What Are The Odds?
An Expert's Guide to Understanding Casino Odds
If you're ever going to gamble successfully for real money, online or off, the first thing you need to get to grips with is odds. Odds tell you how much cash you stand to make if your bet comes good. So understanding how to read them is a crucial part of building your bankroll.
In this guide to casino game odds we'll take you through a few of the most commonly played and popular casino games. Looking at the odds offered, not only on the individual games themselves, but also on different bets you can make. To help you understand odds and show you how to make the most money gambling at casinos in America.
Types of Odds
There are three main types of odds commonly used at online betting sites and land based bookies around the globe. And which ones you'll be offered depends largely on where it is in the world you're gambling.
Fractional odds are commonly used in the UK. The first number of the fraction tells you how much you stand to win - if you were to bet the amount of the second number.
a $5 win for
every $1 wagered
a $2 win for
every $7 wagered
a $9 win for
every $2 wagered
Fractional odds only show you how much profit you stand to make and not your total return (your original stake + profit). So with every win you make you also receive back the wager you staked on top too.
The decimal odds style is commonly used throughout Europe (with the exception of the UK) so for that reason they're also commonly referred to as European odds.
in decimal odds
in decimal odds
in decimal odds
In decimals the amount you see advertised represents the total return you stand to make (profit + original wager). So there's no need to add the wager value on top, like you do with fractional odds.
If you see odds advertised as a percentage this is what's referred to as implied probability. It's the statistical likelihood of your bet occurring. So for this reason the odds are displayed as a percentage out of 100.
- (a 1 in 6 chance you'll win) becomes 83.3%
- (7 in every 9 chances you'll win) becomes 77.8%
- (2 chances in every 11 you'll win) becomes 18.2%
For some gamblers implied probability is far easier to understand than fraction or decimal odds. Because with percentages, any figure near to 100 means there's a greater chance of your bet coming in. While percentages closer to 0 mean the chances of you winning are slimmer.
You can easily calculate returns on different odds by using an online odds calculator. While some betting sites will even offer you a choice of seeing odds displayed as fractions, decimals, or percentages.
Slots are one of the few casino games that are entirely random. Every time you spin the reels the odds of you hitting a winning payline stand at 50/50. There's no skill involved and no way to improve your player edge. With slots all you can do is simply hit the button and hope for the best.
A paytable shows you the amount you stand to win at slots, if your spins happen to trigger winning combinations of symbols. In slots, wins typically occur when three or more of the same symbol line up across a payline.
Today's video slots can have anything up to 100 paylines, and 5 reels, and for every spin it's up to you how many paylines you choose to play.
With slots it's important to remember that the wager you stake per spin applies to each payline you play. So if you wager 10c a time and you choose to play 25 paylines, each spin will cost you $2.50 (25 paylines x 10 cents).
Payouts & RTP
Payouts in slots depend on:
symbols you've landed
Your return is calculated individually across each payline. So, if you land 3 symbols worth say 10 coins, across 3 different paylines, each of which you wagered a 10c stake, your return will be $3.00. Calculated as 10 x 30 cents.
Some symbols, such as scatters and wilds, can have higher values - and the paytable will show you which combinations are the most profitable.
RTP stands for Return To Player and it gives you an indication of how likely a machine is to pay out. RTP is measured over the lifetime of a slot machine.
It's the percentage of payouts versus the amount players have paid in. Generally anything above 95% is considered a good RTP.
An RTP of 95% means that, in theory, for every 100 bets you make, you'll see about 95% back in winnings.
Progressive Slots Odds
Progressive slots differ from regular slot machines because you're paying in to a cumulative prize pool, which randomly triggers to reward one lucky player with the total jackpot amount. At the top progressive slots online this can be a single payout upward of millions of dollars.
Landing a progressive jackpot is just as random as landing a win at a regular slot machine. However, it's a little more complicated, because getting a shot at a progressive usually involves having to play both the max bet and the max number of paylines each time. And even then you still have to match the exact combination of symbols.
Some estimates have likened the chances of winning a progressive jackpot to winning the lottery. While others estimate the odds at roughly 1 in 3,200,000.
In blackjack, where the aim of the game is to be the player who gets closest to 21 without going over, you may think the odds are fairly straightforward. Either you win the hand, or the dealer does, making the odds 50/50. But that simply isn't the case.
Setting aside all modern variations, in regular blackjack (played with a single deck following classic rules) the house edge is around 6%. This is owing to the fact that the player draws first - giving the dealer an automatic advantage. If the player goes bust - by default the dealer wins.
