Understanding how game odds work at online casinos

Anyone who plays at no deposit casinos needs to have an understanding of how game odds work.

The casino always retains a house edge, which is one of the reasons why people say that the casino will always win in the long run.

That is not necessarily the case, though, as experienced casino players will already know.

But for those who are new to playing at online casinos, here is our complete guide to odds.

What are odds?

Odds in their purest form, define the probability of an event happening. Events that are very likely to happen will have low odds, while those very unlikely to happen will have high odds.

Let’s take the example of a toss of a coin. There are only two possible outcomes from the flip. The result will be either heads or tails every time this happens. This means there is a 50-50 probability for both heads and tails. This does not change for subsequent flips of the coin either.

Even if there have been 10 straight flips where the coin came up heads, the chances of a head on the next toss of the coin are still 50-50, with no increased chances for tails. Odds for a flip of a coin would therefore be even chance for both tails and for heads. But, naturally, because of the house edge a casino would not ever offer even odds for this game.

An example from the casino now – how do the odds work in roulette? Well, at a wheel with 37 spaces, the odds of any single number coming up would therefore be one in 37. The presence of a green zero space – or two in some types of roulette games – means that the chances of a red or black number, or an odd or even number, are not quite 50-50 like in the toss of a coin.

In the gambling world, for instance when browsing sports betting markets at the bookmakers, odds are often written in a few different ways. The main one is as a fraction but some people prefer for their odds to be displayed as a decimal instead. Odds can be turned into percentages too, which gives another way of looking at the probability of an event and its likelihood.

Casino odds do not work in the same way as sports betting odds – so how are they different?

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How are game odds calculated?

Casinos may calculate their game odds in different ways, but the grounding will be the same.

They will take the probability of an event happening in a casino game and add their own profit margin, which is known as the house edge.

The house edge can be very different depending on the casino game players choose. Within the industry, some games have a reputation for having good value because of a low house edge, while professional players steer clear of certain games because they have a high house edge.

Casinos can also sometimes control their odds, so let’s take a look at how they do that next.

How do casinos control the odds

Casinos can control their odds, but this is a lot more complicated than some people may think.

For example, some players may be of the view that the odds on a slot machine can be tweaked as easily as flipping a switch.

But this is simply not the case as the odds on slot machine games are carefully regulated. Indeed, the odds for a slot game are set by the developer or the studio that creates the title.

Online casinos can change the odds for some of their other games, but the odds on casino games tend to be very similar at various sites across the industry.

Odds do change from game to game, so players who want to get the best possible value out of their online casino experience should try to pick the games that offer the best odds.

Games with the best odds

There are a few different games considered to have good odds at the online casino.

One of the best casino games in terms of odds is online blackjack, which is a great choice for anyone who wants to play a game with an element of skill, rather than being completely about luck. At most online casinos, the house edge for a game of blackjack is at around the one per cent mark. This is about as good as it gets in terms of the best odds to be found at online casinos.

However, blackjack games at the casino can have worse odds depending on the exact rules that are being used by the operator. For example, the more decks being used by the dealer, the higher the house edge – this is bad news for the player. Additionally, players ought to be looking out for blackjack games that pay blackjack at odds of six to five, rather than at three to two.

Be mindful that playing online blackjack for free is rare as most casinos only give freebies on slots.

Baccarat is widely considered to be quite an old-fashioned casino game, but it has some of the best odds of any other type of game that can be found at one of these sites. In baccarat, banker bets pay 1:1 which means that there is a house edge of 1.06 per cent, including commission. Player bets pay 1:1 as well, but this works out as a house edge of 1.24 per cent. Betting on the banker is therefore the smart move for those seeking the best odds for baccarat at the casino.

Like baccarat, craps is a casino game that is solely about luck. It also has a very low house edge compared to a lot of the other table games that are popular at online casinos. Craps bets have up to 1.52 per cent house edge, but certain bets in the game have no house edge at all. However, there are some rules about placing these bets, which are usually limited as well, while new players might find craps to be confusing due to how much is going on in the game.

Games with the worst odds

Online roulette can provide some of the worst odds available at an online casino. The house edge for European roulette – where there is a single green zero space – is an acceptable 2.7 per cent. But for players who pick American roulette, with two spaces for zero, this grows to over five per cent. Bets on red or black, or perhaps odds or evens, provide odds of nearly 50-50 in roulette.

Odds on slots that can be played at online casinos vary a lot too. For these odds, it is important to know about a key online casino term, the return to player – or RTP for short. RTP essentially means how much a player can expect to win back from the money they spend on a slot. The closer to 100 per cent that RTP is for a slot, the better it is for a player.

Some slots have RTP of near 95 per cent, which is considered very low, while others might be up at about 98 per cent, which would be thought to be good value odds for an online slot game. Video poker slots are different again as the player has some control over whether they win or lose. For video poker slot games, the house edge can drop to around the one per cent mark.

Poker is a trickier game to clarify in terms of the casino odds as players are taking on each other rather than betting against the house. There is no house edge, but newcomers are unlikely to make a profit at the poker table if they come up against professional players.

This guide should give you a thorough understanding of casino odds – so good luck!