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Odds Once Again

27 July 2013
I recently received a letter from a reader named John regarding the odds involved in an odd/even or red/black roulette wager. FROM JOHN: Since there are 18 winning spaces and 20 losing spaces on the wheel the true odds will be 20 to 18 or 2 to 1.8. If the “actual odds” are 16 to 10 or 1.6 to 1. My question is how do you come up with the actual odds? It doesn't sit right with me. ... (read more)

The Number of Craps Rolls

1 June 2013
In January and February of the year 2000 I wrote a two part article dedicated to calculating the average length of a player’s Craps hand in terms of the number of rolls. The answer turns out to be a figure of about 8.526. Recently a reader by the name of Martin K wrote a letter to me challenging this figure, part of which I’ll quote below. ... (read more)

Lottery Nonsense

16 February 2013
One of my readers (John M.) recently wrote to me and pointed out that a guy who has won several lotteries has decided to write a book giving tips to players and was lucky enough to have landed an interview on Good Morning America. His name is Richard Lustig. John wondered about my reaction to his claims. ... (read more)

Riding the Waves of Winning

8 December 2012
I recently received the following email from one of my readers named James: I play ten hands and if they are over 50% successful, I increase my single unit to three for the following ten rounds. When the twenty hands are completed I repeat the procedure. Having played 6000 hands, I have a moderate increase amounting to 1.26 units per twenty hands. ... (read more)

Counting the Pass Line And Cows

22 September 2012
I recently received a letter from Peter Chao, one of my readers. Here is part of Peter’s letter: “Instead, could we say [in craps] that there are two separate bets based on an event (setting the point): Pre-Point Bet of $10 and Post-Point of $40-$60 (depending on point)? Both have a Pass Line component, and Post-Point adds the odds. ... (read more)

A Blackjack Question?

5 August 2012
I recently received an email from one of my readers, Amy, posing a question about Blackjack. Here is Amy's email: Dear Sir, My name is Amy, and I only ever play blackjack, basic strategy, but not card counting. My question is, regardless how long I have to play … minutes or hours … what are my ... (read more)

Laying the Odds - Again

1 July 2012
I recently received the following e-mail from one of my readers named Dave Beck. Don, This question concerns the Don't Pass wager. My numbers are rounded from what I remember. A Pass Line bet on the Come Out has a 22% chance of winning and an 11% chance of losing. A Don't Pass bet on the come ... (read more)

Be Secure

3 June 2012
Back in December of 1978 I played in the first Blackjack tournament, which was called The World Championship of Blackjack. It was the creation of the Fishman brothers and was held at the old Sarah Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (See my article entitled "What Goes Around" in the archives on this site.) I ... (read more)

Three Card Flushes

6 May 2012
When playing 9/6 Jacks or better Video Poker it is tempting to hold a three-card Flush. After all there are still ten suited cards in the deck so this seems like a reasonable play. Unless there is a possible Straight Flush draw, however, it is the wrong play. Even some hands that are possible Straight ... (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