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Best of Mark Pilarski
Deal Me In: One toss from the poorhouse12 September 2008
Dear Mark: The casino I play in offers 100x odds, and I figure that by taking them I am offering myself the best opportunity to win. So what are your thoughts on a sole $2 pass line wager backed up with 100x odds? I feel I have a better chance of coming out ahead than by betting $2 and double odds and trying to grind it out. Tim H.
I am going to apply, Tim, the Woody Hayes axiom of football to your gambling question: There are three things that can happen when you throw the ball, and two are negative; an incompletion or an interception. The same holds true when taking 100x odds on a solitary wager. You could lose, and simultaneously, get wiped out, all in one throw of the dice.
Taking odds, Tim, can be an expensive proposition, especially when dealing in multiples of 100x odds.
True, with the house edge on this bet a puny 0.09%, you are getting one of the best bets the casino has to offer, but, as minuscule as 0.09% is, you are exposing your entire bankroll ($202) to embrace this wager.
It takes just one seven wielding its ugly face and you'll be begging for badly needed free drinks in the keno lounge. Oops, many casinos don't even have keno lounges anymore where you can score complimentary cocktails; instead you'll be waiting down at the bus lobby waiting for them to call your departure.
I'll be the first to agree that the suggestion in your question is a sound gambling strategy, and I especially like your pursuit of a $2 table. But let us all not forget one important thing: All craps bets come at a cost. Craps is a negative-expectation game, meaning that, no matter how you bet, even a $2 wager with 100x odds, the house has an edge on your action.
A craps game that offers 100x odds is for players who typically wager between $25-$50 per hand, not a $2 player. It takes more than nerve to put your entire $202 bankroll on the line and wait for a 4 to roll. Capiche? Your reply, Tim, should be, Capisco!
Dear Mark: When playing Deuces Wild, I occasionally do hit four deuces, but have yet to ever hit a royal flush. Are the odds similar in hitting them? Jenny R.
Using proper basic strategy, you should hit four deuces once in approximately 5,000 hands. Certainly, that makes four deuces fairly rare, but still eight times more frequent than a royal flush, which occurs once every 40,000 hands.
Dear Mark: First, my apologies for this not really being a gambling question. Last week I really appreciated your analogy of comparing bet quality to that of collecting of baseball cards. You said, "Bet quality reminds me of rating the value of baseball cards. Poor, being a Yankee Red Ruffing retrieved 40 years ago from spokes of your Schwinn Sting-ray, or, a mint Mantle, still in the wrapper, gum included."
What I can't for the life of me figure out is that with the thousands and thousands of baseball players that have played the game, you came up with the name Red Ruffing. You are either an astute collector of baseball cards, or you are related to me, as Charles "Red" Ruffing is a great-uncle of mine. Which is it? John S.
Sorry, John, it's neither. Outside of bad beat stories in poker, I'm really not a collector of anything, unless a sizable collection of Tupperware counts for something.
My familiarity with the name Red Ruffing came from when my son, Nick, was in the play Brighton Beach Memoirs. In the opening scene his character, Eugene Morris Jerome, is tossing a ball against the wall pretending to be, none other than your great-uncle, Red Ruffing.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Deception is what you do to others. Delusion is what you do to yourself." --John Vorhaus, Killer Poker
Best of Mark Pilarski