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27 March 2015
By Mark Pilarski
Dear Mark: I always look forward to reading your answers and thoughts on the casino world. I do have one question that I have always wanted to ask and your recent answer to the fellow complaining that he always loses at the slots has stimulate me to ask. You mentioned that a slot machine might be programmed to return 88% of the wagered money back in wins. My question: Is there a selected timeframe (daily, monthly, life of the machine) or a specific amount (every 100, 10,000, pulls) for this 88% return to happen? Richard B.
Because a random number generator selects all of the symbols arbitrarily, nobody, and that includes the casino owners, knows the whereabouts of where the machine is in its payout cycle. What the programming does tell the house is that after millions and millions of decisions, “X” amount of money will be won by the casino and lost by the players.
Using your 88% return as an example, all the slot manager does is order a quarter machine with that hold percentage from the manufacturer, and over a “period of time,” that quarter machine is going to pay back to the gamblers 12% of the total amount wagered.
As to your question, Richard, what is that period of time, figure approximately 10 million yanks of the handle, which is typically the number the slot maker has determined it would take for that particular machine to achieve that overall 12% hold calculation.
Prior to those 10 million spins, the machine will go through incalculable hot and cold cycles, but as the slot closes in on that 10,000,000 yank mark, it’s going to hold pretty darn close to that 12% payout mark.
Dear Mark: What is the house edge on the game Free Bet Blackjack? I know it is helped by the push of a 22, but the free bet option is nice. David G.
Using a more simplified basic strategy than regular blackjack, the house edge on Free Bet Blackjack is approximately 1%. Because I did a Q&A on this game in 2014, allow me, David, to direct you to my web site, http://markpilarski.com and have you search “Is Free Bet Blackjack Really a Freebie” for a complete analysis on this variant of blackjack.
Dear Mark: I was playing blackjack where someone was continuously splitting face cards. Most everyone was giving her a lot of crap. Finally, the dealer confirmed face cards “should never be split.” An elderly lady about 80 corrected the dealer. She said, "Honey, the only time you split face cards is when the table is full and your friend needs a seat.” Charlie L.
The sage advice, Charlie, from that senior citizen playing on the game, needs no superfluous follow-up.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “He places the bet, juices flow, he really feels alive: action. When the bet is on, his existence is confirmed.” – Henry Lesieur, The Chase
20 March 2015Dear Mark: Your reference to splitting 10s in the last round of a tournament reminds me of my favorite casino story: Dice isn’t my game (I have only one game—21) but once I stopped by a dice table to witness the last roll in a tournament. One player, who was in the middle of the pack and not likely to win anything, put all his money on the boxcars prop bet. ... (read more)
13 March 2015Dear Mark: With “Fortune” Pai Gow Poker, how bad are the odds on the bonus fortune bet? Ray C. Pai Gow Poker is a hybrid of Chinese dominos, “Pai Gow” and American seven-card poker. Played with a standard 52-card deck plus a joker, it differs from the typical seven-card game in that you play against a banker, not against other players at the table. ... (read more)
6 March 2015Dear Mark: I just returned from Las Vegas and noticed every casino offers banks of slot machines that offer those huge progressive jackpots. Do those machines ever pay the progressive jackpot or is that the casino's way of getting people to pump in more of their money? Gary C. The allure of progressive ... (read more)