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Ask the Wizard #45

There is an article in the blackjack section that indicates that a CSM, (Continuous Shuffling Machine), actually lowers the house advantage for the basic strategy player. I assume that is in a heads to head game. Would multiple players increase the house advantage?

Gizmo from Los Angeles

That is true. I explain why in my blackjack appendix 10. The number of players doesn't make any difference.

Everybody says that roulette cannot be beaten in the long run with mathematical systems. But, how can you explain the fact that there are professional gamblers who make their living at roulette? I don't think it's just boasting. They actually win more than they lose with everyday playing.


Show me someone who is winning at a fair game of roulette and I'll show you somebody who is just lucky, and will likely lose it all back. You can only skillfully beat roulette by advantage play, like exploiting a biased wheel, or clocking the wheel.

What are the odds of being dealt a royal flush on a Triple Play video poker machine? I had this happen to me last week and nearly fell out of my chair.

David B. from El Cajon, California

The odds of being dealt a natural royal flush are 1 in 649,740 in any 52-card video poker game.

There are a great number of Casinos in the Vancouver area. All except one offer no surprises. However, one of them allows a funky variation on blackjack ... the player may double down or surrender after ANY number of cards until that player stands or busts. Could you please inform me as to how exactly this affects the odds. I would think it would be of great benefit to the player?

Ryan from Vancouver, Canada

According to Basic Blackjack by Stanford Wong, this rule adds 0.2% to the player's expected return. Wong also indicates some strategy deviations under this rule on pages 60-61.