5 Numbers Every Gambler Needs to Know

Thinking Man With a Math Equation Blackboard Background

I’m guessing that you don’t love math. This is safe to say because the majority of adults don’t care much for math. But if you refuse to learn a few fairly simple mathematical facts, your odds of becoming a winning gambler are small.

Well, I’ve got good news for you. The mathematical facts you need to learn really aren’t that difficult. And they won’t take too much of your time either.

Here are six numbers that every gambler needs to know. Spend a little bit of time learning these facts now and you’re going to benefit for the rest of your life.

1 – Casino Edge Numbers

Gambling games have a house edge that creates the profit for the casino. Some gambling activities have a high casino edge and others have a lower edge. But one thing you can be sure of is that every gambling activity you participate in is designed with an edge that works against you.

Most gamblers know at some level that the odds are stacked against them, but they keep gambling because they get lucky every once in a while and win. But they don’t know exactly how much the casino edge is.

You need to learn what the casino edge is for the games you play before you do any more gambling.

When you know what the casino edge is, it not only helps you find the best gambling activities to participate in, but it also helps you determine exactly how much you can expect to lose. Learn how this works in the next section.

2 – Long-Term Expected Results

You can use a simple formula to figure out exactly how much you can expect to lose doing any gambling activity when you know the casino edge. All you need to know is what the edge is and how much you risk in total.

You can figure out how much you can expect to lose every hour, every week, every month, every year, or for any other amount of time, as long as you know how much you’re going to risk in total.

The simple formula to determine your expected loss is the casino edge times the total amount wagered. This is easy to understand when you see an example.

Orange Baccarat Table Game

You’re playing baccarat and are betting on the player hand. The casino edge is 1.24%. Your average bet amount is $40. You play 60 hands every hour, and you play 10 hours every week.

To determine your expected loss per hour, multiply 1.24% times $40 times 60. You play 60 hands every hour at $40 per hand. This formula tells you that your expected loss every hour is $29.76.

If you want to know your expected loss every week, multiply this total times the 10 hours you play every week. This is a total of $297.60. This makes it clear to see that even with a relatively small casino edge, your expected losses can stack up quickly.

You also need to understand that this means you need to find gambling activities with a lower casino edge. Or even better, find a few gambling activities that allow you to eliminate the casino edge or turn the edge in your favor.

3 – How to Determine Card Odds

Many casino games use cards, and even some machine games are card-based, like video poker. When a game uses cards you can use some simple probability to help you figure out the odds of certain cards being dealt next.

This starts with the knowledge of the cards in a deck. Most gamblers are familiar with a deck of cards, but if you’re not, pick up a deck and study the cards.

If you’re playing real money blackjack and the dealer has an ace, how likely is it that their face down card is worth 10 Points? A deck of cards has 16 cards that are worth 10 points in blackjack and 36 cards that aren’t worth 10 points. This means that 16 out of 52 cards are worth 10 points, or the ratio of 10 point cards verses non 10 point cards is 16 to 36.

Blackjack Split Aces Hand

Here’s another example. You’re playing video poker and have four hearts. You exchange your fifth card for another. What are the odds of drawing a fifth heart? You know the deck has 13 hearts and you have four of them. This leaves nine hearts in the deck. You know the value of five cards, so there are 47 unseen cards. This means that nine out of the 47 possible cards are hearts.

When you’re playing any casino game involving cards, you can use this type of information to help you make better playing decisions. Every time you use card odds to make a better decision, it gives you a better chance to win.

4 – Percentage of Bankroll to Risk

When you’re gambling, you obviously need money to keep playing. When you have a losing streak and it takes all of your money, you have to stop gambling until you can get more.

You should be setting aside a certain amount of money that you can use for gambling. This is called your casino bankroll. By setting aside a separate amount for a bankroll, it’s easier to track your wins and losses, and it helps you make sure that you’re not gambling with money for the rent or electric bill.

You can use the information you learned in the first two sections to get an idea of how big your bankroll needs to be for a gambling session or trip. Here’s an example of how to determine how much you need.

Let’s say you’re going on a three-day trip to Atlantic City, and you’re planning to play blackjack. You’ve played there before and know where some blackjack tables are that have a casino edge of 0.5%. Your average wager is $25, and you usually average around 50 hands every hour. You plan to play blackjack for 20 hours over the three days.

You can use this information to determine how much you can expect to lose. And you can use this number to figure out a safe bankroll amount to make sure you don’t run out of money.

0.5% casino edge times $25 per hand time 50 hands per hour times 20 hours of play gives you the expected loss. This is an expected loss of $125. This isn’t a big loss for 20 hours of gambling, but you need to take more than that in case you hit a losing streak.

I recommend taking at least four times your expected loss, and 10 times is even better.

5 – Bankroll Amount

In the first section, you learned about the casino edge. As a gambler, as long as you’re participating in gambling activities that give the casino the edge, you’re going to lose money. That’s just what casinos need to do in order to run their business.

This means that no matter how big your bankroll is, it’s never big enough if you give the casino an edge. You’re eventually going to deplete your bankroll, or you’re going to need to continuously add funds to your bankroll.

Row of Slot Machines

This is what most gamblers do. They gamble and hope to get lucky. Occasionally, they win, but eventually, the numbers catch up with them and they lose all of their money. When they get paid or sell something, they add money to their bankroll and hope to get lucky again.

If you’re gambling against a casino edge, you don’t need to worry about the size of your bankroll. It’s never going to be big enough.

You can gamble whenever you have money, but worrying about your bankroll is a waste of time.

On the other hand, if you’re playing with advantage gambling, your bankroll is important. With an edge, the main goal you need to have with your bankroll is to make sure it’s big enough to survive until the edge you’re playing with works by building your bankroll.

When you have an edge is when the information you learned in the last section comes into play.


Now that you know these five gambling numbers, you can look at every wagering opportunity in a new light. Find the casino edge so you can accurately determine the long term expectation. This is going to save you money for the rest of your life.

You can also use odds to make decisions in many casino games. You need every advantage you can find to overcome the casino and the edge. The odds are stacked against you, but you can use these numbers to improve the odds and improve your chances of winning every time you gamble.