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How gambling works

Understanding your bets

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Probability and odds

The terms 'probability' and 'odds' are two common ways used to describe how likely it is that a certain event will happen. In gambling, both terms tell you how likely you are to win, but they do this in different ways.

Think of a rolling dice and hoping for a "4" to come up. In this case there are 6 possible outcomes, 1 winning outcome and 5 losing outcomes.

When you flip a coin, the probability of it landing on heads is the same as the probability of it landing on tails, so you could say that it has a 50% chance or it’s 50/50.

The reason each outcome is as likely as all of the others is that it all depends on chance. If a flipped coin landed on heads several times in a row, it’s easy to think that it has to come up tails on the next flip. However, the coin doesn’t “remember” what it has landed on before in the same way that it doesn’t “decide” what to land on next. No matter what has happened already, the probability of it landing on heads or tails is always 50/50. Unless you can see the future, the result of a rolled dice or flipped coin is unknown and unpredictable, so we can say that the outcome is random.

Remember: despite what you might think, you can’t work out or control an outcome that’s based on chance and randomness – people who try to do this often lose a lot of money. They might win now and then, but this is also down to chance. Thinking that you can beat the system can be problematic. 

 

Types of gambling

Sports Betting

There is a wide variety of types of bets that you can place on sports. The odds of an individual sportsperson, team, horse or dog are provided and you can bet your money on them, but even if they’re expected to win it doesn’t mean they definitely will.

If, for example, a horse is highly fancied to win, it might be given odds of 2/1, meaning that if you bet £1 and it wins, you’ll get £2 back plus your original stake (so £3 overall). Meanwhile, if another horse is less fancied and expected to lose  it is given larger odds, let’s say 100/1. So if you bet £1 and it wins, you’ll get £100 back plus your original stake (so £101 overall). However, chance always plays a large part in all games and bets – the horse that people expect to win may slow down or even fall over, and the horse with poor odds may have more energy than usual and beat all of the others. Or maybe not – there are so many things that could happen, so remember to bet sensibly.

Bingo

Bingo is a game in which players are given cards with random numbers on them.  Numbers are selected one by one and each number if it’s on their card is marked off. The winner is the first person to mark off all numbers in a row and on ticket or another required pattern. There are a variety of different Bingo games to choose from, be sure to check the rules of your selected game before playing.

Bingo is all down to chance and the numbers drawn are entirely random.

Poker

Poker is a family of card games involving betting and individual play, whereby the winner is determined by the ranks and combinations of their cards, some of which remain hidden until the end of the game. Poker games vary in the number of cards dealt, the number of shared or "community" cards and the number of cards that remain hidden. The betting procedures vary among different poker games in terms of betting limits and splitting the pot between a high hand and a low hand.

In standard poker, each player is betting that their hand will be the highest ranked. The action then proceeds clockwise around the table and each player in turn must either match the maximum bet or fold, meaning they’ve dropped out of the game and lost their bets. A player who matches a bet may also "raise," or increase the bet. The betting round ends when all players have either matched the last bet or folded.

While the outcome of any particular hand does involve elements of chance, poker is also a game of skill determined by the actions of the player.

Blackjack 

Blackjack is a relatively simple card game. The object of Blackjack is for the total of your cards to be closer to 21 than the dealer’s cards, without exceeding 21. In Blackjack, aces count as either 1 or 11, face cards as 10, and number cards at their face value. If your cards add up to over 21 you automatically lose – this is called “busting”. But if they add up to under 21 whilst being higher than that of the dealer, you win. One of the risks of blackjack is that it’s very easy to keep taking another card, or a “hit”, which will usually result in you busting and your opponent winning the game.

Roulette

Roulette is a game in which the croupier (casino host) spins a ball around a wheel which has 37 red or black numbered holes around it's circumference. Players may choose to place bets on the ball landing on either a single number or a range of numbers, the colours red, black or green, or whether the number is odd or even. The odds at which each outcome pays out depends on the probability of that outcome happening.

Slots

There are two main aspects that determine the odds of the slot game you're playing, with the first one being the number of reels and symbols and the second one being the slots probability percentages for the player winning. The randomness of slots means that the chances of hitting the jackpot or top bonus feature twice in a row are exactly the same as not hitting the jackpot after 1000 spins.

The probability of the slots games can be found in the More Information section of each game. More information about the paylines, jackpots and bonuses of each game can be found within the game in the info section.  

Tips to stay in control

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Some helpful tips & tools to stay betting within your limits.

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Budget Calculator

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