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Ask the Wizard #126

Is the Super Sevens side bet countable?

Clem

Yes! If you count sevens as -12 and all other cards as +1 then the odds on the side bet swing to the player’s advantage with a true count (running count divided by remaining decks) of 5 or greater. According to my simulations in six-deck game with no three-card guarantee and 75% penetration the true count is 5 or greater 23.2% of the time and the player advantage at these times averages 27.3%. In the game with a three-card guarantee the average advantage goes up to 29.1%.

A flush is 100% possible on the 17th card dealt no matter what. When is a straight 100% possible on what # card dealt?

Anonymous

A straight is guaranteed only with 45 cards. For example your could deal every A, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, J Q, and K for a total of 44 cards and still not have a straight.

Dear Wizard, I want to know if my boyfriend is lying to me when he says he loves me an he’s not cheating on me but a girl keeps going there an calling him an he said he don’t like her an swears he’s not going to cheat she’s causing problems so do I trust him is he cheating on me help me plzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Anonymous

You should trust him until you have much more compelling evidence he is cheating. There is nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about. Also, please do something about your run-on sentences.

I was wondering how the house advantage would change if you played 5 hands at a time using basic strategy blackjack and card counting at an online casino. Let me explain. I know the deck is shuffled with each hand, however you can count the cards of all hands leading up to the last hand - the 5th hand. You can then use this information to help you modify your basic strategy betting. For example, not doubling down when the count is against you or hitting when you normally should stay. Could this possibly shift the overall odds to the players advantage?

Anonymous

Flat betting and only five spots, I think not. However if you bet seven spots and progressively more on each spot to be played then yes. This is called depth charging and is treated lightly in the book Burning the Tables in Las Vegas by Ian Andersen.

Dear Wizard, You advised a previous poster how one can learn to shuffle poker chips (Aug 25, 2003). Becuase of your instruction, my shuffling abilities give me a strong edge (my poker skill, on the other hand, is another story...). I just want to give a few extra tips...

  1. Try starting with a stack of 6 chips instead of 10. Even those lacking any dexterity (like me) will have an easier time getting the feel of it.
  2. It is much harder to practice on a hard table. One cannot as easily get one’s fingers underneath the stack as on a felt table. If you don’t have access to a casino table (other than in the casino itself), practice on something soft, such as a mousepad or even a folded newspaper.
  3. Warm-up your hands before shuffling (especially if you are new at it). Shuffling puts your fingers in an odd position. It takes a while for them to get use to it.
  4. Learn to use both hands. It becomes much tougher when using your weaker hand, but it makes you look twice as intimidating when you show your fellow players that you are good with either hand.

Thanks again for the great site!

Anonymous

Thanks, I never thought to try with my left hand.

I live in Oklahoma and I have heard that the slot machines here are not really slot machines but you are playing bingo against other players. What is the actually going on?

Anonymous

Oklahoma, and various other Indian casinos, have what is called "class 2" slots. The outcome is actually determined by the draw of bingo balls. Players at different various different slot machines are linked together, each player has different cards but the draw of the balls is common to all players connected via the network. There is generally a "game ending pattern" in which if some player completes it then balls quit drawing for all the other players. However with most manufacturers these game ending patterns are very hard to achieve so the element of competition is negligible. Unless the game ending pattern is achieved a certain number of balls are drawn, your cards are automatically daubed, and you are paid according the highest paying pattern you cover, and there are hundreds of patterns. A video representation of a slot machine is only to illustrate how much you have won. If done well, and they often are not, the games play almost just like a Vegas slot machine.

What should I do if an online casino refuses to pay out winnings?

Anonymous

If the casino is one of our advertisers and you signed up after clicking an ad on our site then I will help as a mediator. However it is unlikely you would have trouble getting paid by one of our advertisers since we allow advertising from only the most reputable casinos in the business. The number of times I have had to intervene because a player did not get paid by one of our advertisers is extremely small.

If the casino is not one of our advertisers then I can’t really do anything for you. In that case you should give the casino at least a month and three warnings to pay. It goes without saying that you should make sure you have complied with all the casino’s requirements for a withdrawal, especially any ID requirements. If you have been communicating only by email and haven’t heard from them then make sure to call them too. It may be the case that your spam blocker is preventing you from getting their email explaining what they need from you in order to process your withdrawal. If all else fails go on the bulletin boards such as Casino Meister and warn others about your experience. Be sure to include plenty of detail -- posts that say only, "Casino X won’t pay me, don’t play there!" are not very helpful.

VegasClick has an article about disputes with online casinos.

In your blackjack appendix 9 you indicate that the player has a positive expectation hitting 10 against a 10? For example with six decks and the player’s 10 is composed of a 6 and 4 you state the player advantage is 0.026796. Won’t both player and dealer hit until 17? This should give the dealer an advantage because the dealer will win if both bust.

Anonymous

The reason is because the player’s next card could be an ace but not the dealer’s. I stated in the explanation to that appendix that I already assume the dealer does not have a blackjack. That is why the player has a slight edge in that situation, after the dealer peeks and confirms he does not have a blackjack.

Hi wiz, Let’s suppose I conjure up a sports betting system which requires $1K bets to return $80K per year. In order to produce this return approximately 250-300 bets per year are needed. Would the sports books eventually bar me in a similar fashion to the way the casinos bar card counters? Can you become a successful sports bettor openly, or do you have to sneak around like a card counter?

Jim

First, I’m skeptical that anyone could make 80K with 1K bets and a bankroll of only 250-300K. And don’t even get me started about the word "system." To answer your question, for the most part the best sports bettors may practice openly. Even if a sports book did forbid a professional’s action or 86 them from the property it would be easy to get someone else to do the betting. Then again I once went to a Super Bowl proposition bet seminar by Fezzik, a professional gambler, and he gave his presentation in a Halloween mask.