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Best of Mark Pilarski
Deal Me In: I'll be back3 April 2015
Your e-mail, Tom, is totally on target. Most players are notorious for overestimating their winnings and playing down their loses.
It’s uncountable how many times a player will enthusiastically tell me, “Look, Mark, I’m winning,” as they point to their credit meter. OK, but showing me 250 credits on a quarter machine is nothing more than $62.50 worth of credits that they will probably end up burning through. What always slips their mind is disclosing that they are a few Benjamins into said machine.
That, Tom, is not to say that there are not a handful of winners. A winning customer is the most important asset to any casino. Casinos cannot afford to have all of their clientele leave in a huff. That small percentage that does walk out winners tells friends and family, and then those future players are caught in a trap by the idea that a jackpot for them just might be one pull away.
Accept as true, Tom, the mathematics of the gambling business. The house is going to hold a certain percentage of every dollar wagered on a slot machine, and then grind additional monies out of either Joe or Josephine as those players cycle through their remaining bankroll.
What I believe is happening is that most players confuse winning with what they are experiencing, the “possibility” of winning. What keeps the slot player tied to a machine is the prospect, no matter how remote, of that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow jackpot. Reality only sets in when they finally total out and find themselves lighter in the wallet than when they started. Then, of course, out comes the proverbial, "Oh, I broke about even."
Likewise, the most favored words the casino loves to hear from that same losing player is, “I’ll be back!”
Dear Mark: Of the 50 or so blackjack games where I play, there are still a half-dozen hand-shuffled games. I much prefer them to the shuffle machines that are just about everywhere. I have always been curious as to how many times the dealer has to shuffle the cards to get them random. Danny F.
Randomizing a deck of playing cards provides the element of chance at blackjack.
The most common shuffling technique used in the casino is called the “riffle” shuffle. Here the dealer separates two halves of a deck; then thumbs inward and upward to make a bridge such that when the cards are released they fall to the felt interwoven.
According to the Gilbert–Shannon–Reeds model, which provides a probability distribution on shuffle permutations, the recommended number of times that a deck of cards should be riffled in order to be thoroughly randomized is seven.
Shuffling seven times, Danny, is the number I had been told since day one in the pit, and what I have passed along to countless dealers. Seven hundred is the number of times I’ve been told to “Shut up and shuffle.”
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “In life we must make all due allowance for chance. Chance, in the last resort, is God.” – Anatole France, The Garden of Epicurus (1926)
Best of Mark Pilarski