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Wicked Casino Questions

Wicked Casino Questions

Here they are, some tough questions for me to answer, if I can. Some of these, in certain forms, have been asked of me when I give talks.

An Amazing Day

Question: You have been having an amazing day. You played craps and had an amazing roll to be followed up with another amazing roll. Most of the other players were hot too. Amazing! When you get a little tired, you hit the roulette table to relax.

You did relax, a lot, meaning you also won a lot of money betting only the red/black even-money bets as you recommend. Your losses basically came on green and half your bets were returned when that happened. You bet red or black and you beat the house by about three to one. Your bets were pretty high at times, winning can do that. You usually do not use a Paroli betting system but you did a kind of a one, two, and three Paroli at the roulette table. 

[Please note: Paroli means parley or pressing bets and it is technically a one, two, three parlay and then back down to your normal bet.]

You went to blackjack, then Pai Gow Poker, then mini-baccarat. You couldn’t lose. Then you got a cell phone call from your wife, the Beautiful AP. “Don’t forget,” she said. “We’re meeting Mr. and Mrs. Someone or Other for a comped gourmet dinner and then we have that comped show. This is just a reminder. Meet you in a few minutes. You know I’ve been really looking to see So-and So’s performance. This is going to be a great night for us!”


Question: What is the significance of the narrator's recent gambling experience and how it affects their perspective on their future actions at the casino?

Frank: I wish I could have had a day such as that in real life. I have had good days and bad days at the casinos but I never hammered them so badly at so many different games in a single stretch. Wow! 

I don’t usually play long enough to spend what appears to be a whole day playing so many games. You’ve really attempted to make this hard.

Sorry my friend, it isn’t hard at all. So here goes. I leave playing, go to the bathroom to refresh myself and then I meet my wife at the restaurant. I enjoy dinner with our acquaintances and I enjoy the show. Then we go back to our room, make that a suite (what the heck) and I sleep the sleep of the victor.

Why wouldn’t I play some more? I mean, I have been lucky as can be. Is Lady Luck really on my side from here on out? 

Again, for me this is simple. No game gives me the edge based on how this question was phrased. I am playing against the house edge at all of them. Today? Oh, boy, have I been lucky as can be. But I am only hoping my luck will continue; there are no guarantees. The math, the horrible math, favors the casino – it almost always favors the casino.

Will my good luck continue? I don’t know. The odds of me continuing this are somewhat remote, maybe very remote. Do I really want to reduce my total winnings by playing more and more during this magical day?  Can I be sure other shooters will have good or even decent rolls of the dice? That would be asking a lot of Lady Luck. Blackjack can go any which way, as can all of the games.

The casino doesn’t make money by players hammering them. 

So, I will be satisfied with what I have won and enjoy the rest of the night with my acquaintances and my wife the Beautiful AP. She’s my real Lady Luck.

The casino isn’t going anywhere. I’ll tackle it tomorrow and hope for some continued magic. You see, I am never in a rush to play or stay at games, especially if I have been hot or cold. I play so much that this or that session is no big deal to me. 

Rewarding a Roller

Question: The old guy is having a heck of a dice roll. You’ve made some good money so far with his roll. You want to thank him. Should you put up a bet for the guy? He has a beautiful rolling form. He sets the dice and takes great care with his throw. Could this guy be controlling the dice? 

Should you place a bet for this man? How do you, a fellow player, reward the roller?

Frank: Many players set the dice and many players look as if they have some control over the dice – and some, a very, very few mind you, actually do have some control. Also, it is possible (but unlikely) that this man has gotten into a controlled situation without even knowing it – he’s rhythmically rolling for a short while. 

Obviously, I can’t tell from the description in the question. Even at the table it is hard to tell on first seeing a shooter. You’d have to see such a shooter a lot.

Okay, if he is a real dice controller, what are his bets? Are they bets a competent dice controller can beat? Or are they the typical bets of the average craps player? 

Most bets by most craps players range from excellent to awful in the same time frame such as a pass-line bet and a couple of hardways, maybe with some other horrors mixed in. Maybe placing bets such as the 5 or 9 or 4 or 10. No real dice controller would make bets that have a high house-edge such as the hardways. No dice controller can overcome those edges.

Do not be confused by self-anointed dice controllers who brag that they can overcome such awful betting choices. They can’t. It is only sheer luck that anyone can beat the high house-edge bets and that will just occur now and then. Sheer luck, remember that.

