Games of Chance

Games of chance are those where the outcome of each event is independent, like the flip of a coin. In casinos, roulette, craps, bingo, keno, and slots are games of chance; the result of a spin of the roulette wheel, a toss of the dice, the drawing of bingo or keno numbers, or one pull of a slot arm is not affected by anything that happened before, nor does it influence anything in the future. The odds of any given outcome in a game of chance are exactly the same every time.

That means, of course, that there's nothing you can do as a player to improve the odds of a specific outcome. In these games, the only way to “bet smart” is to place your bets based on the probability of a given outcome. In craps, for example, you know that the probability of the roller throwing a 2, 3, or 12 is about 11 percent; the probability of the roller tossing a 7, however, is about 17 percent.

In games of chance, there will inevitably be streaks. Just as you can flip a coin ten times and end up with ten straight heads, you might encounter streaks of the same outcome in craps, roulette, keno, or bingo, where the same numbers seem to come up time after time. Don't be fooled into seeing a pattern in these streaks; they are just as random as the outcomes themselves.

Some casino card games also are games of chance, if they don't allow players to make any decisions that can improve their odds of winning. Casino war is a game of chance — you win or lose solely depending on how the cards turn up. Some experts consider three-card poker a game of skill, but chance plays a bigger role than skill; your odds of winning depend on the draw of the cards, and the only choice you can make is whether to fold or to play your hand against the dealer's hand. There's no skill involved beyond knowing how the hands are ranked in three-card poker.

The games of chance at most casinos are:

Money wheel (Big 6, Wheel of Fortune)

Baccarat

Craps

Roulette

Sic bo

Slots

Keno

Bingo

Casino war

Three-card poker

Don't be taken in by “sure-fire” systems to win at games of chance. Games of chance are random, independent events, and there is no such thing as a system to beat these games. The people hawking such schemes are making their money from naive gamblers, not from using their own “sure-fire” methods.

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