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Deal Me In: What's next?

31 May 2013

Dear Mark: I had not seen this subject mentioned in your column, and perhaps you know, but if not, I thought you would be interested in knowing about an "Ante" in the Indian casinos in Oklahoma.

Before the dealing of each hand, the player must pay an "ante" fee, the minimum being fifty cents, and it escalates depending upon the size of one's bet. The casinos say they are simply complying with the state law.

I don't know about you, but I will steer-clear of Oklahoma's blackjack tables. Doc Mac


Huh! I guess this brings new meaning to the Oklahoma term SOONER. Like, you'll be broke, much SOONER.

Yes, Mac, I have seen the "ante" in play years ago at the Barona Resort & Casino in San Diego. When the Indian casinos first came online in California, plenty of them had it. Luckily, it is back to normal blackjack.

Generally, if you bet $5-$50, your ante is 50¢. Wager $50-$100, the ante runs either 50¢ or $1. Over $100, the ante is $1.

Fortunately, on certain nights during the week, some casinos will offer "free" ante play. In addition, one of my readers informed me that if you present a Player's Club card, you are not required to pay the 50¢ per-hand ante. Ask on this one. Another reader stated there are favorable rules like a reduced ante of 25¢, in contrast to 50¢ on $10 and under hands, and bonuses for suited blackjacks and trips 7s.

Gimmicks, yes, but overall I would highly recommend NOT playing blackjack if a casino charges a per-hand ante. Although a 50¢ per hand cost might not seem like much, it adds a tremendous amount to the house edge. In fact, if you are playing for $5/hand, you are giving up 10 percent to the casino. Play 40 hands, and you just gave $20 away in potential profit to the house. Heck, you might as well play slots.

Dear Mark: Do you Twitter, and if so, anything regarding gambling? Tim M.

Tim e-mailed me this question last April, and my dismissive reply was that whoever subscribed to my tweet stream would quickly notice that my contributions to the twitosphere would be mostly food related. However, after a persuasive commencement speech from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at my son's graduation from the University of Michigan (@umich), I have decided to reconsider opting in to this social messaging movement and start microblogging.

So, fellow Tweeple, I will keep my tweets strictly about casino gaming, and steer clear from showing off an embarrassing pic of my buffet plate at the Mirage in LV. Then, hopefully, my tweets can be your source for gambling news/views/tips and some occasional industry sarcasm. Follow me @markpilarski.

Dear Mark: Sports betting is not allowed here in MS. Can I legally call a friend of mine in NV, and have him place an occasional wager for me, with him getting a little piece of the action if I win? Scott F.

I have, well actually, you should have two concerns. With legalized Internet gambling in its earliest, murkiest stage, wiring money or placing sports bets outside of Nevada still violates the Interstate Wire Act (18 U.S.C. 1084). This code provides criminal penalties to anyone engaging in the business of betting when using a wire communication facility for the transmission of interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest.

Correspondingly, called "messenger betting," under existing NV law, it is illegal to pay someone to place a bet for you, even if it's a little kick-back from winning action.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself." – Nick "the Greek" Dandalos
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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.