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Deal Me In: Odd dollar jackpot avoids a W-2G

22 July 2016
Dear Mark: Why do casinos have jackpots on their video poker machines that pay $1,199? That seems like an odd jackpot number. Trish H. Think, Trish, of a $1,199 jackpot as the Lords of Chance doing you a favor. A blast from the past typically on video poker machines, that $1,199 bonanza is $1 shy from you getting a mandatory tax form. ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: Fast play doesn't change payback rates

15 July 2016
Dear Mark: I was sitting next to a lady in a casino who was playing at a speed that I had never witnessed in the 30 years that I have been going to the casino. When she finally stopped to catch her breath, I had to ask her, “Does it help?” She said the faster she played, the higher the return on the machine. ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: Separating the wheat from the chaff

11 July 2016
Dear Mark: A few weeks back you had mentioned both the math and rules for the table game Let It Ride. You also recommended not playing the game. But there are other table games that seem interesting, for instance, Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud. Compared to Let It Ride, which would you recommend between these two other games? Nicolas C. ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: A video poker machine too good to believe

1 July 2016
Dear Mark: You have written that with perfect basic strategy some video poker machines will have a payback above 100%. I have also read that the machines can NOT be set to return over 100%. Can you please explain the difference of what I am reading? Dave D. When employing expert play, a player’s strategy can affect payback percentages. ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: Video blackjack machines thwart counters

24 June 2016
Dear Mark: In last week’s column, you mentioned that it was impossible to count cards on a continuous shuffle machine. Can you instead count cards on a video blackjack machine since, one) single-deck games are a preferred choice to count cards on, and two) there is no one standing over you to bother your play or ask you to leave the game? Jim G. ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: The quicker you go, the behinder you get

17 June 2016
Dear Mark: If a card counter has an advantage over the casino, wouldn’t it be to their advantage to have more hands per hour via a continuous shuffler? Travis C. You’ve read it here before, Travis, and you’ll read it again: Speed kills in a casino environment. Involving what is called "incremental game ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: The math always favors the casino winning it back

10 June 2016
Dear Mark: I enjoyed your response last week when you played referee on what Gary R. thought was a misdeal when the dealer had a 17, kept hitting, busted, but the dealer still took his bet. I am sure you would agree that not all casinos would have scooped up his wager. Anyhow, I have a protocol question relating to what should have happened next. ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: Consistency is the key

3 June 2016
Dear Mark: I was sitting on third base on a blackjack game with a wager of $50 and was dealt a 16. The dealer was showing a three, so I followed the rules of basic strategy and stayed. The dealer proceeded to flip over the three and had a two underneath. The dealer continued to hit her five with another two, ... (read more)
 

Deal Me In: One card short of good fortune

27 May 2016
Dear Mark: While playing video poker over a period of three hours, I was dealt four of the five cards needed to make a royal flush. As might be expected, I never did catch that final card. I have to ask still: What are the odds of being dealt four cards of a royal? Larry W. Here is the arithmetic, Larry. ... (read more)

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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.