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Ask the Wizard #4

Is there a particular time of the day or night that's better to play slots and a time that's best to avoid?

Mary from San Gabriel, California

No, the odds are the same regardless of the time of day.

I made the mistake of making a pass line bet in craps after a point was established. The next roll was a seven and I thought I won but the dealer said I lost. Can the player make a pass line bet after a point is rolled? What should have happened?

Larry from Detroit

Yes, you can make a pass line bet at any time. However, you give up the come out roll, which twice the chance of winning as losing. Making a late pass or come bet is called a "put" bet.

Have you ever heard of the craps pro? I can honestly say that I have been playing this craps method for a year now and over the long run I have been winning 60% of my bets with the casino paying me odds on the place bets. I'm one of the crazies out here that believe that this works. I have tried many systems and spent thousands of dollars believing there must be a way to beat the casino over the long haul. Nothing worked until I purchased this method. I'm a true believer and my wallet shows it, or maybe hundreds of hours at the table is not enough time to prove it to be true I'll let you know how I do over the next year. If you haven't heard of this method than research it and prove me wrong.

Jim from Belluvue, US

Although I have tested a lot of systems, I don't need to test all of them to know they are all worthless. No system can ever pass the test of time. It is not unusual to win for a while with a system, but if you keep playing the odds will eventually catch up to you and you will fall behind.

For more information about the futility of betting systems, please see The Truth about Betting Systems.

Wiz, You are the man! You have far and away the best gambling site on the 'net. Being an actuary myself (ACAS), I love to see someone putting their math skills to good use.

My question — When late surrender is allowed, do you still want to split eights with a ten showing? I'm guessing yes, but one of the hardest plays in BJ is splitting eights vs a ten.

As a side note, I just spent three days in Vegas, if you haven't done so already, you must try the Las Vegas Club and the World's Most Liberal blackjack Rules. Doubling is allowed on 3 or 4 cards, 6 cards <= 21 is an automatic winner, and late surrender. At six decks, I figured the house advantage to be 0.14%. Thanks for all of your hard work!!

Jim from Bloomington, US

Thanks for the kind words, Jim. Yes, you still want to split eights, even if late surrender is offered. Even if you can't double after a split you should still decline to surrender. Based on a two-deck game, where you can not double after splitting, the expected value of splitting 8,s against a 10 is -0.480673, better than the -0.5 by surrendering.

Contrary to their claim of having the "World's Most Liberal Blackjack Rules" there are better single-deck games right across the street at the Horseshoe or the Golden Gate. It is the six decks at the Las Vegas Club which work against the player. Don't feel badly about falling for their marquee, I fell for it myself in my younger days before I knew the effects of rule variations.

Update: After this question, the Las Vegas Club changed their rules to pay 6 to 5 on a blackjack in their so-called "World's Most Liberal Blackjack Rules." The 6 to 5 does not even make it a legitimate blackjack game. You are much better off at any ordinary 3-2 game, which are easy to find elsewhere.