The Mathematics behind Fairness and Testing in Gaming


You do not have to be a math genius to play online casino games. After all, math skills will not help you win the jackpot while playing a progressive online jackpot slot game. Most gambling games are chance-based, but a basic understanding of mathematical concepts like expected value, volatility index, statistics, and definite probabilities may boost your chances of success while playing games like poker and blackjack.

Mathematics and gaming might seem like an unlikely pair of words, a paradox even. But though seemingly unrelated, they surprisingly have more in common than people may think, particularly in the gaming scene – be it online or video. But for the sake of relevancy, this article will focus on the latter kind of gaming.

Sample Spaces and Probabilities

Poker pros understand the sample spaces of poker and the probabilities of each poker hand. Each move they make depends on their estimates of the odds of each hand in the game.

Every gambling game comprises events with absolute probabilities depending on sample spaces or the number of possible outcomes of a move. For example, a die toss has six results or sample spaces. The odds of getting one side of a die are one in six.

The probabilities of games with several sample spaces are minute. For example, the odds of getting four of a kind while playing Five Card Poker is 0.000240, and getting a Royal Flush is only 0.00000154.

Expected Value (EV) and Fairness

Serious gamblers are also interested in expected value (EV). The EV of a game is the amount you can theoretically win while playing it. In the language of mathematics, it is the total number of all probabilities multiplied by losses or gains.

Let us take the example of a coin flip. If the house awards gamblers $1 every time they get heads and takes away $1 every time they get tails, the EV is zero.  Games with zero EV are fair because neither the house nor the player has any financial advantage or disadvantage if they play several times. The EV tells players how much they will lose or profit by playing a game.

The EVs of all casino games are negative numbers so that casinos can make a profit. In other words, mathematics allows casinos to win in the long run. Still, casino players manage to win big prizes. Some would call this luck, but serious players would provide a mathematical explanation. Each game has a volatility index, which tells players if they have a chance of earning more or less than the EV.

Skilled gamblers assess their gambling risks using mathematical properties like odds of winning, probability, length of the gaming session, bet size, EV, and volatility index.

Are Casino Games Fair?

Casino games are fair if they give you the information you require to determine your odds of winning or losing. Online casinos provide payout percentages or return to player (RTP) percentages and volatility indexes to help you assess your risks. You will find this information either on the casino website or in the info section of the game.

Software providers subject their new slots to a period of beta testing in-house to ascertain whether they are fair and random. When the new games pass in-house tests, software providers send them to companies like Technical Systems Testing (TST), which tests new games further and issues certificates.

We advise players to play only at licensed online casinos because licensing authorities require casinos to partner with independent auditors that test their games and software every month. The auditing company then issues a fairness certificate, which the online casino displays on its website. Independent auditors also subject random number generators (RNG) to rigorous annual testing. If the RNGs pass the tests, the online casino gets a verified RNG certificate.

If you want to play at an online casino with fair games, ascertain that it has an iGaming license. Also, check the monthly audit certificates because they provide information about your odds of winning.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.