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Categorized | Games Editorial

Online Casinos: The Stats & Math Of Winning

Posted on August 16, 2017 at 9:58 am by Geek Legacy

play-593207_640It isn’t uncommon for people who don’t follow the online gambling industry to just claim that the games are all rigged, and players haven’t a hope of winning. Nothing could actually be further from the truth! All major online casinos are subjected to the same rigorous regulations as any other bookies or casino. This unannounced spot checks, thorough bookkeeping and above anything else total transparency with the code and programs used to run their games. Sure there’s always a house edge – however else could they afford to operate – but this varies enormously between games.

There’s a long history of mathematicians and scientists looking for ways to reverse the advantage towards the player. Some become very famous, with notable examples being Edward Thorpe who pioneered card counting in Blackjack (totally legal, just always contrary to ‘house rules’) and the MIT students who cracked lotteries before progressing onto Vegas.

So is it possible to use mathematics to enhance your chances of winning during a session at your favorite online casino? Most certainly, assuming playing slots isn’t your thing!

Why Games That Require Active Play Are Best

Blackjack is often regarded as the most player friendly game, but this is only really the case if you can calculate odds very fast and ideally also card count. Neither of these skills is easy to learn but given that blackjack has a mere 0.13% inherent house advantage, it’s not a huge mountain to climb. This is why blackjack croupiers are often the most talented and experienced employees in the pit, because they are skilled at calculating odds on the spot.

As for online play the blackjack game has to be performed in accordance to the advertised payout odds. It’d obviously be incredibly easy to rig the game which is why the software comes under such constant scrutiny. Whether or not card counting works with online games is a mute point – very few people who can genuinely perform it don’t believe it is possible, and that online blackjack is basically a random lottery. However, this doesn’t dismiss the fact that understanding odds can’t help but improve overall performance.

The same can also be said for video poker. Even though the game is played via a console and is fully automated, the odds play the same as they would when playing a real person. It is choosing when and how much to commit which is the real skill and must always be a pragmatic decision rather than an emotional one.

Craps offers a surprisingly decent 0.6% house advantage in the real world, but it is a game which has proven difficult to transfer to online casinos so far.

‘Random’ Games With Superior Odds

Next up and far and away more popular than either video poker or craps is roulette, enjoyed by millions worldwide thanks to its high speed and high reward style. Any player serious about having a chance to win during a casino session sticks to black/red which grants the house a 2.7% advantage on a 2:1 return. It’s advisable to try and avoid the American ’00’ wheels as they significantly increase the house odds of you busting out. Even though this is a simple premise, many roulette fans choose to instead play the tracks and bet on number combinations chasing the small chance of a big win. Most serious gamblers consider roulette a game of chance and play merely for entertainment.

As for the massively popular slots – the jury is still firmly out on how wise they are to actually play. Mathematically speaking they are simply designed to encourage players to lose money, but that being said they can – and do – now and again pay out amazing returns. Much like roulette, they are best seen as a form of casual entertainment as much as a way to maybe get lucky.

The Worst Odds?

By far and away lotteries are simply not worth spending your money on. Odds of winning any decent prize is often well in the hundreds of thousands to one. Going back to the MIT lottery scam, they detected a flaw in the mathematical logic which allowed them to create a system that capitalized on this mistake. The bad news is that it has now long been fixed!

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