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# John Grochowski Gaming Guru

### Random Roulette Numbers

3 December 2023

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: My wife and I like to play roulette together. Low stakes, just having a good time.

We amuse ourselves with number selection. We both like family birthdays. She's a history teacher and sometimes she picks historic dates. I once had a big win playing uniform numbers of the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.

At a family birthday party, we told about our number method. My wife's dad said, "You know, that's borderline insane, both that you'd play roulette at all and that you'd choose numbers in such a random way." He seemed to think following trends on the board with recent numbers was the way to go.

I suggested that random methods of choosing numbers in a game where random numbers were winners wasn't any worse than any other method. He wasn't hearing it.

What say you?

ANSWER: I'm with you. The family birthday method is a favorite of mine. Baseball numbers? Sure, why not? My team wouldn't be the '93 Blue Jays, but I wouldn't be averse to numbers from my favorite teams -- Cubs, Bears. Blackhawks, Fighting Illini.

Such methods are no better and no worse than following trends from the number board, regardless of whether you're betting on supposedly hot numbers or avoiding those that seem to have come up too often lately.

Assuming the wheel is in balance and the dealer is on the ball, every number has an equal chance of being a winner on every spin. If No. 17 has come up twice in a row and three times in the last eight spins, the odds of it coming up on the next spin of a double-zero wheel remain 1 in 38.

Ask yourself, "Is there anything that would cause one number to come up more often than others?" A need to balance results doesn't do it. The wheel and ball don't know of any such need.

In the rare instances where one number consistently recurs more often than odds would suggest, there must be a physical cause. The wheel could be badly maintained with tracks worn into the wood, perhaps, or frets between numbers that are tighter or higher in some areas than in others.

Such things are rare. For the most part, a short-term hot streak is just that: short-term. Going forward, the odds of the number coming up again are the same as the odds on your wife's birthday or Joe Carter's No. 29.

QUESTION: How many royal flush cards do you need before you break up a pat straight? I was playing 8-5 Double Double Bonus Poker and was dealt Ace of spades, King of hearts, Queen of hearts, Jack of hearts and 10 of clubs.

My head said hold all five and take the 20 credits. My heart really wanted to keep the suited King-Queen-Jack and go for it.

ANSWER: Your head had it right. A two-card draw to a royal flush is too much of a long shot to break up a straight, even allowing for the possibilities of drawing a straight flush, flush, another straight, three of a kind, two pairs or a pair.

The average return on holding King-Queen-Jack of hearts is 7.12 coins per five wagered. That's nowhere close to the 20 for holding the straight.

If you'd had a fourth high heart, that would have been another matter. If the 10 of clubs had been in hearts, the average return on K-Q-J-10 would have been 97.23 coins. If the fourth heart had been the Ace instead, the average would have been 91.49 coins. Either makes breaking up the straight well worth the risk.

### What Players Say

26 November 2023
If winning was the only thing that went into a fun casino trip, most of us would stop going. With the exception of a few advantage players such as blackjack card counters, nearly everyone has more losing sessions than winners. But service, amenities, and game selection count, for better or for worse. ... (read more)

### Those Double Nines

19 November 2023
QUESTION: If I have a pair of 9s in blackjack, basic strategy says I should split them when the dealer has an 8, but stand on my 18 when the dealer has a 7. That seems backward to me, risking a second bet when the dealer has a higher starting card. ANSWER: You have to consider the effect of more than 30 percent of cards in the deck having values of 10. ... (read more)

### Today's Slots

12 November 2023
Long, long ago, when I first played in casinos in the 1980s, I read a piece of advice to slot players that I still take to heart. Before I share, I'll just say it's no mean feat for a piece of advice from decades ago to have value today when so much about the slots has changed. Much about '80s slots has little bearing on today's casino world. ... (read more)
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### Single-Deck Basic Strategy

Those whose casino memories stretch back far enough may recall a time when the standard "Las Vegas Strip" blackjack game was dealt from a single deck of cards, with the dealer standing on all 17s. That started to change in the 1960s as operators grew ... (read more)
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

#### Books by John Grochowski:

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.