So to be successful at blackjack, it's vital to know when you should hit and when to stand.
Odds of Busting at Blackjack
Appreciating when to ask for another card, and when you should stick, is what makes a great blackjack player. And when you're playing with just one deck, the probability of busting is easy to calculate.
|Your Hand Value||The Odds Of Busting|
As you can see, the higher the hand you hold and the closer to 21 you get, the odds are more likely you'll draw a card that will see you go bust.
To maximize your odds of winning and not busting out we recommend that you adhere to the following rules for certain hands:
- Don't hit when you have 17 or higher (unless you have a soft 17)
- Stand on a soft 18, 19, or 20
- Hit on any soft hand less than 17
- Stand if the dealer has 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 and you have 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16
- Hit if the dealer's hand is anything a 7 or above
Once you're familiar with blackjack rules, and put these steps into practice, you'll see that in the majority of cases following these guidelines will win a hand more often than losing.
Of course today there are multiple blackjack variants, all of which have slightly different odds, depending on the rules of the game. These can all impact your chances of being successful, and some variations heavily favor the house so it's important to seek out games that lower the house edge overall.
Impacting factors in blackjack include:
Card counting involves assigning a numerical value to each playing card in a deck and keeping a constant running count as the cards are dealt. In theory, helping you to achieve blackjack more often and go bust less.
Do this successfully and you'll have a good idea of when there are more 10s and aces left in the shoe, versus lower denomination cards. Which will help you decide whether you should stand or hit on your turn. Improving your player edge over the house.
You can learn card-counting techniques easily enough. But be warned, although not technically illegal, the practice is considered cheating and casinos can come down heavy on players who get caught in the act.
With roulette the odds vary depending on the house rules you follow and the type of roulette wheel you're using. So whether you're playing American style or European will have a direct impact on the house edge and the return you can expect to make on common bets.
For this reason we'll cover off three different roulette variants in detail (American, European and French) to show you how the inclusion of rules like La Partage and an extra 0 pocket negatively or positively effect the odds.
In American roulette the wheel contains 36 numbered pockets (colored black and red) as well as a green 0 and a 00 pocket. As with all roulette variants, the objective is to correctly predict on which pocket the ball will come to rest.:
Bets, Odds And Payouts:
In American roulette you can bet on outcomes such as a single number (which pays out 35 to 1), as well as bet on groups of numbers, or other outcomes such as whether the ball will come to land on a red or black pocket.:
Naturally, the different betting possibilities all have their own individual odds. Payouts are greater where the odds are lower, such as the 35-1 payout offered on single number predictions (2.63% probability).:
|Odd or Even Number||1:1||46.37%|
|Black or Red||1:1||46.37%|
Because the American roulette wheel is the only one with a 00 pocket (European and French wheels just have a single 0 square) the 1-2-3-0-00 bet is only possible with American style roulette only.
The house edge exists in all casino games and it basically represents the advantage a casino has over a player. In American roulette the house edge is 5.26%.
The casino edge is calculated by dividing the number of zero pockets on a roulette wheel by the number pockets in total - which in the case of U.S roulette is 2/38 which equals 0.056 or 5.26%.
That means that in other roulette types, where only one zero pocket exists, the house edge is lower.
European roulette is most commonly played on the European continent, although it is possible to find this roulette type offered at some casinos online and off in the U.S. And it's definitely worth seeking out. As in European roulette, the wheel only has one 0 pocket, which brings the house edge down.
Bets, Odds & Payouts
In European roulette, the payout is the same as in American roulette, but if you compare the odds, you'll notice that in European roulette, the probability of winning is higher. This, as we already mentioned, is owing to the fact that the European wheel only has a single 0 pocket.
|Odd or Even Number||1:1||48.6%|
|Black or Red||1:1||48.6%|
It isn't possible to play the 1-2-3-0-00 bet in European roulette as the 00 pocket is absent from the wheel.
In European style roulette the absence of the 00 green square on the wheel means that the house has a lower edge over players. In fact overall the house edge in this version of roulette is reduced to just 2.63%. Which is nearly half the edge the house has in U.S roulette (5.26%).
This is great news for players who are able to track down this version of roulette. As it basically means the odds of each bet are better than in the American style of the game. So overall, you should theoretically win more, betting on European roulette.
France is typically credited as being roulette's birthplace, and yet it's the American version of roulette, which has risen to widespread popularity. Some may say because the American wheel is the one that gives the house its biggest advantage.
