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Best of Mark Pilarski

Gaming Guru

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Crap wagers that put you in lollipop land

31 December 1999

Dear Mark,
On numerous occasions you recommend only pass line bets with odds and placing the six or eight on the crap table. How about listing the worst bets in craps so us rookies can stop playing them? Larry J.

Below are the list of sucker bets found on a crap game along with their house edge.

Big 6 & 8 (9.1%)
Hardway 6 or 8 (9.1%)
Hardway 4 or 10 (11.1%)
Any craps (11.1%)
3 or 11 proposition (11.1%)
2 or 12 proposition (13.9%)
Any 7 (16.1%)

Oh yes, those deceptive offerings like hopping-hardways, world bets, horn bets and insurance type wagers will get you free membership, courtesy of casino management, to the tootsie-pop club.

Dear Mark,
Why is it that when you win once, you keep betting because you believe you'll be lucky enough to win again? Sally O.

Sally, I will sum it up in two words: euphoric recall. Far too many gamblers believe in the adage that you should never go a day without making a bet because you might be walking around lucky and not even know it.

Unfortunately, Sally, it is an inane approach to gambling that generally results in nightmarish consequences.

Dear Mark,
How important is money management to winning in the casino? Steven S.

Without hesitation, Steven, I would call money management the life or death of your casino visit. What good money management principles will do is minimize your losses and in most cases protect your winnings. Furthermore, by combining sound bets with practical money management techniques you will always maximize your chances of leaving the casino a winner.

Dear Mark,
Could you please clear up some confusion about how the draw cards are actually dealt in video poker? Are not the five draw cards dealt at the same time as the first five cards I see on a screen? Frank L.

Many players, even video poker experts, believe that the machine initially deals 10 cards: five up cards that you visually see, plus one additional card concealed underneath each card on the screen. Not true. It strictly depends, Frank, on who manufactured the video poker machine.

IGT, the largest producer of video poker machines that you will encounter in a casino, operates their equipment as follows:The first five cards are displayed, and any additional cards needed are taken from the top of the deck. But IGT is not the only manufacturer of video poker machines. There are quite a few others that engineer their machines to work in the manner you described in your question. So, Frank, because IGT produces the most video poker machines in use, a generalized answer would be: The draw card you receive will resemble kitchen table poker where the next card being dealt is off the top of the deck.

Dear Mark,
In blackjack, must your hand include a "black" jack to have what is considered natural? D Jason G.

Any two-card hand that totals 21 (an ace coupled with a 10, jack, queen, king) is considered a natural.

Dear Mark,
Could you please explain what betting limits are in a casino? Steve K.

Betting limits establish both the minimum and maximum amount of money you can wager on one bet. You cannot wager less than the minimum nor more than the maximum posted on the table game. Betting limits vary from casino to casino, pit to pit and even table to table, Steve, so always look for a game within your financial resources.

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.