When you speak to gamblers, I mean people who gamble regularly whether it be roulette, poker, craps or perhaps they’ll play Caribbean stud poker or whatever – they always seem to do rather well. I don’t know about you but I hear a lot more stories about great runs, lucky streaks and huge profits than I do about losing your shirt at 2:30 AM in a casino somewhere. But if you walk down the strip in Vegas and look up at those fantastic hotels then you have to think that they’re making a huge amount of money somehow!!!
The brutal truth is that whichever game you play in a casino then the numbers are on the side of the house. The house edge may fluctuate with what game you play or even how you play it, but it’s always in the favor of the casino. The house has a positive expectation of winning and the player alas has a negative expectation.
However it’s not all bad news for those of us who like an evening in the casino, because that the main reason why casinos very rarely lose overall is due to volume. A busy casino might have 50,000 players in a day, each one experiencing a short term outcome on his or her bets. In plain English that means that although the odds favor the casino in the long run – in the short term it’s much more likely to vary widely. The expected overall outcome (i.e. the casino winning) is more likely, the more people play.
Olaf Vancura author of the Smart Casino Gambling – calculated that a casino which has 100,000 roulette spins in a 3 month period has a 99.9% chance of making between 4% and 6.5% of the total amounts wagered in that period.
That’s quite a nice business model in a supposedly risky area of making money. The volume is the key for the casino, they are happy to see people win or get lucky – in fact a casino filled with misery is unlikely to draw in the punters. As long as they can draw in enough people to play, then the mathematics will take care of the rest. The more people play the more likely they are to make money overall. It’s called the Law of large numbers and will virtually guarantee a casino makes a profit.
Olaf also actually calculated the chance that the above casino would lose money in that 3 month period. It works out at
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 – 1 !!
But that remember refers to their entire business, in the middle of this long term expectation are lots of huge player wins and amazing strokes of luck. It doesn’t matter to the casino as long as they have the volume in fact a noisy winning punter in the middle of a casino never did them any harm at all. These minor swings, the standard deviations of the expected results are what makes gambling fun and even makes some players very rich indeed. The rules are the same for off and online roulette as long as you steer clear of the dodgy places.
So enjoy your favorite casino game with this knowledge. These are facts and the negative expectation of a player over the long term cannot be avoided by any strategy, system or betting method. As soon as there is a guaranteed system that could possibly work then one of two things will happen – all the casinos will go out of business or they will alter the rules to ensure it doesn’t work anymore.