Tips and strategies to help make you a winning casino player
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Friday, February 16, 2001
This week I received questions in all aspects of gambling. I would like to answer them for you in form of a Q & A.
But before I do so, I have an announcement to make: CasinoVR is offering a
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And now back to the Q & A:
Q: I keep reading that the odds of Keno are pretty bad. How does it compare with buying a lottery ticket?
A: Keno has roughly a 25 percent house edge (it varies depending on the bet), which is actually worse than a lottery ticket. At least you get free drinks while you're playing keno. The top prize in Keno, however, is much lower than the top prize in a lottery, so the quality of the "dreaming" you're paying for isn't as good. Play Keno only if you absolutely must keep gambling while having a meal and also as a way to keep you away from more serious and expensive gambling.
One of Let's Talk Winning customers has an experience to share on Keno:
Ballys -- 3/3=$42; 4/4=$120; 4/5=$20; 5/5=$550
Q: Can you tell me about the World Series of Poker, when it is, whether just anyone can play and how much it costs to enter?
A: The World Series of Poker is held each year in late April and early
May at Binion's Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. Most non-poker players tend to think of
the World Series as the $10,000-entry-fee, No-Limit Texas hold 'em tournament that decides
the World Champion. But the World Series is truly a series of tournaments in a number of
different of poker games, including Texas hold 'em, seven-card stud, Omaha, etc. It's just
that the final event, the "Big One", gets most of the publicity. Anyone can
play. All you need to qualify is the entry fee, which ranges from $1,500 to $10,000,
depending on the event and a lot of nerve. Because of the huge sums of money involved,
though, the World Series of Poker brings out the world's best players, and amateur,
recreational players have little chance. However, every once in a while, a new name is
encountered, especially in the smaller events. Last year, 393 players entered the $10,000
championship event, which paid $1,000,000 to first place finisher Noel Furlong of Ireland.
Q: I was recently rated in a Vegas casino while playing Baccarat. When I spoke to the casino host about my rating, he had my average bet calculated to two decimal points. How did he know? Do they really watch every bet that closely, or is my rating just an approximation?
A: It's an approximation. If you are wagering very high, they might watch every bet. If you're betting $20 to $100 per hand, the floorman might make a notation every time he wanders by your table, perhaps 10 times an hour. Unless you're playing a high-limit slot machine and your slot club card is recording every pull, the casino just doesn't have the manpower to track every single bet. They track your hours, and the floorman makes his notes. In the course of two hours of wandering around, he might see you make three bets of $20, three bets of $40 and five bets of $100. That's an average of $61.81, which is probably not your average bet for the full two hours. In any case, the house isn't very interested in the precision of that last $1.81; it certainly isn't going to change what kind of comp you get. A $61.81 bettor will get the same comps as a $58.43 bettor.
Q: What's the story with the "no-mid-shoe entry" signs at some Blackjack tables? What's that rule for, and why do some casinos not have it?
A: Mid-shoe entry is a technique used by card counters. They stand around watching the table, counting a shoe without needing to invest any money. If the shoe goes to a favorable count, they sit down and play; if it goes unfavorable, the counter wanders towards another table where a shoe is starting and begins counting there. Mid-shoe entry allows a card counter to play only in favorable situations, so disallowing it impedes them without actually barring them from the casino. Because Atlantic City casinos can't bar counters legally, such countermeasures are used more often there. Most casinos don't like to bar mid-shoe entry, because it tends to keep customers away from the table.
By the way, its Mardi Gras on River Belle casino this month.
You're used to The River Belle
bringing you the very best of what's around,
Q: I was wondering what casinos do with the cards and dice they use once they're done with them. Also, what's the expected lifespan of each?
A: It depends on the casino. Many casinos take the old decks of cards and dice, drill holes in them and either sell them in the gift shop or give them away to visitors as souvenirs. As a rule, casinos don't like to let customers get their hands on non-drilled cards or dice: the cheating potential is just too great. The lifespan depends a lot on whether or not the cards are handled by the customers, so cards used for Baccarat age faster than the ones used for Blackjack, where usually only the dealer touches them. There's no hard-and-fast rule dictating when the cards or dice should be replaced.
Q: How are the odds in Let it Ride compared to Blackjack?
A: The house edge, even with perfect play, is more than 5 percent. Let It Ride can be fun to play, and it's simpler than Blackjack, but even if you are not following basic strategy, a Blackjack game almost never has a house edge of more than 2 percent.
Q: When playing Craps I always bet the hardways if the point has a corresponding hardway combo (if the point is 4, 6, 8, or 10), but I've heard those are sucker bets. I'm betting on the point to win with my Pass Line bet anyway. Why wouldn't I make an extra bet on the same number, since it pays so much better?
A: That is true that hardways are considered sucker bets. If you get 6 the hard way, and you make your point with a roll of 4-2, you lose your hardway bet, so it's not as though establishing a point of 6 has changed what you wanted to have happen on your hardway bet. When you bet 6 the hard way, you are hoping for 3-3 to come up before 1-6, 6-1, 5-2, 2-5, 4-3, 3-4, 1-5, 5-1, 4-2, or 2-4. Nothing has changed. There are still 10 "bad" rolls for your bet and one good one; you're still getting paid 9-to-1 on a 10-to-1 shot. The key principle to remember is, each bet you make on a Craps table is a separate and distinct entity; once you place money down on one part of the table, that bet is forever locked into its mathematical place in life, no matter what other bets you might make. The innate odds on the 6-the-hard-way bet give the house a 9.09 percent house edge. That doesn't change if the point is 6 or 10.
Until next week,
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