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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 quite a bit of time looking for an online casino with better-than-average odds, and the result is Bovada.  Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

Most online casinos are too 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.&nsbp; 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!

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Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Play these
free slots now

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How to calculate the house edge

Last update:  October 2018

In a separate article we saw how the house edge is the casino's average profit per bet.  In this article we'll see how to calculate it.  The main point is to see that when you win, the casino always pays you less than true odds.  That's their built-in advantage over you, and why you can never be a long-term winner.

We'll start with coin flips, because they're easy to understand.  We'll bet $1 on the flip of a coin, winning on heads and losing on tails.  Here's how that looks:

Fair Coin Flip Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 50% $1 +$0.50
Lose 50% -$1 -$0.50

House edge: $0

There's no advantage to the casino in this game, which is why you'd never see this game in a casino.  So let's casino-ize it:  In this version, you get paid only 90¢ when you win:

Casino Coin Flip Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 50% $0.90 +$0.45
Lose 50% -$1 -$0.50

House edge: -$0.05

Ta-da, house edge for the casino of 5%.  If you thought it should be 10%, remember, the 10¢ penalty kicks in only when you win, which is half of the flips.

Casino games are all based on the same principle, paying you less than the true odds of winning.  The games are just more complicated than our coin flip game, both to make them more interesting, and to make it less obvious that the odds are stacked against you.  Sure, we know the games are stacked against us, but if you can't easily see the inequality then you're more likely to play.  After all, how attractive did the 90¢ coin flip game seem to you?  Probably almost no one would play such a game.  But they'll play casino games, even though they're based on the exact same concept.

Let's look at the house edge in roulette.  There are 18 reds, 18 blacks, and two greens.  So if you bet on red, you have an 18/38 chance of winning.  A fair payout would be the inverse of the odds.  That is, as you might remember from cancellation in middle school, 1838  x 3818 = 1.  And actually, when we win we get our original bet back (1, aka 18/18), so the extra we'll get on a win is 38181818 =2018.  Let's see how that looks, with a $1 bet on red.

Fair Roulette Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 18/38 (0.4737) 20/18 (1.111) +$0.5263
Lose 20/38 (0.5263) -$1 -$0.5263

House edge: $0.00

But, of course, the casino won't pay you fair odds.  Instead of paying you 20/18 on your win, they pay you only even money, 18/18.  Let's see how that looks:

Casino Roulette Game
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 18/38 (0.4737) $1 +$0.4737
Lose 20/38 (0.5263) -$1 -$0.5263

House edge: $0.0526

Ergo, the house edge in roulette is 5.26%.

Now let's look at a bet that you're likely to win.  Let's say you bet on two columns in roulette, or 24 numbers.  Your odds of winning this bet are pretty good, 24/38 = 63.2%.  If the casino were paying fair odds, they'd pay you the inverse, or 38/24, minus 1 (1 representing your bet, which you get back).  For this example, we're gonna up our bet to $100 to make the house edge percentage easier to see.

 Fair Roulette 2-column bet 
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 24/38  (63.157%) $100 x (38/24 -1)
= $58.33
+$36.84
Lose 14/38  (36.843%) -$100 -$36.84

House edge: $0.00

But, as we know, the casino always pays us less than fair odds.  They're not gonna pay us (38/24)-1 = 0.5833 of our bet, they're gonna pay us only 0.5 times our bet.  That is, we're gonna get 0 on the losing column, and 1 on the winning column, which averages to 0.5.  Let's see it in action:


Casino Roulette 2-column bet 
Event Odds Payout Return
Win 24/38  (63.157%) $50 +$31.58
Lose 14/38  (36.843%) -$100 -$36.84

House edge: $5.26

Ergo, the house edge in roulette is 5.26%.

If the math was hard to follow, just remember, when you win, the casino pays you less than true odds.  That's their edge over you, and that's why you can never be a long-term winner.


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