Dear Mark: Are not slot machines programmed to pay off a particular percentage of money bet, and then after a jackpot has been hit the machine will tighten up and not pay out a jackpot until one has not been hit for a long time? Rachael S.
Part of your question gets a yes, Rachael, in that a slot machine is programmed to pay off a particular percentage. However, a jackpot is equally as likely to be hit on any given spin, regardless of the length of time played or past results. We can’t amend the laws of probability, which dictate that the longer the machine is played, the closer it will come to its target payoff. But every spin is completely random.
Dear Mark: Someone recently sent you a question, which referred to 'tight' video poker machines. Do the casinos program a video poker machine in a way that limits good hands? I was under the impression that video poker was the same as playing five-card draw with a deck of cards, with the deck being continually shuffled. I understood that the casinos made their money mainly by improper play and tighter pay schedules. Am I correct in my assumptions? Daniel N.
You are dead on, Daniel. It is poor play by patrons and ignored paytables that return far less than true odds that allow the casino operators to sleep easy. Insomnia can occur when players play correctly and seek out the best pay schedules available.
Dear Mark: If as you claim the Don’t Pass is a slightly better bet than the Pass line, how come so few people bet on it? Calvin S.
There are a couple of reasons, Calvin, probably the biggest being that most players don't even know that the Don't pass wager is a slightly better bet. Also, those who place their wagers on the Pass line do so because they enjoy the camaraderie of rooting for the shooter to make his or her point, and not for the house winning when the seven appears.
It is certainly more fun to go with the crowd than against it, and for what? -- the minuscule difference of a 1.40% casino advantage on the Don't pass versus 1.41% on the Pass line bet.
Dear Mark: After the point was established, I made (by mistake) a second Pass line bet. The seven rolled before the point and I lost both wagers. Is this fair, even if the dealer realized what I was doing? A.A.
The dealer isn’t employed by the casino to mentor player competence.
What you did is legal, that is, making a Pass line bet at any time. Obviously, you now realize that you should never make a Pass line bet or add to it after a point is established, since once a point is thrown the odds of winning drop significantly depending on that point.
The dealer would have slapped your wrist had you reached in and tried to snag your second Pass line bet because once a point has been established, that wager is considered a contract wager, and must stay in place, win or lose.
Contrarily, on the Don’t side, you can, but you should never remove a Don't pass bet after a point is made since there are more ways for a seven to appear than for any point number. This is why you cannot add to a Don't pass bet after an established point, because it would favor the player.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "I think, I think, that the whole magic power of gambling lies in its essential purity from endeavor, in its absence of guilt." -- Mario Puzo
The reason for the tremendous growth in the number of slot machines in casinos nationwide is simple: money, money, money. Just take a look at these figures from the Chicago area.
According to statistics in the 1998 annual report compiled by the Illinois Gaming Board, the 8,047 slots in casinos statewide generated adjusted gross revenue of $846 million from a total handle of $15 billion. Just seven years later, the number of machines grew to 9,823 which handled $23 billion and produced 1.5 billion in revenue.
The annual reports from the Indiana Gaming Commission reflect a similar trend. In 1998, the 15,169 slots statewide handled $15 billion and churned out $1 billion in casino win. In the most recent report covering the last half of 2005 and first half of 2006, slots had grown in number to 17,736, handle increased to 25.6 billion and the casino win doubled from seven years earlier to $2 billion.
The biggest area of growth was in low denomination product (penny and nickel games), which has resulted in a decrease in theoretical payout percentage. The figure dipped statewide in Illinois from 94.4 percent in 1998 to 93.5 percent last year. The drop was even more dramatic in Indiana: 93.4 percent to 92 percent.
Casinos are taking in more and paying out less, at least to gamblers as a collective group. State and local government tax bases are a different story.
It's easy to conclude that the increasing popularity of slots has come at the expense of table games, which once upon a time were dominant. Even though in some jurisdictions their numbers have waned, the tables maintain a loyal following which is reflected in the "drop", or out-of-pocket money spent to buy into the games.
In 1998, the 407 table games statewide in Illinois generated a drop of $1.4 billion and adjusted gross revenue of $260 million. Even though seven years later the number of tables plummeted to 233, the drop was not seriously impacted ($1.3 billion) but revenue tumbled to $231 million.
In Illinois, however, each property is restricted by state mandate to 1,200 gaming positions, which means that every time slots are added, tables usually are taken out.
Over in Indiana, where there is no restriction on the number of gaming positions, the number of tables has decreased to 641 from 714 in 1998, but the drop increased from $1.6 billion to $2.3 billion. Gamblers bet more money at fewer tables. Casino win increased from $311 million to $420 million.
Blackjack is by far the most popular table game, followed by craps, roulette and the poker hybrids, principle among them Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud, among others.
