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Is there such a thing as the due factor?

18 October 2004

Dear Mark,
What are your thoughts on machines that are long overdue for a jackpot? Kali D.

You must be a new reader to the column, Kali, as this question has been answered multiple times over the past eight years.

A machine is never "overdue" in that it becomes more likely to hit. Theories such as that a machine will get very tight right before a jackpot are just hogwash. A jackpot is just as likely to hit right after the last one, or a million pulls after the last jackpot hit.

Dear Mark,
Would advise using the scorecards the casino supplies at the baccarat table to follow trends? Bill C.

Almost every baccarat table provides pencils and scorecards for the players to track of the outcome of each hand. Scores of players faithfully analyze their card for trends as winning hands switch back and forth between the player to banker.

In my humble opinion, I believe you are wasting your time. As long as the shoe and dealer are legit, which you should assume with confidence that they are, the next hand is an independent, random event.

The strategy that I would recommend is that since house edge for the bank hand is slightly lower than the player hand (1.06% vs. 1.24%), just keep betting on the banker and pass on the scorecards.

Dear Mark,
When a sportsbook offers a promotion where you only have to lay $105 versus $110 on a $100 wager, what does the casino advantage become? Gary H.

Like your question states, typically when you place a point-spread bet, you lay $11 to win $10. This means that if you want to win $100, you have to wager $110, regardless of which team you are betting on. If your bet wins by covering the spread, you will collect $210; your $110 wager, plus the $100 you just won. The additional $10 charged is the vigorish the casino requires as compensation for taking your action on a sporting event.

When a casino offers a promotion in which players only needs to add 5% instead of 10% to their point-spread wager, the casino advantage when laying $105 is reduced to 2.38% versus 4.55% when your lay $110.

Dear Mark,
What is the house edge for that wheel-like game called the Big 6? Also, is the joker bet the sucker bet on the layout? Karen H.

Also known as the 'Wheel of Fortune, this game is played on a carnival-like vertical wheel. There are inlaid dollar bills of various denominations on the layout where the player wagers on which denomination the pointer will stop at.

All six wagers on the Big 6 carry a steep house edge, especially on the casino logo/joker bet. That casino advantage is as follows: 11.1% on the $1 spot, 16.6% on the $2, 22.2% on the $5, 18.5% on the $10, 22.2% on the $20, and 24% on either the joker or casino logo.

Though I do not recommend the following wager, in some casinos the joker or logo pays 45 to 1 opposed to 40 to 1. This lowers the casino advantage on those two bets to 14.81%.

Gambling quote of the week: "Just as a monkey could throw dice, a barking seal could be trained to deal a baccarat shoe." Lyle Stuart, Winning at Casino Gambling

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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.