This article will be a bit tongue in cheek and a bit serious discussion of gambling terms. We will try to connect a few gambling terms to Australian reality.
What was the probability that the first British settlers on the Australian continent would survive? What is the probability that any specific person will win a big jackpot at one of the great Springbok online pokies?
In order to fully answer either of those questions, we need to know what probability really is. Probability is a mathematical way of describing the likelihood of any event happening. The probability that the sun will rise tomorrow is considered to be 100% even though we can’t be absolutely certain that the sun won’t explode whilst we are asleep.
If it does, we’ll never know anyway!
The kind of logic we use to say that we are 100% sure that the sun will rise tomorrow is called inductive reasoning. This type of logic states that if something has already happened millions or even thousands of times, it will happen again.
So, the probability that a single player will win a big jackpot at Springbok, the top Aussie online casino, is very slim. However, the chances that one player will win a big jackpot at one of our pokies games is very high. Someone wins a big jackpot almost every day.
Survival in Australia
The original settlers faced a daunting challenge. They had come from a cool climate to a hot climate; from a place of plentiful rain to a desert; from a place where the main language was their own to a place where the First People spoke a totally foreign language.
So, at that moment, the probability that the entire group would survive was quite small and the probability that most of the group would survive and thrive was entirely unknown. However, it was impossible to put a specific percentage on the probability of the settlers surviving because there were simply too many factors that contributed to their survivability.
Just as with probability, odds are sometimes very easy to define mathematically and sometimes too complex to define precisely. Let’s take online roulette as an example. We can use the European wheel which has 36 numbers plus the single 0.
The odds against getting any single number on the wheel are 37-1. There are a total of 37 numbers counting the zed. Some players think that these odds mean that the probability that a given number will hit are also once in 37 spins. However, the probability is not considered in this way. The probability is best considered on an individual level meaning that the probability of a given number hitting are always one in thirty seven on every spin.
We also know with near 100% certainty that any given number will hit at some time. What we don’t know and cannot know is when that some time will occur.
The odds against any of the English settlers surviving in the hostile environment to which they had been brought were small but the odds that at least some of the settlers would survive were greater if not very good.
Random Number Generator
This is software that casinos use to determine long term payouts in all online casino games and pokies and video poker games at land based casinos. Because the random number generator (RNG) is calibrated to pay out a given percentage of all bets, there is near 100% probability that this payout rate will occur over a long period of time.
However, it doesn’t say anything about the short term probability of any outcome happening. So, a roulette player who plays the number 11 might spin many more than 37 times and still not get an 11 since the probability remains the same for each spin individually.
The fact that so many of the first British settlers in Australia survived is a tribute to the adaptability of people. However, online casino gaming has no adaptability factor in the area of probability, odds, house edge, or return to player rates. The people who play online casino games need to be adaptable to variability of probability.
Some players prefer games of chance such as pokies and roulette and others prefer games of skill like blackjack and video poker. The difference between these two sets of players may be described as personality differences connected to adaptability.
Players who like the games of chance see them as pure games. They may play for short or long periods but as long as the outcomes don’t interfere with their everyday lives, they see the games as a pure form of entertainment.
Players who prefer games of skill see them as a function of their ability to survive. This may be true even if the players are entirely unaware of this side of online casino gaming. In this context, modern day online video poker players may be inherently similar to those early Aussies who ventured out into the harsh desert.
Survival in the desert is directly related to adaptability. Modern online casino gaming may be seen as the redoubt of a person whose ancestors survived harsh conditions so that their progeny might play. That would explain the well-known Aussie love of play in general and of online pokies and other casino games more specifically.
Online Casino Gaming and Probability
One of the most obvious rules of probability is that there are many pairs of events that cannot happen at the same time. It cannot be sunny and cloudy at the same time. Two footie clubs cannot win the same match.
There is a story here. A coach of an American football team was in the championship game. He was well-known for his fiery personality. His team lost the game and he went off to meet with his wife and daughter. His daughter was in tears so the coach whispered in her ear, “darling, you can’t win them all”.
One of the aspects that observers of the online gaming phenomenon often miss is that gamers are well aware of the fact that they can’t win them all. What gamers can get is an important measure of entertainment. As such, many players have found that online gaming is superior to land based gaming because they can switch seamlessly from game to game at will.
Australian Survival and Probability
The fact that one cannot win them all makes the survival of the British Australians all the more remarkable in the face of harsh conditions. It is to our great benefit that conditions in Australia have improved exponentially since the first settlers were brought to our shores and that we can discuss probability not in terms of how to survive a confrontation with a croc but rather how to best play a given hand in video poker or blackjack!