There's no doubt table games have a loyal following, but if they are to continue to be a viable component of casino business, property executives must explore ways to make them appealing to the new generation of gamblers.
It was obvious at last month's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas that new table game research and development centers on gimmicky variations of the mainstays. There's also an emphasis on electronic tables which eliminate the need for live dealers.
But at the same time, casinos cannot neglect the traditional games the way they were meant to be played. Player-friendly rules and affordable wagering minimums are a start.
By John G. Brokopp
HARVEY, La. — The only sign of Christmas on the casino floor is the poker dealer in the Santa hat, and Darren White is glad for that: The subcontractor from Georgia didn't come here to be reminded of the holidays, or anything, for that matter, outside these flashy, noisy walls.
He came for the distraction. And Boomtown Casino in suburban New Orleans, like other casinos along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, is glad to provide it.
Casinos, some of which emerged from last year's damaging hurricanes as bigger, better properties, are trying a range of tactics not only to draw players in — and make them feel at ease — but also to get an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
"It's been a hell of a year," Boomtown's general manager, Dave Williams, said in an interview at the casino in Harvey, La.
This time last year, many of the casinos, particularly in Mississippi, had not yet reopened. Those that had, like Boomtown, had all the business they could handle: construction workers here for the post-hurricane reconstruction played Christmas Day, and folks in line waited, six-wide, to board the riverboat on New Year's Eve, Williams said.
Riverboat gambling revenue in Louisiana hit a post-Katrina peak last December of $177.3 million, up from $124.7 million in December 2004, said Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association. Since then, and as more casinos have come back online, revenues have dipped nearer to pre-storm levels, he said.
Meanwhile in Mississippi, where there's an all-out effort to market Gulf Coast casinos with hotels and other amenities as tourist destinations, gross revenue is seemingly on pace to top last year, in spite of dips recorded this fall by that state's tax commission. There also are two fewer casinos open now on the Gulf Coast than before the hurricanes, 10 versus 12, said Becky Clark, a staff officer with the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
Casino operators are confident heading into 2007, when further industry expansion is set to help fill what some managers see as an almost insatiable appetite for the kind of escapism — from gambling and shopping to pampering — casinos are peddling. Boomtown is eyeing both a new gambling boat and hotel as part of its proposed, $145 million expansion. One more casino also is set to open on Mississippi's Gulf Coast sometime next year, Clark said.
Casinos hope to draw in crowds this coming week, building up to pull-the-stops New Year's parties, meant as much to hail the industry's rebirth as to draw in new customers with music and drinks and to-be-announced promotions. Some casino hotels are completely booked leading to New Year's.
"New Year's Eve sets the tone for your property," said Kerry Andersen, a spokeswoman for southwest Louisiana's L'Auberge Du Lac casino, near the Texas border.
This year, the offerings will include, among other things, an invitation-only show with The Temptations and The Four Tops and a dinner. The night tends to be the casino's biggest of the year, she said.
"You want to have the Golden Ticket," Andersen said, "the party everyone wants to be at."
That's true nationwide, said Andy Holtmann, editor of the Casino Journal, a trade publication. "For a lot of casinos, it's kind of a necessity," he said of a New Year's Eve bash. "You have to take some marketing risks here," and aim to set the casino apart from the competition, he said.
Some Gulf Coast casinos were preparing for an influx of customers as early as Christmas Eve, a traditionally quiet day, and certainly by Christmas Day. Many places are decorated, if not on the playing floor, where Christmas lights would almost surely be dimmed by the flashing lights of slot machines anyway. Visitors to Boomtown are greeted by faux alligators pulling Santa and his sleigh.
For many families, cooped up in close quarters such as a federally issued trailers, "It's almost like a savior thing," said Beverly Martin, executive director of the Mississippi Casino Operators Association. "'The casino's open, let's go down there, because there's a limit on what we can do here."'
BY BECKY BOHRER
Dear Mark: What happens at a blackjack table if every player refuses to cut the deck? Alex H.
Superstition, especially when it comes to cutting cards, can sometimes get screwy at a blackjack table. Players who refuse to cut will typically say, "I don't want to be blamed for a bad deck" or "I'm always unlucky," to which I used to respond as a dealer to the hapless player, “What the hell are you doing in a casino if you are always unlucky?”
Those living in the compos mentis world know that the cut really isn’t critical to the flow of the cards, nor does it make any difference who cuts or where.
Of course, Alex, exclusive of the horse sense above, it really depends on where you are playing as to what happens if no one chooses to cut his or her luck. Some casinos just have the dealer insert the cut card at a pre-determined spot in the deck(s), like two-thirds deep, and pitch away. Yet in the three joints where I dealt cards, if everyone refused, I personally hoodooed the players by my witching cut, and then watched their luck wither away.
