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Ask the Wizard #269

How did the underdogs do against the spread during the NFL the 2010-2011 season?

Anon E. Mouse

In the 267 games played, the favorite beat the spread 128 times, the underdog won 133 times, and 6 games landed on a push. Of bets resolved, the underdog won 51.0%.

What is more interesting is the overs and unders. The over won 148, the under 114, and 5 landed on a push. Of bets resolved, the over won 56.5% of the time. The probability of the under winning 114 games or less out of 262 resolved is 2.1%.

On average, what is the expected value of each tile in pai gow?

Anon E. Mouse

Good question. The following table shows the expected value of each by itself, in order of pair ranking. The table assumes the dealer is banking and optimal strategy.

Tile Expected Values

Tile EV
Gee 0.123472
12 0.213725
2 0.188922
H8 0.023017
H4 -0.075666
H10 -0.045843
H6 -0.129277
L4 -0.096778
11 0.004318
L10 -0.078575
H7 -0.104709
L6 -0.150023
9 0.033182
L8 -0.029015
L7 -0.110764
5 -0.031472

The next table shows the same thing, but in expected value order.

Tile Expected Values

Tile EV
12 0.213725
2 0.188922
Gee 0.123472
9 0.033182
H8 0.023017
11 0.004318
L8 -0.029015
5 -0.031472
H10 -0.045843
H4 -0.075666
L10 -0.078575
L4 -0.096778
H7 -0.104709
L7 -0.110764
H6 -0.129277
L6 -0.150023

The source of the expected values is my pai gow calculator 3.0. Just put in one tile and click the analyze button.

Are comps taxable?

gambler

That is quite the difficult and controversial question. Before I answer, let me say that tax law is not my area of expertise, so you should consult a tax professional about your personal situation. Another better source than me about this is Tax Help for Gamblers by Jean Scott & Marissa Chien. Chapter three deals with this topic.

The general rule of thumb is that earnings are taxable and gifts are not. So a no-obligation comp would not be taxable. Anything that was given to you based on points, a drawing, a tournament, or earned some other way would be taxable. Granted this is not going to cover every situation, and some situations can be in a gray area. If you’re in doubt, consult a tax professional.

This question was raised and discussed in the forum of my companion site Wizard of Vegas.

I understand that at pool parties, like the Hard Rock’s Rehab, they can’t make you pay if you are going for the purpose of playing in the outdoor table games. If that is true, how can the Playboy casino justify making people pay to play there?

Anon E. Mouse

The rule at play here is:

A licensee may not, directly or indirectly, restrict access to any portion of an establishment wherein gaming is conducted, through the assessment or imposition of a fee, except upon receiving prior written administrative approval from the chairman consistent with policies of the commission. — Nevada Gaming Regulation 5.210

As far as I know, the only exception Gaming has ever given is to the Playboy casino, who indeed charges admission to patrons who do not meet any criteria for free entry. My source at the Hard Rock says they applied for an exception but were denied. They speculate the main reason was that Rehab charges different prices depending on the day of the week, among other factors. Evidently Gaming wanted to see a consistent pricing policy to get an exemption.