Probability in Casino Gambling Games

A lucky man in a casino

Every game that can be played in a casino involves probability. When stripped down to its basic level, gambling involves a player betting that an outcome will or won't happen, and so will rely on probability to determine the outcome.

Whilst for some casino games such as slots or roulette a player has no influence over the outcome (the ball will land on a particular number no matter what the player bets on or how much luck they hope their lucky underpants will bring) for many other games like blackjack and video poker the outcome will fluctuate depending upon the actions of the player.

Understanding Probability can Increase Overall Chances of Success

One of the ways in which a gambler can be successful in an online casino or indeed any type of casino or betting game is to understanding how odds and probability affect the outcome of the particular game they are playing. When playing on a slot machine, it will not base future results on previous outcomes (check to make sure the machine you are playing is in a well-regulated jurisdiction to ensure fair play!) This means that what has gone before will have no bearing upon the probability of future outcomes. However, when playing a game such as blackjack, previous actions will have a determining factor upon the future outcomes... at least until the shoe is changed! This is because blackjack will only use a pre-determined number of decks in a shoe, and so once a card of a particular value such as an ace has been used and then discarded, there is a lower probability or chance of a player receiving an ace in a subsequent hand. This forms the basis of card counting in blackjack which has often been used to great advantage by players in casinos all over the world.

Knowledge is power, and understanding exactly how games function will lead you towards becoming a better player and enjoying more success when playing casino games. This is particularly important when playing in a high stakes casino where there is a lot of money at stake and you need to play at your optimal best in order to maximise your chances of winning it big.

What is Luck?

A concept which many players view as essential when playing in a land-based or online casino is that of luck. For many, an absense of luck means that they will be walking away not with the riches from the roulette table or slots that they hoped for, but instead will mean an expensive and unprofitable experience. So before sitting down to that game of blackjack, not to mention during it, players will wear their lucky underwear, conduct a superstitious ritual, offer up prayers... In fact, basically do anything which might bring them luck and good fortune in the casino and win them some money. Of course, when gambling for high stakes, players are likely to be even more anxious for Lady Luck to be smiling upon them due the the large sums of money at stake.

Luck, Probabilities and Skill in Casino Gambling

But what is luck? In reality, the outcome of the vast majority of casino games are based on probabilities rather than any element of player skill. Of course there are exceptions, with how a player plays their hand in blackjack or video poker for example having a significant effect on whether they win or lose. But for games with independent events such as roulette where future results are no indication of future outcomes, provided that there is no bias in the roulette wheel of course, it is all a matter of probability rather than luck or any other outside influence.

However many players, even professional gamblers and experienced casino veterans, cling to the theory of luck and the amazing powerful force of their lucky rabbit's foot or four leaf clover. Where the confusion often lies is that results often occur in streaks. Whilst for example the result of a roulette spin has the same 1 in 37 or 1 in 38 chance(depending upon whether playing European Roulette or American Roulette), that does not mean that a number will come up only once in 37 or 38 spins. Sometimes it will come up more than once, sometimes it will not come up at all. Those who bet on the right side of these streaks will win money and feel lucky, whereas those who bet on the wrong side and do not see their chosen numbers come up will curse their bad luck.

It is these streaks, sets of results and ability to sometimes come out ahead that make casinos and gambling so attractive and keep people coming back for more.