# More Musings in the House Edge

There is one thing you should always remember when gambling – statistically the house almost always wins.  However understanding the house edge and how you can can manipulate it to your favor will always give you a better chance of winning.

It’s quite simple, in any game of chance that you play in a casino whether a real one or online the risks and rewards are calculated beforehand.  These are then strategically placed so that the casino has a higher chance of winning than you do, it makes sense really otherwise there would be no casinos.  So the level of this advantage is crucial, the casino knows that if it’s too biased in their favor then nobody would ever win (and nobody would bother playing).   The advantage also fluctuates depending on the game you play, so if making a profit is your sole aim then picking the lowest edge is the best play.

So what is the house edge and how is it created?  Well sometimes it’s pretty obvious, for example the zero on a roulette wheel is one example.  It’s very existence lowers the chance that your number will come up, it also effects the fixed odd bets of odd/even or red/black.  These advantage seems trivial but over thousands of spins it adds up and will ensure the house wins. It’s not hard to calculate either that single zero found in European roulette equates to a house advantage of 2.7%.  However play on an American wheel where there are two zeros, and you’ll double that edge – 5.3% sounds quite significant doesn’t it !

Believe it or not the first roulette wheels had no zeros and thus no house advantage. However in 1842 some French casino owners decided to add a zero and you could say have pretty much created the casino business based on that decision.

You will see loads of betting strategies and techniques for beating the house edge.  Indeed the internet is full of ploys and plans of roulette hacking software and ways to hack online casino games – try reading this.  They generally fall into two distinct categories –

• A misunderstanding about the laws of probability
• Complete nonsense/total scams

Both are equally useless and are best ignored.  The first category is probably the most common, and usually revolves around some sort of special tactic like  the Martingale system.  This particular system has been around for almost as long as roulette has been in existence and funnily enough the casinos aren’t really bothered about it.

At the heart of Martingale, is the idea that if you keep doubling the stake you’ll always win eventually if you stick to double odds stakes that offer an even money payout.   It sounds incredibly plausible, however it doesn’t work for several reasons.  The first is that it is mathematically inevitable that you’ll eventually experience enough losing bets to wipe you out however big a wallet you have.  The second problem is that casinos all have maximum stakes which will usually stop you doubling your stake.

Martingale is something that seems to work in theory but in practice it has flaws. Watch a player sitting and placing an enormous bet to try and make a minute profit after a losing run and you’ll see how flawed it is.  In fact the best way to see how it doesn’t work is to got to a free download casino game like this one, play their ‘fun’ no money game and try out Martingale.  Remember casino’s don’t mind you playing Martingale and that should tell you all you need to know about it’s money making potential.

This entry was posted in casino maths, Probability theory, statistics. Bookmark the permalink.