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  • Writer's pictureThe Unshaken Female

The Art of Probability: Setting the Game Table at Hand

Updated: May 25

Let's dive into detail on probability and how it relates to the world of betting.

Disclaimer: As obvious as this blog post may seem at first, it will go on to provide useful insight you probably haven't envisioned before. (Pun intended)

If you remember back from the early days in elementary school, we've all learned a thing or two about probability. Probability is essentially the likelihood of something happening {or being the case}.

The greater the probability, the more likely it is to occur.

Without going into further detail on its definitions, I'd like to discuss examples of how probability comes into play. This will lead to a better understanding of your options when placing trades or betting.

When you think of probability, you probably think of a pair of dice. (lol)

Ok so with 6 sides to the dice, with each roll you have a 1 in 6 chance of landing a number between 1 & 6 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6). If someone bets that you'll roll a 4, they are betting on a 17% chance that you'll roll a 4 (1/6) for that single roll.

In my eyes, that's not a very great likelihood of winning. I'd prefer a probability of maybe 4 or 5 in 6 in that example! (Who wouldn't?)

How about an even higher denominator, such as 36. You would have an even less likelihood of landing any number from 1 through 36! A famous line from the movie Dumb & Dumber comes after Jim Carey is told by the woman of his dreams that he has a one in one million chance of ending up with her.

"So, you're telling me... there's a chance?!"

Back to the dice example, the numerator (1) cannot be changed for each roll, because the dice can only land on one side each time. With each roll, you're getting one chance at a chance if that makes sense.

Understanding probability & different payout outcomes

Now, what if we take an example from the game of Roulette, where the options for each chance you get can be maneuvered to your liking.

When I first dipped my toes in at the casino in my early 20s, I gravitated towards the roulette tables because I found that the player has more options with their money per round than what they are dealt at most other game tables.

In the game of Roulette, there are a multitude of options you can utilize per spin of the dealer's ball. For those who are unfamiliar with the game, I'll go over the basic rules & details of (American) Roulette.

Let me tell you, there's no better feeling as a rookie gambler than when the dealer places their glass marker on the winning number (or region of numbers) after the ball spins. In this moment, all the losing chips are removed from the table and yours are amongst the few remaining to take back (along with your proceeds).

That euphoric moment got me thinking of what I could do in order to at least stay in the game with the little money I had to spend on gambling! This was mostly because I wanted that feeling of winning each time, even if it meant a smaller payout.

With a set amount of money to play the game, each player must put down a minimum $ amount per spin (per play). Different roulette tables have different minimums, depending on where you're playing. (i.e. high roller tables, Vegas vs. Atlantic City, etc.)

The money you initially give the dealer gets converted into chips that hold equivalent value in total. Each chip could be worth a different face value depending on how much money you put down in total. Either way, you'll be given chips to play the game with.

For example, let's say you're willing to put down $100 in total to play with. You find a table at the casino with a minimum price per play of $10. That would mean you could technically play 10 rounds of the game if you only put down the minimum amount ($10) per spin/play. ($100/ $10 per play = 10 plays)

With that $10 minimum per round, you received 10 chips, each with $1 face value. ($10/ 10 chips= $1/chip).

You could also choose to play each round with $50 (leaving you with only 2 rounds off the bat), or $25 (4 rounds), etc. While the more money you allocate to each round may improve your profit outcome from that round, keep in mind that you'll also have less rounds to play (less chances of a chance) from your initial budget.

I personally like to be given as many chances in life as possible. So, who wouldn't?

How you decide to divvy up your money will ultimately determine your outcome (proceeds).

Let's take a closer look at the table from a vertical point of view so we're not looking at as many sideways numbers!

When you look at the table, you see columns and categories in every direction. This can be extremely overwhelming at first!

First off, there are two different approaches to your minimum bet. This is as simple as playing either "inside or outside" the table.

For example, that $10 minimum can either be played as "inside bets" or "outside bets".

The numbers 1 through 36 {enclosed in a red or black circle} plus the numbers 0 & 00 are considered the inside of the table.

The outer boxes/ basic bets are considered the outside of the table and have different payouts depending on its nature. (Ex: Red/Black, Odd/Even, grouped numbers). They have lower payouts because they're that simple and have a higher likelihood of landing!

Personally, I've had more fun and better outcomes with inside the table bets, so we'll be focusing on the details within the 38 numbers at hand!

The range of numbers from 00 through 36 have several ways of being utilized, each with a specified payout ratio. Your minimum bet can be mixed and matched to your preference, using one or multiple methods of divvying up the bet.

If you have a lucky number and only want to play that number, you'd have to put the minimum of $10 worth of chip(s) on that lucky number. In this case, that's considered a single number bet aka "Straight up".

Obviously, with a 1 in 38 chance (or 2.6% probability) of the ball landing on your number, you'll surely be compensated the most for that kind of risk! The payout ratio is 35:1 plus your wager.

Your next option is to place your bet on a line that splits between two adjacent numbers. Here, you're betting that the ball will land on either of the two numbers, with a 2 in 38 chance or a 5.3% probability of that scenario happening. This is called a split bet and pays out 17 to 1 plus wager.

A third option, called a "street bet" is a street of 3 numbers in a row, with 12 different streets on the table to choose from. For a 7.9% probability of the winning number landing on your street, the payout for a street bet is 11:1 plus wager.

Another scenario called a "corner bet" would be to place your bet on the point between 4 adjacent numbers on the table, for a 10.5% chance of the winning number landing. The payout is 8:1 plus wager for a corner bet.

You can bet on the 5 top numbers (0,00,1,2,3) or both 0 & 00 for exposure to the "outliers".

A 6-line bet is on the line between two adjacent streets (total of 6 numbers, 16.7% likelihood) for a payout of 5 to 1 if your numbers are a winner.

As I'm sure you figured out, the higher the probability, the lower the payout. That being said, the lower the probability, the higher the payout.

The more options you put on the table, the greater the probability that one will (at least) execute.

What I mean by one option will at least execute, is that you could use at least one of the above listed strategies to divvy wagered amount! The options are almost endless!

It's important to save the majority of your chips (if you can) for future rounds. Nevertheless, one who has more money to put into the game may have more chances, a greater probability and/or a greater profit. One who puts less total money into the game may lose less money per round but is more likely to get wiped out of the game early on.

Utilizing multiple strategies can dilute the winning number so much that you're receiving back only a fraction of what you wagered. In this case, if you're covering nearly the entire board, you will most likely be forfeiting the majority of your chips all for that small winning area.

Here's the silver lining: If one (or more) of your strategies contains the winning number, that glass marker will still land amongst or on (at least one) of your chips. Ding ding ding!

Before you exit this page, think about the flexibility you have with your dollars when it comes to placing a bet, and how you could stretch a minimum bet. In my opinion, it is possible to cover a lot of your bases without diluting out too much of your profits! You can make it personalized to you (lucky or special numbers) while also reducing risk and focusing on multiple areas of numbers within the table.

This single rule of thumb has become embedded in my way of thinking today, especially when it comes to investing and trading!

XO Hope

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