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Best of Mark Pilarski

Gaming Guru

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The man with the Midas touch

13 September 2004

Dear Mark,
I saw your column today and you asked if anyone in Reno remembers the person who hit the three royals at a Raley's market some time back. I do live in Reno and remember the story published in the Reno Gazette Journal. The man hit one royal and while he was waiting for the payoff, moved to another machine where he hit another royal, he then moved to a third machine and hit another. I do not recall the article saying whether he played other hands at each machine before the royal being hit. Sue B.

Timothy Bauer, at the Washoe County Library Reno Periodicals Dept., e-mailed me the following after reading my column last week.

Mark:
I work at the Washoe County Library and saw your article asking for particulars about the lucky person who hit three consecutive royal flushes. I found the article in our clipping files. It made the Reno Gazette Journal on Tuesday, September 7, 1993.

Stevey Tyler hit the three royals at Scolari's Food and Drug on Lakeside Court. He hit three $4,000 royal flushes on separate video poker machines. This event happened on Sunday afternoon Sep 5, 1993. The Nevada Gaming Control Board investigators closed the machines for an inspection Monday morning, but found no evidence of tampering.

Thank you, Timothy, for settling all but one facet of last week's column, that being, the clipping doesn't specify if Mr. Tyler hit the improbable: three consecutive royal flushes. Possibly Mr. Tyler can drop me a line with the particulars.

Dear Mark,
You, along with other gaming writers, recommend hitting my hand of 16 when the dealer is showing a seven. Seems staying pat and not busting, especially with a 16 against a seven, is the smarter play. Do you concur? Larry D.

The smart play, Larry, is to always hit your 16 against a dealer showing a seven, and here's why.

When dealt a 16 against an up card of a seven, you have two logical plays: hit or stand. Simulating these playing conditions with millions of hands on a computer will illustrate that you will win approximately 34% when you hit and only 27% of the time if you stand.

Nevertheless, though hitting gains you roughly 7%, the dealer is still most likely going to beat you. All we are recommending is minimizing your losses by hitting versus standing.

Dear Mark,
In craps, which is a better play for the player, a hardway 6 or 8 or the big 6 or 8? Zack M.

Neither, Zack, as both of the wagers mentioned are sucker bets, each commanding the same 9.1% casino advantage.

You can only get the best of craps by making bets that have a low house edge, for instance, a pass line wager or placing the 6 or 8, increase your bet size as you win consecutive wagers, and learn to pocket your winnings, the toughest part of the three.

Betting a hardway 6 or 8 or the big 6 or 8 are excellent wagers for throwing your hard-earned money away.

Gambling quote of the week: "Psychologically, the one element of the game that keeps the slot devotee tied to the machine is the possibility, no matter how remote, of hitting the jackpot. The promise of the monster, life affirming win, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the philosopher's stone that can cure all their ills, pay off all their debts, and smooth the path of life forever, and ever, and ever." -Gambling For Dummies

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.