In some countries, both playing roulette and betting on sports are considered gambling, while in some others gambling only refers to games of chance but not to sports betting as you can make an educated guess on who will win. This makes for an interesting discussion about randomness. We’ll try to rank various games according to their randomness factor. Kladionica Biz tipovi, a website dedicated to sports betting, helped us with the sports betting part.
Most random game of all
The most random game of all is definitely video roulette. As opposed to the “real” game which may have imperfections on the roulette wheel and where the croupier may have a routine that can be predicted, the video roulette version relies completely on the random number generator (RNG). It is therefore perfectly random. Still some math laws apply, but this is as random as it gets.
Least random game of all
Poker is on the opposite spectrum among games in which you invest money in an attempt to win money. Poker is a skill game in which the cards don’t even matter as much as you’d think, as the goal of the game is to trick the opponent. In this game, the player has perfect control over his actions and while the outcome of a hand may seem to be random from his perspective (since he doesn’t know the other player’s cards), this randomness is a small factor in the game.
Is sports betting random?
Not from a gambling perspective. A person who places a sports bet is doing so based on information, and the match odds will reflect the perceived probability of each outcome. It is even possible to gain an edge over the house, if we have better information and if we find odds that are higher than they should be. While sports are inherently random, all of them are still skill games, so it’s possible to make educated guesses on who will win.
What about slots?
Slots are random as they also rely on the random number generator (RNG). However, slots are much less random than roulette, or, we could say that in this case randomness benefits us because we can win big. This is especially true in progressive jackpot slots. In other words, a slot game is random but we’re playing it because we’re hoping that the next spin will be the “lucky” one where we win big. It might as well be our first spin.
Blackjack isn’t random, is it?
While you can have a good strategy for blackjack and you can even count cards to gain an edge, it’s still a random game and it is therefore gambling. We could argue that it’s no longer gambling if you’re counting cards or cheating in some way because then you can make an educated guess, but this is still all about betting on what the next card will be. And that’s random.
Do take note that blackjack can only be played with a strategy if the deck isn’t shuffled after every deal. If it is, then you may consider this to be a true game of chance, same as roulette, as every hand will be independent. Blackjack with decks that are shuffled after every hand shouldn’t be played by anyone.
When it comes to randomness, in certain scenarios (such as with jackpot slots) it can greatly benefit us, while in others (blackjack with decks shuffled after every hand) it will fool us as we’re thinking we are playing a skill game but we’re getting a random game instead.
It’s crucial to understand the varying degrees of randomness in order to make money on gambling – or on skill games. Never make a mistake of thinking something is a skill game if it’s not, and if it’s in fact a game of random chance. That being said, games of random chance do have the potential to make you rich. Just see them as they are.