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Serial/parallel, bet glossary and WSOP — what a bargain!

16 February 2004

Dear Mark,
Let's say I am dealt four cards to a royal in video poker. I discard one and hope for the card that will give me a royal flush. My question is: is the card already behind the card I just discarded, or dealt from the top of a deck? Dylan F.

OK, we've said it. Jurisdictional gaming regulations do vary, from place to place, but most poker machines operate on a "serial" and not a "parallel" basis. "Huh?" Dylan says aloud, while thinking "Whaaa"?
On the serial basis, cards are shuffled and dealt off the top of the virtual deck — just one after another as they come off the top. An example of the parallel basis, on the other hand, is where five cards are dealt face up, and five additional cards are then dealt unseen underneath the initial, face-up five — parallel to them, get it?
So, Dylan, if it's serial, which it probably is, that next card is determined at the time of player interaction with (draw from) the top of a virtual deck, and not at the time of the deal and card placement behind your five initial cards.
But either way you get those cards, Dylan, by gaming regulations in all legit casinos, they will be randomly drawn.

Dear Mark,
Does the term "let it ride" mean "same bet" or "parlay? Phil

Generally speaking, Phil, "letting it ride" is betting your original wager plus any winnings, making it more akin to parlaying than playing the same bet. But, letting a wager ride in certain gaming situations, for instance in craps, can also mean taking down some of your winnings.
For example: You place a bet on the six or eight-which pays off at 7 to 6 — so you're paid $7 for every $6 you wagered. If the six hits, you'd be sitting on $13 (your original bet plus winnings), so, if you were then to instruct the dealer to let it ride, she'd toss you back $1 and keep $12 (increments of $6) on the six.

Dear Mark,
Who came up with the idea of the World Series of Poker? Was it always played at Binion's? Leroy D.

Benny Binion himself came up with the concept for the World Series of Poker back in the 1950s, when he played host to a high-stakes poker game between Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandolos, whom many considered the world's best poker player, and Johnny Moss, a friend of Benny's from Texas.
It wasn't until 1970 that Binion launched the first World Series of Poker tournament, with all the hoopla of crowning a "World Champion." Poker players from around the country descended like locusts on Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino for a chance at the title. The tournament's first winner was determined by popular vote. Later, the tournament developed into its current format, a "freeze out" event, in which players are systematically eliminated until one player grins over a pile of all the chips.
The World Series of Poker has been held at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas since its inception, though this year is still up in the air after federal authorities shut down the Binion's due to $500,000 in unpaid employee benefits.
Harrah's recently purchased property in Las Vegas, along with the "Horseshoe" brand name, as well as the rights to the popular World Series of Poker, so I anticipate, Leroy, the WSOP will crown its 35th World Champion of Poker.

Gambling quote of the week: "The most common tell is the pulse of a man's neck. On a lot of people, the pulse in the neck is visible. If so, a man can't hide it, since nobody can control their heartbeat in stress situations. When you see a man's neck just throbbing away, you know he's excited, and usually he's excited because he is bluffing." —Doyle Brunson, How I Made $1,000,000 Playing Poker (1979)

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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.