Dear Mark: How do they determine the house edge in roulette? Bobby S.
By the house including the zero and double-zero on the layout and not paying you true odds for their inclusion. The casino pays all wagers on the layout according to odds that would be accurate if there were just 36 numbers on the wheel. But by adding 0 and 00, they produce 38 numbers. True odds of winning a single-number bet should, therefore, be 37 to 1, but winners are paid only 35 to 1.
Dear Mark: For the complete novice, which bet in the casino would you recommend that has a minimal house advantage, but also a game where you don’t have to use any type of basic strategy to lower the house edge? Chad R.
For the person with little or no gambling experience, who like you, wants to put an emphasis on something way easy to play, I would suggest baccarat, and betting on the banker hand every time. House edge: 1.17%.
Dear Mark: Do blackjack machines use a random number generator just like a video poker machine does? Tyler L.
It is a Nevada state law that an electronic game, which uses the representation of cards, must be truly random. Hence, both video poker and video blackjack machines both use random number generators. And although your letter, and presumably you, came from outside the Silver State, almost every gaming jurisdiction in the US more or less goes by Nevada regulations.
Dear Mark: An online casino offers two for one on all blackjacks. How much of an advantage do I get with this slight rule change? Christopher F.
First, Christopher, any and all rule variations have an effect on a player's expected return. By taking into account that you are probably playing proper basic strategy, and specific rules of where you are playing are relatively the same, blackjacks that pay 2 to 1 give the player an additional 2.2 percent advantage.
Dear Mark: In video keno, is there any difference between playing the same numbers each time or should I change them up each game? Sherry C.
It doesn’t make any difference, Sherry, either playing the same numbers or changing them up.
By the way, Sherry, since keno carries such a colossal casino advantage, any chance that I can convince you to play something else?
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “What are hunches but mysterious messages coming out of the depths of our minds through some sort of mental telepathy.” Harold S. Smith, former Owner of Harold’s Club in Reno
The newest players in Las Vegas plunked down $17.1 billion on the Strip on Tuesday, as two private equity firms agreed to buy Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the world's largest casino company.
In Las Vegas, the new owners will acquire Harrah's holdings, which include Harrah's, Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino, Bally's, Flamingo, Paris and Imperial Palace — giving it a 350-acre stretch along the Strip.
The highly anticipated sale to Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group was one of several major acquisitions of gaming outfits by private investment firms. The purchasers also agreed to assume $10.7 billion in debt.
It probably will be one of the top 10 private equity buyouts of 2006 — a year of record-setting acquisitions by private investors. Others have included the $21-billion buyout of hospital operator HCA Inc. and the $20-billion buyout of Equity Office Properties Trust.
Harrah's Chief Financial Officer Jonathan S. Halkyard said the management team was likely to stay in place as well as the company's ambitious plans for continued growth on the Strip and around the world.
"We really see this as a change in the ownership structure of the corporation, and not a change in strategy," Halkyard said.
The new owners issued a statement expressing confidence in Harrah's management's plans for the future.
The $90-a-share deal would end a takeover saga set in motion more than two months ago, when Las Vegas-based Harrah's said Apollo and Texas Pacific had initially offered $81 a share.
Harrah's operates more than 40 casinos in 13 states, including Harrah's, Caesars and Horseshoe. The company also owns the rights to the World Series of Poker — the super bowl of the gaming world.
But in Las Vegas, Harrah's casinos have been overshadowed by glitzier new properties such as Wynn Las Vegas and the Venetian.
"They spent two to three years trying to deal with the very high end of the market, but they finally just gave up on it," said economics professor Bill Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling at the University of Nevada at Reno.
Discussions with a special committee began last week, after the deadline set by Harrah's board for offers. The casino giant also reportedly received an $87-a-share bid from Penn National Gaming Inc., a Wyomissing, Pa.-based race track and casino operator.
Although the private equity firms and casino company had agreed on the price last week, the parties haggled through the weekend.
Private equity has found its way into gaming before, initiated by Colony Capital's $420-million acquisition of Harveys Casino Resorts in 1998. In 2004, the firm then bought the Las Vegas Hilton for $280 million. Other private-equity companies with gaming holdings include Oaktree Capital Management and Bay Harbour Management.
Although some have speculated that the Harrah's deal would spur further acquisitions by private equity firms of casinos, industry regulations hinder sales of gaming institutions.
Foremost among the difficulties are state licensing regulations. At Harrah's, thousands of high-level employees have gone through license approval, which includes a background check and character investigation.
Lloyd D. Levenson, of law firm Cooper Levenson, said he has handled dozens of ownership transfers for casino companies and the process varies greatly.
