What are the odds of winning?

In most conventional games there is a winner and a loser. When you play a regular game of chance among friends the losses and wins are divided between the players.

However when you gamble through a business the odds are stacked against you, and it is always set up so that the ‘house’ wins, the goal of gambling operators is to make money. Read more about the house edge.

Getting to know the odds of winning, can really help put your chances into perspective:

The chance of winning the first division of the lottery is

1 in 13.9 Million

Powerball chance of winning first division (getting all 6 numbers correct)

1 in 54.9 Million

For a Poker machine on a standard 5 line machine (top prize)

1 in 9.7 Million

A handy tip: There is a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the jackpot on a poker machine.

Improving the odds

It may seem like playing on the same machine or game will increase your likelihood of winning but this isn’t the case:


You can't increase the chances of winning. No outside factors, such as the time of day, how long you play or how lucky you feel will have any influence on the outcome. To read more about how pokies work.

Roulette and other games of chance

No matter what occurred on previous rolls or spins the outcome of the next roll or spin is totally independent. Each spin is a separate event. 

You cannot improve the odds of winning a game of chance such as roulette.

'Skill based' gaming

Sports betting or card playing may be affected by skill level in the short term. 

However, so many random events, such as gaming margins and your emotional involvement all play a part. 

There is no way that you will be able to consider all factors which could influence the race such as weather, other horses' form, the jockey having an argument with his girlfriend beforehand and so forth. You cannot control the odds of winning skill-based gaming.

Remember wishful thinking and gambling are a bad mix.

Most people overestimate the chances of winning and forget that they are much more likely to lose.

Watch what you spend. Avoid the tendency to write off losses to entertainment, losing is losing.

Test your odds

If you have doubts about the way odds work you can test the theory.

If you feel compelled to gamble try the following:

  • Before each bet, make a note about what you think will happen
  • Write down what actually happened
  • Do this at least 10 times to test if your predictions were accurate.

The chances of developing a problem

The chances of developing a problem with regular gambling are probably much better than your chances of having a big win. 

The more often a person gambles, the greater the risk of developing a gambling problem.

The reasons why you gamble and the type of gambling you engage in also influences the probability of problematic gambling. 

These are the odds:

If you don't gamble … no chance at all

If you only gamble occasionally … 1 in 50

If you gamble once or more a week on non-lottery types of gambling … 1 in 7

Is money the only thing that you are gambling with?