Reason I like Bovada #2:

Good Odds

The odds are always against you when you gamble, which is an excellent argument for not gambling in the first place.  If you're gonna gamble anyway, then it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds.  I spent quite a bit of time looking for an online casino with better-than-average odds, and the result is Bovada.  Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

Many online casinos are too greedy when setting the odds on their games.  They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong.&nsbp; When players lose at a tight casino too quickly, those players much less likely to return.  Contrast that with a casino with good odds: Players get to play longer, which is a good experience, so they're more likely to return and become long-term customers.

Bovada has always offered games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer.  Among their offerings are:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

You don't have to play at Bovada, but wherever you play, make sure they offer odds at least this good!

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Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How to calculate the house edge

Last update:  August 2019

In a separate article we saw how the house edge is the casino's average profit per bet, in percentage terms.  In this article we'll see how to calculate it.  The main point is to see that when you win, the casino always pays you less than true odds.  That's their built-in advantage over you, and why you can never be a long-term winner.

We'll start with coin flips, because they're easy to understand.  We'll bet $1 on the flip of a coin, winning on heads and losing on tails.  Here's how that looks:

Fair Coin Flip Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 50% $1 +$0.50
Lose 50% -$1 -$0.50

Player loss: $0

House edge:
0%

There's no advantage to the casino in this game, which is why you'd never see this game in a casino.  So let's casino-ize it:  In this version, you get paid only 90¢ when you win:

Casino Coin Flip Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 50% $0.90 +$0.45
Lose 50% -$1 -$0.50

Player loss (casino profit) -$0.05

House edge ($0.05 ÷ $1)
5%

Ta-da, house edge for the casino of 5%.  If you thought it should be 10%, remember, the 10¢ penalty kicks in only when you win, which is half of the flips.

Casino games are all based on the same principle, paying you less than the true odds of winning.  The games are just more complicated than our coin flip game, both to make them more interesting, and to make it less obvious that the odds are stacked against you.  Sure, we know the games are stacked against us, but if you can't easily see the inequality then you're more likely to play.  After all, how attractive did the 90¢ coin flip game seem to you?  Probably almost no one would play such a game.  But they'll play casino games, even though they're based on the exact same concept.

Let's look at the house edge in roulette.  There are 18 reds, 18 blacks, and two greens.  So if you bet on red, you have an 18/38 chance of winning.  If the casino were paying fair odds, they'd pay you the inverse, or 38/18, minus 1 (1 representing your bet, which you get back).  So, a fair payout on a winning bet would be38181818 =2018.  That means on an $18 bet, they should pay us $20.  Let's see how that looks, with an $18 bet on red.

Fair Roulette Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 18/38 (0.4737) $20 +$9.47
Lose 20/38 (0.5263) -$18 -$9.47

Player loss (casino profit) $0.00

House Edge 0%

But, of course, the casino won't pay you fair odds.  Instead of paying you 20/18 on your win, they pay you only even money.  Let's see how that looks:

Casino Roulette Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 18/38 (0.4737) $18 +$8.53
Lose 20/38 (0.5263) -$18 -$9.47

Player loss (casino profit) -$0.94

House Edge ($0.94÷$18)
5.2%

Now let's look at a bet that you're likely to win.  Let's say you bet on two columns in roulette, or 24 numbers.  Your odds of winning this bet are pretty good, 24/38 = 63.2%.  If the casino were paying fair odds, they'd pay you the inverse, or 38/24, minus 1 (1 representing your bet, which you get back).  For this example, we're gonna up our bet to $100 to make the house edge percentage easier to see.

 Fair Roulette 2-column bet 
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 24/38  (63.157%) $100 x (38/24 -1)
= $58.33
+$36.84
Lose 14/38  (36.843%) -$100 -$36.84

Player loss (casino profit): $0.00

House edge: 0%

But, as we know, the casino always pays us less than fair odds.  They're not gonna pay us (38/24)-1 = 0.5833 of our bet, they're gonna pay us only 0.5 times our bet.  That is, we're gonna get 0 on the losing column, and 1 on the winning column, which averages to 0.5.  Let's see it in action:


Casino Roulette 2-column bet 
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 24/38  (63.157%) $50 +$31.58
Lose 14/38  (36.843%) -$100 -$36.84

Player loss (casino profit): -$5.26

House edge ($5.26÷$100)
5.26%

If the math was hard to follow, just remember, when you win, the casino pays you less than true odds.  That's their edge over you, and that's why you can never be a long-term winner.  It's also why betting systems don't work:  the sum of various negative-expectation bets can never be positive.


Related articles:


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

Blackjack

Roulette

Craps

Baccarat

.
Site Contents ©2001-2019 Michael Bluejay.
I believe everything herein to be accurate, but I'm not responsible for errors or omissions.  I'm pretty irresponsible, actually.

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