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Reason I like Bovada #2:

Good Odds

Bovada online casino ad

The odds are always against you when you gamble, so it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds. I spent some time looking for an online casino with good odds, and I found it in Bovada. Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

It's disappointing that most online casinos are greedy when setting the odds on their games. They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong. Most gamblers eventually gamble away all their playing budget anyway. They're going to lose the same amount of money no matter what, the only question is how long it takes them to do so. And when they play at a tight casino and lose quickly, they're less likely to return.

A casino which offers good odds will make just as much money as a tight casino, because the players will usually gamble away whatever they deposit anyway, no matter what the odds. The only difference is that with better odds, they'll get to play longer before they go bust. And that means they had more fun in the process, and they're more likely to return.

Bovada is one of they few casinos that understands this. They offer games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer. Among their offerings are:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

You don't have to play at Bovada, but wherever you play, make sure they offer odds at least this good!

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.

Try their blackjack for free.
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Gambling problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Gambling Problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling

Expected Loss (aka, Average Loss)

Expected Loss is somewhat of a misnomer.  It's not the amount you actually expect to lose.  It's the mathematical average loss.  Mathematicians all call it expected loss, but to help you understand it better, I'll call it average loss.

Let's start off with something really useful, my Average Loss Calculator, which you won't find anywhere else.  It compares the average loss for various games with various assumptions.

Average Loss Calculator
Game Rounds Per Hour Bet per round House Edge Average Loss for
of play



Video Poker










Mobile-phone users:  You'll get a bigger, better calculator on a device with a bigger screen (iPad or larger).

Here's the take-away from the calculator:

  1. Slots suck.  Slot machines suck your money away faster than any other casino game.  Unless you're comfortable with the kinds of losses shown, then either switch to video poker or table games (see my crash course in table games), or if you must play slots, then at least bet less per spin.
  2. Speed kills.  The faster you play, the faster you lose.  So slow it down.  Play leisurely.  For table games, look for full tables, which will automatically slow things down.
  3. Bet high and die.  The more you bet, the more you'll lose.  On a "penny" slot, if you're playing 40 lines times 5 credits per line, that's $2 a spin.  Cut your losses by betting fewer lines or credits.  My wife and I play just a penny at a time.  We can afford to lose a lot more, but we have just as much fun with the pennies.
  4. Don't get cut on the edge.  The house edge is the casino's average profit per bet, and it varies from game to game. The higher the edge, the more you lose.  You can't know the edge of the slot you're playing because the casinos don't disclose it, but we've got a good idea of slots in general because of the reports the casinos file and because of independent research.  In some games, like video poker and blackjack, the house edge goes up if you don't play proper strategy.
  5. More play = more losses.  The longer you play, the more you'll lose.  So take a break from gambling and have some other kinds of fun on your vacation.

How to calculate average loss

You don't have to calculate average loss, because my calculator above does all the heavy lifting for you.  But if you want to, here's the formula

Rounds per hour x Amount Bet x House Edge x Number of Hours = Average Loss

As a practical example we'll use a slot machine with typical assumptions:

700 spins x $2.25 x 6% x 2 hrs. = $189

Why the expected loss is not the amount you expect to lose

"Expected loss" is the mathematical average loss.  It's not the amount you actually expect to lose.  Let's see why.

The house edge in roulette is 5.26%.  So your "expected loss" on a $5 roulette bet is $5 x 5.26% = $0.26.

But if you bet $5 on roulette you can't lose exactly $0.26.  If you bet on red or black, you'll either win another $5 or lose the whole thing.  So you don't really expect to lose $0.26, because that's impossible.  The $0.26 is the mathematical average loss on each $5 bet.  That is, if you made a gazillion $5 bets, your average loss would be around $0.26 for each bet.

I'm on a mission to replace the poorly-named "Expected Loss" with the more meaningful "Average Loss".  I hope you'll join me.

Your loss becomes more "average" the longer you play

Average Loss is just that: the long-term average.  If the average loss on an hour of slot play is $63, you don't expect to lose exactly $63 every time you play.  If it were that predictable it would be boring, and unattractive.  You have to have a chance of winning or you wouldn't play, and in the short term, you can indeed win.

But the longer you play, the more likely you are to lose.  As you keep playing, your losses will tend to approach the Average Loss.  Here's another calculator, this time which simulates a bunch of bets on red in roulette.  It shows that anything can happen in the short term, but in the long term, losses are practically guaranteed.

House Edge Simulator
Bet $5 on red...
Total Amount Bet
Amount Won
or Lost
Percentage Loss
1 time
10 times
100 times
1000 times
100,000 times
1,000,000 times

Last update:  August, 2015.