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Ask the Wizard #62

Went to play deuces wild video poker. There was quite a variation of payoff odds over many machines. None of the payoff odds matched the ones that you have analyzed as having an edge for the player. Is this because the casinos saw your winning strategy and, as a result, changed the odds to make it less favorable to the player? If so thanks a lot Wizard!

Larry from Somerset, New Jersey

I doubt I’m directly responsible but it could be argued that gambling experts like me (Bob Dancer in particular) are what ruined video poker. However if it weren’t for the experts teaching proper strategy then only the experts would know how to play properly.

Hi wiz, great site. I recently made a wager on all others in the Kentucky Derby futures betting. My odds closed at5/2 I know that this is about $7.00for a $2.00 wager, but in watching the odds, I believe that it was closer to 3/1. Can you help me figure the actual payoff for $2.00? The total pool was $577,889 and $125,353 was wagered on my bet. Thank you for any help.

Donald from Watervliet, USA

Thanks for the compliment. Let’s let c equal the track cut. If the odds closed at 5-2 then:
(577889*(1-c)-125353)/125353 = 2.5

So the track cut was 24%. For a futures bet this is not unusual. This illustrates why futures are a bad bet.

In Texas Hold em, what are the odds of making a one gap or two gap inside straight by fifth street starting from the flop?

Mr. D from Cherry Hill, USA

For the benefit of my readers, this question asks what is the probability of filling in a one or two gap inside straight with two more cards, with 47 left in the deck. With one gap the probability is 1-combin(43,2)/combin(47,2) = 0.164662. With two gaps the probability is 42/combin(47,2)=0.0148.

What is the increased house advantage for letting the following hands "ride" on Let it Ride?

1) three unsuited cards (A-K-Q and K-Q-J for example)
2) low connected straight flush cards (3-4-5)
3) something like J-10-7 of diamonds, spread of 5.

Thanks Mike, great site as usual (I’ll say it every time)

Jason from Vancouver, Canada

Thanks for the compliment. First, you’re supposed to "let it ride" with suited 3-4-5 (three consecutive suited cards) and suited 7-10-J (three to a straight flush with 2 high cards and 2 gaps). My own strategy states this. Here is the effect on your expected return for each of the other hands, measured in units. For example if you bet three units of $1 raising on unsuited A-K-Q would cost you 18.62 cents.

Unsuited A-K-Q: -0.186224
Unsuited K-Q-J: -0.104592

In two handed blackjack using one deck, what is the probability of the dealer having a blackjack?

Steve from Solva, United Kingdom

The number of hands doesn’t matter. The probability is 2*(4/13)*(8/103) = 0.0478.