Ask the Wizard #189
Nick from Slough, U.K.
For the benefit of other readers, the blackjack rules are as follows.
- 8 decks
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Dealer always peeks for blackjack
- Double on hard 8 to 11 only
- Double after split allowed
- Shuffle after every hand
- Aces may not be split. All other matching ranks may be split only once.
- Suited blackjack pays 2 to 1
- A 5-card 21 automatically wins and pays 2 to 1
I get a house edge of 0.02% under these rules. Following is the basic strategy.
Regarding the other games, the 2.75% commission on the banker bet in baccarat results in a house edge of 0.03%. The roulette and video poker have zero house edge.
The bet limits are £5-£50 in blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, and the coinage is £1 in video poker, with a max bet of five coins.
George from Buffalo, NY
More than doubling your bet at once sets off a red flag that you’re counting. That would increase your advantage, but at the risk of being backed off from the table. My advice is to not do it. Leaving the shoe in a low count is a well-known trick. That is a great time to hit the bathroom or pretend your cell phone is vibrating. It is up to you at what point to do this. There is a tradeoff between suffering a shoe with a negative EV and looking like a counter jumping in and out all the time.
Bill R. from Elmhurst, Il
Thank you, and you’re welcome. Yes, it is generally the case that the better the rules, the higher the minimum bet.
Asif from Columbia, SC
Not that you asked, but let me address the mean first. For a six-sided die, the expected number of throws to get each face at least once is (6/6)+(6/5)+(6/4)+(6/3)+(6/2)+(6/1) = 14.7. For an n-sided die the expected throws is (n/n) + (n/(n-1)) + (n/(n-2)) + ... + n. The median number of throws required is 13. The probability of taking 13 rolls or less is 51.4%, and 13 rolls or more is 56.21%.
Adam H. from Las Vegas
The W2-G is based on the gross win, not the net win. So, yes, if the player got a $5000 push on a Red, White, & Blue, he would get a W2-G.
Hugh from Newburgh
You should speak to an MGM host. You can ask for a host anywhere. There is usually a player assistance desk somewhere, where one can often be found, or at least paged. Your odds of seeing a Mandalaly Bay show will be best if you play at the Mandalay Bay, as opposed to any other MGM/Mirage property.
Ashwal from Waterloo
The probability of getting any number exactly four times in seven spins is 38 × combin(7,4) * (1/38)4 × (37/38)3 = 0.000589, or 1 in 1698. Assuming 200 spins per hour, you should see this about once every 8.5 hours. I’m sure you cherry picked this sequence out of lots of ordinary looking spins. So I’m afraid this evidence doesn’t nearly rise to the level required for a kind of case of foul play.