Probability is a measure of the likeliness that an event will occur. Odds are a way of expressing probability.

Typically probability refers to the likely-hood or chance that something will happen. However, we can also measure the odds or probability that something won’t occur. Odds and probability are always a theoretical measure of chance as opposed to a guarantee that something will happen. Probability and odds are calculated mathematically, but not all factors related to a final equation are rooted in mathematics (such as human behavior, legislation, and changes in weather patterns).

Probability and odds are vital to fields of statistics, mathematics, finance, gambling, science, artificial intelligence, computing, game theory, philosophy, healthcare, security, weather, big data, and more. When people think of odds, they may think of “the odds of winning the lotto”, but the statistics based skill-set behind probability and odds have far reaching applications.

How to Express Probability Statistics: In statistics the probability (or “chance”) of rolling a 6 on a six sided die can be expressed as 1 in 6, 1/6, or 16.7%.

How to Express Odds in Statistics: The odds-for can be expressed as 1 to 5 (we expect 1 six event for ever 5 non-six events), and likewise the odds-against can be expressed as 5 to 1.

How to Express Odds in Gambling: In gambling odds can mean “payout” or probability. So in gambling 5 to 1 either means it pays $5 for every $1 bet. Or it means a 5 in 1 chance of happening (just like we express probability in statistics).

In every day language odds and probability are both used interchangeably to refer to “probability” or “chance”.

Factoids tagged with "Probability and Odds"

Human Behavior can be Random Fact

Human behavior can be random to some extent, but most behavior is based on prior input, and thus is “deterministic” (meaning not totally random).

Computers Can Beat Humans at Go Fact

In March of 2016, Google’s AI AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol, one of the best professional Go players in the world, in four out of five games in a no-mercy match.

Light is Both a Particle and a Wave Fact

Light is a particle (a photon), that acts like a wave (“both a particle and a wave”), which can be measured as an excited quantized state of the electromagnetic field.

Past Outcomes of Random Events Affect Future Outcomes Myth

Past results of random independent events, like a coin flip, don’t affect future results. The mistaken belief that past results affect future results is known as “the Gambler’s Fallacy” (AKA the Fallacy of the Maturity of Chances, or the Monte Carlo Fallacy).

If You Build it, They Will Come Myth

If you build it, you increase the odds of them coming. In other words, if you put thought and energy into a project you increase the likelihood of success.

Blog Posts tagged with "Probability and Odds"

The Paradox Principle

In practice, human action often has paradoxical or unintended effects. Sometimes effects or side effects even have the exact opposite effect as intended.