You mentioned in a
previous column that players should never make a hard way bet on a craps
game. Why not? Norman G.
Hey, Norman, what is Mark Pilarski's
Rule No. 1 of casino gambling? (Actually, it's Rule No. 2 as
Rule No. 1 is: "Only bet what you can afford to lose.") Rule No. 2 of my gambling commandments is "Only make wagers that have less than
a 2% house advantage." Hard way bets are much, much higher and
will gourmandize most of your hard-earned, hopefully disposable, income.
The true odds of a hard 6 or 8 materializing are 10 to 1, but your friendly
casino is only going to pay you a paltry 9 to 1. This gives the casino a
9.09% edge. As for the hard 4 or 10, the true odds are 8 to 1,
but the payoff is a measly 7 to 1, giving the casino a whopping 11.1% advantage.
My advice is to stick with a pass/come bet with
odds or placing the six or eight.
My brother-in-law loves
to play the "odd" bet on a roulette table. Recently in Las Vegas it came
up 15 times in a row for him. What are the chances of that happening?
You didn't specify, Tony, if it was a double- or a
single-zero roulette wheel. Because I advise my readers to play on only
the latter, a single-zero game, the odds would have been 50,000 to 1 of
"odd" rolling 15 consecutive times. My personal all-time record when I
dealt the game was 20 straight spins with black appearing. Odds: 1 in
Every Thursday I take my
great-grandmother to a local bingo parlor. Seems this is the most
enjoyable time we have together. She told me that she used to mark her
bingo card with kernels of corn. I didn't realize the game was that old.
How old is bingo and where did it originate? Sally C.
beginnings, Sally, have never been truly authenticated, but the game was
made popular by Edwin S. Lowe, a traveling salesman who accidentally
chanced upon the game at a carnival in Atlanta in 1929.
You revealed, Sally, that your great-grandmother used corn to mark her card; well, don't forget to tell your
bingo-bonding matriarch that the game was originally called Beano
because it was played by covering the numbers with beans.
Is it legal to
chart the rolls on a roulette table and then bet accordingly? Justin G.
According to what, Justin? Any attempts to impose numerical precision on a
game that insists upon remaining imprecise is futile. It is permissible
to "chart" the results of spins in an attempt to identify and exploit
streaks, but because each spin is an independent event, no previous
results have any bearing on what happens in the future.
You once wrote that no
one has ever hit a solid 14 or 15 spot in Nevada. How about my unlucky
13-spot ticket. Anybody ever hit a solid 13 spot? Martha R.
Conclusively, I have no documentation one
way or the other, and believe me, Martha, I've been searching. My
guesstimate would be that no one ever has. But here's a sobering thought
that you can check out for yourself next time you're in downtown Reno.
At Fitzgerald's, take the escalator from the first to the second floor
and you will find hanging on their wall of fame pictures of winning keno
tickets through the '90s. The highest ticket hit so far this decade was a
nine spot, and surprisingly, just one.
What does that tell you,