"There is a lot of discretion involved in negotiations with regulators on who has to file and who doesn't," said Levenson, who has Harrah's as a client although not on the buyout deal.
It is likely to take a year for Apollo and Texas Pacific to obtain the gaming regulatory approvals before the deal formally closes, Halkyard of Harrah's said.
By building gaming venues that cater to Middle America, Harrah's has a diverse line of establishments from coast to coast, including a management contract for an Indian casino near Temecula and several properties on the shores of Atlantic City, N.J.
By Claire Hoffman
Atlanta, GA (December 19th, 2006) Bluff magazine (www.bluffmagazine.com), America’s leading poker magazine, has announced the winners of their 2006 Readers’ Choice Awards in their January issue, available on newsstands now. These awards are determined by the fans of poker--not the industry--and are the only magazine awards of their kind.
Highlighting the award competition was a contentious battle for the top online poker room between Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. To view a full list of the Annual Readers’ Choice Award categories and winners, pick up a copy of Bluff anywhere magazines are sold.
In addition to the Best Poker Room category, poker enthusiasts worldwide had the chance to cast their ballot on a variety of categories including: Most Entertaining Poker Player to Watch, Best Brick-and-Mortar Poker Room and Best Poker Analyst.
“Bluff magazine continues to be the voice of the poker player and fan worldwide. Now poker players have an equivalent to television’s People’s Choice Awards. The Bluff Readers’ Choice Awards are a true testament to the companies and players who receive the various accolades as ‘the best of the best’ in more than 20 different poker categories.” said Eric Morris, Co-President of Bluff magazine.
Jimmy Shapiro, Zucker Media Group
425-292-0425, [email protected]
About Bluff Media (www.bluffmagazine.com)
Bluff Media is the publisher Bluff magazine and owner/producer Bluff Poker Radio. Bluff magazine is America's largest poker magazine providing poker enthusiasts with quality content, which keeps them up-to-date with the fast-paced, modern poker lifestyle. Regular contributors include: Jennifer Tilly, Michael Craig, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Clonie Gowen, Mike Caro, and Annie Duke.
Bluff Poker Radio is the nation’s only syndicated weekly radio poker show. In conjunction with Harrah’s Entertainment (NYSE:HET) Bluff Poker Radio produced the first ever live radio broadcast of the World Series of Poker. Bluff Poker Radio’s live broadcast of the World Series of Poker spanned 10 hours a day and covered each of the final tables, including the $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold’em Main Event.Categories: News
Dear Mark: Last week you mentioned comps and how to get them for blackjack players. How about for those of us who play slots, how do we get them? Fran F.
Slot players get their share of goodies by signing up for a Player’s Card and inserting it into the machine’s card reader while playing. Doing so allows the casino’s computer to track the amount of money you fed into the machine and reward you accordingly.
Casinos, Fran, also have promotions to cajole players into signing up, so just by registering for your Player’s Club Card, you may even be entitled to some freebies for joining. Why, I just re-gifted a lovely casino tote bag to a brother-in-law I don’t like.
So what can you expect comp-wise by being a slot player? Well, even though casinos vary on what they’ll dole out, luckily the majority of them splash on their brochures information on how much money you will need to play to earn the points needed to get a specific comp.
Also, Fran, you might want to check out your favorite casino’s web site for that same information. Not only can you possibly sign up for a Player’s Card online, a couple of casinos where I have a Player’s Club Card allow me to track my points right from my laptop.
Dear Mark: I know you are completely against systems of any kind, but I’ve been working on one for the past three years that I believe is foolproof against roulette. Would you be willing to review it and see if I’m on to something? In exchange, if you feel it’s worthy, I would be willing to allow you to invest in it, and of course, share the profits. Harry J.
I flipped a coin and it came up tails, so, I’ll pass. But you know what, Harry, once you make a kazillion dollars, don’t forget to drop me a line and say “hey Dummy, I told you so.”
Dear Mark: Hooray for me. I actually found a single deck blackjack game that pays the full amount for a blackjack, and not six for five. Anyhow, on the first hand, myself and the player next to me both got aces to split, and we both received face cards. Although I am not a card counter, how would you bet the next hand? Rob B.
Bet small or not at all.
Although Rob, as stated, was not counting down the deck, even as a recreational player, if you happen to see a disproportionate number of tens and aces leave the deck, you will want to bet less, especially on a single deck game. Likewise, you will want to increase your wager if lots of small cards are withdrawn, especially fives and sixes.
