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Ask the Wizard #95

Hello Wizard, When I use your calculator for BJ it shows a huge differential in house advantage between a single deck and Double deck. Would there be a difference in the double deck house advantage if the deck is cut in half? What would be the difference in the house advantage for any number of decks if you cut off a larger portion of the deck?

"Anonymous" .

The house edge for a double-deck game is the same regardless of how many decks they cut off. Many dealers incorrectly claim that a double deck game cut in half has the same odds as a single deck game. It does not. Unless you are counting the placement of the cut card makes no difference.

In your last column you said you liked the double up feature in video poker. How many times is the player allowed to double up and how many times do you recommend?

"Anonymous" .

I understand that at least with some machines the number of doubles is configurable but is usually set to 4 or 5. How many times you should take the double up depends on how good or bad the pay table is and your tolerance for risk. If your goal is to achieve the highest expected return then you should double up the maximum number of times, or at least until a win would put your over the W2G threshold of $1200. When I play negative pay tables online I usually double up to $100 to $1000, depending on how much action I have to grind through and my winning goal. My advice is to ask yourself how much you are comfortable betting on the turn of a card and keep doubling up to that point.

For whatever reason suppose I do not wish to immediately cash in casino chips won in a major casino in LV. Can I walk across the street (or next door) to another major casino and put my chips in play (or cash them in) there? If such chip "travelability" is permitted at all, would it be limited to major properties owned by the same corporation such as Park Place or MGM Properties? Please comment when convenient. Thank you.

"Anonymous" .

Most casinos accept an exchange of chips from other casinos in the same locality, even if the casino is a direct competitor. For example if you walked a $100 Mirage chip to the Venetian and politely asked at a table to exchange it for Venetian chips I think they would allow it. Do not try to bet a foreign chip without asking. I once did that in Atlantic City with a $5 chip and although I got away with it when the dealer finally noticed a foreign chip in his tray he was clearly annoyed. Fortunately it was a full table so nobody could pin the blame on me ;-).

Sorry to bother you as your web page states, but have you used your mathematical prowess to find anomalies in the odds on sports bets, or calculated a way to have a guaranteed return based on that info?

"Anonymous" .

The last couple years I have been devoting a lot of time to sports betting, much more than any other form of gambling. Unless you can play two sport books against each other via different lines, an opportunity which is very rare, there are no guaranteed winning ways to make money sports betting. It is too early to reveal any secrets but I look for any perceived bet with a player advantage and then make my bet. You might like to see some information I did to recently in my sports betting appendix 2.

What is the probability of being dealt four to a royal?

"Anonymous" .

There are four possible suits for the royal. There are five possible missing cards. The fifth card can be one of 47 other cards. So there are 4*5*47=940 ways to get four to a royal. There are combin(52,5) = 2,598,960 total combinations. So the probability is 940/2,598,960 = 1 in 2,765.

On your Blackjack Basic Strategy chart it says to "Double if allowed, otherwise stand" on A,7 against a dealer’s 3-6. My question is, why stand? If you’re willing to double down but can’t, shouldn’t you at least hit if you can? You were willing to take another card anyway. Thanks for your time!

"Anonymous" .

If the player had the option to double his bet and stand that would be better than a conventional double. So taking the card actually is detrimental to the player’s hand in these cases, but it worth it to get twice as much money down.

I tried to find your reviews of the online casinos but the page says you have stopped making them available. I personally like knowing if a casino has a questionable policy. Why did you delete the reviews?

"Anonymous" .

That is a fair question. For those who don’t remember I used to review all the Internet casinos I played and had a list of at least 50 reviews. One problem in maintaining this list was I got numerous requests from casinos not on the list to be added. I received no revenue through these reviews and in fact they may have taken customers from the paying advertisers. Another problem is Internet casinos often rise and fall in quality. I was taking a beating on the bulletin boards for saying good things about casinos that had evidently fallen downhill. So I started to remove reviews there were over a year old. However I still found it a hassle dealing with the requests to be added and dealing with complaints coming from players who had a bad experience with a casino I gave a good review to. My site does not make that much money so I decided revenue did not warrant the bother of maintaining that section.