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Best of Mark Pilarski

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The Caribbean Stud — game, that is.

7 January 2003

Dear Mark,
Let's say two players were playing Caribbean Stud Poker and both were betting the side bet, and by some striking coincidence, both got a royal flush. Would they both get the full amount on the progressive meter? Adrian P.

In Caribbean Stud Poker, all players have the choice of making a $1 side bet that pays for hands of a flush or higher. Though the specific payoff tables vary from casino to casino, they all feature a progressive jackpot. Once there's a hit, 100% of the jackpot goes for a royal flush, or, for a straight flush, 10% of the total current jackpot.

Although to the best of my knowledge your question's premise has never occurred, if that virtually impossible fantasy WERE to occur, and two hysterical players DID each have a royal flush on the same hand, well . . . In the casinos I worked in, the first player to the dealer's left would win the jackpot. The second player would win whatever the jackpot is re-seeded at, which is generally $10,000 or $20,000.

I did pose your question to one casino executive who thought if the unlikely were to occur in his casino, that he would split the jackpot between the two players. But he also confided he really didn't have the slightest idea what the actual rules were when two players both got royal flushes in the same hand.

Now logical reasoning, Adrian, would tell you to sit as close as possible to the dealer's left. But not so fast, my friend. The clearheaded would not make the progressive wager at all considering the average house edge is over 26%, depending, of course, on the size of the jackpot.

Regardless, Adrian, it's a sucker bet the vast majority of time and I advise against making it.

Dear Mark,
A small Nevada casino where I typically play no longer offers roulette. Doesn't the game of roulette make any money for the casino? Dan H.

Depends, Dan. If the real estate the table occupies does not bring home the bacon, no matter whether it's a blackjack or craps, or as in your question, a roulette table, off to dumpster heaven it goes. Moreover, Dan, as to its popularity rank among table games; roulette is a distant third behind blackjack and craps. As for money wagered, it's fourth, behind that aging tradition — baccarat.

Expert conjecture here is that your closer inspection will probably disclose that a bank of slot machines has replaced the roulette table, and most likely brings in more booty than the roulette table ever did.

Dear Mark,
Explain please what a "total" bet is in sports wagering? Jake K.

By betting $11 to win $10, you can wager on the combined total of points scored by both teams. Winning an "over" bet requires that more points be scored than the bookmaker's total, and winning the "under" bet requires that fewer points be scored. Using football as an example, let us say total posted for the Green Bay versus San Francisco game is 42. You can wager that the total score of both teams added together will be either over or under that posted total. In the event that the final score falls right on that total (e.g. Green Bay 28 + San Francisco 14 = 42), a tie is declared and all bets are returned.

By the way, Jake, here is a little gambling patois for you. Betting the over is known as "betting on the ball," betting under is known as "betting on the clock." Go wow 'em.

Gambling quote of the week: "When a guy finally gets his rushes in gambling, nothing can stop him for a while." Damon Runyon

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.