Gambling words and phrases explained

Understanding how the gambling world works can help us avoid falling prey to common missunderstandings, superstitions and myths. Below, we will explain some commonly used terms that has to do with gambling.


oddsOdds are a numerical expression used in statistics.

  • The odds for (or odds of) something happening reflects the statistical likelihood of this event taking place.
  • The odds against something happening reflects the statistical likelihood of this event not happening.

Example: You throw a standard six-sided dice. The odds for (odds of) the result being a four is one in six, since the dice has six sides and one of them is a four and five of the sides are not a four.

Odds for it being a four: 1 in 6

Odds against it being a four: 5 in 6

Gambling odds

casino oddsWhen a gambling site offers you odds for an event, they are telling you how much they will pay you if you bet on this event happening and it actually happens.

The odds you are offered will be set based on a prediction made by the gambling site (either manually or through an algorithm).

Gambling odds are typically expressed in the form “X to Y”.

Example: You are offered the odds 6 to 1 on Team A winning the game. This means that if you wager $1 and win, you will be paid $6. If you wager $2 and win, you will be paid $12, and so on.

House edge

The house edge is the house’s statistical advantage over the player.

This advantage is the result of the house (the casino or similar) not paying winning wagers according to the game’s statistical odds.

Example: If you roll a standard six-sided dice, the odds of you rolling a six is 1 in 6 and the odds of you not rolling a six is 5 in 6. The true odds for that wager is therefore 5 to 1, but this casino only pays 4 to 1 on a winning wager, giving themselves a nice statistical edge over the player. This is the house edge.


Return to Player (RTP) is used to express how much of all the wagered money that is payed out as wins over time.

A slot machine can for instance have an RTP of 97%. This means that 97% of all the wagered money is paid out as wins over time, and the house takes 3% in profits.

It is very important to remember that RTP is calculated over long time. Even if you play at a slot machine where the RTP is 99% you may lose all your wagered money during that gambling session.

Skill & Chance

In the casino, you will find some games that are pure games of chance and other games that have a skill element to them.

One example of a casino game with a skill element is Blackjack, since the player can actually impact the outcome of the game by the decisions made during the round.

Sports betting can also be a game type where skill plays a role, since a knowledgable punter can make better predictions. Of course, you can not impact the result, so here the skill element happens before the wager is made.

Roulette on the other hand is a game of pure chance. Once you have made your wager, you can’t impact the outcome of the game.

Some slot games are designed to give the player the impression of there being a skill element when actually it is just a game of pure chance. You might, for instance, be asked to click on various symbols to “reveal” you win in a bonus game.

Examples of games where there is a skill elementcards

  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Video poker

Examples of games of pure chance

  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo
  • Slot machines

Random Number Generator

The outcome of a round on a video slot or on an animated game in an online casino is determined by a Random Number Generator (RNG), to make sure that the games are fair and impartial.

The RNG generates a sequence of numbers or symbols that cannot be reasonably predicted better than by a random chance.