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Ask the Wizard #59
Thanks for the kind words. I could talk all day about your first question. There are ways to gamble for a living. In my opinion the most viable ways are blackjack card counting, sports betting, and Internet bonus/advantage play. All three of these methods require a large bankroll to make enough to live on, ballpark $100,000, and that is just to get by. Most people have to start small and build their way up. Everyone has to bet relative to his own bankroll. Internet betting limits are high enough for most players. Not many people wish to bet more than $500 per hand. Boss Media’s single player game offers a small player advantage in blackjack, but it is so small it is not worth the time to play it.
Bo from Wetumpka, USA
They are some kind of counter. As a player they won’t help you at all, just ignore them.
Mike from New York, USA
Yes, I have done a similar analysis. It can be found in my pai gow poker appendix 2. There are some important difference between my strategy and his. Wong’s is much more detailed, considering the highest two singletons, while mine considers only the single highest. Wong also differentiates between whether the player is banking or not. Finally Wong’s book is based on the California game with no 5% commission, unlike my strategy. I do trust Wong’s work and don’t disagree with his table.
Ralph from Harpster
The probability of getting a straight flush on the first hand is 4*12/combin(52,3) = 48/22100 =~ 0.0022. The probability that the next hand will be exactly the same is 1/22100. So the answer is (48/22100)*(1/22100) = 48/488410000, on 1 in 10,175,208. This is a 1.37 more likely than hitting a 6/49 lottery, which has a probability of 1 in 13983816.
John from Trinity, Texas
For those readers who don’t know, the river is the fifth and last community card in Texas hold-em. The player must make the best poker hand between his own two cards and the five community cards. So you’re asking what is the probability that a player will form a royal flush in seven cards, and that the seventh card dealt will be part of the royal. The probability of forming a 5-card royal flush out of 7 cards, before considering card, is 4*combin(47,2)/combin(52,7) = 4324/133784560, or 1 in 30940. The probability that the seventh card will be part of the royal flush is 5/7. So the final probability is 21620/936491920, or 1 in 43316.
The probability that any given card will have a coverall with 54 calls is combin(51,30)/combin(75,54) = 114456658306760/2103535234151140000 =~ 1 in 18738. The probability of 600 cards not winning are (1-1/18738)^600 =~ 96.79%. So the probability that at least one of the 600 players will hit is are 3.21%.
Paul from Novi, Michigan
I’m not sure. The only cruise I ever took was from Florida to the Bahamas and it only lasted about eight hours. This was before I ever started this web site so I didn’t pay close attention to the rules. However I do recall that the blackjack rules were stingy, and that I lost a lot! Other things I have read corroborate that cruise ships casinos are tight. After all, where else can you play? However the games you mention already have rather high house edges so perhaps there is no need to alter the rules. I also know that Caribbean Stud Poker has a more generous paytable in Europe and Africa, so maybe they use that one.