Now, Rob, as to your hurrah account of locating a tough-to-find single deck game that pays 3 to 2 for a blackjack: Yes, some casinos may still offer "Single Deck" blackjack, however, there may be a fang behind that welcoming grin. Note that blackjacks now predominantly pay "6 to 5." Minus the 6 to 5 rule the house edge is typically 0.05% against a basic strategy player. Add a 6-5 rule on blackjacks and the cost to a smart player is an additional 1.39%, for a total casino advantage of 1.44%. Rob, you’d be much better off on a multiple deck game that pays 3 to 2 for a blackjack than on a single deck game that pays 6 to 5.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Fear can make a sucker do some of the most drastic things you ever imagined …like taking a job.” Minnesota Fats (1966)Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
Dear Mark: I received an offer in the mail that if I use this person’s strategy at video poker, and play on machines that hypothetically return close to 100%, that I will be a winner every time, GUARANTEED! What is the deal here? Ken G.
GUARANTEED? Ah, another swindler scamming their system.
Before you get sucked in, here’s the real deal. True, by always playing perfect basic strategy you can achieve any video poker machine’s maximum payback. If you have knowledgeably selected a machine that offers a potential return very close to, or even exceeding, 100%, then, technically, you could have an edge over the house, and probably a winner over the long haul, but guaranteed?, not so.
Even the casino, Ken, isn’t guaranteed winning against every gambler’s play, though they do just happen to have an edge on nearly all the games, and on the wagers on those games. In a house holding such a guarantee, and never paying off, there’d be very few and only rather sleepy gamblers, wouldn’t there?
Yes, Ken, I’ve written plenty in the past to the effect that video poker is one of the only games where the smart player can get an advantage over the house, but there is a difference between playing with an advantage, and always being a winner. The one doesn’t necessarily GUARANTEE the other.
Dear Mark: I’m making my first trip to Las Vegas. Blackjack is the game I normally play. How would I go about getting comps? All tips would be appreciated. Rick D.
You start by asking, Rick, because if you don’t, how in the heck can they, the pit boss, say yes. Second, you will need to be rated. They -- this time “they” is a computer, will assess your rating and eligibility for comps. To get your goodies, you will be expected to bet a decent chunk of change for a calculated stretch of time. Then they, casino management, will base your room, food and beverage goodies on what you are probably going to lose. Huh? On what I “lose”, and not what I show up with, you ask. Yep.
They, the computer again, now considers your average bet, how many hours you were possibly going to play, speed of the game, and the casino advantage. This, in theory, computes essentially your expected loss to the casino over a specific period of time, and suggests to the management how much to give back to you in the form of comps.
Quick example: Suppose Joe Six Pack is betting $20 a hand for three hours, averaging 100 hands per hour, coupled with the usual house advantage of five percent the casino holds over the average blackjack player. The casino’s evil wizard can predict in advance that Joey will lose $300. ($20 X 3 hrs. X 100 hands X .05 = $300).
So what will losing $300 get him? Well, if he were to ask up-front about some freebies, and they rated him, he should get at least a feeding frenzy at their buffet.
Nuts to that you say. “I ain’t gonna lose no 300 buckaroos just for a trip to the chow line.” Well, you could use some comp chicanery by initially betting more when the pit boss starts watching and rating your then-play, and less when he isn’t. What you’re doing would be making the pit boss think you’re a high roller. The computer knows only what is keyed in, and it rations out gratuities accordingly.
Speaking of buffets, how about a Buffet Wisdom of the Week: “If you eat well you can eat more.” Rachael RayCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
Dear Mark: Is there a difference in payback between a standard $1 slot machine and a $1 Megabucks machine. Sally O.
A wide-area progressive, such as a Megabucks machine, typically coughs up 87% to the player, which, compared to a standard one-dollar slot that roughly pays back 94%, representing a seven percent loss in long-term return. Unfortunately, Sally, that percentage difference is tied up in a jackpot that you probably will never hit.
Dear Mark: What are your thoughts on alternating between two and three coins on a slot to save money? Cindy B.
Most slot machines, Cindy, offer an incentive to play the maximum coin amount. For example, two-coin inserted may pay 2,000, but three coins pays out 5,000, a bonus of 1,000 additional coins. If this were the case with the machine you had in mind, then I would always recommend playing max coins.
But if the machine is a straight multiplier, say for instance the top jackpot line pays 1,000 with one coin inserted; the second pays 2,000, and the third 3,000, then, yes, occasionally betting less wouldn’t make a difference.
Dear Mark: I really loved you column last week on card counting. I do have a question regarding counting multiple decks. Is it possible? Also, can you count cards when playing blackjack online? Al A.
Thanks, Al, for the nice compliment. Anyhow, as to your question, yes, if you have the smarts to count down one deck, you can count down two, six or even eight decks. You just happen to be counting longer between shuffles.
As for counting cards online, smarts won’t matter since most online casinos shuffle-up after every hand.
Dear Mark: This actually happened at our friendly Friday night poker game. A player early in the evening got four aces and the king of spades to win the hand. Later on, he got the exact same hand? What are the chances of that occurring? Dale L.
