May 9, 2003

The Wizard's News
May 9, 2003

Welcome to the new newsletter

As most of you know, I now own my site 100%. My old partners (Webstorm) got the old domain name (, so I've moved all my content to a new home at

Now that I control everything, there are some changes. First of all, there will be a lot less advertising on the site, and most of the ad banners won't blink. Also, I personally select and endorse all advertisers, and will intervene in cases in which players have a legitimate dispute that they can't resolve with the casino. For more information see my advertising policy.

The newsletter is also different. You'll notice is that you don't have to scroll down through huge casino ads to get to the actual newsletter, and it should fit in smaller mail windows better than the old one. Besides that, it's still me, the same Wizard, with the same kinds of things to share.

When my partners and I split up, I got the website and they got the mailing list. So if you were subscribed to the old newsletter, you'll still get Webstorm's newsletter. Note that although it's titled the "Wizard of Odds/Casino Specials" newsletter it's put out entirely by Webstorm and I have nothing to do with it.

The new website

Thanks to the help of Michael Bluejay of Website Helpers the new web site has seen a lot of cosmetic improvements and behind the scenes cleaning and reorganizing. I started the Wizard of Odds in 1997 as a learning exercise in website design and many of my bad HTML habits from back then were never fixed, until now. As I mentioned earlier, I'll also have fewer ads, fewer blinking ads, and I will personally select and endorse all advertisers. As for new content, I plan to add a full section on Multi-Strike poker soon. 

My challenge to John Patrick

I made quite a stir recently on the John Patrick message board. Let's just say that John Patrick belongs to the old school of gambling that trusts experience over math. He disagrees with the conventional basic strategy in blackjack and says it is foolish to double or split anything against a strong dealer up card. So I went over to his bulletin board and challenged him to a bet. The specifics were open to negotiation but I suggested we play each other in blackjack where every hand would start A, A against a dealer 10. John would hit, as per his advice in his book, and I would split, as per the proper strategy. He would bank my hands and I would bank his.  I said no amount would be too high and suggested we each stake $25,000. If he truly believed hitting was superior then it should have been an easy victory for him. In actuality the expected value of splitting is 24.83% greater than hitting, based on six decks. 

At first John Patrick taunted me and my challenge, as if it were a publicity stunt. However I kept my cool and kept asking for a yes or no answer. The other bulletin board participants were roughly divided on whose side they were on. Considering I was on Patrick's home turf I was happy to get as much support as I did. However he finally declined the challenge because he said believes in grinding out a small edge in short hit and run sessions. Later he said some nice things about me, saying I was the best behaved math head to grace his message board, and I said some nice things in return. Most of the posts have dropped off but some remain in the thread "The Wizard vs. JP." The challenge has also been discussed on other bulletin boards frequented by those who believe in betting systems. 

The Wizard's Casinos of the Month:

Casino King

The featured advertiser this issue is Casino King. Casino King uses Playtech software and is part of the same family of casinos as Casino Las Vegas and Swiss Casino. The following bonuses are available for new players:

  • 100% for deposits up to $75
  • 30% for deposits of $500
  • 25% for deposits of $800
  • 22.5% for deposits of $1000

The play requirement is 20 times the deposit plus bonus on the 100% bonuses, and 12 times the deposit plus bonus on the rest. The bonus is given immediately on the 100% bonuses. For deposits of $500 or more the bonus is given after required play on the deposit is completed and the bonus is requested. The player can also request the bonus if he loses the entire deposit. Roulette, baccarat, and craps play do not count towards the play requirement. The rules also state blackjack is not allowed but I made an arrangement with casino management that players clicking through a banner on my site are allowed to play blackjack towards the initial bonus. However I recommend playing 4-play jacks or better instead. The return at 99.54% is almost the same as blackjack. What makes jacks or better the better bet is that the double up bets count towards the wagering requirement, which can cut the overall house edge to about 0.1% if you keep redoubling (which is allowed up to wins of $1000).

In my opinion the best deal is the $75 bonus for a $75 deposit. The bonus is given automatically and the investment is small. An easy hit and run bonus. When I did this promotion myself I played 4-play $1 jacks or better and kept doubling wins up to $50. With this kind of aggressive strategy I went broke before completing my required play. In my opinion it is good to be aggressive when playing for bonuses, going for a big win or losing it all trying. When you do go broke it makes you look like a reckless gambler, which is good camouflage against looking like a bonus player. Should you wish to play a second promotion at the same casino it looks good if you went broke the first time.

Thank you for joining my new newsletter and I hope you like it better than the old one.

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