CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Tic-tac-dough, for the casino, that is

7 June 2004

Dear Mark,
I'm not sure if my uncle is pulling my leg, but he said that there is a casino that offers you the opportunity to play tic-tac-toe against a chicken. I thought a chicken dinner bet was sufficient enough to prove him wrong. Do you mind dispelling his preposterous claim? Mary H.

While paying off your losing wager to your Uncle, Mary, you certainly won't be gobbling on Ginger, the chicken extraordinaire that two casinos that I know of have used to cook the goose of many intrepids who wanted to go up against a live chicken. They are the Tropicana in Atlantic City and the Trump 29 Casino in Palm Springs, not unknown Poultry Farms.

Furthermore, Mary, the ha-ha bettor is not playing against some dumb, clucking capon. Ginger, along with 14 other rotating hens (some of her understudies won't work either late-swing or graveyard shift) is well educated, reward-trained, that is, using methods popularized by psychologist B.F. Skinner, at the Boger Chicken University in Springdale, Arkansas.

Known as the "Tic-Tac-Toe Chicken Challenge," this specific tic-tac-toe match-up has casino patrons challenging a chicken in tic-tac-toe for $10,000. The object of the game remains the same as what we all learned as kids: the first player to get three marks in a row wins; but the house has a built-in advantage (they wouldn't have it any other way, of course) since the chicken always goes first. Another understated casino edge is that the chicken is probably smarter than a lot of people we all know.

If you ever plan to join the line of daily contenders at either casino, if you don't mind, Mary, the historical odds will have me betting on the chicken. Ginger has played for more than three years at the Tropicana and has lost only five times.

Dear Mark,
I thought I might give you a poker laugh to start your day. My husband is a most conservative poker player. One night he was sitting next to a fellow who picked up his cards whereby my husband could clearly see what cards he was holding. After a while, my husband quietly said, "Sir, when you pick up your cards I can see what you are holding." The fellow turned to my husband and said, "What do I care? You never play a hand anyway." Louise G.

There are certain adjectives that refer to the playing style of most poker players, such as, "loose" and "tight," "passive," and "aggressive." "Loose" versus "tight" refers to a player's starting hand requirements. Your husband is tight because he plays fewer starting hands. Poker players are also labeled as either "passive" or "aggressive." Passive players seldom raise, and favor a check or call approach. That said, I would categorize your husband's play as "tight-passive" and note that he's probably the most readable player at any poker table.

A tight-passive (or, in gamblingo, "a rock") plays few hands, and those very carefully. If a tight-passive player all of a sudden starts raising, it is likely that he's got the "nuts" (the best possible hand on the board).

The plus side your husband's play is that he won't lose much money, but the down side is that he won't win much either. Tight-passives like your husband are very predictable and consistent, but, Louise, that is why you married him, right?

Gambling quote of the week: "As soon as you can accept the possibility of losing philosophically, you automatically improve your chances of winning." — Darwin Ortiz, Casino Gambling for the Clueless (1986)

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.