Math is a game of certainty, not guesswork, and wherever you go in the world, one language will always stay the same: the language of numbers. Whether you were a genius in school or not, we simply can’t get away from the fact that, even if it’s fundamental, is all around us every day. It’s in our budgets, in the amount of flour that goes into a cake, in calculating how much gas money we need for a road trip. It’s also in casinos, everywhere you look. While many people would naturally associate math in casinos with a frowned-upon activity like counting cards, that’s not the only place you see it. Of course, the element of chance and random results in gambling means that it can only take you so far in working out the probability of a win or loss and what you need next to get a little closer to winning, but it’s still there behind the scenes. You don’t have to be the one who went to university three years early on a scholarship to understand the basic ways that math is used in gambling. Join us as we take a look at the connection between the two!
To start to understand the link between math and gambling (which is really the link between quantifiable probability and luck), we must travel back in time to the 16th century and meet a man called Gerolamo Cardano. Cardano was the author of one of the very first gambling manuals, which outlined ways for gamblers to make their way through something called “sample space.” Let’s look at an example:
Two dice are able to make a total of 36 combinations when rolled together, but only one of those combinations would produce a result of two sixes.
Some mathematicians cite this as the beginning of the probability theory, which is what all strategic gambling is based upon. Whether it was or wasn’t, this work helped set the course for a whole new area of mathematical study. Back in the present, players who understand this theory are able to utilize it to minimize their level of risk. Whatever the game, the exact same rules, and laws of probability will always apply. This might sound a little complicated at first but don’t worry, it’ll get simpler as we explain! A player uses probability theory to ASSESS the risk of the bet that they might place by taking stock of the PROBABILITY of a win, what the VALUE of that win might be, the DURATION of the game they’re playing, what the VOLATILITY INDEX is for this particular bet and the BET they are placing.
Most of those terms probably seem quite clear and easy to understand, so we’ll explain what the weirdest term means: volatility index. This is the term used to describe deviation in a mathematical situation. This volatility index tells a player if they might win more or less than what the “expected” value is. This index helps to essentially quantify luck by telling players what their odds are.
While casino games are all about the odds, there are mathematical strategies that you can apply to help yourself get a clearer idea of what’s going on. Some players just walk into a casino to have a little fun and see if luck favors them that night, but others play casino games a little more seriously. For example, there are lots of professional poker games in which you would be lost without strategy! There’s an element of the unknown in gambling that we cannot ever fully quantify, but because there are a finite amount of possible outcomes where numbered dice or cards or random number generators are involved, math can help us whittle it down and understand it a little bit better. It might seem like complicated stuff at first, but the longer you look at the systems that are applied here, the more clear they become.
Does Math Really Help?
How much of the potential immediate future can you really “predict” by figuring out what the chances are of various scenarios coming to pass? How much can math really help you in playing casino games? The answer is a fair amount if it is applied correctly. It’s much more challenging to use it to your advantage in land-based casinos but it is still definitely an option. There are many tutorials and videos out there that can help you understand probability math and use it to your best advantage in every sphere of life, including casino games.
Your brain is a wonderful thing, and it’s the best, fastest computer on the earth today. The link between math and gambling is an exciting one to explore with this living computer at your disposal; will you be exploring it more?