 When I first started playing dice in Atlantic City around 1990, players tipped other players all the time. It was the thing in those days. That still occurs but far less frequently. Many of the garrulous World War II guys were big tippers. Almost all of them are gone, many of them long gone.

Now, if I thought this guy was a rhythmic roller, I would not put up a bet for him. That might take his concentration away from the important thing he was doing – which was making me some money. Nor would I slap him on the back or talk to him. Let him roll until he sevens out. 

Once he sevened out (hopefully 10 years from now), I’d congratulate him and throw him a decent chip as a thank-you note.

When a shooter seems to be in a rhythm I am not happy when other players try to slap him or her, high five or pat him or her on the back. I also don’t like when the shooter orders a drink or in any way loses concentration.

My bottom line about hot shooters? Leave them alone when they are shooting. Tip them when the shooting is over.

Card Counter Conundrum

Question: A card counter is at your blackjack table as you sit down to play. He’s been betting $25 per hand and is only playing one hand at that time.  Now he increases his bet to two hands of $200 each. You and the pit crew know this is a sign that the counter understands the remaining decks now favor the players.

The other players at the table don’t notice anything at all. They are locked into their own bets and upcoming hands.  

The pit boss pushes the card counter’s bets back to him and tells him his action is no longer tolerated in that casino. The card counter gets up and leaves the casino. The casino does not shuffle the remaining decks and the game continues.

The remaining cards still favor the players. What do you do?

Frank: I’d love to jump into the fray here and put up the type of bets this high count would require. That’s the dream scenario, right? I am not going to do that. I am, however and maybe, going to double what I would have normally bet since this would be my first bet. I’d stay at that bet until the end of the shoe. On the next shoe? I will drop my bet down to my normal level. Maybe. Or leave and go to another table. I don’t know.

I do not want anyone to notice me any more than they would notice anyone else playing the game as normal people play the game. Just taking the game as a basic strategy player is what I would do. Next high count? I don’t know.

While card counting is not illegal, it is frowned upon by the casinos and a good counter, or maybe any counter, will often be asked to stop playing and leave the casino. Or they might be told to play any other game but not blackjack. 

Good question. I am even doubting my answer as I finish answering your question. I might not do anything at all special in this case. Again, I say good question. If you know you have an edge, what should you do?

Winning the BIG Money

Question: It’s your day Frank, your glorious day. Prepare now. Make sure you are ready for this. The money is going to be pouring in to you today. You put a full-coin bet in the progressive slot machine that has a current jackpot of $60 million.  And it hits! All that money is yours.

You’ve won a lifestyle dream jackpot. How will that change you? Okay, what do you do Frank? Very few players have ever won such a jackpot. It is all yours.

Frank: I have a whole plan if I ever were to win such a jackpot or a lottery prize of that huge amount. This would be a crazy happening in my life because I stay away from all progressive machines and I only play the lottery if the jackpot is about $800 million or more. 

Still, I’ll play along here. A fantasy is sometimes fun to harbor if it doesn’t actually consume you. I don’t usually fantasize about such wins.

I know I’d have to go through the casino for them to write me a check and take care of all the paperwork and tax forms for the government. When that is over and I have to be photographed for the press releases, then I will make a big announcement.

[Please note: Almost all casinos write for players to read that big winners must be made public. These signs will be posted here and there in the casino, usually at the various entrances. If you play the machines, you agree to this stricture. Most players don’t know about this stricture for some reason. It’s good publicity for the casino that Mr. or Ms. Casino Patron just won a bundle.]

My big announcement will come the day my big win is revealed. It will be bigger news than just the fact that I have been a huge winner. 

Announcer says: “So my Scobeleetie…”

I respond immediately, “Sco-bled-ee.”

Announcer turns to the Beautiful AP: “Arlene Scob-bled-ee…”

“Alene, not Arlene, thank you.”

“I do have an important announcement to make,” I say. “I think people should hear what I have to say.”

Announcer: “Okay. Go right ahead.”

“I want everyone to know that I am not giving any of this money away. That’s right. if you are a person looking for a handout, you won’t get one. If you are a person looking for me to invest in your company or project, the answer is no.

“Any one who calls me or gets in touch with me asking for money for anything will get nothing. That means relatives too. Try to get any of my money and the answer is a big, fat no!

“Anyone I want to talk to about this, I will call you. You call me and the answer is no. 

“Even charities are a big, fat no, too. Religions, no. Research, no.

“If you want to sell me something – guess what? – the answer is no. 

“If you want to ask me questions about what I have just said, the answer to you is no!

“That should about cover it. My wife will also say no to anything too.”

All the best in and out of the casinos!





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