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Best of Mark Pilarski
Hell's Kitchen3 February 2003
Hell broke out at our kitchen table poker game last Friday night. Quite an argument ignited over the following hand in pai gow poker. Does the five card straight of 9-10-J-Q-K beat an A-2-3-4-5 straight? Scooter T.
BASIC QUESTION: IS THIS THE HAND YOU'LL DIE FOR?
Each player is dealt seven cards that he makes into a five-card hand (the "high hand") and a two-card hand (the "low hand"). The hands are played and ranked like traditional poker hands, but with a couple of exceptions. Your question, Scooter, highlights one of them. An A-2-3-4-5 is the second highest straight possible. Only a 10-J-Q-K-A beats it, but not a 9-10-J-Q-K straight.
Another deviation from traditional poker is that the hand — four aces and a joker — always beats a royal flush. Now that we have settled last Friday night's brouhaha, the most High Queen Goddess of Pai Gow, the honorable Hung Lo, ordains that the losing Bob-a-looie will buy all the beer and munchies at your next game, but is forbidden to sing in Mandarin.
The opposite side of a pass or come bet is the don't pass or don't come wager. And though being a "wrong" bettor might get you elected to public office, if the 3 rolls, you and the casino get paid, but not your fellow stake-holders, all rooting for the Point on the game.
As to your question, on any differences between a "don't come" and a "don't pass" bet in craps, there is very little. A don't pass bet is placed immediately before a "come out" roll, whereas a don't come bet is made after the come out roll and a point has been made. In all other respects a don't come bet it is exactly like a don't pass bet. Both wagers have a house edge of 1.40%, compared to a 1.41% casino advantage for a pass line or come bet.
With a "lay" bet you are wagering that a specific number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) will NOT appear before a 7 rolls. In casino cant, making a lay bet is also called "buying behind" the number. The casino takes a 5% commission on the winnings on these bets. This 5% is usually taken on the front end (though some casinos take it after the win) and figured on the amount that you could win but not on the size of your bet. The house edge ranges from 2.5% behind the 4 and 10 to 4.2% behind the 6 and 8.
Gambling quote of the week: "The only difference between
bucking a game with a house percentage of 1% or less compared
to bucking a game which has a much higher percentage is that the player
bucking the higher percentage goes broke much sooner." Elmer
Best of Mark Pilarski