Tossing a coin is one such activity where it can be assumed that the probability of flicking a head or a tail both stand at 50% (unless the build of the coin has been tampered with in some way).
Therefore, should a coin be flipped 100 times, a head should, theoretically, be land face up on 50 occasions and the same for tails.
However, the reality is that if 100 coin tosses were conducted and documented once a day for a week, it’s extremely unlikely the breakdown of results would be equal on any given day.
Instead, on a Monday the result could conceivably be 58/42 in the favour of tails, followed by 56/44 for heads on a Tuesday and then 55/45 for heads again on a Wednesday, and so on.
Across a period of time the parity in results should balance out, but not on a single day and maybe not across a week, a month or even a year.
This acceptance for unbalanced results should be something that is accepted when adopting any long-term gambling strategy.
If a player’s preferred game is roulette and their regular casino location houses a US wheel containing both a green 0 and green 00, the house edge is considered to be 5.26%.
So, should this player go out with a £190 gambling budget in their back pocket, they should realistically expect to return home £9.99 down at the end of their session.
However, there are numerous factors which may prevent this from happening. Here are some such irregularities:
When it comes to roulette, there are lots of different bets for a person to consider placing. Among them are the even-money bets, the 2/1 bets and the straight-up bets which pay out at 35/1. We have covered each in slightly more detail previously here.
If a player’s regular go-to bet is £5 straight up on the number 13, should they then randomly decide to stick £5 on a street bet of three numbers positioned next to each other horizontally on the layout as well for a one-off hand, that will skew the final balance of their finances.
Overall, the chances of the ball resting in the black 13 section is one in 38 and should it be successful, a player will be paid at 35/1. This is how the house edge works. If there was no edge, this payout would instead be 38/1.
The way that the probability works is that if a player placed £5 on 13 for 38 consecutive hands, they would lose 37 (£185), but win one (£175). They would also get back their £5 stake in their winning hand.
However, should this player lose the aforementioned street bets too, which pay out at 17/1 if successful, this would drop their losses below that expected from the house edge.
A person needs to be disciplined with the bets they place and refrain from drifting into other markets, whether it be for additional fun, chasing losses or other reasons.
Alongside the types of bet they are placing, a person also needs to be rigid with the amount they are staking.
Some may choose to adopt a progressive betting system, where they up their stake after a win and then decrease it after a loss. Although this doesn’t really work for straight-up roulette bets, it is a viable option for even-money bets or if playing blackjack.
Meanwhile, others may have the occasional rush of blood or gut feeling that they are definitely going to win on the next spin or hand and increase their bet accordingly.
The outcome of such a hand will clearly have a bearing on overall profit-and-loss margins.
There are predominantly two types of roulette wheel – the US wheel already mentioned and a European alternative.
The main difference is that the Euro wheel has a reduced house edge as it only contains the solitary green 0, not the 00. Other discrepancies between the pair can be seen here.
Should a player swtich between gambling establishments which house the two types of wheel, this will have an impact on the consistency of their profits or losses.
Even if a player keeps all of their betting habits the same, their results are still likely to be inconsistent. Should they stick around for 38 spins on a roulette wheel, they shouldn’t expect every number on the wheel to be a winner one time.
So, sticking to the example we set out earlier, in one session, a person could blow their entire budget and not see the number 13 come up once, while on another visit they could get paid out £180 (£5 staked on a 35/1 win) on multiple occasions.
This is why a person can’t rely on the results of a single session to determine the success or failure of a particular betting strategy.
Although there is no hard-and-fast rule as to exactly how many sessions give a clear picture of whether a strategy is working, the one thing that is abundantly clear is that it is certainly more than one.