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Ask the Wizard #118

Who has the advantage in Risk when the attacker rolls three dice and the defender rolls two?

"Anonymous" .

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Risk is the greatest board game ever made. Those who haven’t played haven’t lived yet. To answer your question in the common 3 on 2 battle the following are the possible outcomes:

  • Defender loses both: 37.17%
  • Each loses one: 33.58%
  • Attacker loses both: 29.26%

In blackjack the strategy for 16 vs. 10 is R,S since once you eliminate the 2-card hands the strategy is stand (not hit) for any number of decks.

"Anonymous" .

It is true that in general you should stand on 16 vs. 10 with three of more cards. So if my chart was based on the casino offering the surrender option then you would be right. However that assumption is not made. If I changed the key to Rs (surrender if allowed, otherwise stand) then that would imply that the player should stand on a 2-card 16 against a 10 if surrender was not allowed.

I bet on the Internet on soccer games. The games are supposed to start at 10am but I was able to make my bets at 10:25. All my bets were accepted at 10:25. So if the bets are accepted there is nothing we can do about it. The Internet casino doesn’t have a right to cancel those wagers, they are supposed to pay my winnings.

"Anonymous" .

First, the vast majority of Internet gambling is unregulated. So there is likely no higher authority you can turn to. The word of the casino/sport-book is final. I would imagine that somewhere in their lengthy terms and conditions is a rule that says that wagers made after the beginning of an event are not official, even if accepted by the system. Even without that most have a general rule that if a line is obviously in error then even if the system accepts it can be voided. Such I think could be the situation here.

My question was specific to the Monday night football game tonight (Dallas @ Washington). There is rain in Washington and has been for a few hours now. This rain will continue through the game and into the next day. I was wondering what effect rain had on an over/under NFL bet? Is there some trend or other advice you can give me?

"Anonymous" .

I do not know the effect of rain on the total. However I do know that sharp handicappers consider the weather very seriously and move the line to reflect the temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and things like that.

In one of your old columns, you mention a manuscript for a book that you wrote, that you were unable to publish. What was the book about? Is the manuscript available anywhere? I’m curious because about 20 years ago, I wrote a draft of my own book about odds and gambling, a sort of condensed and simplified version of Allan Wilson’s book. I wrote to Stanford Wong, asking him if he would look at my manuscript. He replied yes, but he would have recommend that I not bother to write the book in the first place. There were already too many gambling books. So I gave up on the idea of trying to publish my book.

"Anonymous" .

Yes, I wrote a gambling book manuscript four years ago. I shopped it around and only Huntington Press agreed to publish it. However three years and four revisions later and it still isn’t out. There is already a glut of gambling books on the market so I agree with Stanford to not waste your time. Since I wrote my original manuscript I have learned that the name of the author is much more important to selling books than the content of the book itself. A no-name has almost no hope of publish a book on gambling, or anything. If you want to publish a book you should do something else to become famous first.

[Update: The Wizard’s book Gambling 102 was published in Spring 2005.]

Are there any $100,000 chips? If these exist what hotel in Las Vegas would use them?

"Anonymous" .

There is a similar question asked in Ask Barney: An Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas by Barney Vinson. He says there is a $10 million chip on display in the London Club high limit room at the Aladdin. However I agree with Barney that is probably more about bragging rights and has never actually been bet. In another question Barney says most major casinos keep special chips in the vault up to denominations of $100,000, in case they get an especially high roller.