Math is the last thing you will expect to be used at an online casino and yet, the casino operators use math all the time to their advantage so why shouldn’t you?
It’s time to learn how to use math to your advantage in various casino games so you can turn the odds a little bit in your favor. Read this article to find out more about different math-based casino game strategies and what they involve.
How Do Online Casinos Use Math?
Online casinos like any other business need to make money somehow and stay on the market. Operators also use math to their advantage and before you learn how to get the upper hand, you need to first learn two very important concepts, house edge and RTP (Return to Player).
Contrary to many beliefs, the casino doesn’t make money only when a player loses. If that would be the case, the online casinos would fastly go bankrupt when high rollers win. Instead, the casino uses something called the house edge which represents basically a portion of every single bet that goes to the casino.
Let’s say for example that you play a slot machine with a house edge of 2% and you invest $1,000, that means that $20 dollars will go to the casino as a profit.
The house edge will vary from one casino game to another from as little as 1% in some slots and going as high as 25% for some other risky casino games. That’s why one of the simplest strategies is to always play casino games that have the lowest possible house edge.
Return to Player Percentage
If the house edge represents the casino’s gain, the RTP or Return to Player represents how much a gambler can expect to receive in return, in the long run, taking into consideration that house edge.
Going back to our first example with the $1,000 investment in a 98% slot machine, we can expect that over 1,000 games at $1 per spin, you can receive back $980 roughly, taking into consideration the $20 left for the casino.
In simple terms, RTP is the percentage left of the total bet, after you take into consideration the house edge. The advice is to play games with a higher RTP as possible because that would also mean a lower house edge.
Before we dive into various strategies for different games, it’s also important to mention three basic principles of casino games, probabilities, expected value, and volatility.
When you finally understand these concepts, you can finally understand how the game actually works and you start to rely less on pure luck.
Every single casino game has different probabilities for different events. For example, if you play with six-sided dice, the probability of landing on a specific number is of course 1 in 6.
Generally, card games like poker have small probabilities due to a large number of cards and combinations possible. Let’s take a five-card poker game for example where the probability of hitting a four-of-a-kind combination is 0.000240.
Professional poker and blackjack players know these probabilities and make their decisions based on them, estimating the odds of hitting a certain combination.
However, they are also interested in the EV (expected value) of a combination, or, to put it simply, how much money they can get from a certain event.
Let’s say that the dealer flips one coin and pays the player $1 for every time the coin lands on tails and takes $1 from the player each time the coin lands on heads. The expected value in this scenario is 0 because the odds are 1 to 1.
The probability of the coin landing on the head is equal to the probability of landing on the tail. This is considered a fair game because the player has no disadvantage but no advantage also.
Now, if we change the example a bit and we say that the dealer gives $1,5 each time the tails land but only takes $1 from the player when the headlands, it’s considered a worthy game because the gambler would expect to walk away with $25 after 100 rounds.
Just like the RTP, the expected value lets you know how much you can expect to lose or to win in the long run, taking into consideration the odds of that expected result occurring.
The Principles at Work
Depending on the casino games you chose to play, you can use less or more of the above-shown principles. When playing simple games like slot machines, there is not much you can do, you can basically just pick the games with the higher RTP possible and less volatility and hope for the best.
However, as you advance to table games like Roulette, Blackjack, or Poker where different bets have different odds of hitting and different payouts, you can start to take into consideration things like counting the odds or making decisions based on the expected value of a bet.
Of course, most of the strategies you will choose will roughly depend on your budget. If you are a high roller that can afford to bet on the lowest odds with the biggest percentages, more options are opened to you as you may eventually not only break even but also score some quite juicy wins.
However, casual players should stick to safer bets with more odds of hitting. Surely, these bets pay less since they have more chances of landing, but you will also lose less in the long run and it’s preferable to score multiple smaller wins than to lose large amounts of cash at once.
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