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Quiz Answers Reveal How Casino Games Really Work

21 January 2006

So how did you do on last week's casino gambling quiz? Did you agree with all the answers? Here's why they are what they are.

1) C - Slot machines don't follow any set pattern. To understand this, picture a clock with 60 separate minutes on it and a loose, freewheeling minute hand. Now give the minute hand a good spin. It's as likely to stop on the 7 second mark as the 43 second mark, or any other. Over the fullness of time it'll eventually stop on every hash mark just about an equal number of times. Now, what if the house pre-sets this particular clock/slot machine to pay out 30 coins if it happens to stop on hash mark number 12, and another 5 coins whenever it stops on hash mark numbers 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50? But all the other hash marks pay nothing? Notice that 55 coins are set for payout, but there are 60 hash marks on the clock. This is the key. Since all hash mark hits will eventually balance out, yet in no predictable pattern, the house will average a 50,000 coin profit for each 600,000 spins (approximately 1000 hours of play). And nobody –- not you, not the casino nor anyone else -- has a clue as to which hash mark will be hit next. That's what makes the slots virtually unbeatable. The house is simply playing a long run game with the law of averages.

2) A - If you draw one card to the 3-4-5-6, you'll only make your straight 1 time out of 6 and collect four units when you hit it. But if you draw three cards to your pair of 6s, you'll average about a 4.8 unit payback every six tries from all the times you make two pair, trips, a full house and quads. Draw three.

3) C – Roulette, craps, Caribbean Stud and the slots are games of "independent" events. In plain English, this means that once a color or a number has come up, it does not get wiped off for the next try. As a result, that color or number is no less (or more) likely to come up than it was before. It's sitting right there, just as eligible as all the other colors or numbers or what have you. Overall, red comes up on the roulette wheel 47.4% of the time. After six reds in a row, the seventh spin will also come up red 47.4% of the time. Believe it!

4) B – Although cards do get eliminated from a baccarat shoe, things virtually never get far enough out of balance to bring the odds against a tie down to 8-to-1 (that's what the house pays). Even if you haven't seen a tie in a long time, it's still closer to its usual 9.5-to-1 shot.

5) B – Come bets have a relatively low house edge (1.4%), and hardway bets are atrocious at nearly 10%. But the "odds behind the line" bet has no house edge at all. Because of this, the most efficient way to bet your \$30 is to reduce your pass line wager to the house minimum, then put the rest down behind the line. Making a \$10 pass line bet with \$20 behind the line brings the house edge down to 0.60%.

6) B – When multiple players are in and there's betting and raising after a pair hits the board, full houses are not unlikely. You don't want to pay a lot of money to try for a hand that may very well not be any good if you make it. Missing your flush will cost you two bets (and you'll miss 4 times out of 5), but hitting it might cost three or four.

7) A – Most blackjack players like to feel that the cards are at least being "friendly" before they sit down. That's irrelevant. What's very relevant however, is the fact that lots of little cards have been eliminated from play here. With a surplus of high cards left, this is the shoe you want to play. Jump right in!

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Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send \$9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

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Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send \$9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009