Ask the Wizard #155
Austin from Cambridge, MA
Thanks. You should be doing a lot of surrendering if you can keep the match play. My blackjack appendix 9 is good for questions such as this. A match play is worth just about half of face value. So if the expected value of the hand is less than -1/3 you should surrender. Assuming the dealer hits a soft 17 here are those times.
- Player 6 vs. 10-A
- Player 12 vs. 9-A
- Player 13 vs. 8-A
- Player 14 vs. 8-A
- Player 15 vs. 7-A
- Player 16 vs. 7-A
- Player 17 vs. 8-A
- Player 8,8 vs. 9-A
The strategy is the same if the dealer stands on a soft 17, except the player will not surrender 6 against an ace.
Shane from Santa Rosa
Thanks for the kind words. The probability you will get pocket aces in any one hand is 6/1326, or once every 221 hands. According to my 10-player Texas Hold ’em section (/games/texas-hold-em/10players.html) the probability of winning with pocket aces is 31.36%, assuming all players stay in until the end. However that is a big if. If forced to make a guess I’d estimate the probability of winning with aces in a real 10-player game is about 70%. So the probability of getting pocket aces and then losing is 0.3*(1/221) = 0.1357%. So, at $100 per incident that is worth 13.57 cents per hand. Over ten people that costs the poker room $1.36 per hand on average, which cuts into the rake quite a bit. I tend to agree with your strategy of calling, which will keep more players in the hand, and increase your chance of losing.
Henrik from Sweden
You’re welcome. So you have four to a flush with two on the board after the flop. The probability of getting exactly one of the needed suit is 9*38/combin(47,2) = 342/1081 = 31.64%.
Gerald from Coal Valley, IL
In games like Bonus Poker and Double Bonus I assume they pay more for certain four of a kinds to give the player a better chance at a big win, at the cost of smaller small wins of course. It makes sense to have four aces as the premium four of a kind, because aces are the highest card in regular poker. The reason I think that four twos pays more than four kings is because players don’t hold low cards as often, and thus four twos comes up less often than four kings. So although the probability of each card is the same, player behavior causes less of the low four of a kinds, thus it makes it easier for the game maker to pay more for the low four of a kinds.
Benjamin from New Brunswick, NJ
I realize it must be frustrating when I declare the house edge of game under optimal strategy but don’t state what the optimal strategy is, as is the case in Texas Hold’em Bonus. The reason for that is I don’t know what the optimal strategy is either. The number of combinations in most poker-based games is so vast that it would a very tedious and time consuming task to quantify exactly what the proper strategy is. Instead I program my computer to cycle through every possible set of cards and make the play with the highest expected value. The expected value is how much the player can expect to win (positive) or lose (negative). That greatly reduces the number of lines of code required. So there is no random simulation. My program looks into the future my looping through all possible combinations of cards and going with the play that results in the greatest win or least loss.
Shayna from Philadelphia
Yes, I would say that kissing qualifies as cheating. However it doesn’t really matter because you don’t owe it to him or yourself to build up a case to justify leaving. In my opinion the best way to break up is to do it fast and clean. Forget the friendship nonsense, just tell him you’re unhappy and are moving on, and that the two of you are not to have any future communication. Then give yourself a cooling off period. Don’t lose faith in all men. There are millions of nice guys out there who would treat you like a queen (to quote Peter Brady). Rather than faulting all men I think you should fault yourself for the choices you make.
Nick from Bronx, NY
In my opinion the dealer should set the rules on the liberal side in home games. Screwing your friends with stingy rules is just not cool. If you use double decks I would recommend double on any first two cards, double after a split, and dealer stands on soft 17. Otherwise standard rules. That will result in a house edge of 0.19%. However player mistakes should give you much more than that.
Brie from Chicago
You’re welcome. I’m always happy to teach people how to play smarter in the casinos. This sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. Like how some people keep dating others with the same first name over and over. Having a palindromic (is that a word?) birthday is cool in a math geek kind of way, but nothing more. Personally I’m proud to be born on 5/23 at 5:23 PM, which are both primes I might add. Anyway, I wish you love and happiness with the 7/7/78 guy. [Ed. note: Wizard, give me her email address. She sounds hot. -- M. Bluejay]