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Ask the Wizard #38
Mark from Chicago, USA
I have said numerous times that there is no long-term way to beat a game with a house edge. If there were a true 50/50 game with no house edge it would be impossible to guarantee beating or losing to it under real world conditions. The results always approach the house edge in the long-term. It is not just computer simulations that back this up but the fundamental laws of probability.
About video blackjack, that may be the way of the future. I have seen fully electronic tables with video display at the World Gaming Expo. I have also seen tables that with cameras can track every bet and every play each player makes. This enables the house to accurately comp players and alert them to card counters. These tables look and feel like any other blackjack table, so you card counters may be out of business if these tables are successful.
Jon from Danville, New Hampshire
Of those 100 points established, on average 41.67 would be on a 6 or 8, 33.33 would be on a 5 or 9, and 25.00 would be on a 4 or 10. You could expect on average 18.94 points made on a 6 or 8, 13.33 on a 5 or 9, and 8.33 on a 4 or 10.
Stan from Milwaukee, USA
You obviously understand that a deck rich in high cards favors the player and a deck rich in low cards favors the dealer. Although your method is the crudest form of card counting it is still card counting. Nevada casinos have the legal right to do what they did.
In the future, I would recommend being more discrete. Never more than double your bet, preferably only after winning. If you feel you're being watched, then get up and leave before they do it for you. Don't play too long in any one place. Ian Anderson's "Turning the Tables in Las Vegas" gives lots of tips about looking like an ordinary player while card counting.
Rick from Valley Center, USA
The 9-2 means that a $2 bet would win $9. So if you bet $2 you would get back $11, $9 in winnings plus the original $2. Likewise, the 7-2 bet would win $7 for a $2 bet, and 10-1 means a $1 bet would win $10.
Jim from St. Peters, USA
The probability of getting any number three times out of 4 is 38*4*(1/38)3*(37/38) = 1/5932. However, if you play long enough you almost can't help but notice unusual events like this. This does not nearly rise to the level of being suspicious. Cheating does occur in real casinos. It is usually a rogue dealer who is caught by casino security. There have been some strong cases of cheating made against online casinos but no governmental authority has ever convicted anyone to the best of my knowledge.
Siew from Sydney, Australia
Assuming you could get paid for your play then yes, it would be very possible to make a profit from playing junkets, depending on if the commission is more than the expected loss gambling. I've heard of a professional gamblers exploiting such offers in Asian casinos.
Mike and Taffy M. from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Claridge is the best. As far as I know, they are the only Atlantic City casino to offer late surrender, which lowers the house edge from 0.43% to 0.36%.
Gordon from Charlottesville, Virginia
I have noticed that too about Boss Media casinos, I seldom see other players playing. It is possible for any online casino to do whatever they want. However, I seriously doubt Boss Media would resort to cheating. They are a legitimate company and know they have more to gain in the long run by playing a fair game.
Gordon from Lewiston, New York
I have always wondered this myself. It is probably just one of those weird things like why we spell colonel the way we do.
Kevin from Dallas, USA
There are 2 directions to complete a 2-3-4 straight (A-2-3-4-5, 2-3-4-5-6), yet 3 directions to complete a 3-4-5 straight (A-2-3-4-5, 2-3-4-5-6, 3-4-5-6-7).
Kevin from Dallas, USA
See my Ten Commandments of Gambling. The sixth commandment is "never hedge thy bets." About your roulette question, the probability of losing all ten bets by betting one at a time is (37/38)10=76.59%. The probability of losing all ten bets by betting them all at once on different numbers is (28/38)=73.68%. By hedging, or betting ten numbers at once, you lower your probability of a total loss but also limit your maximum win to $26. The player betting one at a time could win up to $350. Both these methods have the same total expected return of 94.74%.
The way it works is a player will put $75 dollars on the 1 to 18 $50 dollars on the 3rd 12 and $10 dollars on the 0-00 split for a total of $135 dollars. This covers all but six numbers (19 through 22) and will yield a 15 dollar payout every time the ball misses those 6 numbers EXCEPT when 0 or 00 hits in which case it's 40 dollars. I know it sounds nuts!!! But trust me, I'm here to tell you I have seen it win more than lose. It also works in reverse (duh). I would love to know the true odds of this system, but it's hard to tell someone that it doesn't work when they are walking off my table 2 grand richer:-)
There are 30 ways to win $15, 6 ways to lose $135, and 2 way to win $45 (not $40). The expected return of this combination of bets is ((30/38)*15 + (6/38)*-135 + (2/38)*(45))/135 = -.0526, or 5.26%, the house edge on any one bet or combination of bets as long as the dreaded 0-00-1-2-3 combination is avoided. In your observations you have likely seen fewer than expected 19-24 occurrences, which accounts for the illusion that this method is winning.
Tomas from Riga, Latvia
In games with a maximum pay out you should never bet so much that the maximum winning would be affected by the maximum. For example if the maximum pay out is $2000 and the biggest win pays 100:1 then you shouldn’t bet more than $20. Assuming the royal flush there pays 100-1, you shouldn't bet more than $30. As long as you stay under these limits the odds have not changed. The version where you can switch a card is called Oasis Poker.