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# Are the Odds the Same?

25 October 2020

QUESTION: You wrote recently that electronic games that use depictions of playing cards must offer fair odds. The odds of being dealt cards on electronic blackjack are the same as in table blackjack.
Does the same thing apply to dice? I'm thinking specifically of the Hot Roll games on both slots and video poker. There are two video dice that appear at random times and you touch them to roll for bonuses and multipliers.

Are the odds the same as when you use two real dice?

ANSWER: Yes, the "fair odds" regulation that originated in Nevada and spread as other states legalized casino gambling applies to video representations of dice.

Each die face has an equal chance of coming up on every roll. Just as with physical dice, there are 36 possible combinations: one way each to roll 2 or 12; two each to roll 3 or 11; three each to roll 4 or 10; four each to roll 5 or 9; five each to roll 6 or 8; and six to roll 7.

Programmer can use those odds as part of a game's overall return. One slot machine use of Hot Roll pays the largest progressive jackpot when the roll 12. That can be built into the overall odds knowing a 12 will roll an average of once per 36 times the player gets a Hot Roll.

In video poker, the Hot Roll is used as a multiplier for any winnings on a given hand. If you roll a 12 and draw a winning hand, your payout will be multiplied by 12.

The average roll is a 7 and the video poker version of Hot Roll occurs an average of once per six hands. That's meaningful to players only because we know fair odds requirements mean there's nothing in the programming that would make low multipliers come up more often than high ones.

QUESTION: At a double-zero roulette table, I saw someone playing the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 on almost every spin. It was a \$5 table, and she was using \$1 chips to bet \$1 on the five-number, then spread \$4 on other numbers.

Can you think of a good reason to always make the highest house edge bet?

ANSWER: Maybe 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 are her lucky numbers but she didn't want to risk more than \$1 on the combination.

The house edge on double-zero roulette is 7.89 percent on that combo, sometimes called the basket, and 5.26 percent on every other wager.

You can bet the same numbers and get the lower edge. A two-number split on 0 and 00 and a three-number street on 1, 2 and 3 would do it. So would single-number bets on each of the five. There are other possible combos using three or four bets.

However, each of those combos require multiple bets. The average result when betting \$1 on the basket is a 7.89-cent loss. If you bet \$1 on the 0-00 split and \$1 on the 1-2-3 street, average losses are 5.26 cents on each loss, or 10.52 cents overall.

For someone who is dead set on betting those five numbers, then the basket might be the lowest-loss way to go.

There's a flaw, of course. She'd be better off with the split and the street while reducing to three bets on other numbers instead of four. That would keep the edge at 5.26 percent. But if she's bound and determined to bet 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 while still making four other bets and staying at table minimum, that's her choice.
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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.

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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.