How To Prioritize Fair Decision-Making When Playing Casino Games

January 5, 2022

Winning money is great. However, casino games are designed to take advantage of players who do not optimize their decision-making. We will explore this idea in depth below.

Casino games are fun. They allow us to test our skills, math, and good decision-making while providing us with the opportunity to win money. Winning money is great. However, casino games are designed to take advantage of players who do not optimize their decision-making. We will explore this idea in depth below.

This article serves as a guide for players who want to think about what they are doing while they make decisions in casino games. The tips below have been compiled with as our trusted partner on casino guides. 

What mistakes you should avoid when playing casinos games?

  • Making decisions that go against your intuition

Intuition or gut feeling is something that people have a natural tendency to rely on. However, this strategy does not work for casinos games. Casinos optimize their games so they are mathematically correct according to the paytable. They do this by removing all of the extra information given in a regular game of chance. There are no extra cards, symbols, or anything that is not part of the lot; we call this removing “the luck factor”. The only information we have to make a decision is what has been given and if it warrants hitting or staying. This means that there is nothing else to base your decision on besides the paytable and the cards you see.

In a regular game of chance, there may be the possibility that you have been given an extra card or symbol that can be used as your deciding factor for making a decision. In casino games, this is not the case because it will affect the integrity of their mathematically correct paytable. It is almost never going to be the case that you should make a decision and then base it upon what might or will happen with an extra card or symbol.

Some people may argue that intuitive decision-making is good enough because it does not matter in casino games anyway; they will lose no matter how much math they do, right? While this may be true (you could probably find a casino game that does not matter), there is no reason to lose because you did not want to play optimally. It takes around 10-20 minutes to learn how to get started with basic strategy, and after that point, you should be able to significantly reduce your losses while playing casino games. If we do the math, we can see that this is a lot of money.

  • Making decisions based upon what you want to happen (not what the math suggests)

What do we mean when we say “what you want to happen?” One example is if there are 5 cards left in a game and your hand totals 14 because you really need an ace for Blackjack, you decide to draw another card even though the chances are low that the next card will be an ace. Even though this is a difficult decision to make, it would seem intuitive to try for blackjack in this case because it is something you really want. However, what if there are no more aces left? It seems foolish to try so hard for one card when you have a good chance of busting. However, intuitively it seems better to try.

This is how casinos games are designed to take advantage of players who do not optimize their decision-making. There are so many decisions in casino games that it is difficult not to make the wrong choice sometimes. We call this “the house edge”. It is the percentage of money the casino makes on any given game because of how they have designed their paytable. Decisions that we make should be based upon what brings us closer to our goal (winning) and not what we want to happen.

What Factors To Consider When Making Decisions In Casino Games?

There are many possible factors to consider when making decisions in casino games, but not all of them carry equal weight. The most important factors carry the least weight and vice versa. I will provide an example of this below. Obviously, if you would like to skip the example and jump straight to the conclusion, feel free to do so now.

  • Gaming Environment And House Rules

When playing casino games, it is important to consider how gaming environment and house rules impact your decisions.   These factors can vary dramatically. Make sure to consider each factor before making any decisions that might impact your gaming experience at the casino.

  • Expected Value Of A Decision 

The expected value of a decision is how much money you expect to make on average if you were to make the same decision an excess number of times (according to statisticshowto Expected Value is the return you can expect for some kind of action). You should always make decisions when playing casino games with the goal of maximizing your expected value.

The Cost Of Action And The Probability Of Success

” Your best bet to win the lottery is to play.” – Mark Goodson

It makes a lot of sense for undiscriminating gamblers to take the best bet in a game of chance because doing so will give them the highest probability of winning. The problem is that gambling games are designed to appeal to players who do not discriminate between good bets and bad bets. This can be seen clearly in games designed with high house edges such as slots and keno.

What Does This Mean For Casino Game Players?

Casino game players need to prioritize their decision-making. You should make decisions that carry the least weight first, and you should make decisions that carry the most weight last.

Let’s say you are playing a slot machine. The first decision you should make is to determine which machine has the best return. On a good day, a penny slot may have a 99%+ vintage return. A 98% or better vintage return is an excellent indication that you will receive more money back than what was wagered.

If you have decided that you want to play a slot machine, the next decision is to determine how much to wager. The more you bet, the higher your expected return.

If neither of those decisions meets your expectations, then it is time to consider which machine offers a good probability of winning a big payout. You may have noticed that many penny slot machines offer large jackpots but they rarely payout. That is why it is more beneficial to play a slot machine that has frequent small wins, but infrequent larger wins.

An Example Of Prioritizing Decision-Making In Casino Games 

“If you are taking insurance, it means you are mathematically incorrect.” – Sir Isaac Newton

Here is an example that demonstrates the importance of prioritizing fair decision-making when playing casino games :

Let’s say you are playing blackjack. The dealer is showing an 8 up-card. You have a 13 and the dealer has dealt one card face down. Now, it is time to decide whether or not to take insurance before the dealer turns over their hole card(s).

If you choose to take insurance, you will lose your entire wager if the dealer has an ace up-card, yet you receive half of your original wager back if the dealer does not have an ace up-card. Now, calculate how much you will lose on average when taking insurance in this situation:

Insurance cost = original wager * .5

Loss from taking insurance = (original wager * .5) + (insurance cost)

Loss from taking insurance = original wager * .5 + insurance cost

Loss from taking insurance = original wager/2 + 1

Loss from taking insurance = (1.5)(original wager)

On average, you will lose 1.5 times the original wager in this situation with a 50% chance of winning and a 50% chance of losing.

Let’s say you decide to play it safe and not take insurance in this situation. Now, calculate how much you will win on average when playing it safe:

Win from taking insurance = 0

Win from playing it safe = probability of winning * original wager

Win from playing it safe = 1/2 * (1 + original wager)

Win from playing it safe = 1/2 + original wager/2

Win from playing it safe = (original wager + .5)(1+originalwager)/2

On average, you will win 1.5 times the original wager in this situation with a 50% chance of winning and a 50% chance of losing.

In this scenario, you would be wise to play it safe because your expected return is greater than what you can lose from taking insurance.

In conclusion, when making decisions in casino games, you should prioritize your decision-making towards the most important factors. A good way to begin prioritizing is by putting yourself in a position where you can win, and then working backward from there.