If you’re an old hand at online casino gaming, you’ll have heard of the term “expected value.” Poker players, especially, use the term, often abbreviated to EV. So, what is it and how can it be of any use to you and your favourite online casino games?
What is Expected Value in Casino Gaming Terms?
The expected value of an event is typically defined as the probability-weighted average of all the potential outcomes of an event.
So, when it comes to online casino games, it pays to know even a little maths. In this case, EV means the average outcome of running the same event an infinite amount of times. In casino terms, “event” refers to anything that might happen wherein there are multiple potential outcomes with known probabilities. As you can see, this is a definition that covers just about every bet in the online casino world. So, online gamers use a general equation for such a vast range of outcomes: X1 to Xn.
It sounds complicated, but in practice, the maths is really straightforward fractions, multiplication and addition. And, if you like a punt on the poker or a flutter with blackjack, it’s the kind of maths worth knowing.
EV and Online Roulette
In the game of online roulette, working out expected value is actually rather easy. Firstly, nearly all bets on a roulette table have the same EV, which significantly simplifies the entire process. Secondly, roulette is a straightforward game. You place your bet, one event happens (which is the spin of the wheel) and then your bet either loses or is paid out.
How to Calculate Expected Value
For most bets, calculating EV is easy enough. It gets harder in games where you don’t have all the necessary information needed to make your calculations (like poker). In those games, you need a little estimation and some decent mathematical skills.
To make an EV calculation, you need to know four key things:
- The probability of winning your bet
- How much you will win if you do win
- The probability of losing your bet
- The amount you will lose if you do lose
Let’s look at an example.
Imagine you decide to flip a coin with your friend. But, the payouts aren’t exactly fair: you must bet just $10 per flip and your friend must bet $11 per flip. What’s your expected value?
Obviously, you have a 50 percent chance of winning, and if you win, you win $11. We can, therefore, multiply those numbers together to arrive at a total of $5.50. We can take those two figures and subtract the average loss from the average win. You’ll get an expected profit of $0.50 on each flip.
Will You Use Expected Value When You Play Again?
If you’re an avid online roulette fan, you may already be using EV for your casino gaming. If not, the example above is the same sort of calculation used in pretty much any EV sum, although things do get trickier if you want to include the probability of winning different amounts.
Do you use EV in your online gaming? Let us know how it works out for your strategy.