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# Deal Me In: "To one" and "for one"

3 January 2014

Dear Mark: In gambling, the term “to one” and “for one” are often used. Any chance you can break down the differences with a few examples for us? I mostly play roulette and video poker. Fred S.

Anytime, Fred, you notice "for" in the middle of something for something, it indicates that you are NOT keeping your original wager in addition to your payback. For example, when you see odds quoted as six “for” 1, it means you get a total of \$6 back for every \$1 wagered. Your “net” win, Fred, is five units, or 5 “to” 1. Another way of looking at it is, whenever odds are quoted "X amount for one", and you win, you will “net” one unit less than X.

In video poker, if you paytable pays 8-for-1 on a full house with one coin inserted, that coin is subtracted from the credit meter, then the full house adds eight credits when it hits. Your 8-for-1 payback is actually a profit of seven coins.

Using “to” one with roulette as an example, if you bet a chip on a particular number, say for instance 22 black and win, you keep your original chip and receive 35 more in winnings. Here, you are paid 35 “to” 1. In a sense, Fred, the effect is the same, whether we call it 36-for-1 or 35-to-1. You have wagered one chip, and after your win you have 36 chips, 35 of which are profit.

Dear Mark: As basic strategy advises, any time I have a 16 against a dealer 10, I take a hit. When the dealer is showing a seven (7), I panic and stand, even though the rules state I should be hitting. Mathematically, how off is my strategy? Jeb G.

Both hands, Jeb, are downright dogs. Yep, losers, and yet, one strategy is lighter on the wallet than the other.

Beginning blackjack players will usually hit 16 against a dealer's 10, but most, like you, get gun shy with their 16 against a dealer 7. So, which of the two hands is tougher on your billfold? There is a larger swing monetarily when you stand on a 16 against a 7 than against a 10.

Here’s the arithmetic, Jeb. Hitting that dog 16 versus standing pat against a 10 takes you from a 54¢ loser to a 52¢ loser. By hitting your 16 against the 7, you will go from a 48¢ loser to a 40¢ loser. Overall, you gain more by hitting your 16 against a 7 than against the 10.

Dear Mark: In blackjack, which is the worst up-card that the dealer can possess? Marty C.

Although you would think it’s a six, the dealer will bust more often that not when showing a five (5). More than any other up-card, with a five, he or she has approximately a 42 percent chance of busting.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Marie Antoinette owned a cue made of a single piece of ivory. She reportedly valued it so much that she wore the key to the cabinet in which it was stored around her neck. – Mike Shamos, Pool: History, Strategies, and Legends (1994)
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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.