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# A shuffle through the gaming mailbag

1 April 2008

Q. Let us say I am playing a keno machine at the minimum bet amount and as I am playing, the machine emits various numbers each play. Instead of my betting the minimum amounts the machine allows, let's say I was betting the maximum bets allowed by the machine. Would the same numbers come out on the maximum bets as they did on the minimum bets or might they be different depending on the numbers I was playing?

A. The answer is the same as it would be on slot machines, video poker, video blackjack or any other electronic game. If your timing was exactly the same, you would get the same results. The random number generator that determines which numbers are drawn is not "told" how many credits you are wagering. Numbers drawn on a keno machine --- or symbols on a slot reel or cards on video poker and blackjack --- do not change with the size of the wager.

The random number generator runs continuously, so any change in timing will bring about a different result. Maybe it takes a fraction of a second longer for you to move your hand hit "bet max" instead of "repeat bet," or a fraction of a second less than to hit "bet one" plus "draw." That fraction of a second will change your result. That doesn't mean the result will be better, and it doesn't mean it will be worse. Just different.

In the long run, the percentage of winners will be the same with minimum bets as with maximums.

Q. I'm new to craps and was wondering if you could explain something to me. If I make place bets, I can take them down whenever I want. If I bet don't pass, I can have the dealer take it down whenever I want. But if I bet on pass, I can't take it down after the comeout. Why is that? My wife and I had dinner reservations, and it was time to go, but I couldn't go until my bet was decided. Given how mad she was, I'm not sure it was worth sticking around the extra five or six rolls to win my 10 bucks.

A. Casinos are in business to make money, and if they allowed us to take our pass or come bets down whenever we wanted, it would severely impede that goal. They'd be giving money away.

Pass and come bettors have an edge on the comeout roll. There are eight ways to win, with six ways to make 7 and two ways to make 11, and only four ways to lose with two ways to make 3, one way to make 2 and one way to make 12.

The rolls after the comeout establishes a point are when the casino makes money. The player becomes a 6-5 underdog if the point is 6 or 8, 3-2 if the point is 5 or 9 and 2-1 if the point is 4 or 10.

Naturally, the casino wants our money in action when we're the underdogs.

There's no such conundrum on place bets, where the odds are the same on every roll, or on don't pass/don't come, where players are underdogs on the comeout but favorites after there's a point. Taking down a don't pass/don't come bet after the comeout pads the house edge.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Beat the Odds" tips Saturdays at 6:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 7:41 p.m. and Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM-AM, News Radio 780 in Chicago, streaming online at www.wbbm780.com.

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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.