Is it necessary to comprehensively understand casino mathematics for a great gambling experience? Mercifully, the answer is no…but it does nonetheless help to add a basic grasp of things like odds and the house edge.
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The most important rule to follow when it comes to understanding casino mathematics is that the house always has the edge. Yes, it’s a cliché and no, it’s not a fun thought, but whichever way you look at it, these guys have got to stay in business!
As such, you need to take into account two things in order to make the most of your casino experiences – the house edge and the casino’s payout percentage.
The payout percentage of any given game refers to exactly how much of the money it takes is paid back to players as a minimum. The easiest example to illustrate payout percentage is the online slot, which in a case of most casinos offers a payout percentage of more than 90% – sometimes as high as 96%. This therefore means statistically that for every £100 paid in, it will pay out £96.
On a roulette table – the European variety – the payout percentage is 97.3%. So if the casino in question took £100,000 over the course of a weekend, it would pay out £97,300 to players and earn the casino £2,700.
Published and Verified?
It is almost unheard of these days the to come across a quality online casino that doesn’t prominently publish its payout percentages for each of its games/categories. However, just because it’s there in writing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate.
Whereas some casinos publish payout rates based on their own research and estimates, others call in third-party auditors to do it for them. Suffice to say, it’s the latter you should be looking for!
The House Edge
The term ‘house edge’ refers to exactly how much the casino in questions is likely to earn from any given sum wagered collectively. In the case of the example above, a 97.3% payout rate means a house edge of 2.7%. It might seem like a relatively small figure, but it nonetheless means that in a statistical sense, the house will always make money from its customers…ALWAYS!
In many instances, the odds in relation to any given game are fixed and therefore cannot be controlled or influenced by the player. Roulette is one example of a game where the odds never change, but there are various examples of other games where the way in which play is approached can have a marked impact on the house edge – craps and blackjack, for example.
Depending on how you hedge your bets with craps, you effectively have the ability to set the house edge anywhere between zero and 16.67%. This therefore represents a rare example where players do in fact have a rather big say on the house edge.
Certain blackjack strategies can also see the house edge reduced significantly to below 0.5%. As the same time, there are instances in Blackjack where the house edge is phenomenally high and certain plays should be avoided at all costs.
Technically speaking, video poker is one of the only games available where reducing the house edge below zero – as in giving the advantage to the player – is possible. Needless to say of course, this requires enormous skill and experience to master, but it is nonetheless possible and hugely popular with seasoned gamers.
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