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Ask the Wizard #153

Hi. I was upset when I returned from LV and later found I had placed a paper ticket from a poker machine into my purse (being in a hurry to meet someone). When I discovered it at home it had expired! Although it was only for $8.00 I felt the Aladdin had already gotten enough of my dough. Do you agree?

Bev from Akron

When I originally answered this my reply was a comdemnation of the casinos for putting expiration dates on their tickets at all. If anything, I argued, the casino should be happy to earn interest on the money and give the player a motive to come back and redeem the ticket. However several people wrote in, many in casino employment, stating that it is routine to honor expired tickets. I put this claim to the test by buying up $2 tickets up and down the Strip. After they expired I went to cash them in. Every time the ticket was honored. However it always required a supervisor’s authorization, which sometimes came with a quick phone call, other times I had to stand around until one could be found to sign something. So I hope you didn’t throw your ticket away, I think the Aladdin will honor it whenever you return.

I play video blackjack using basic strategy at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in NC. They only have $2 machines that previously had paid the usual $3 on a blackjack (3:2) and $2 on a win. Now they have replaced these machines with ones that pay $13 on a blackjack but only $1 on a win. Have you ever heard of machines with these pay schedules? If so do you know how they compare to the normal 3:2 machines? If it helps the dealer stands on a soft 17 and doubling is not allowed after a split. Thanks - have a happy new year and thanks for providing much very helpful information!

Sam from Atlanta

You’re welcome. This is an interesting game. Assuming all wins except blackjack pay 1 to 2, and blackjacks pay 13 to 2 I get a player advantage of 0.7%, assuming six decks. Here is a basic strategy for that game.

Hi Wizard, First off I’d like to say I love the precise, fluff-free answers you give. Anyway if the pocket cards in Holdem are AA and the flop cards are KQ9, what is the probability of completing to a full house? I’ve worked on this for ages :( and still dont have an answer I trust.

Michael from Perth

You could complete the full house with an ace and a K, Q, or 9. There are 2 aces left and 3 each of K,Q, an 9. So there are 2*3*3=18 such combinations. The only other way would be a K, Q, or 9 pair. There are 3*combin(3,2)=9 such combination. The number of all combinations is 47*46/2 = 1081. So the probability is (18+9)/1081 = 2.50%.

bf & i have been goin out for a yr plus. but on and off. we recently meet again after soo long that hes been ignoring my calls. we end up having sex and after that day, we talk normally on the phone like im not his gf. i also know that he aint got any gf. does he really love me or treat me like a ’sex buddy’? im soo depressed and confuse.

Xera from United Kingdom

You are just his sex buddy. If you are looking for more than that then my advice is don’t waste any more of your time with him. This also just goes to show what I always say, that it is almost impossible to be just friends after a breakup.

I’ve noticed more and more casinos are swapping decks of cards after large payout hands (full house, 4 of a kind). Yesterday one swapped after a straight less than a 1/2 hour after the previous swapping. In Laughlin, they even swapped decks after I hit two 3 of a kinds in a row. Is this typical or are they responding to my betting? The probability theoretically doesn’t change, so are they essentially chasing me away?

Paul from Kent, Washington

I can think of three reasons that a supervisor would swap decks after a big win. The first is that the decks were worn and due to be swapped anyway. The second is they are concerned the deck is flawed somehow. The third is they are "sweating the money" and incorrectly think swapping decks will change your luck. I would bet that the third explanation is the most likely.

My ex-boyfriend were together for 3 years.everything was fine until 2 months ago.we were arguing alot and not getting alone at all.But we were still in love.He came to me and told me that i argue to much and that he cant take it anymore.i was so devasted.but he still comes over and we still do things together but he wont make me his girlfriend.i know he talks to other girls and that really do hurt me.i try so hard to get over him but i cant.we still say that we love each other and we kiss.And sometimes we spend the night with each other.we also brung new years in with each other and stayed together that whole night and woke up with eact other.My question is, are we going to ever get back together and if so when.and why is it taking so long for him to come back to me.ive tried everything.help me please before i go crazy and out my mind!

Deja from East Ridge

There is an old saying that a man is not going to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free. Three years is enough to be kept in limbo by this guy. Tell him to stop contacting you unless it is with a wedding date.

Can you tell me the odds of rolling two of the same number with two dice, three dice, and four dice? I am wondering how many dice would one have to roll at one time so that the odds are on the side of the person rolling the dice. (It does not make any difference which number is doubled.)

Mary from Minneapolis, MN

Here is the probability of getting at least one number more than once according to the number of rolls:

Probability of a Pair or More

Rolls Probability
2 rolls 16.67%
3 rolls 44.44%
4 rolls 72.22%
5 rolls 90.74%
6 rolls 98.46%

So if you were to book this you should offer the yes with 3 rolls or the no at 4 rolls.

Can you tip a Pit Boss? Poker Room Pit Boss? I have been treated nicely and would like to tip them but am not sure it is allowed.

Tami from Chino

First, the term ’pit boss’ is dated. The proper term for a supervisor assigned to several tables is a floorman. The person who oversees an entire pit is a pit manager. The person who oversees all the table games is the shift manager. Nobody in this chain of command may you give money to. The "suits" are supposed to look after the casino’s interests so a cash tip may seem like a bribe. However you may give money to the poker room supervisors. The reason for the poker room exception is the casino does not risk its own money in the poker room, therefore management is indifferent to who wins.

In a three-handed game of Hold 'em, what are the chances of A-A vs. K-K vs. Q-Q?

Chris from Hampton

Let's call the players A, B, and C. The probability A has a pair of aces is combin(4,2)/combin(52,2) = 6/1326. The probability B has a pair of kings is combin(4,2)/combin(50,2) = 6/1225. The probability C has a pair of queens is combin(4,2)/combin(48,2) = 6/1128. However there are 3! = 1*2*3 = 6 ways you can arrange three pairs between three players. So, the answer is 6*(6/1326)*(6/1225)*(6/1128) = 0.000000707321.

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years. I trusted him very much until yesterday when I found out his online profile stating that he is looking dating and relationship. He updates his profile everyday also. I also found out he sent a message to a girl he started to chat with: "hi, babe, you are hot as hell, tell me about yourself". I confronted him later and he told me that girl email him first and he was just trying to be nice. He also said that he didn’t know his profile was saying he is here for dating and relationship. He changed it right away, but I don’t know if I should trust him anymore. All these years he made me believe that he was the most faithful man on earth and now I don’t know what to do.

Ginny from Spring

You certainly have a valid complaint. However in my opinion online cheating is a much lesser sin than cheating in real life. I wouldn’t throw away three good years over this. My advice is to consider this strike one and keep an eye on his computer activities for a while. Other than that I’d give him a pass this time.