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Deal Me In: Nominate your candidate for the ten best bets in the casino

26 June 2009

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: A column of yours in the past mentioned some of the best bets in the casino. One such bet was the six or eight in craps. Although I have never played the game of craps before, it seems like fun and would be interested giving it a try, especially since some of the group I go gambling with weekly do play it. How do I go about making that bet without looking like a beginner? Jayne M.

Yes, Jayne, craps can be richly enjoyable entertainment, and based on your wanting to stick with one of the best bets the game offers, that being Placing either the six or eight, let's make you look like an expert amongst your gambling associates.

Placing the six or eight, or grabbing a Pass line bet for those so inclined, are really the only wagers you want to make on a crap table. They have a casino edge of 1.5% or lower. Most players who belly up to the crap table are greener than the felt on the table, but by exploiting only the best bet(s) the game offers, you join the less than one percent of players who truly understand dice.

You could ask your friendly dealer how to Place the six or eight, but all you really have to do is walk up to the table, set down $6 ($12 if you're betting both numbers) on the layout and state your preference: "Six (or eight) for six dollars," then cheer on the six or eight to appear before the seven, and you're off to the races. You'll get paid $7 if the six or eight hits, but you'll lose, if the seven appears.

Craps 101 isn't over yet, Jayne. We'll revisit in the future another best bet in the casino, the Pass Line wager, then move you into odds after that, all of which nudges you ever closer to your Winners University diploma.

Dear Mark: I've noticed that certain machines I play on pay out jackpots often, while others never seem to pay. Why is that? Molly F.

Regrettably, Molly, your letter didn't mention the specific machines you play, so all I can give you is a generalized answer.

Yes, Molly, you are observing correctly; certain machines do seem to pay more jackpots than others. That's because some machines are designed to pay less frequent, though larger hits, (in gamblese they're called low hit frequency machines), while others are specifically designed to pay numerous, but relatively smaller hits. Appropriately those would be high hit frequency machines.

There's also the possibility of skewed observation. Might you be selectively eyeballing your favorite machine(s) more than the others, making you more aware of what happens on them, and possibly missing the jackpots on the other slots? If you observe long enough, you might find that those other machines pay off just as often.

When all's said and done, Molly, because some players like lots of small hits, while others prefer fewer, larger hits, what your research will eventually identify as normal, is that casinos have machines at many different hit frequencies, some even side-by-side.

Gambing Wisdom of the Week: "Ever since I bought those two huge Doyle Brunson Super System books, I've become a much stronger player. Each morning before breakfast, I put one in each hand and do curls with them." VP Pappy

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.