Above average if he happened to be the dealer, who happens to be a master card magician, or has unbelievable skills at dealing seconds and bottoms. You did though state “friendly” in part of your question, so, I’ll tell you that there are 2,598,960 possible hand combinations with a 52-card deck. So, Dale, the odds of getting any one specific hand would be one in 2,598,960.
Dear Mark: What is the correct strategy for late surrender? Don N.
Smart blackjack players always play in a casino that offers the best playing conditions. Early and late surrender are two such rules that do help the player.
Early surrender permits a player to relinquish half of the wager even if the dealer has a blackjack. With late surrender, a player loses the bet if the dealer possesses a blackjack.
Basic strategy for late surrender on a multi-deck game is as follows:
Surrender hard 16 (but not 8-8) vs. 9, 10, ace.
Surrender hard 15 vs. 10, although some experts also advise those who are risk- averse to surrender hard 15 vs. ace.
One more thing, Don. Don’t think of surrender as giving up half your wager, but as just getting back half your probable loss.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Lady luck rules in the shot run.” Ray Franke, Magical BlackjackCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
Dear Mark: Unfortunately, the video poker machines where I play are all 'tight.' Therefore, I have been considering going back to the $5.00 BJ tables. I try to count, most of the time, and I'd say I was 'fairly' proficient at it but I've always wondered.........if you had your druthers, which table seat would you like to have (first base, third base, anywhere, when you're counting). Does a different seat have 'any' advantage, at all? Don H.
For the average player, or even someone who benefits from the use of perfect basic strategy, seat position has little significance on the player's expected return. But for card counters who use strategy variations, it is probably best to sit at the last taken seat to the dealer's right (third base) in order to see as many cards as possible before playing your hand.
By the way, Don, it is a mistaken belief that incorrect play by someone at third base always "takes the dealer's bust card" or "gives the dealer a card that always seems to beat the table.” Not so. As long as the shuffle is randomized, improper play by other players will just as likely help as hurt you. Randomness neither sulks nor guffaws.
Dear Mark: What is the easiest card-counting system there is for blackjack? Daniel P.
Card counting, Daniel, is not restricted to any one method. There are plenty of systems available, but there is a tradeoff between ease of use and theoretical power. The more complex the system, the harder it is to use. The central idea is simply that a deck rich in high cards favors the player and a deck rich in low cards favors the dealer. Therefore, the goal of any worthwhile counting system is to track the changing imbalance of big to little cards in the diminishing deck. When that ratio favors the counting player, he or she bets more money; when it favors the dealer, the counter bets less.
The crudest and probably easiest form of card counting is eyeballing the game, that is, when you see a lot of big cards played you decrease your bet, with small cards you increase it. It is still a form of counting in the eyes of some in casino management that just recently got Yours Truly backed off a game.
The next simplest would probably be the ace/five count; it requires that you count only the aces and fives, and it’s preferably used on a multiple-deck game. You increase your bets from one to three units when there are more aces than fives still in the deck. It doesn’t give you the biggest edge, only around a half of one percent, but supplementing it with perfect basic strategy, you’re at least playing in the black against the house.
One of the easier and more popular card counting systems for the game of blackjack is a one level count, a.k.a. the Hi-Lo system. The Hi-Lo system consists of assigning a point value of +1, 0, or –1 to every card dealt. Cards numbered 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 get +1; 7, 8, 9 cards are counted as 0; and Aces and 10-point cards are assigned a value of -1. You keep a running total and vary your bets, from one hand to the next, guided by the constantly updated imbalance figure, which predicts whether the next hand will favor you or favor the dealer.
Final recommendation: Even with a theoretical advantage varying from 0.5% to1.5%, you shouldn’t quit your day job!
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Having experience playing poker is a very useful tool. It allows you to recognize your mistakes when you make them again." --VP PappyCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
Dear Mark: I just encountered it again on a Vegas talk board. Posters were talking about how often the number hits of roulette when for some reason they had a hunch and did not play it or have played it for an hour and just quit. Just talking about randomness may not be enough to really explain what is happening. It really involves the way our brain tricks selective memory and us. Then we trust that perception and start playing hunches. What we probably need is some science about the brain to remind us how fragile our perceptions are and perhaps a language to go with that. And you would be just the guy to manage to translate that science into words average people might understand. Dewey H.
You’ve got the wrong dude, Dewey! When it came to science, all I was good at was turning Sister Cyrilla’s D into a B and making it look B-coming enough to bamboozle my Mom. She never knew nor had a hunch otherwise, and besides, she’s gone now, probably playing a Blazing 7’s machine at St. Peter’s Casino and Resort Hotel.
