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Gambling Safety 101: Know Your Odds

13 January 2011 by admin

This is the fourth part in an educational series on gambling safety.

Safety-First---14--x-10--5197980People who oppose gambling do so because they think it’s too dangerous. Many things in life are dangerous if you don’t do it responsibly. That’s why everything that you buy has pages of warnings, telling you not to use a hairdryer in the shower, not to drink detergent and to turn off your ceiling fan before using the fan attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Gambling isn’t so dangerous that it should be banned. Instead, it’s just dangerous enough that it needs some warning labels, which is the reason behind this Gambling 101 series.

First, we discussed how you should never wager money that you can’t afford to lose. Then we discussed proper money management, followed by a blog about making sure you only play at casinos that are safe. This installment is about knowing the odds of your games.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the odds of games. Sometimes people think they have better odds than they do. Sometimes they think their odds are worse than they are. Sometimes they incorrectly think they can change the odds, while other times they incorrectly think that they can’t. Knowing the odds of the casino games is important if you are going to be safe and responsible with your casino gaming.

The first thing that you have to understand is that there are two types of casino games: games of skill and games of chance. The skilled games, such as poker and blackjack, do involve some chance (such as which card you draw), but skilled play and good strategy increases your odds. In games of chance, such as slots and keno, you have no control over the outcome. Nothing you do will change the odds. Some games, such as roulette, have a variety of bets, with each bet having different odds, but the odds of each bet cannot be changed.

The most important thing to take from that information is that there is no system that gives you an edge when it comes to games of chance. There are a number of betting systems and other “secrets” that people will swear by and some will try to sell, but none of them work. Even simpler strategies, such as spotting a “hot” slot and playing it, don’t work. That is because there’s no such thing as a hot slot.

Slots, both online and in brick and mortar casinos, are controlled by a random number generator, which ensures that the odds are exactly the same on every spin. Hundreds of times every second, the RNG creates a new outcome for if a player were to spin it then. The outcome is determined by the precise millisecond that the button is pushed or the arm is pulled. Therefore, each spin is totally independent of the last and a slot is never hot or “due” to hit.

For that reason, don’t jump on a slot in a casino that you’ve been watching and think is due. It’s not. Also, don’t get excited if you read somewhere that a certain online slot has recently paid out some big jackpots. That doesn’t mean it’s hot right now.

What you should do is find the payout percentages of any game you want to play. For games like roulette and craps, it’s simple because the odds are standard. For blackjack, the house edge is determined by your strategy, with basic strategy reducing it to only 0.5%. Slots are notorious for having varying payout rates, though. Some slots are loose – meaning they pay out more often than the average slot – and some are tight – meaning they pay out less often than average. Many slots are average (that’s why we have the term “average”). They payout rates for casino games are public record in most jurisdictions so before you go to a casino, find them. If it’s an online casino, look for the rates on their website. If you can’t find it anywhere, contact their customer service department and ask them. Another option would be contacting whoever licensed them. In any case, since some games and some casinos pay out better than others, you want to make sure you get the best deal.

For the next segment, we will go more in depth regarding betting systems.

2 Responses to “Gambling Safety 101: Know Your Odds”

  1. Devon says:

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  2. Tanya Vegetabile says:

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