Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Probability theory is a branch of mathematics that looks at the chance that an event will happen. I have already written about heads and tails so I will now look at roulette which is a little more complicated. There are 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers on a roulette wheel. As well as that there are 18 odd and 18 even numbers. You can bet on individual numbers or the colour or whether it is odd or even or quite a few other options.

If you place a bet on a red number and you win then the casino gives you back your initial bet and doubles it. If you bet on an individual number then the casino pays back your bet plus 35 times that amount, because there are 36 numbers. How does the casino make its money. The answer is easy. Take a closer look at the wheel. There is also a zero and on some wheels there is also a double zero. If you take a wheel with one zero this means there are 37 options for the ball. On average the casino will take all the stakes every 37 bets. There is one chance in 37 that the ball will land on any specific number. The chances of the ball landing on a red is 18/37.

We are still dealing with relatively simple odds. When you get to horse riding then it becomes a lot more complicated, but from this simple example you can see that the only winner in gambling is the casino.

That sums it up

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