Hunches, Dewey, are nothing more than a premonition or suspicion that such and such is going to happen. In your roulette case, Psychology 101 reminds us that a player wouldn’t have been playing if they hadn’t a hunch of an expected win, and when they do quit, a hunch tells them there is a winning spin somewhere in the near future. Being flat broke upon quitting is chalked up to bad luck, not to some skewed funny feeling gone awry or the foolishness of playing a game that has a 5.26% house advantage.
To close this out, let’s guess what percentage of readers of this column will henceforth substitute logic for faith in hunches. Will you? Let me know. My own hunch is down around the 0.1-2% range. Why? Because they’re gamblers and their sustaining faith is that of a rope has only one end.
Dear Mark: Does it make any difference if you press the spin button or pull the handle on a slot machine? Dottie N.
Whether you’re pressing the spin button or yanking a handle, either way electronic switches tell the machine that Dotie is here, and she is ready for those reels to spin. The random number generator within that affects the eventual outcome doesn’t give one iota how you initiate play.
Surgeon Generals Warning: With prolonged play, both methods have health consequences. One will give you carpal tunnel syndrome, the other tennis elbow.
Dear Mark: I know this must be a simple question, but on the come out roll, if you make a bet on the Pass line or the Don't pass, can you pick up either bet after the point has been established? Gary G.
As for taking your bet down or reducing its size on the Pass line once a point has been established, you cannot, as it is considered a contract wager, and must stay in place, win or lose.
You can make a pass line bet at any time but you should never make one or add to it after a point. Once a point is thrown the odds of winning drop to 33% to 45% depending on the point. And besides, 45% of your pass line wins are made when the 7 or 11 shows on the come-out roll.
On the Don’t side, you can, but you should never remove a Don't pass bet after a point is made. Once that point has been made, there are more ways of a wanted seven appearing than any point number. There are six ways to roll a seven, and only five to roll a six or eight, four for the five and nine, and three ways for the four and ten. This is why you cannot add to a Don't pass bet after an established point since it would favor the player.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "When you are playing and losing, it won't always be the best player who is winning your money." --Larry W. Phillips, "The Tao of Poker"Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
At the Belterra craps tables, a few players roll the dice with pagers attached to their belts. One figures the devices indicate something important; perhaps the players are on-call doctors or businessmen awaiting word on an important deal.
They could be, but these pagers are used for another pressing need: to signal a coveted open seat in Belterra’s poker room. When the room runs a waiting list — and it frequently does — players may be issued pagers so they can roam the rest of the property and return when it’s their turn to join a game.
Anywhere else in a casino, such fare would be unthinkable. Waiting lists for nickel slots? Pagers for a seat at a blackjack table?
That would be unheard of. Then again, so would imagining a decade ago that poker would become the hottest game in America.
From backrooms to big-time
Poker’s emergence into the mainstream of the sports world can be credited to a perfect convergence of events.
With 1998’s “Rounders,” poker found its modern big-screen influence, with Matt Damon and Edward Norton fleecing tourists and chasing illegal games. Damon’s dream was to build a bankroll to take to Las Vegas and win the World Series of Poker.
Televised poker hit it big five years later, when the Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour became the network’s highest-rated show with 3 million to 5 million viewers weekly. Reruns did even better.
“Watching people make a million-dollar decision on every hand is great TV,” WPT founder Steve Lipscomb told USA Today in 2003.
Also in 2003, an unknown accountant named Chris Moneymaker won the $2.5 million first-place prize at the World Series of Poker’s main event. The main event requires a $10,000 entry fee; Moneymaker won his stake via a $40 online tournament.
His feat underlined the success of online poker, which has brought millions of players to the game. In 2004, players on the five largest online sites bet more than $38 billion.
Put all those factors together and you’ve got what poker players call the “nuts” — an unbeatable combination.
Players flood the river
Fueled by one or all of those factors, new players are storming casinos for live poker. Casinos, in turn, are storming back with room for all the newcomers.
On the Ohio River, Casino Aztar, Belterra, Caesars Indiana and Grand Victoria all have poker rooms.
Caesars expanded from eight to 21 tables in about two years’ time, evolving with the game’s popularity.
“We realized we still had a long waiting list on the weekends,” said Joe Feldman, Caesars Indiana’s vice president of casino operations.
Belterra opened its room June 7, 2005 —a 12-table area on the east end of the boat. In keeping with the new era of poker, it’s completely non-smoking and has plasma televisions and an electronic waiting list system (which works in conjunction with the pagers).
As a revenue source, poker rooms will never rival other areas of the casino. The house makes its money by keeping a percentage of each pot, known as a “rake.” This is usually not more than $5 a hand, which in the long run means a poker room is far less profitable than a craps pit.
But casinos also know they can’t afford not to have the hottest game around.
