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Latest Posts:

Dealer goofs – the road to riches

I was recently playing blackjack at one of Detroit’s casinos, and I was dealt a blackjack with the dealer showing an ace. I opted not to take ‘even money’ as I had always thought you shouldn’t take insurance. After checking her hole card and turning over a face card for a dealer blackjack, the dealer told me I was wrong, that it was not the same as insurance, that it was free money. Was the dealer correct?

Also, I recently had another situation and wonder if what I did was correct. Playing blackjack again, the dealer inadvertently pulled two cards and dealt them both to the first player. She called over the pit boss who proceeded to give the top (first) card to the first player, burned the second card and then had the dealer continue dealing the rest of the hands, including her own. The pit boss then gave everyone at the table the option of playing their hand or pulling back their bet and folding their hand. The dealer showed a face card. Everyone at the table, except me, pulled back. I had a hard 18. I figured that was a decent hand and gambled I’d have a chance to win. I didn’t. What should I have done? Suzanne R.

When I pitched cards, it amazed me how many players jumped on the opportunity of taking even money, or insurance, when I showed an Ace. Except for counting cards, making either of these wagers is fiscally not a sound move, even if, as in your case, being dealt a blackjack. The reason being, Suzanne, ten-point cards (10, J, Q, K) make up 31% of the deck, so there is a 69% chance that the dealer does not have a blackjack. Add to that you are sitting on one ten-point card, and with a quick scan of the table, you will probably note additional ten-point cards; consequently, the chances now become even greater than 69% that the dealer doesn’t possess one. Therefore, Suzanne, based on the 3 to 2 payoff that you receive for a blackjack, even if you possess a snapper, you will make more money over the long run by never taking insurance or even money. Suzanne 1, Dealer 0.

As to your second question, when your dealer’s handicraft at dealing cards falters, the dealer is not the one who settles any squabble. All authoritative moves are made by a pit boss. Now, switching hats and speaking as a former pit boss, my decision would have duplicated the one you received. That is not to say that different pit bosses couldn’t render contrary conclusions. All the same, giving everyone at the table the opportunity to withdraw their wagers was something I always did.

Further, on your second question, an 18 against a face card will NOT make you a long-term winner at blackjack; so, you actually should have pulled your bet. Even a 19 will lose more often than win when the dealer’s upcard is a 10 or an ace. What constitutes a strong hand are those 20%Ethe long run. Approximately, 70% of your overall winnings at blackjack result from these two hands: 10-10 and A-10.

Next time a pit bull playing gambling referee corrects a dealer gaff and gives you this same opportunity, yank your bet. The House 1, Suzanne 0.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” —Jonathan Clements

Read more on Dealer goofs – the road to riches…



Stretch your strategy until it whimpers

Where I play, all the table games on the weekend have minimum table limits of $10-$25 a hand, which is far too expensive for my $50-$100 bankroll. I have actually lost my entire bankroll in less than 20 minutes. What is your recommendation for a game that will at least give me some staying power? Jay M.

 

For starters, Jay, let’s change up the game you’re playing: lower your bet size, but maintain making bets that have a casino advantage of less than two percent. Sticking to this strategy will keep you in action longer and temper the flow of your hard-earned money into the house’s catch-basin.

 

Since where and when you play have such high table limits, allow me to lead you to the video poker trough. It does involve some skill of identifying paytables, plus, you will need to use your noggin to play the game smart.

 

When playing perfect basic strategy on a machine with a decent pay schedule, you can reduce the house advantage to well under one percent. Look for a 9/6 (nine for the full house, six for a flush) non-progressive machine or an 8/5-er (same as above) with a progressive meter attached that reads at least, $2,200 on a quarter and $8,800 on a dollar machine.

 

Both the quarter and dollar machines will give you a decent long-term payback, but if you want to play for an extended period of time, like hours on end, a drop in the denomination to a quarter machine with give you some serious staying power. Hit a royal, and your payday will be considerably more than what you’d be making while trying to slug it out on a blackjack table at $10 a whack.

