CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Dice and the devil

20 December 2004

Dear Mark,
You might find this a bit weird, but my brother is obsessed with the number six and its religious implications. He never plays the six in roulette, the lottery, six or 66 in keno, nor will he play place the six in craps (as you often recommend) because of its association with the devil. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Daniel S.

It's tough, Daniel, switching hats from a math guy to an amateur psychologist, and while I have never known anyone with just the obsession you describe, it is not uncommon for someone to ascribe magical properties to something numerical. Your question does remind me of a pit boss I once knew who when deciding on how the shift was going to go for the casino that night, would roll three die; if they came up all sixes, and the date was also odd, bad spirits surrounded the pit, and all hell would break loose that evening.

While numerology has different meanings to different people and situations, it is my impression that people tend to find magical properties and wisdom in things they really don't understand very well; like numbers: no 13th floors in casino hotels; don't light three cigarettes on a single match; the 666/Satan foolishness; numerology; astrology; it's a long list.

As for 666/Satan numerology, the number 666 is a sign in the Christian Bible's Book of Revelations that supposedly says that the Beast or Satan is named, can be identified with, or is connected to it. Yet, as Isaac Asimov pointed out with charming clarity, in ancient Hebrew the same symbols were used both for letters and for numbers, so that a given series of symbols could be read as a word or as a number. It so happened that the three-consonant (vowels were not written) word standing for the devil could also be read as the number 666, which is still promoted among the credulous as the number of Satan or of the Beast. People, still, and quite sincerely, find ways of deriving the number 666 from the name or other features of a person or thing, thus proving its association with Satan.

The assigning of values to the letters of person's name and totting them up to discover some significant fact will always be popular with people who probably dropped out of eighth grade math and have never been concerned with logic. I say, Daniel, keep placing the six in craps, unless of course at your next Tarot card reading before a casino visit the 15th card in the deck appears. It is the Devil card, which can stand for a warning against the destructive consequences of your actions when motivated by greed.


Dear Mark,
Is there any difference between baccarat and mini-baccarat? Muriel S.

Baccarat and mini-baccarat are very similar with but a few exceptions. On a mini-baccarat table, a dealer deals all the hands and the players are not allowed to handle the cards. The other difference is that the betting minimums are always lower on mini-baccarat table. Other than that, the rules are virtually the same.
As for betting opportunities, both games carry the same house edge on all three wagers. The player bet has a 1.36% casino advantage, the banker bet, a 1.17% house edge, and the tie wager, a bet you should never make, carries a hefty house advantage of 14.1%.

Gambling quote of the week: "His luck was so bad that when he caught the ace of spades it had the funeral parlor logo on it." Tex Sheahan, Tales out of Tulsa (1984)

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.