CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

A break on a mistake is only a stay of execution

9 August 2004

Dear Mark,
I may be overstepping my boundaries by commenting on the decision that you wrote about concerning setting a pai gow hand improperly; however, I think the pit boss was legally right but morally wrong with the decision to foul the hand. My background is in live poker and I have been on both sides of the fence in that arena by playing the game and managing a room as a means of livelihood. An old timer that I had much respect for taught me to give the player the benefit of the doubt in a case like you described, but, just do it ONCE. Then you must have a conversation with him. You never know, you will quite probably alienate a player by crushing him with a hardcore ruling on their first error. If my understanding of pai gow is correct, it is a high hold game for the house so you are going to get the bet back sooner or later if he keeps playing, and you stand a good chance of cultivating a regular player with a simple diplomatic decision. I have done this many times in a poker room on the Gulf Coast and it worked well for me. Just thought I would add my two cents. Bobby G.

Your opinion, Bobby, is dead on. Like you, I am from the old school where the casino lets you keep your first mistake, because, as we both know, the house will usually get it back on the next hand. When I explained to Jim in his inquiry that the pit boss was correct in technically NOT paying him, I was only trying to explain why his cash was snatched and placed in the tray.

Casinos where customer service prevails will always side with the player unless the mistake is illegal or egregious. It just doesn't make sense to lose a customer for life over a $10 pai gow poker slip-up. They realize the math is always on the side of the casino, and that the casino will eventually win a unintentional faux pas by the player.

Nevertheless, casinos do render contrary decisions. When I worked for a Harrah's property, we would by and large give you a break on a first mistake. However, a few unnamed joints where I was employed, fuggedaboudit! A boo-boo by a player was always theirs. Evidently, Jim was playing in the latter.

Dear Mark,
Can you explain why a six or an eight hard-way has correct odds of 10 to 1? I am having some trouble with the math. Scott B.

To win a hardway bet, your number not only has to appear before the seven, it has to emerge with two dice of equal value. For example, if you are betting a hard six, it must be a pair only (3-3) in order for you to win your wager. If it shows as a 4-2, 2-4, 5-1, 1-5 or if the seven rolls, you lose.

Sticking with the six as an example, the correct odds on making the six is 10 to 1, calculated as four easy ways of making the six (4-2, 2-4, 5-1, 1-5) plus, six ways of making a seven (1-6, 6-1, 5-2, 2-5, 4-3, 3-4), totaling 10, divided by the one way of making a hard six (3-3). Thus, Scott, if there are 10 ways to lose, and one way to win, there is your 10 to 1.

Though the true odds of a hard six or eight materializing are 10 to 1, I'm sorry to say your friendly casino is only going to pay you a paltry 9 to 1, giving them a 9.1% edge on either the hard-way six or eight.

Hey, Scott, they don't call them hard-ways for nothing.

Gambling quote of the week: "The fool knows little and thinks he knows more. The great gambler knows something about himself, and everything about his territory." — Stephen Dunn, American poet

Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.