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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Deal Me In: In unison, yell "Monkey Monkey"

2 July 2010

Dear Mark: Why do they shout "Monkey Monkey" on a baccarat game? What do monkeys have to do with baccarat? Jon T.

The first time that I ever dealt mini-baccarat, Jon, I had a couple Asian players on the game that kept yelling "Monkey, Monkey." I thought they were making fun of me being a newbie dealing the game, which I was OK with, because they at least knew that Tipping was not a suburb of Shanghai. Fast-forward a few shifts and I did learn that Monkey Monkey is the nickname for baccarat's picture cards.

Supposedly the original word was Monarchy, referring to the face cards (kings, queens and knaves), but "Monarchy" was diluted, degraded and dropped out of fashion, eventually moldering into "Monkey."

An example of when you might hear the "monkey" holler is when the bank and the player are tied 0-0, giving each "baccarat." Say the majority of action is on the player hand, which draws first, and is dealt a five. At the moment the bank hand is drawing, the bettors would shout, "Monkey, Monkey," hoping the bank hand will hit a face card or 10, giving the hand a score of 0, which makes the player hand the winner.

Dear Mark: Was there a chance to bet on the final outcome of that historic tennis match at Wimbledon on day three? Marty D.

Outside of hoping to see a woman win the Indy 500, I thought I had pretty much seen all I want to see when it comes to sports records. Then last week a friend in Lucerne, Switzerland emails me asking, "are you watching this?" No, but why miss a "where were you when?" moment.

With both ESPN channels on my cable covering the FIFA World Cup, I hopped on my laptop to the ESPN website to catch it at 28 all, fifth set. Then at 59-59 the match was called for the second day due to darkness and Nicolas Mahut and John Isner were told to show up courtside at 3:30 the following day, which as a rule would NOT lead to another betting opportunity.

Typically in tennis, in the event of circumstances like, a change of playing surface, a change of venue, second or third day play, or a change from indoor court to outdoor court or vice versa, your wager would stand, even if you bet the match two days earlier when it began. Betting a tennis match in progress I'm not familiar with.

Regrettably, Marty, your e-mail came three days after the conclusion of the match, so I didn't get the opportunity to call someone in Las Vegas to check the boards to see if they were taking any bets at 59-all. My own curiosity though had me check websites abroad to find that many had listed the wager, but almost all had it OFF, no action. I did find a few online bookmakers willing to take your hard-earned money with odds set at N. Mahut (FRA) –110 and J. Isner (USA) –130, meaning, betting on Mahut -110 indicates you must risk $110 to win $100. Wagering on Isner -130 signifies you stake $130 to win $100.

I believe those third day odds were handicapped –130 Isner because he had the distinct advantage of serving first, forcing Mahut to hold serve to stay in the match.

This five-set thriller was not only the longest match in Wimbledon history, but it was also the longest match in tennis history. Isner finally sealed the deal with an incredible 70-68 win.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Gambling is a way of buying hope on credit." - Alan Wykes, Gambling 1964
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.