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Last Updated: August 14, 2004

August 14, 2004


The Wizard's News
August 14, 2004

New Analysis of Several Games

Thanks to my new advertising man, Michael Bluejay, the Wizard of Odds is finally making enough money to justify the time I put into it. I may know math but an advertising salesman I am not. So I've been giving back by adding lots more content the last two months. New sections include: Big Split Poker. This is a cross between video poker and pai gow poker. The player gets 8 cards and arranges them into a 5-card hand and a 3-card hand. The hand is scored according to the poker value of each hand. Thus there is no strategy, just form the highest paying combination. The return depends on the pay table but gets as high as 99.95%.

EZ Baccarat. Normally I say gimmicks are not as good a bet as the game they are based on, but EZ Baccarat is a welcome exception. This baccarat variation, found at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas, has a house edge of 1.02%, compared to 1.06% in the conventional game.

Craps appendix 3. I've been asked lots of times about dice setting in craps. Well, I finally put it to the test. One evening I recorded every throw of the dice of four dice setters. For my results you'll have to check the site.

Pyramid Poker. This a new table game found at the Bellagio. It is basically a simplified version of pai gow poker. With optimal strategy the house edge is 3.53%.

One Eyed Jacks. I believe I am the first to release an analysis of this video poker game. It took me days to write a program for it and it takes my computers 4.5 days to analyze a single pay table. I have five paytables up now. This analysis was a major effort so I hope you video poker players will appreciate it.

SHOW REVIEW: Crazy Girls

Speaking of Michael Bluejay he is in Vegas now visiting. Last week we used a 2 for 1 coupon to see Crazy Girls at the Riviera. Although I didn't like La Cage, a female impersonator show also at the Riviera, I'm a sucker for a 2 for 1 coupon and wanted to finally see what one of Vegas' longest running shows is all about.

My expectations were not high, and still were not met. The show began with the audience herded in like cattle from a line forming in the lobby. Then they played a video tape of past news coverage about the show. Both the audio and the video of the tape were terrible. The show itself was one musical number after another. An emcee made an appearance early in the show but never returned, so there was no continuity between numbers and little audience interaction. The songs were lip-synched and the quality of the audio was pretty bad.  There was nothing especially erotic or funny about the numbers. The girls were attractive and tried hard, it is the choreography that is boring and unimaginative. A juggler/comedian half way through the show was pretty funny but speaking as a juggler myself the juggling was nothing special. His most difficult trick was bouncing 5 balls, something I've seen many times before. He was more successful as a comedian. The cost of tickets is $34.95 plus the hefty entertainment taxes. Michael Bluejay was so disappointed he walked out after only a few numbers. You can see his own review below. My own grade is a D-. 

NEXT TIME: Gambling in Wendover and Ely

Next week I'm going to Salt Like City for a short vacation and will visit Wendover and Ely on the way back. Stay tuned for my review of the gambling scene in these two small towns.

From Bluejay....

To Blink or Not to Blink?

A short while ago I told you we were phasing out the animated banners on the website which so many of you hate — our survey showed that 80% of you preferred having a whole ton of non-blinking ads to having just a tiny number of ads that blink. So you're probably wondering, "Hey Bluejay, what the hell is up with that very top banner that keeps flashing red and white trying to give me an epileptic seizure like a bad Japanese cartoon?" The answer is that that ad came in while we were in a transition period. It's the last blinking ad left, and when it goes the whole site will be 100% blink-free. In the meantime, you can always scroll it out of view, and also, check out:

*** Bluejay's handy Internet tip of the month! ***

You can turn off blinking ads yourself in Internet Explorer for Windows by going to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Multimedia > Play Animations in Web Pages and unchecking it. Voila! No more annoying blinking! If this tip makes you as excited as a little girl then send me $5. Mac users miss out on this one, there's no way to turn off the animations in Safari. Complain to Apple.

SHOW REVIEW: Crazy Girls

I confess, I'm new to this whole Sin City kind of entertainment. The Wizard asked if I wanted to go see the Crazy Girls show, and I'm thinking, "Crazy? Huh! *I'LL* show ya CRAZY!" I'm skeptical that any girl is as crazy as me. My ex-girlfriend was a stripper at a place in Austin called the Crazy Lady, but even she wasn't as crazy as me. That reminds me, once my friend Julia wanted to go to a strip club to see what it was like and was annoyed to find out that they wouldn't let single women in by themselves, they had to be "escorted" by a man. So she called me and asked if I'd escort her while I was wearing a dress. And I did. Now THAT'S crazy! What's crazier is they wouldn't let me in because they said I "wasn't dressed appropriately". And I thought, that's got to be the most ironic thing I've ever heard in my life — you have women in here dancing around NAKED and I'm not dressed APPROPRIATELY? Hey, at least I'm dressed AT ALL! (read the full story) So anyway, the point is that I just didn't believe some Vegas showgirls could be crazier than me.

So I asked the Wizard what the show was like. He said it was a topless show, with lots of singing and dancing. That didn't make sense to me. "What, the girls are just gonna sing songs while not wearing shirts? That's weird." The Wizard explained, "They're gonna sing risqué stuff, it's not like they're singing Simon and Garfunkel." But I thought, now THAT would have been worth seeing, maybe.

So we went, and while waiting for the show to begin I was bemoaning the lack of Simon and Garfunkel. The Wizard said, "Look, I'll give you $500 if they sing 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Heck, I'll give you $500 if they sing ANY Simon & Garfunkel song." That got me thinking, all I had to do was go backstage and pay one of the performers $300 to sing some S&G, and I'd net out at $200. But it was too late, the curtain went up, and the "show" started. The performers came out and sang one of the worst songs I've ever heard in my life, chanting "Girls... girls... crazy.... girls!" It was no more complex than a nursery rhyme, and far less spellbinding. I tried to bluff the Wizard, "Hey, this is the track after 'Cecelia'!" but he wasn't going for it. The singing was okay but then it quickly became apparent that they weren't even really singing! It was lip-synched! Badly! So the singing was nonexistent, the dancing was unimaginative, the music was annoying, the sound was poor, the lighting was horrible, what else is there? Okay, maybe the point is that it's supposed to be "erotic" or "titillating", but it wasn't that either. I've seen more exciting girls at church. Like the Wizard said, I left after a few numbers. I didn't have to worry about missing any Simon & Garfunkel, because the Wizard's honest and he would have told me if they'd sung any. My grade: Minus Infinity Minus One.

Advertiser Spotlight

You have to love a casino named after a guy who once ordered a soldier to cut a baby in half (link removed). Hey, relax! He was just kidding! He wasn't really going to have the baby cut in half! And you know, some people claim that King Solomon never really existed at all (link removed).

What does all this have to do with gambling? Beats the hell out of me. But in any event, our newest advertiser is King Solomons Casino. They a 100% bonus on first deposits up to $100. The play requirement is 15x the deposit plus bonus, except blackjack based games require 30x. Here's what the Wizard says:

Although I played at King Solomon's years ago when they were a Microgaming casino I played them again on July 30, 2004, under their new Real Time Gaming Software. I tried to put in my old Microgaming account number but the form didn't accept that many characters. So although I'm not exactly a new player I opened a new account, put in my coupon code, deposited $100, and my bonus was given immediately as promised. I then proceeded to blow it quickly playing Pontoon at $25 a hand.

King Solomon's is one of the oldest and well known Internet Casinos. As far as I can tell their reputation, under three different software brands, has always been solid. I personally have never had a problem.

That's all. Until next time, set your expectations high.