Myths of Casino Odds and The Math Behind Them

Regardless of wherever you travel to in the world, you’ll find that every person you meet will believe in a myth of some sort and certain superstitions. More often than not, these myths are made up to explain away an unexplainable phenomenon or something that the person cannot understand.

While some of these superstitions may hold water and have logical reasoning behind them, the myths and superstitions related to casinos and gambling often lack such backing evidence.

Don’t just take our word for it though, you can do the math yourself (if the results are not randomised)! Here are 6 popular casino myths that you can debunk with logic and math.

Myth: All Casino Games Are Rigged

Generally speaking, casinos have always been portrayed in a negative light, whether it’s your family warning you against losing all your money there, or if it’s shown in movies as a shady hideaway for antagonists. It was only a matter of time before ugly rumours such as these started spreading.

However, reality is often disappointing- no casino can ever live up to being the lawless dystopia it is hyped up to be. Casinos, like all other businesses, are subject to the law of the country they’re based in, perhaps even more stringently so, due to the infamous reputation of the industry- which means they are not allowed to blatantly cheat people out their money.

That said, there is a grain of truth in this myth. While casino games aren’t intentionally rigged to ensure players lose their bets, there will always be a house edge, or otherwise known as a house advantage in all games that ensures that the house will always win a sum of all bets placed.

Forget about the notions you had about dirty, underhanded dealers, and slot machines that only take and never give anything back- what you should do is bring out your calculator. A house edge is a certain percentage in a game that the casino will earn from a sum of every bet that was placed at a game. Hence, in a game with a higher house edge, players should expect to lose a higher number of their bets as opposed to a game with a lower house edge.

That doesn’t mean that players can never get to win any money from the casino however, over a shorter amount of time and a smaller number of bets, players can still stand a chance to bring home winnings- they just have to quit while they’re ahead and choose games with a lower house edge. Different games have different house edge percentages, and a few games with low house advantage are: – Blackjack: 0.3% – 1.2% – Craps: 0% (When betting on four or ten, five or nine, or six or eight) – 16.67% (When betting on any seven) – Pai Gow: 0.75% – 1.50%

Myth: A Win is Due Soon

Once again, this myth is not entirely untrue and is dependent on the reasoning behind why a player thinks a win is due soon. In most cases, players simply has a haunch that a win will be due soon because of results from past rounds, and this phenomenon is known as Gambler’s Fallacy.

The gambler’s fallacy, or also known as the Monte Carlo Fallacy, is a false belief that because of certain random events in the past, another specific event has a higher or lower chance of happening in the future.

For instance, when a fair coin is flipped, the chances of getting either heads or tails is 50%, and regardless of how many times one gets a certain result, the possibility of getting heads or tails in the next flip will remain the same. However, according to the gambler’s fallacy, if one flips five heads in a row, it would be believed that a tail would be due soon, or that heads are currently ‘hot’ and will continue to streak in the future, when the reality is that the chances of getting either still remains at 50%.

However, it is still possible for a player to calculate when a win would be due soon without resorting to the gambler’s fallacy. In games such as slot machines, this would be impossible, as the slot machines’ results are always spun at random and cannot be guessed, but in games such as Blackjack, players can apply card-counting techniques and from there, know when a win has a higher possibility of happening.

Here’s another bonus myth for you- if you thought card-counting was illegal, you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t. A tough skill to master, even though card-counting isn’t illegal, it is generally frowned upon in casinos, so it would be wise to card-count discreetly.

Myth: Casino Games are All Based on Luck

This myth is untrue in the sense that only some of the casino games are entirely based on luck- there are many other games that are only based on both luck and on strategy.

Games such as slots, for instance, is a luck-based game, as it is constantly generating randomised combinations, and the result it generates at the exact moment that you pull the lever or push the button would be the combination you get. Besides slots, to get a full set of matching numbers in Keno, or to roll two hard 8’s in Craps would take a tremendous amount of luck. There isn’t any kind of strategy you could utilise to ensure you have a higher chance of hitting a win- all players can do is to know the possibility of hitting a win and hope that when it’s their turn to play, they will win.

On the other hand, games such as blackjack and poker aren’t considered games that are entirely based on luck as players could apply certain strategies and techniques while playing to lower the house edge and ensure that they have higher chances of winning.

A great example would be blackjack- the house edge of which is typically very low to begin with, a mere 0.3% – 1.2%. If Blackjack was a game based entirely on luck, no amount of strategy would be able to increase or decrease those odds, but as it is, a player who does not use basic strategy could increase the odds by 2% or more.

Regardless of whichever game you prefer, all casino games have the element of luck in it, ensuring that despite one’s best strategies, there’s no guaranteed winner- which makes up part of the appeal of betting. It’s important to note, however, that even though luck is needed to win, skill and strategies are just as important to ensure even more wins in some wins.

Myth: Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Casino Slots

It’s easy to associate casino slots to inhuman machinery that is calculative and selective about how much is paid out, and how many times money is paid out.

However, as was mentioned before, slot machines are constantly generating thousands upon millions of combinations at every moment, and the combination that players get is the one that the machine generated at the exact same moment the player pushed the button.

Hence, all the myths you’ve heard, including needing to warm the coin up before inserting it into the slot to increase winning chances, pulling the lever instead of pushing the button to increase winning chances, slot machines going on ‘cold’ or ‘hot’ streaks, or that using the slot’s club card would decrease or increase the chances of hitting winnings, are all untrue.

If you need more proof to debunk these casino slot myths, you could also look up the term ‘RTP rate’, or Return-To-Player rate. Experienced players might recognise the term, as it is fairly commonly used both online as well as in landed casinos. The RTP rate, as you would imagine, is a percentage that shows how much of the total bets in a game would be paid back to the players. In other words, it is the opposite of the house edge rates. As you might be able to deduct, the higher a game’s RTP rate, the lesser the casino will earn, and the higher the amount of money that will be paid back to the players.

Casino slots’ RTP rates vary largely depending on the manufacturers, but typically, the RTP rates would range between 85% – 98%. A common misconception of newer players would be that, based on the RTP rate, they’d lose a set percentage of their bets. For instance, if the RTP rate of a game was 95%, players may believe that they would therefore be able to expect a 5% loss from their bets.

This assumption is untrue, simply due to the fact that the RTP rate is calculated based on a very large number of bets- hence if a player were to bet a small number of bets, it would still be possible for the player to win 100% of his/her bets back or lose it all and still have the results counted as part of the RTP rates.

When it comes to gambling, the role that is played by math and logic can often be overlooked, as both wins and losses are commonly attributed to luck. That’s not entirely true, however, as many of the myths noted here can be traced back to the truth and debunked by math. The next time you hear a rumour that does not seem to have logical reasoning behind it, take it with a grain of salt and fact-check before you believe in it!

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