Ask The Wizard #11

In sports betting against the spread, it seems to me that the winner pays the 10% commission, not the loser. What am I missing?

Bob from Lake Charles, Louisiana

You can look at it both ways. For example, suppose you bet $11 to win $10 on a game.

Loser pays: One could say it is an even-money bet, with a $1 refundable fee if you win. So, only the losers end up paying the fee.

Winner pays: A fair even-money bet would win $11 for an $11 bet. However, if the bet wins, the winner gets only $10. The missing dollar could be viewed as a commission or fee.

Personally, I view it as both pay in the form of a 4.54% house edge, assuming a 50% probability of winning.

What happens to a place bet to win on a six if the shooter makes his point other than six? What happens to an initial come bet when the shooter makes his point on that roll? What happens to a come bet after it is moved to a number (lets say 5) and the shooter makes his point of lets say four. As per "craps strategies from crappers delight" I have read that the average shooter rolls the dice five (5) times before sevening out. Your comments.

Gman from Lockport, New York

I hope it will answer your question if I say that place, buy, and odds on come bets are temporarily turned off for come out rolls, unless requested otherwise.

The average shooter throws the dice 8.53 times, including the seven-out roll. For more information on that, visit my odds table for the probability of every number of throws from 2 to 200.

How much do casino dealers generally get paid?

Eric from Columbia, USA

For this question I deferred to a friend of mine who is a blackjack dealer in Biloxi, here is what she says:

Every casino differs as far as tokes however there is somewhat of an average. Your typical dealer will average anywhere from $9 - $11 in tips and makes an hourly wage of $4.50 to $5.00 per hour. So I always like to think we average $15 an hour. Some of the bigger casinos like the Grand and Beau Rivage, however, make more than that. Their toke rates stay at $14, $15 and $16 per hour so they make close to $20 an hour (that's including their hourly base pay). You only get benefits (insurance, 401-K) if you are a full-time employee. Some casinos will make you a full-time employee automatically after 90 days while other casinos will keep you part-time until full-time positions are available.

Do casinos have the right to change minor prize odds on multi-casino progressive-linked games, such as Megabucks or Wheel of Fortune, or are the odds set the same for all casinos. The prizes I'm referring to are the bar, double bar, and triple bar hits. Also do the video poker games such as triple play poker have the same odds for all casinos or does each casino have the right to vary their own odds for the game.

James from Cherry Hill

I'm pretty sure that the odds on Megabucks are the same everywhere. It is a "proprietary game," meaning the casino and slot maker (IGT) share in the profits. As I understand it, such propriety games are generally set to a return of about 88% by the slot maker, and the casinos do not have the option for a looser or tighter version.

The Wheel of Fortune game, with the big jackpot, I believe is also a proprietary game. Video poker odds are dictated by the pay table. For example, a 9-6 Jacks or Better game will pay 99.54%, assuming optimal strategy and an infinite amount of play, regardless of where the machine is or number of number of hands the player gets on the draw.