Ask The Wizard #41

Is there any way to spot a would-be winning slot machine?

Dave from Yale, USA

Other than progressive games with a sufficiently large jackpot, no.

Just wondering about your opinion of altering the frequency table in craps by pre-setting the dice.

Thom from San Francisco, USA

I'm very skeptical of it. I go over some of the experiments on the topic in my craps appendix 3.

How should I play the following hands in deuces wild video poker if both a flush and four of a kind pay 4 to 1? (1) two pair, (2) deuce and two suited high cards


I'm going to assume the rest of the pay table is the same as full pay deuces wild. In this case (1) keep the two pair, (2) keep the deuce and both high cards.

Is it still tough for an outsider to get in a poker game in Las Vegas with out running into "teams"? I hear a lot of casinos are shutting down their poker rooms.

Bob from Longmont, Colorado

If you read Dirty Poker by Richard Marcus, you'll likely be paranoid about collusion whenever you play with strangers. However, poker expert Ashley Adams answers this questions as follows:

I've played in nearly every public card room in Las Vegas and over 100 others around the country. At the lower limits I have never encountered collusion. Once in a 20/40 stud game, I thought that two players might have been colluding. I have heard that it may exist in the higher stakes games (about 20/40). But that typical tourist, playing 1/2 or 2/5 blind no-limit, or 10/20 or lower limit poker, is unlikely to ever encounter this.

Realtime Gaming's Joker Poker has the huge payout for a sequential royal flush, which give the game a positive expected value. My question: is it ever optimum play to keep a 10,J or Q in the correct position for the sequential RF, in what would otherwise be a throwaway hand?

Denis from Rochester, New York

You should keep the 10, J, and Q in the right positions unless you have a pat straight flush or a deuce. The expected value of this hand is about 28 times your bet, depending on the discards.

At Casino on Net, the new version software now offers a "double" and "half double" option after a win in video poker. The player loses on a tie. What is the house edge on these two options.

Jon from Danville, New Hampshire

The house edge, based on the money wagered, is 5.88%. Either way the house edge is 5.88% but with the half double you are only betting half as much. I would advise declining this bet.