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The Basics: Betting Odds Explained

Understanding Casino Odds

If you are new to online gambling and real money betting, you may have seen a lot of discussion about the “odds of the game”. It’s really important you understand how bets and odds work. By doing so, you will know how likely an eventuality is, and what you could potentially win.

Learning the odds of gambling online can get pretty in-depth and confusing. If you’re not a ‘number’s person’, it can be something you purposely avoid for a long time. We get it, and so have created a simple breakdown of the odds. If you make an effort to learn these, you will have the opportunity to win more money and garner more skills.

4 Things to Remember About Casino Odds

  • Betting odds tell you how likely an event could happen
  • They tell you how much money you could win
  • Every online casino has a built in advantage known as the house edge
  • On certain games, the house edge can be reduced

Every casino you play at online makes profit by having a built in advantage on every single game. Known as the house edge, this advantage is not very high and must have a balance between allowing the players to win satisfying amounts while allowing the house to make money. Most games have a house edge of less than 10% and the average casino bet has between 35% and 50% chance of winning.

No casino is trying to beat a player on every single wager made. In fact, with short term play, the odds are so close that everything is possible. If you’re wondering how casinos are some of the richest companies in the world, remember this. Games have nearly even odds, but when you couple in the thousands of nonstop players who are playing thousands of rounds every single day, this probability turns the low house edge into high odds of massive profit.

Taking things a step further, what this means for the player is that the longer you play any one game, the less likely you would be to make profit. Overtime, as you reach around 100,000 bets, you will see results that directly reflect the house edge.

What Are Odds

At the most basic level, well thought out betting gives you the ability to predict the outcome of an event. If it turns out to be true, you win. For any event, there are a specific number of outcomes. Take for example a roll of the dice. When you role one dice, there are six outcomes. If you bet a person rolls a three, there is a 16.67% chance that it will hold true. So, betting odds present how likely the event will happen. At online casinos, you may see odds written in fraction or decimal form. Let’s take a look at the differences.

Decimals vs. Fractional Odds

Neither one is better than the other. However, you will more than likely see decimal odds. Decimal odds are easier to read and understand. They are less intimidating and more attractive to bettors. More importantly, fractional odds only represent winnings. Whereas, decimals include the return stake.

Using Fractional Odds to Calculate the Probability of Winning

When you see numbers that are separated by a slash such as 10/1, this is a fractional odd. You can use this to calculate the likelihood of an event with this simple mathematical equation: (%) = B / (A+B).

Let’s use 9/1 in replace of A/B.
9/1 can be calculated as 1 / (9 + 1) = 0.10 – There is a 10% chance of the event happening.
Let’s use 1/1 in replace of A/B.
1/1 can be calculated as 1 / (1 + 1) = 0.50 – There is a 50% chance of the event happening.

Easy, right? Now with that simple math, you can figure out how much money could be won using those odds. Using the same example as above; 9/1 in replace of A/B. For every value of B that you bet, you win A, plus the return of your initial bet.

9/1 for every $1 you bet, you win $9.
1/1 in replace of A/B
1/1 for every $1 you bet, you win $1.

Using Decimal Odds to Calculate the Probability of Winning

You will see decimals on a lot of casinos online, such as Betway and other sportsbetting sites. The calculation to work out the odds using decimals is as follows: winnings = (odds * stake) – stake. It’s simple.

9.0 can be calculated as (9.0 * $10 stake) – $10 stake = $80 in winnings.

1.35 can be calculated as (1.35 * $10 stake) – $10 stake =$3.50 in winnings.

Understanding Short Term Play

We mentioned above that players who actively take part in short term play will have better odds of winning more money in the long run. Let’s touch base on that. Some call it “cheating” the house edge because essentially you are aiming to minimize your overall betting and allow variance to work in your favour. If you’re playing a roulette game with a house edge of 0.5% and you place a double or nothing bet on red for $100, you will not lose $50. Rather, you will lose $100 or double your money with $200. Because the odds are 49.5% in your favour, you almost have a 50/50 chance of winning. In this case, you either land on red or land on black. Remember, we’re just using examples here, so that same $100 could be $1 and the same thing holds true. What the point is that through limiting your overall wagers, you increase your chance of gaining profit. How much your bet should be depends on how much money you can afford to lose. Yes, you read that right. You should always play with the idea that you could lose. If you really do want to win money, quit while you are ahead.

Understanding the Grind

The grind is a gambler's worst nightmare, or almost. When you get stuck in the grind, you basically wind up broke because you placed too many bets. The grind happens because a lot of new gamblers don’t realize that the house edge applies to the amount of money you bet and not the entire amount in your casino account. With this assumption in mind, they play the lowest house edge games like blackjack and for an extended amount of time. Eventually all wagers combined exceeds the amount of money in your bankroll. The amount of bets you make over one hour will most likely be more than the amount you originally intended to gamble with meaning the losses will eventually exceed the bankroll. How do you avoid the grind? You play games with the lowest house edge and limit your bets.

Casino Games with the Best Odds

Now that you know the basics of casino odds, you’re probably eager to find what the games with the best odds are. The house edge will vary from game to game; you can often find the payout percentage on the website. In general, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video poker has the best odds. If you play with skill, you can lower the house edge to 0.5%-1%.

As exciting as that can read, learning how to maximize your gambling odds takes a lot of effort on your part. You will need to study hard and practice harder, plus once you’re playing, mistakes cannot happen. In general, the average player does not gamble like this, so they are playing with a house edge of 2%-4%. Certain games like progressive slots or even select bets such as some of those in craps can have a house edge of 8%-15%.

Keep in mind:

Final Thoughts

Every gambler will have their own system of betting and odds. Some are perfectly capable of playing for hours and never going broke. Some play risky bets and others will be extremely cautious using variance to their fullest advantage. If you are a recreational player and lack a solid understanding of all the fine details that make up gambling, we say enjoy your time, take it easy, make small bets and go slowly. This maximizes your play and could only cost you a couple of dollars every hour for lots of fun and entertainment.

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