If you are an online gambler have been to a land based casino, you probably know that each game has its own odds. If you are newbie to gambling, it is important to know that odds determine how much money you make if you win and what you will actually pocket. Professional gamblers will never bet on a game whose odds are not clear. They will always do some calculations before dedicating their time and money to the game.

Some online casino games are more dependent on luck rather than strategy. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t master some strategies. For instance, online roulette is a game of chance but if you know how to place bets you will increase your odds of winning. On games such as poker and blackjack, strategy will be as important as luck.

There is no better way of coming up with a good strategy than understanding and calculating the odds. Mastering the odds will enable you make more rational decisions than other gamblers. This implies that you must thoroughly understand the game – especially table card games which have many rules. You don’t need to do complex mathematical calculations to understand the odds. There are two main types of odds:

  • Winning odds

These odds refer to the chances of winning per hand/spin. For instance, a European roulette wheel has numbers 1-36 and a single zero (0) and hence a total of 37 numbers. Therefore, if you place a straight bet (bet on one number only), your winning odds are 1:37. This is the probability of the ball falling on your number.

  • Payout odds

Just as its name suggests, these odds determine how much money you will actually pocket on each win. For instance, if you place a straight up bet at online roulette, and win, your winning odds are 1 to 37. However, the payout odds are 35:1. Therefore, you will win $35 for each $1 rather than $37. This is gives the casino a house edge.

Depending on the gambling site hosting you, the odds of the game might be listed on the layout. Games such as slots or craps will be accompanied by a list of payout odds.

Payout odds are expressed in two forms; ‘to’ and ‘for’. Here you have to be very cautious. If the odds are expressed as 3 ’to’ 1, you will win 3 and get to keep the 1. That is, you will win 3 chips and keep your original 1 chip bet hence a total of 4 chips. On the other hand, odds which are expressed as 3 ‘for’ 1 imply that you will keep 3 chips and lose your original 1 bet chip. To sum it up, a 3 ‘for’ 1 payoff is the same as a 2 to 1 payoff.

Now you are one step ahead when it comes to casino odds phrases. If there is a choice between the two, always go for the ‘to’ payouts as they pay better.

What about the House Edge?

Whether you are a casual or new gambler, always place bets on games that have low house edge. The house edge is a tactic used to make money by online casinos. If the winning odds were same as payout odds, casinos will not have any edge. This extra money that the casino keeps is known as the house edge. At roulette games, a straight up be will only get you 36 chips while the casino keeps 1 chip. Therefore, its house edge is 2.7%.

To maximize your chances of winning, you should play games with least house edge, great winning odds and best payout odds. Casino games with a maximum of 1.5% should be a good choice.

How to calculate the odds

  • First, take a look at true and payout odds. Subtract the number of chips you are supposed to win to the chips that you pocket. Now take the remainder and divide it by the number of chips you should have won. This gives you the house edge.
  • Let’s take a look at this example. If you make a pass line bet at online craps, true odds are 251:244 while payout odds are 244:244. Now subtract 244 from 251 to remain with 7 chips. Divide 7 by 251 to end up with a 2.7% house edge.

Best odds for popular casino games


Best bet – Counter

House edge – varies depending on skill, rules, casino and number of decks. Blackjack games offer positive odds.

Online poker

Best bet – Perfect strategy

House edge – Positive and depends on game type, skill and table.


Best bet – Banker hand

House edge – 1.06%

Video Poker

Best bet – Jack or Better

House edge – 0.4%


Best bet – Don’t pass or don’t come

House edge – 1.36%

Understanding the odds is an important part of gambling and shouldn’t be neglected.

Author: Mary Jones – Is a passionate writer from New Zealand who frequently writes about gambling topics for her website CasinoKiwi.com dedicated to NZ players. You can find more articles from her below:

Website: https://casinokiwi.com/