Bookmakers and casinos give themselves an edge and 99% of people fall into their “trap”. How do they do this and what should be avoided?
Let’s look at the example of roulette in a casino.
On the surface, it looks OK. 36 numbers, choose one and get 35-1 if you are correct right? Wrong. most people forget that there are actually 37 numbers including zero (or even 38 with a double zero on American roulette). This make a big difference when it comes to payouts. So just using European roulette, let’s crunch the numbers.
If you choose one number, the actual odds of getting that number correct is 1 in 37 or 36-1. So by offering 35-1, the casino has instantly stacked the odds ever so subtly in their favour. Just the reduction of 1 point gives the house an edge of about 2.7%. Not a lot you may think but over the course of £100,000 that’s £2700 in favour of the ku. A small margin but a margin nonetheless.
So what about red/black or odd/even? Again, it would appear to be a 50/50 bet. But with the inclusion of zero, you actually have an 18 in 37 chance (48.65%). That favours the house by 1.35% which over the course of one day, could equate to thousands of pounds.
But this is nothing compared to bookmakers.
As I’ve demonstrated, a “50/50” at a casino is actually a 48.65/51.35 against you. At bookmakers, the margin is significantly greater. A seemingly 50/50 bet is generally priced up at 9/10 or 1.9 in decimal odds.
This means that the bookmaker is giving themselves a massive 10% margin on these kind of bets, the most common of which are called “handicap bets”. The handicap bets are set up in such a way that there are only two possible outcomes, rated as equally likely. But no matter what your choice is, the bookie stands to keep 10% of the actual odds. Not fair, you may think. Well, they’re not going to give you anything for free. They are in the business of making money after all.
So how can you counter these edges?
It is possible with bookmakers to use a system of “handicap doubles”. I will explain this at another time. Otherwise, only good fortune will counter a bookie’s edge and that is not something to rely on.
When it comes to casinos, there really is very little you can do. The only real advice is not to get sucked into a so-called system. Many of you may have seen a system being advertised on ebay that will only cost you £1 but claims that you’ll never lose at a casino again. Theoretically, it is correct. But the system is flawed.
It’s a system called the Martingale system and it involves doubling your last losing bet until you win (based on red/black).
Let us use the example of a casino with a £500 table limit (very common online) and an initial starting stake of just £1.
You place your £1 on red and lose. Double next bet.
You place £2 on red and lose. Double again.
You place £4 on red and win. You’ve staked a total of £7 and won £8. A profit of £1. Then you start again at £1.
All well and good, until a losing streak occurs.
£64 lose (at this point, you have already bet £127 and lost. Your next bet would take your expenditure to £255 just to make £1 profit)
£256 lose (at this point, you can’t double your bet because the table limit will be exceeded)
So just 8 consecutive losing spins would have cost you a whopping £511 and please don’t think that it is “extremely unlikely” to have 8 losing spins because I have seen one colour come out on 13 straight occasions.