If you had just $100 left to bet in a casino, how would you wager
it? Doug D.
You should have asked me earlier,
Doug. The casino's mission is twofold: first, to empty your wallet,
and second, to keep you smiling. This was best described by Bob
Stupak, a former casino operator in Las Vegas, when he told U.S.
News and World Report: "It's our duty to extract as much
money from the customers as we can and send them home with a smile
on their face."
If you are down to your last $100, the casino's goal is accomplished.
Except, Doug, I hardly think that one of sane mind would be smiling
Realize that casinos are green felt jungles and you're playing
war. The gurus of guerrilla gambling will tell you that you fight
back only by making bets that have a 2% house advantage or less.
If you do, you'll stand a better chance of: turning the tables
back in your favor, staying in action longer, smiling, and yes,
stopping the plinking of your hard-earned cash into the casino's
So, here you stand, near insolvent, with just $100 remaining,
and quite possibly someone near and dear saying, "I told
you, but you just won't listen." Here is what most, if not
all the gaming experts, Yours Truly included, would recommend
Blackjack: Played with perfect basic strategy.
Craps: A pass line bet with odds or placing the 6 or 8.
A pass line bet and placing the 6 or 8. Both have a house advantage
of less than 1.5%.
Video Poker: Good machine selection, and again, perfect
Baccarat: Betting either the bank or player hand. The house
advantage is 1.17% when betting the bank hand or 1.36% with a
player hand wager.
I have just mapped out the avenue
most experts would take with their last $100. Nevertheless, if
you are down to your last $100, one of two things has probably
happened. Either your evening's allotment of luck has gone way
south, dooming even your last $100, or your play has been so apocalyptically
bad, despite the advice of gurus, that nothing can come out of
it but a postmortem.
So, the $64 ($100) question remains. If I personally were limited
to making just one play in a casino and had just $100 left, what
wager(s) would I make?
Too easy! Whether or not a professional sporting event is preceded
by the national anthem, by golly, you can get action on it in
the Silver State. And since one of my passions is open wheel racing
(IRL), my one wager would be on the Indianapolis 500, sitting
in a sportsbook for three hours sipping free cocktails and watching
grown men (and woman, Sarah Fisher) making left-hand turns while
wasting methanol. Yet, the gambling public may not share my fixation
for boredom, so here's plan B, a point-spread wager on your favorite
sporting event. Now park your tail end in one of their cushy chairs
and enjoy the game.
Whenever you place a point-spread type wager, you lay 11 to win
10. That means if you want to win $100, you have to wager $110
(borrow the extra $10 from your spouse who is probably winning,
or, just bet the $100) no matter which team you are betting on.
If you win, you will collect $210 — your $110 wager plus the
$100 winnings. The 11 for 10 commission, also called a vigorish
(aka vig), is the compensation taken by the house on every
sport bet wagered. You might need to scrounge about in your lint-filled
pockets for a couple quarters to enjoy the $1 hot dogs, or those
denizens of the deep, 99-cent shrimp cocktails.
Then there is plan C: Betting the ponies. A $2 wager on an equine
long-shot overdue for the glue factory can be an inexpensive diversion
when the casino is pounding the hell out of your bankroll. How
hard is it to spend 10 minutes with a racing form, and then guess?
And who knows, Doug, you might actually calm the near-and-dear,
put an extra $100 in your hip pocket, enough to put you back in
action to fight another round guerrilla style, making ONLY those
bets that have less than a 2% house edge.
Gambling quote of the week: "I wouldn't put a red cent in
a slot machine, and the only time you'll see me at a craps table
is when I'm running it." Amarillo Slim