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Tossing Aces in 9/6 Jacks

11 March 2012
One of the counterintuitive plays in 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker occurs when one is dealt three high cards and one of them is an Ace. The correct play is to just hold the two non-Aces and discard the Ace. When I tell people this they frequently ask me to explain why this makes sense. Of course the ... (read more)
 

Lay Bets Revisited

5 February 2012
One of the interesting and entertaining things about writing these monthly articles is that I occasionally get a letter from an enlightened reader who casts a novel approach to one of the questions I address. Such is the case in a letter I received from one of my readers named David Korsnack. David ... (read more)
 

What About the Player?

1 January 2012
You may have heard on the news that the state of Massachusetts has approved a bill that authorizes casino gaming in the state. Agreements on the details of the bill were worked out between Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and the bill was then signed into law by Governor Duval Patrick. ... (read more)
 

All Lay Bet Strategies Are Not Equal

4 December 2011
            I recently received an email from my old friend and colleague The Midnight Skulker.  Every now and then the Skulker sends me an interesting fact, a puzzle, or an interesting question.  This time it was a question and I gave the Skulker the wrong answer.  He caught my error and proceeded to ... (read more)
 

Cardano Again

20 November 2011
            In November and December of 1999, I published a couple of articles entitled Independence Day and Cardano Revisited.  The point of these two articles was to show how to solve a problem posed by the Italian mathematician Cardano centuries ago using the notion of probabilistic independence.  I ... (read more)
 

Ruin Again: Part 3 – Blackjack

2 October 2011
In my August article I explained how to take an arbitrary random variable X and approximate it as a random walk.  The two statistical quantities we used were the mean M and the variance.  Using the material in my September article we could then find an approximate solution to the ruin problem. Let’s ... (read more)
 

Ruin Again: Part 2 - Classic Random Walk

4 September 2011
As I indicated at the end of last month's article, this month I am going to derive the classic ruin formula for the one dimensional random walk. Though this derivation is available in many, many standard references, these references are probably not among most of my readers holdings. So here goes. ... (read more)
 

Ruin Again: Part 1 - Feedback

7 August 2011
In my June 2011 article I addressed a ruin question about Blackjack from one of my readers.  In it I proposed a simple scheme that used a one-dimensional random walk model that had the same expected value as Blackjack.  Well, did I get feedback!    Several readers, including my good friend and ... (read more)
 

Pass Versus Place

3 July 2011
I recently received the following letter from one of my readers named Dave. Mt. Airy casino in Mt. Pocono, Penna. has the 3-4-5 free odds at the craps table. During the course of the game I realized that my pass line ($10) and max free odds always worked out to a $70 win. No matter what the point number was. ... (read more)

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Donald Catlin
Don Catlin is a retired professor of mathematics and statistics from the University of Massachusetts. His original research area was in Stochastic Estimation applied to submarine navigation problems but has spent the last several years doing gaming analysis for gaming developers and writing about gaming. He is the author of The Lottery Book, The Truth Behind the Numbers published by Bonus books.

Books by Donald Catlin:

Lottery Book: The Truth Behind the Numbers
Donald Catlin
Don Catlin is a retired professor of mathematics and statistics from the University of Massachusetts. His original research area was in Stochastic Estimation applied to submarine navigation problems but has spent the last several years doing gaming analysis for gaming developers and writing about gaming. He is the author of The Lottery Book, The Truth Behind the Numbers published by Bonus books.

Books by Donald Catlin:

Lottery Book: The Truth Behind the Numbers