Chances of winning / Edge / Luck & Skills

1. Are there any roulette systems that work?

The short answer is: No. Many systems with a kind of duplication of your bet until the moment you win (after which you go back to a lower bet) have a pattern of many small winnings and a few very big losses. Because casinos have maximum bets (and even if they didn’t, you as a player probably don’t have infinite money to bet), there no doubt will come a moment you will not be able to duplicate your last bet. Core of roulette is a negative expectancy for every bet you place and that is why you are always behind house, no matter what system you play with. You can enlarge your chances of a winning session by systems, but that is artificial, for example by quitting immediately when you are at a win. These kinds of tactics are good for many nights with small winnings and still some nights with relatively big losses so at the end you will still be overdrawn.

2. If red has been called a few times in a row, How big will the chance be for a black call next? Bigger or smaller?

The chance is completely identical. Every swing at roulette is completely independent of the last one. Like they say in casino terms: “the roulette wheel does not hold a memory.” The fact that they do give you books and all the last numbers to write down is just to give the guest the feeling that they do have some control on the outcome, but in reality there is no influence.

3. Which games have the possibility of winning in the long term?

With poker (when you are significantly better than your opponent), and with betting on sports (when you are structurally betting better than the bookie or your opponent). With blackjack only when you are playing with fewer decks or as a cardcounter. Sometimes also on slot machines (when you are able to calculate when a machine is “positive”). In general the saying goes: Playing against the house can rarely be won.

4. Is it possible to view the paying percentage of slot machines?

This is very important information for a player, but the information is not easily accessible. Both live and online we have not been able to find a good overview of this information. We will ask thoroughly and when we do have an overview we will share it at this website. There is a discussion whether this information should always be accessible for players; from a players point of view this would be desirable when it comes to good winning chances.

5. I have heard the advice, “when it is not your night, you better stop”. Is that true?

It sounds like a good and smart tip, but in fact it is nonsense. In case of a pure game of chance like roulette every swing is independent of the last. So whether you are €500 behind or €500 winning, it doesn’t say anything about your chances of actually winning at the next swing. Games where skill and knowledge plays a part, e.g. poker, it is a little bit different, here it should be your best game. In case you are not completely able to do so, quitting might be a better option. Not because things have been down so far, but because your mental state doesn’t allow you to make optimal future decisions. You always have to consider whether your next move has a chance of winning or not. Then it doesn’t matter whether you have had losses or winnings in the past turns. “It’s all one session.” What is true is that it is smart to keep your sessions as short as possible. After all, the less bets you place, the lower your bets are, the smaller your losses will be in the long term.

6. It is often said poker is a game of skills. But is this the case, in the long term everybody gets the same amount of good and bad cards?

That is true, but the difference is what you do with them. An extreme example is that your best possible hand, the nuts on the river, would fold. Or that you would call on the river with a hand so weak, it could not even call you bluff. These examples show that it all depends on the quality of your decisions which determine the end-result. Maximizing your winnings when you have a good card, recognizing good spots to successfully call bluff or semi-bluff and minimising losses in situations where your good hand has obviously been beaten.

7. Which percentages can you be ahead or behind with games like roulette, blackjack or poker?

With roulette 2.7% behind; ahead of the house is impossible with this game. With blackjack it depends on the quality of your game: with an optimal strategy you are usually just behind house, but with a sub-optimal strategy you can still be much farther behind the house than with roulette. Being ahead with blackjack is only possible via counting cards and/ or playing with fewer decks cards, and even then the lead of the house is very small. With poker it is difficult to say. It depends on the quality of your game compared to your opponents and also of the height of the rake or fee the provider takes with every game or tournament. The higher the costs, and the higher the quality of your opponents compared to your own playing quality, the smaller the chance of even having an edge. Pokerplayers usually analyse their edge using ROI (return on investment; usually an estimation based on results so far). Very talented and trained players can get a good edge, however getting this long-term edge is far from easy and a single good result is definitely not the same as having an edge.

8. Are play-money games a good practice for real-money games?

With real games of chance, it sometimes is. You can use the rules and learn the aspects of the game without losing money. Important is whether the provider has the same chances of winning in play-money games as in real-money games. Some providers offer better chances in play-money games to make them switch to real-money games, where you then find out you don’t win that often and in the long term even lose a lot of money. When it comes to skill games and when you play against opponents instead of the house this can be a serious downside, because your opponents might not be as serious as in real-money games. Therefore it might be easier to win play-money games and you will soon feel ready for real-money games, only to find out your opponents in real-money games are much better than you.

9. Are the tips given by Centrum voor Verantwoord Spelen also always for games where there is an edge?

To a much lesser degree. Tips like: “Grab your winnings” or “Don’t continue playing for too long” work with the premise that with every bet you place there is a negative profit-expectation. But when you are ahead of your opponents or (does not happen often) of the house, there will be a lot of value in making hours, long sessions etc. Do notice: when it comes to gambling, we do not often see an edge and to get an edge in games that require skills it often takes a lot of practice.

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