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Best of Mark Pilarski

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My favorite cee-ment ponds

23 July 1999

Dear Mark,
My sister and I love to spend the day by the pool before we take in a little gambling in the evening. Since we are going to Las Vegas next month, do you have any recommendations of hotels that offer decent pools? Faye K.

Congratulations, Faye, for treating gambling more like a time-killing recreational activity. All gamblers when coming to Las Vegas should plan other activities like visiting the Hoover Dam, the many fine shows, shopping, health clubs, tennis or golf. Make it an enjoyable, entertaining trip, not all gambling. Now for my favorite cee-ment ponds. I'll first preface my choices by telling you that gray is my favorite color, and I love inclement weather, not the heat or intense sunshine of Las Vegas. But since you asked, my preferred choices, for all the wrong reasons, are the swimming holes at the Rio, the Mirage and the Tropicana: the Rio, not because they actually have a sandy beach, but because it's closest to my favorite buffet; the Mirage, not because it's the place to be seen, but because I kept a room key from a previous visit so when my friends stay in Vegas I can sneak in; and finally, the Tropicana, not because it has the largest pool or poolside blackjack, but because if you walk up to the Island Winners Club, fill out a player application, and gamble a minimal amount, they'll give you a room for $39.95.

So based on what you just read, Faye, you really don't want my opinion. Instead, call the Las Vegas Chamber for hotel information at (800) 445-8864 and see what they recommend.

Dear Mark,
Why is it that every time the dice fly off the table, the next number to roll is the seven? Uncanny isn't it? Should I bet on the seven every time the dice go off the game? Robert N.

You would think, Robert, that every time you hear a dealer call "It's on the ground, look around, it must be found" or "Too tall to call" that the smart thing to do would be to place a wager on the number seven because you believe it's going to roll again. You'd be thinkin' wrong, pardner. By making this wager part of your betting repertoire, you could easily be joining the most pathetic bunch of losers since my ninth grade remedial shop math class. Why? Because the probability of a seven showing on any roll, off the table or not, is only 16.67 percent. Forget what you perceive. Each roll of the dice always remains the same, an independent event. More bad news. The one-roll wager on the seven is the worst bet on the crap table. Casino advantage, 16.7 percent.

Sorry, Robert, what you perceive as happening all the time is anecdotal evidence, not reality. Stay away from this wager!

Dear Mark,
I love the thrill and action of a casino. My wife, out of fear of making mistakes and being harassed by other players, prefers to sit in front of a slot machine. She avoids table games like the plague. I can't even get her to play with me on my favorite game, blackjack. Do many players have this anxiety? Chuck L.

Anyone who has ever been chastised for hitting a 16 when the dealer shows a five can appreciate the anonymity of a slot machine. Your wife obviously prefers a non-threatening environment where her decisions won't be second-guessed.

I'm with you, Chuck. I would love to see your wife experience table games offering excellent bets for the player, but who can blame her? Why get verbally abused for faulty draws when a slot machine will allow her the freedom to play her way, at her own pace, without harassment.

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.