Basic gambling maths and probabilities

Your gambling is enhanced when you are able to understand the basic math and probability behind winning a game. The basic math attributed or used for gambling is called probability and odds. Once you understand the probability and odds for you winning a give game, you will able to play responsible and will likely come out with more money. The below is a guide to understanding how probability and odds work.


Probability can be defined as the likelihood that a certain outcome will occur within a framework of a specific situation. Probability can be mathematically considered through percentages, odds, or fractions. Mathematically, probabilities are always considered as numbers ranging from zero to one.

When an occurrence has the probability of zero, it means that that situation is likely never to occur, and is in most cases, is impossible. Most times a zero probability is something that is obvious, like not being able to roll a value of seven on a die that is numbered one to six.

The meaning of a numerical value of one as a probability means something that is guaranteed to occur. To go back to our last example, someone rolling a die that is labeled one through six has a probability of one to land on one, two, three, four, five, or six. Landing any one of these options is a certainty.

However, most games of chance do not have a probability of one or zero, but are expressed as a numerical value somewhere between one and zero. In order to figure out the probability for such cases you simply configure all the different ways for achieving a desired outcome, and divide it by the number of all potential outcomes. So for example, the probability of landing on a number on through six when rolling a six sided die, you simply divide it by the total number of ways it could land on one of those numbers (six), and then divide that number by the total number of possible outcomes (six). Thus, landing on any given number one through six has a probability of one, and is guaranteed to occur. For a less clear scenario, such as flipping a coin, the probability of that coin landing on tails can be determined the same way. So, you simply need to divide the total number of ways it could land on tails (one) by the total potential outcomes (two). One divided by two is .5, or can be expressed in means of a fraction, ½, or a percentage, 50%.


Odds express probability in a different fashion. Whereas we had expressed probability above as the likelihood that something will happen, odds show the likelihood that something will happen, as well as the likelihood that it will not. For example, if you want to land on a six when rolling a die the odds for that are 1:5, because there are five chances that would render you with a different number. Odds can also be expressed as a percentage or fraction.

Why are odds and probabilities important?

Odds and probabilities can help you determine how much an advantage the house has, and as a result what your likelihood for winning is. Odds and probability can help you, for example, when playing Russian roulette. The average Russian roulette wheel most often has thirty-eight results. On the most common roulette wheels, black only occurs eighteen times. Therefore, if you put money on the ball landing on a black slot, your odds are 18/38 or 47.3%. This shows you that the odds of the house winning are more than half. Thereby, the greater the difference of the odds of winning, and the odds of you losing (as shown by the amount of numerical options that display that wont occur), the greater the casino’s edge for winning is.