 

Does losing a hand to lousy play from a fellow player alter the cards on the following hands? Alex B.

 

Your question, Alex, highlights one of many popular myths when it comes to playing blackjack, that is that poor play from one hand influences future cards.

 

The remaining cards in any deck(s) do not recognize the play of previous hands. The next hand remains an independent event, and your chances of winning or losing are the same whether you, or a fellow player, won, lost, or even misplayed, the preceding 5, 10, or 15 hands.

 
 

Does picking numbers at video keno involve luck, patterns, or is it based on previous numbers that have or have not been drawn? I usually play nine spots and have yet to hit my numbers solid. Fred G.

 
 

Picking numbers at Video Keno, Fred, is based strictly on luck. The numbers are chosen at random with each draw being an independent event, so playing past numbers, patterns, or numbers you feel are “due,” does not work. Video keno uses microprocessor technology and randomized sequencing. On a properly functioning video keno machine, no specific number or combination of numbers is any more likely to appear than any other number or combination of numbers.

 

The upshot here, Fred, is that video keno is a negative-expectation game with a hefty house edge. Additionally, the odds of hitting a nine of nine ticket are one in 1,380,687.

 

Based on the astronomical odds of hitting your ticket solid, a friendly suggestion would be to switch to a game like video poker, which has a far, far lower house edge.

 

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Luck: when your burst of energy doesn’t run afoul of someone else’s.” —Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

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I Stand Corrected

In your answer about Las Vegas casinos and the rumor that suggested that casinos pump something through their ventilation system, that is actually a fact. The Venetian and the Palazzo do inject aroma/scents into their ventilation system. Several years back I asked if a scent was pumped into the air and the answer was yes, the casino floor worker stated that the gift shop had the scent for sale. I went to the gift shop and bought a bottle of Seduction Aromatic Symphony Blend. As of today, my house has that scent in it, and I use it several times a year. I will be looking for your reply in the paper. Frank K.

Come to find out, Frank, that you are correct, and the company behind the scents supplied to the Venetian and the Palazzo is Aromasys.

My only knowledge of some kind of aroma added to a casino property was when Steve Wynn introduced a distinct scent to the artificial volcanic fountain at the Mirage. To avoid the smell of natural gas, a pina colada fragrance was added into the natural-gas stream. I believe he also added the whiff of suntan oil to the lobby.

As for the Venetian and Palazzo, patrons chose the aromas for both after multiple preference tests, introduced first to several Venezia tower suites, then through the ventilation system of the Palazzo’s lobby. The concluding results had two aromas of seven that received the highest ratings for appeal and appropriateness for the property; the one you purchased, Seduction Aromatic Symphony Blend and Arancia. More trials, and once again, Arancia was the winner, with the Seduction Blend a close second.

After three surveys, it was decided that Arancia was the correct fragrance choice for The Venetian and Palazzo, and it has been dispersed through their ventilation system ever since. And what’s in that fragrance? Those with a discriminating schnozzola will detect a blend of roses, white jasmine flowers, sandalwood, Italian mandarin oil, and shades of musk and amber, although, for those who desire a true casino smell, they might have to take up smoking.

So, Frank, I stand corrected, in that some casinos do pump scents through the ventilation system, but I will stick by my assertion that they don’t sprig the joint “specifically” to induce play.

A player once told me that if I hesitate to hit the “Bet Max” button between spins, that I stand a better chance of hitting a jackpot. Is what she said believable? Ruth T.

Think, Ruth, of the Bet Max button as nothing more than an on/off switch that has little to do with your delay tactic of pressing a button. When the Bet Max button is pressed, a signal is sent to the program running the slot machine that will initiate a random result by “polling the RNG” to pinpoint its value at that precise moment.

What creates that given moment is some action by the player that causes the program to poll the RNG. It could be when you yank the handle, deposit your first coin, or press either the Spin or the Bet Max buttons.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: —“Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” —Jonathan Clements

Read more on I Stand Corrected…



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