In French roulette, like European, the wheel doesn't have the 00 square, just the one 0 pocket. However, the key difference with French roulette is the addition of a key rule that lowers the house edge to just 1.35% and a different table to both the European and American roulette varieties.
Bets, Odds & Payouts
In French roulette players have the option of making inside and outside bets just as with European and American roulette. However, the roulette table is organized in a different way to the other two popular roulette versions, and there are two rules, unique to French roulette, that can affect the payouts:
|Odd or Even Number||1:1||48.6%|
|Black or Red||1:1||48.6%|
As you can see the odds and payouts in French roulette are exactly the same as with European roulette. That's because the numbers on the wheel are the same in each case.
We mentioned how the house edge in French roulette can be lowered to as little as 1.35%. Well, this is only the case when players use the La Partage rule on even money outside bets.
This crucial action of splitting your wager with the house 50/50 on 0 results when making even money bets is what brings the house edge down to its lowest ever level across all Roulette variations. Without this the edge in French roulette is just the same as in European roulette (2.63%).
Poker odds can vary depending on the style of poker you're playing, and the number of players you're facing off against around a table.
The odds we've advertised here are based on the Texas Hold'em poker rules. However, it's important to bear in mind that with all styles of poker, players are sharing cards dealt from the same shoe. So the more players taking part in a hand, the wider the distribution of cards. So your odds of being dealt a high face value card for example, decrease incrementally as the number of players taking part rises.
Counting Your Outs
In Poker outs are the cards that will help you to achieve the best (aka winning) hand. So to count outs correctly, you first need to know the hierarchy of poker hand combinations, from strongest to weakest.
Once you're familiar with the card combinations in ranking order, you'll be able to read poker tables to help you estimate your outs, based on the cards you hold, and those in the flop.
Counting your outs is all about knowing how many cards are potentially remaining in the deck that can create the highest possible hand.
You also have to factor in that someone else around the table might be holding one of the out cards. In which case they may be able to make a stronger hand combination than you. Appreciating this is the key to knowing when to stick or raise, and when it's best to fold. Which is why learning to count your outs is vital for success in poker.
Pot Odds & Equity
The other reason it's important to calculate your outs in Poker is it allows you to also work out your odds of winning the pot and your pot equity.
Your pot odds are the amount you need to call in relation to the pot size. For example:
If the pot is $100 and your opponent bets $50, then you need to call the $50 yourself in order to win $150 (their bet + the pot). Which gives you pot odds of $50 to $150, or 3:1.
Ever wondered what the odds of drawing a royal flush right out of the deck are? While the probability is statistically unlikely, the possibility of naturally drawing this top poker hand isn't technically impossible.
To work out the statistically likeliness of any random hand you need to divide the number of ways you can make that hand by the total number of possible poker combinations.
In a 52-card deck there are 2,598,960 possible hand combinations and just 4 ways to make a royal flush. So the probability is 4/2,598,960 or to put it another way 649,740:1.
|Hand Combination||Total # Combinations||Odds|
|4 of a Kind||624||4,164:1|
|3 of a Kind||54,912||46.3:1|
You can also wager on the outcomes of popular professional poker tournaments like the annual WSOP (World Series of Poker). In the past bookies have offered odds on everything from the main event winner, to the color breakdown of the flops, and the age of the winning player.
So you don't necessarily need to play poker to win money on the sport at competition level. Don't forget that not all bookies online, or off, offer equal odds, so shop around to see where you can find the best return on the bet you want to make.
In Craps bets are made on the outcome of rolling two dice. Play takes place on a craps table, and similar to roulette, players place their chips according to the bet they want to make.
In craps the outcome of each roll is entirely random. But because some numbers can be made several ways, and others just by one dice combination only, the odds offered reflect this accordingly. So the more difficult it is to roll a number, the higher wins made on that number pay out.
Your Bets & Odds
The edge the house has over players in Craps varies depending on the bet being made. In Craps you can bet on a single number outcome and you can make bets even more multi-layered by also predicting the way that number will be formed. For example: a hard six (each dice face shows a 3).
Here are some of the most common Craps bets and the odds they offer:
There are other bets that can be made on Craps, some of which are regarded as side bets. To learn more about the specific type of Craps bets and the game rules, check out our Guide To Craps here.
In craps it might be tempting to chase the bets with the highest payouts - but don't forget these are also the hardest numbers to roll, so they're statistically less likely to occur.
Instead, take a tip from our team and stick to these three tried and tested Craps bets, that offer the best returns with minimum risk to your bankroll:
Downloadable Craps Chart