What is luck? Do some people have it while others don’t? No. That’s just a myth. Luck is the result of random outcomes, which are governed by mathematically describable rules. Sounds complicated and it is. But the important bits are not that hard to grasp.

The first thing to realize is that odds don’t change with each individual outcome. This is true of slots, Roulette, Craps and most other casino games. Blackjack and Poker are a different story. Each card on the table has an effect on future outcomes. Let’s concentrate on the first category of games, though: the ones that live by true random events.

Some people keep meticulous records of the numbers that hit on the roulette table. They sit there and they tabulate and they figure out how many times each number hit. And they think that this will inform them of when a number is “due”. It kind of makes sense when you think about it. Each number should come up 1 out of 35 times. This assumes that in 35 spins, you will get 35 different results. One for each number represented. Is this true? Have you ever seen it happen? No. It is not true.

1/35 odds means that each time you spin, you have one chance out of 35 to get a particular number. In other words, if you spin 35 times, the number you picked should come up at least once. It can also come up twice, eight times, or 35 times, or zero times. The fact is that there is no way of knowing what will come up in 35 spins. It’s completely random every time.

Card games that have an element of skill, such as blackjack, to them are a bit different. Every time a card is drawn it is out of the deck. You have just statistically changed the odds of each hand occurring. If you keep track of each drawn card (card counting) you have an advantage in the sense that you know that certain hands are unlikely or more likely to occur.

Luck is random, yes, but the underlying mechanism is mathematically consistent. This means it’s like a code and if you know how you can break it. I’m going to present you with the Monty Hall problem. It is a very famous statistics problem that people have an extremely difficult time coming to terms with. It appears to make no sense until you actually try it out for yourself.

The problem is based on the old Let’s Make a Deal TV show. They had three doors. One had a prize in it and the other two contained a goat. Contestants were asked to pick one of the doors. Then Monty Hall would open one of the two remaining doors. If there was a goat inside, he would ask the contestant whether they wanted to keep their original selection or switch to the unopened door. What makes the problem significant is that Monty Hall knew where the prize was and he would always open the door where the prize wasn’t.

So picture it. Doors A, B and C. You pick one at random, say you pick A. What are the chances you’ve picked the prize? 33.33% right? Now Monty Hall opens up door C. It’s a goat. What is the best thing to do. Stay with A or switch to B? Most people say it doesn’t matter. The chances of the prize being in either A or B are now 50%/50. But that’s actually wrong. Most people think the odds have changed. But they haven’t. Odds don’t change. There is a 66% probability that the prize is in door B.

I will explain it in simpler terms. At the beginning you have three doors. A, B, and C. Each one holds a 33.33% probability of being the one with the prize. If you pick any one of them, you have a 33.33% chance of being right and a 66.66% chance of being wrong. Basically, there is a 66.66% chance that the prize is in B or C. Monty hall is TELLING you which one it isn’t between B and C. When he eliminates C, the odds are still 66.66% that you did not pick the prize on your first try. 66% of the time the prize is in the other door.

Sounds insane. Try it out. Grab a friend, some paper and pen, and some props. You use three playing cards, say the king, queen and jack. The queen is the prize. Your friend asks you to pick one of the three. He knows where the queen is and removes the remaining card. Now you decide whether to stay or switch. Record the outcomes over 100 tries. You will find that you will land on the queen 33% of the time on the first try and that 66% of the time it behooves you to switch.

This is a fantastic lesson in how counterintuitive probability theories are. You can be convinced that a number might be due at any time, but if the math says it isn’t, it’s always best to trust the math. Try your luck out at Spin Palace Casino.