Lots of people dream of winning the lottery or getting the “perfect” poker hand, but do you know what the real chances are? When you flip a coin, there’s always a 1 in 2 chance you’ll land on heads. Each toss is independent of what came before, so two tosses does not guarantee you will land on heads even once!


Probability and odds are related ways of describing a player’s chances of a winning outcome. Probability  is the likelihood of a particular event happening.  

Basically, probability predicts how often something will happen, but doesn’t predict when exactly it will happen. Understanding probability can help you figure out the likely long-term bottom line of a particular game is and if the game is worth the money spent to play.  ie. the probability of getting heads with the flip of a coin is 50%.


Odds are often reflected in the likelihood an event will happen compared to the likelihood an event will not happen.  When odds are referred to in games of pure chance, the probability is precise. When odds are referred to in games of skill, it is an estimate of payout for each unit bet. i.e. the odds of rolling any particular number in the roll of a die is 1 in 6 or 1/6.

Illustration of a man thinking with many equations around his head

GET HELP. If you are concerned about your gambling or someone you know, contact the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-800-306-6789 or visit Where to Get Support.

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