You never thought math was in sports? Just think about it…. Every sport uses numbers in some way, whether it’s for scoring, determining averages, or figuring percentages. And when numbers are involved, it usually means math is as well.
Even though computers have saved us from having to calculate a lot of math manually, it is still useful to know how to do so. How could you play a friendly game of basketball or soccer without knowing how to keep score? How could you figure out your best friend’s scorring average? How would you know how many pins you needed to knock down in the last two frames of a bowling game in order to beat your opponent? The answers to these questions require some basic math skills.
Gambling is based on statistics. More precisely, gambling odds are based on the subdiscipline of statistics known as probability. The house edge is a number representing the mathematical advantage that the casino (the house) has over you, the player. Now we can’t fool ourselves, the casinos always have the advantage statistically. In the long run we should all lose at every casino game. Fortunately we don’t have to play over the long run, we can just jump in and jump out if we manage to go up a little money.
So now that we know the odds are always stacked against us in gambling, what’s the meaning of all this? Well the point is to play in such a manner that we reduce the house edge to lower than average. We can’t ever get it below zero, but we can try. As mentioned in the online gambling strategy page, gambling odds are reducible with the right game play. That game play usually involves a mix of ‘basic strategy’ over the majority of bets, and some advanced strategy or systems when it comes to particular situations for particular games.
The house edge is usually written in the form of a percentage. For example, the house edge on roulette is 5.26% (on an American wheel), meaning that on average, the house will win approx 105 times by the time you win 100 times. The house edge is a variable, and as such can vary according to other influences, such as playing style and decision making. Roulette is a game where the odds are fairly static, as the players don’t get to influence what goes on in the game. The only real fluctuation comes from small changes in the rules of the game or style of the table and wheel, which are set by the casinos.
For another example take blackjack. There is no standard house edge in this game, because the player participates so much in the outcome. If you don’t know basic blackjack strategy you face house odds of 2 to 3%. If you play with the basic strategy you can get quite close to zero, but rarely achieve a house edge below 0.5%. There is one example within blackjack where the house edge can be reduced to below 0%, and it suddenly becomes the players edge. This extreme example is in the case of blackjack card counters, who keep track of how many of each denomination of card have been played from the shoe, and compensate their betting strategy accordingly. This is a rare skill and has recently been countered pretty much completely in Las Vegas. These days a lot of casinos are playing with 6 decks, and reshuffling after only a deck or two’s worth of cards have been played through.
|Serbia and Montenegro||150|
|Trinidad and Tobago||10000|