Ask The Wizard #29

Who has the best slot machine pay back rate on the net?

Frank from Steubenville, USA

As I work through the various kinds of software for reviews in Casino Player magazine, I am paying more attention to games I normally don't play. At this point, I can only report on three kinds of software as follows.

Microgaming: 95.67% (Based on actual returns at the Golden Palace while they used Microgaming software.)
Cryptologic: 92.42% (Based on actual returns at the Safari Casino. The Sands of the Caribbean and Inter Casino had similar returns.)
Real Time Gaming: 97.1% (Based on the theoretical return at Casino Merlin assuming maximum coins played. Other licensees may select from returns ranging from 95% to 98%.)

I played craps for the first time the other night and went from $70 to $700 with small bets on the pass odds and field bets. I then lost it all down to $6 because my bets were too large (by the dealers suggestion), and gained it back to $1000 after slowing down. For this being the first time it seems like a very easy game to win if you have patience, was it beginners luck?

Chris from Tyler, USA

Yes, it was luck. It helped that you stuck to the low house edge bets. However, next time, make the line bets with odds only, and don't bet the field, especially if it pays 2 to 1 only on both the 2 and 12.

Wizard, love your site. In Pai Gow Poker should the Fortune side bet be made in your opinion. Thanks, I enjoy all your info.

Eddie from West Memphis, Arkansas

No, you should not make the Fortune side bet, or any other side bet. Generally speaking, they are sucker bets that carry a high house edge. For more information on the Fortune side bet visit my pai gow poker side bets section.

I play and they have 94 numbers of which you have to hit 6 in any order. I would like to know the odds of hitting 6 out of 94 since this site originated nobody has ever won the 3 million.

Sandee from Norwood, USA

The probability of getting 6 out of 94 correct is 1 in combin(94,6) = 1 in 814,216,767.

How did you derive the house edge in blackjack?

John C. from London, Canada

I wrote my own combinatorial program which cycles through every possible event and keeping a running tally of all the possible outcomes weighted by their probability. Except in cases where re-splitting pairs is involved, my calculations are exactly right.

What is the calculation of the house edge for a put bet on the pass line (after the come out roll and the point is established) with full odds (eg. 2x, 10x, 100x) for the 6&8, 7&9, 4&10 and any combination there of? I became very curious after I saw this bet allowed at Binions-LV last time I was in town.

Jim M.

Since you asked I added information about the put bet in my craps section. That should tell you what you want to know.

I was playing baccarat at, where they claim that six decks are shuffled for each game. However, there is no indication of the end of the shoe, hence you can play endlessly without knowing where the shoe starts and where it ends. My question is. How many hands are in a six-deck shoe? Also, how many hands should I play until I start recording the plays (hands) as a new game?

Gil from Fullteron, California

First it is very possible that they are shuffling after every hand. Even if they do penetrate into the shoe I doubt they play through the entire thing. The average number of cards per hand is 4.94. Assuming 15 burn cards, a six-deck baccarat shoe would have about 60 hands. However, mathematically speaking, it doesn't make any difference when they shuffle.

A promotion from an on-line casino lets the customer select various options. The options range from a 10% bonus requiring wagering 2X the deposit, up to a 100% bonus requiring wagering 10X the deposit. How would you determine which option to take assuming you are willing to take a 5% chance of going broke & assume a 0.5% house edge in their 2-deck blackjack game?

Harvey from Kansas City, Missouri

I would wager 10X for the 100% bonus. If you make the bet size small enough you can still stay under a 5% chance of going broke. I don't have the exact number, but if each bet were 1% of the total deposit, then I doubt the probability of going broke would be more than 5%, even betting ten times the bankroll.