balance in favour of you, the gamer!

Luck Games

When you hear a casino-type talking about fixed-odds games, this is basically just a fancy term for luck games…as in games where there is absolutely nothing you can do to affect the odds of winning. Once again, the key to ‘succeeding’ with these kinds of games therefore is to remember that they are played purely for fun – not with the intention of making money!


The perfect illustration of the game where there’s absolutely nothing you can do about the odds is roulette – the American and European versions alike. You can of course hedge your bets strategically to improve your odds with each spin, but in terms of the actual odds attached to each bet made, they are fixed and cannot be changed. As such, and contrary to the claims of so many, devising a system whereby roulette wins can be guaranteed is absolutely impossible.


Likewise, it may be one of the most popular casino games of all, but aside from ensuring you don’t do anything completely stupid, baccarat is 100% a game of pure luck.

Online Slots

Last but not least, one of the most misunderstood casino games of all when it comes to luck and skill is the virtual slot machine. Even when so many gamers believe they understand how it all works, most of the time they are entirely mistaken.

The simple fact of the matter is that as pretty as they may be, the symbols on the screen do not in fact mean anything at all. Instead, whether or not you win a penny is decided in its entirety by random number generator behind the scenes. And what’s more, there is in fact no such thing as a virtual slot that is ‘due to pay out’ having not given out a dime for a given period of time.

If for example the odds of striking it lucky with any given slot machine are one in 50, this means that every time you spin, these are your odds. What it most certainly doesn’t mean is that if the person before you spins 49 times without a win, you are almost guaranteed success within the next few spins. Each and every spin with an online slot machine represents a unique and independent event, with the same odds as every spin before and every spin after.

Persistence with slots may eventually lead to wins, but given the fact that the payout rate will of course be less than 100%, the house always wins, sooner or later!

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