Understanding The Odds

Gambling, both in person and online, is a quickly growing market. While this is generally good news for casinos and players alike, it might be rather less so for new users. It is easy to get lost in the flashing lights and adrenaline-fueled gameplay. However, remaining alert and remembering the odds are important aspects of successful play. New players often don’t have the knowledge needed to keep them focused and to enable them to make informed betting choices. 

Our team has decided to create an easy-to-follow resource to help users understand what betting odds are and how to use them to make smart wagers that pay off.

How do odds work?

Odds allow users to predict the outcome of a particular event. Almost every decision that people make is determined by weighing the odds of attaining a favorable outcome with the choices with which they are faced. The same is true in gambling. Players who understand the odds and how to use them to their favor are generally more effective bettors than those who do not. The overarching takeaway is that odds provide a measure of multiple factors that impact gameplay to develop an estimate of the likelihood of winning a particular game. They also provide an insight into how much players stand to win.

The house edge is another critical element of understanding how odds work. Casinos remain in business by profiting from their customers. They do this by building an advantage into their games in order to win more often than not. This doesn’t mean that players never win, of course, or even that casinos have a particularly high advantage. Most house edges in games are 10% or less and allow players to still have decent odds of making a successful bet, but it is important to maximize those chances with a thorough understanding of gambling odds.

What types of odds are there?

Fractional odds and decimal odds are the two main types of odds most commonly at play. Fractional odds are written using fractions that represent what players win depending upon what they bet. 

Players facing fractional odds can calculate the likelihood of an event (win) by using the equation:

  • (%) = B / (A + B)

A fractional of 9/1 results in a 10% probability using the equation above: 

  • (%) = 1 / (9 + 1)
  • (%) = 1/10
  • % = 0.10

Decimal odds are similarly easy to work through. The equation to use them to determine probability is:

  • Winnings = (odds * stake) – stake

A 9.0 decimal, then, with a $10 stake can be calculated as below:

  • Winnings = (9.0 * $10 stake) – $10 stake
  • Winnings = ($90) – $10 stake
  • Winnings = $80

Roulette odds

Roulette ball rolling at a roulette table currently on number 0

American roulette and European roulette each have their own set of odds. In American roulette, the house edge on the majority of bets is 2/38, or 5.26%, while the edge in European roulette is 1/37, or 2.70%. The percentage is found by dividing the number of zeroes on the roulette wheel by the total number of slots. American roulette wheels have two zero spaces and 38 total slots, hence the 2/38 fraction. European slots only have one zero and 37 total slots, hence the 1/37. 

  • Dozen or column bets pay 2 to 1.
  • Two-row six-line bets pay 5 to 1.
  • Four-number corner bets pay 8 to 1. 
  • Three horizontal-number street bets pay 11 to 1.
  • Straight-up bets on any singular number pay 35 to 1.

Note that playing American roulette will offer slightly poorer odds with the payout guideline above. Single-number bets, for example, are 2.63% probable for American roulette players and 2.7% probable for European roulette players. This might not seem like a big difference, but every difference counts when looking for a big win. 

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Texas hold ’em odds (poker)

Playing Texas hold ’em is fairly straightforward once players find their feet. The percentage of a player’s chance to win based on what is on the table and what is in their hand is calculated using the number of cards still in the deck that can help them improve their hand (also known as ‘outs’). 

A player holding a nine of spades and a queen of spades while facing a board containing a jack of spades, a five of clubs, an ace of diamonds, and a two of spades, for example, can calculate their chances of winning by using the following equation:

  • The number of cards in any given suit minus (the number of spades on the board plus the number of spades in your hand).
  • 13 – (2 + 2) = 9

The player in question has nine outs. 

Blackjack odds

Blackjack offers players arguably the best winning odds. However, they must have basic blackjack strategy knowledge and the self-discipline to stick to it. This is especially important with blackjack because the game rules can differ slightly from house to house. Pay attention to how much value – not how many cards – your hand contains when deciding to hit or stay. Once a hand hits 15, the odds of busting increase dramatically with each incremental increase.

Slots odds

Slots are fun to play but generally offer some of the worst odds possible. Vegas players, for example, might face a house edge of 27%. The best way to play is to first locate the RTP (return to player) for the game in question. This is usually included in the rules screen or paytable menu. Subtract the RTP from 100. The result is the house edge. An RTP of 73%, for example, equals a house edge of 27% (100 – 73 = 27).

The house edge is the most important factor in calculating slots odds. Wins and losses are random and depend on the RNG (random number generator) favoring you.

What casino game has the best odds?

Craps, blackjack and baccarat have the best odds. This largely depends upon player skill and knowledge, however, and individuals without an understanding might find these games to be poor choices. The response to this question often comes down to the game with which players are most comfortable and most familiar. In general, craps, blackjack and baccarat have the highest potential for a good payout, but only if users play the game correctly. 

Take some time to study and learn before jumping into high-stakes gambling. The more knowledge players have about the odds of their game of choice and, subsequently, the more adept they are at making smart wagers and avoiding needless risks, the better they will play.

Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC