Using Expected Value To Win At The Online Casino


Posted: October 27, 2023

Updated: October 27, 2023

Many casino players are bettors of habit, meaning they tend to place the same bets over and over, no matter whether they're playing poker, roulette, or blackjack. If this is you, then you can estimate your future winnings using the concept of expected value.

If you’re looking to enhance your approach when playing in casino table games or spinning the reels of online slots, it’s imperative to acquaint yourself with the concept of expected value (EV). Continue reading to uncover how to calculate the expected value for every move and understand its significance. Potentially it can elevate your winning prospects in the realm of online casino gaming. Let’s delve into its application across a spectrum of casino games, encompassing casino table classics like blackjack, poker, slots, and roulette.

Demystifying Expected Value In The World of Gambling

Expected value, often abbreviated as EV, emerges from the domain of probability and statistics. It serves as a gauge of the average winnings or losses a player can anticipate over the long haul in relation to a wager. In essence, it informs you about the average winnings or losses when repeatedly making a specific bet. The mathematical underpinning is fairly straightforward: merely multiply the potential outcomes of the bet by their respective probabilities and tally the results, while also considering the house edge inherent in the game. A positive outcome signifies a favourable bet, whereas a negative value denotes an unfavourable one.

For instance, in the context of a game like blackjack, consider a scenario where you are dealt a hand totaling 16 (comprising cards like a 10 and 6). The dealer reveals a face-up card with a value of 9. At this juncture, you are confronted with the choice of whether to request another card or maintain your current hand. Your decision hinges on a careful assessment of the probabilities and potential outcomes tied to each available option in order to ascertain the EV.


When opting to hit, various potential outcomes come into play. These encompass the possibilities of enhancing your hand, exceeding the limit and going bust, or retaining the same value. Let’s delve into these scenarios and their associated likelihoods:

expected value
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  • Improvement: To enhance your hand without breaching the threshold, you have seven favourable cards left in the deck, comprising four aces and three cards with a value of five.
  • Bust: Going bust occurs if you draw a card with a value greater than 5. Since there are 36 such cards in the deck (including 10s, jacks, queens, and kings), the probability of busting stands at 36 out of 52.
  • Maintaining the Same Value: Drawing any card falling within the range of 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, or 9 will leave your hand’s value unchanged at 16.


When you opt to stand, there exist solely two conceivable results:

  • Victory: You emerge victorious if the dealer exceeds the maximum hand value or possesses a hand of lesser worth than yours.
  • Defeat: Conversely, if the dealer’s hand surpasses yours in value, you incur a loss.

To compute the expected value, simply multiply each outcome by its corresponding probability, total the products, and then subtract the probability of losing, as it signifies an unfavourable outcome. For this calculation, we’ll adopt the subsequent payout scheme: a win awards +1, a push (a tie) yields 0, and a loss imposes a -1 penalty.

  • EV = (Probability of Winning × Payout for Winning) + (Probability of Push × Payout for Push) + (Probability of Losing × Payout for Losing)
  • EV = (Probability of Winning × 1) + (Probability of Push × 0) + (Probability of Losing × (-1))
expected value
Picture Source: Pexels

Now, let’s plug in the numbers:

  • EV = (Probability of Winning × 1) + (0 × 0) + (Probability of Losing × (-1))
  • EV = (Probability of Winning – Probability of Losing)

Tell Your Chances Of Winning

In order to determine the likelihood of a win, it’s essential to take into account the probabilities associated with the dealer’s potential results, which are contingent on their face-up card (in this instance, a 9.) By referencing a blackjack strategy chart or employing simulation tools, you can approximate the probability of winning in this scenario at approximately 28%. It’s crucial to factor in the house edge, which, in this case, is a conservative 1%, thereby yielding a 27% probability of winning.

Hence, the expected value (EV) can be computed as follows:

  • EV = (0.27 – 0.72)
  • EV = -0.45

In this case, the EV of hitting is negative (-0.45,) indicating that hitting would result in a lower average outcome compared to standing. The bottom line is it would be more advantageous to stand rather than hit in this specific situation. Remember, EV provides insights into long-term averages and doesn’t guarantee immediate results. That said, it definitely serves as a useful tool for making informed decisions and optimising your strategy over time.

Understanding The Relationship With The House Edge

The house edge is the casino’s built-in advantage on every bet. It’s the reason why the top online casino sites in the US like Bovada Casino can stay in business and continue offering those flashy experiences everybody loves. The house edge is expressed as a percentage, representing the average amount the casino expects to win from each bet in the long run.

expected value
Picture Source: PickPik

The relationship between EV and the house edge is pretty straightforward. When calculating the EV of a bet, subtract the house edge percentage from 100%. This adjustment reflects the proportion of the total wagered amount that the player can expect to win back on average.

Exploring Expected Value In Popular Casino Games

Now that you have a solid grasp of how Expected Value (EV) functions, let’s see how it comes into play in some of the most beloved casino games.


As exemplified earlier, factors such as the dealer’s face-up card, the number of decks in play, and the specific table rules significantly influence the EV in blackjack. A profound understanding of the probabilities associated with various card combinations, coupled with the application of optimal strategies, can empower you to gain an advantage over the house.


In roulette, each bet carries a distinct probability of winning and an associated payout. By calculating the EV for each wager, you can make more judicious decisions. For instance, placing a bet on a single number may yield a low probability of success but promises a substantial payout.

expected value
Picture Source: Pexels

Conversely, wagering on red or black offers a higher probability of winning but a more modest reward. Assessing the EV enables you to select bets that align with your risk tolerance and potential gains.

Slot Machines

Although slot machines rely on sheer randomness for each spin’s outcome, a grasp of the EV concept can still prove advantageous. Different slot machines feature varying pay tables, which detail the payouts for different winning combinations. By comparing these potential payouts with the probabilities of achieving them, you can approximate the EV and opt for machines that promise more favourable long-term returns.


Poker, the game that thrives on skill, strategy, and calculated risks, necessitates a deeper comprehension of Expected Value (EV). In this game, your decision-making process hinges on evaluating the EV based on the available information.

Online gambling news from the US tells us that carefully weighing the strength of your hand, factoring in the pot odds, and considering various other variables, you can make well-informed betting choices. Consistently making plays with positive EV empowers you to enhance your prospects of long-term success in the world of poker.

Expected Value Casino Gaming At Bovada Casino

Now, put your newly acquired knowledge of EV to the test by immersing yourself in online gaming at Bovada Casino. Here, you’ll discover a diverse range of gaming experiences, including jackpot slots, live dealer casino games, an array of casino table games, and a multitude of other captivating options. When you’re prepared to dive into our comprehensive selection of exciting games, simply register, grab a welcome bonus, and embark on your new gambling journey. Don’t miss out on delving into news for further insights, covering topics from the significance of green casino tables to various cultural perspectives on the realm of gambling. There’s something to pique the interest of every enthusiast.

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