Perspective on Gambling – House Edge

I know a lot of gamblers, mostly social and those who do it for entertainment plus one or two for whom it’s more like a way of life.  One thing that always occurs to me is that I hear an awful lot of stories about how much they win.  Tales of winning streaks, luck bets and just basically earning huge profits on one casino game or another.   Now I do win occasionally but overall this is unfortunately not my experience of gambling at all.

You just have to walk down the Vegas strip to see that I cannot be alone, these incredible hotels built on million dollar real estate land are not built on winners.   That money comes from someone, and I suggest it’s from about 99% of us gamblers.  This is the truth simply because whatever game you play in a casino there is always a mathematical advantage, and it’s always on the same side – the casino.  Which is why it’s commonly known as the house edge.   It’s the positive advantage that the casino has over each individual player.   The house has therefore a positive expectation for winning while because of their disadvantage the player has a negative expectation.

The house edge does in fact fluctuate depending on which game you play.  There are some games of skill like Blackjack which minimize the advantage but it’s still there.  What is worse the advantage exists whatever the player does (at least legally) but if the player plays badly or erratically it can rise even further.   Which is why you should develop a tactic or technique perhaps on one of the many free online roulette no download sites on the web.

Imagine all these positive expectations, and consider that a large casino in Vegas might have 50,000 players in a single day. Every single one is ‘expected’ to lose because of the laws of probability and the built in house edge.  Of course, not everyone will lose, some will win, some will even win big but overall the majority will lose money.  In fact the more people the play the more likely the casino is to fulfill this positive expectation whether it’s roulette or something like Blackjack.

A mathematician called Olaf Vancura once calculated that a casino which saw 100,000 roulette spins in a single quarter would have a 99.9% chance of making between 4 and 6.5% of the total wagered. It has to be as close to a surefire winner of a business model that exists anywhere.  The only way the casino really loses if not enough people come and play, if they do the mathematics will deliver them a healthy profit.

It’s why the casino doesn’t mind a few winners even big ones, as long as it gets the numbers the casino will win.  Of course we all really know this deep down, but it’s something you should  keep at the back of your mind.  No amount of clever betting or super secret roulette system will change this situation that the house has the advantage.  Yet of course, people hit it big all the time – a single spin on a slot, a few lucky turns of the wheel can produce a huge win for people.

Leave a Reply