“It sets us apart from our competitors,” Belterra senior director of casino operations Kevin Kaufman said. “Say I’m in a car of four people and I like to play live poker, two of our gals like slots and he likes the craps table. Before, they would drive right past us; now we offer every game there is.”
When to Hold’em? All the time
In the current poker boom, one game stands above the rest: Texas Hold’em. New players need not concern themselves with Seven-Card Stud, Omaha or other versions of the game; Hold’em has emerged as the most telegenic and easiest to learn.
Simply said, in Hold’em a player gets two cards to use with five “community” cards shared by all other players. Of course playing the game is much more complex, but at its core, Hold’em is a fast game to pick up either in its cash or tournament format, the latter of which has been so successful on television.
One Friday night, Belterra offered nothing but Hold’em in its poker room, from low-limit $2-$4 games to no-limit games that vaguely resembled televised poker with players going “all-in” by risking their entire stack of chips on one hand.
“Go back 10 years ago; there was a 50/50 split between Stud and Hold’em,” Kaufman said, remembering his days at the President Casino in Iowa. “Now the country has gone crazy with Texas Hold’em.”
By John Schwarb
NEW YORK · More than two dozen people, including a professional baseball scout and a Florida-based, high-stakes poker player, were charged Wednesday in connection with a billion-dollar-a-year gambling ring that rivaled casino sports books.
The illegal betting scheme was orchestrated through a Web site called Playwithal.com, run by the poker player, James Giordano, 52, of Pine Crest, according to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Charges also were brought against three companies that allegedly helped Giordano develop and secure the Web site: Primary Development Inc. of Farmingdale, N.Y., Prolexic Technologies Inc. of Hollywood, and Digital Networks SA Inc. of Davie.
A break in the case came last year when investigators secretly hacked into a laptop computer that Giordano had left in a Long Island hotel while attending a wedding, police said.
He was arrested early Wednesday by FBI agents who had to scale the walls of his fortess-like Florida compound.
Also arrested was Frank Falzarano, 52, of Seaford, Long Island, identified by prosecutors as a scout for the Washington Nationals and a former scout for the San Francisco Giants.
He allegedly was a top earner in a network of 2,000 bookies who took more than $3.3 billion in cash wagers since 2004 from tens of thousands of customers nationwide.
"This is the largest illegal gambling operation we have ever encountered," Kelly said.
"It rivals casinos for the amount of betting."
Though the gambling ring relied on a Web site, it was different from the online betting operations targeted by recent federal legislation.
The scheme involved placing sports bets through bookies, who would assign bettors a secret code to track their wagers and monitor point spreads and results through the secured Web site, say investigators.
The bets were taken on all kinds of sports, including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, car racing, and golf.
The defendants allegedly laundered and stashed away "untold millions of dollars" using shell corporations and bank accounts in Central America, the Caribbean, Switzerland, Hong Kong and elsewhere, Brown said.
The prosecution is seeking the forfeiture of $500 million in assets, "among the largest such cases ever filed," Brown said.
A total of 27 in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Nevada were charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering, promoting gambling and other counts.
Giordano had waived extradition in Florida and was expected to be arraigned next week.
By Tom Hays
Dear Mark: For the lowest casino advantage, which game do you recommend that I play, craps, baccarat or single deck blackjack? Ray L.
There are oodles of variables, Ray, but with only finite space to hash over them, here’s the bottom line, life preserver attached: It depends on how the games are played, and which bets you make on those games.
To illustrate, take craps. The house edge on this game can be anywhere from 0.18% to 16.1%. Optimal strategy would be betting on the pass line and taking 10X odds. You’ve now reduced the house edge to 0.18%. With 5X odds the casino advantage is only 0.32%, which is still a far better than a bet on the bank hand in baccarat which carries a casino advantage of 1.17%, or a slightly lower 1.06% if you can find a game that offers only a 4% commission on that wager.
Single deck blackjack with favorable rules, along with employing perfect basic strategy does put the house edge under 1%, but still, unless you are a sophisticated card counter, a pass line bet with full odds would be the "best bet" of the three.
Dear Mark: I was recently in a home game when we had an argument about burning a card. I have looked and looked and I don't see any rules in the contrary. The situation was this. Two players were all in. One of the players said we should deal the cards without burning before the fourth and fifth card as that rule was only to protect against card marking. So we dealt the board out without the burns. After that hand we argued whether or not we should be burning the cards. We called the local casino and they told the person that asked for no burn that it was proper dealer etiquette to not burn a card. I still don't think that is right. Can you clear this up for me? Shane P.
For starters, Shane, whom did you call, the hostess in the casino coffee shop?
Two, you stated “One of the players said we should deal the cards without burning before the fourth and fifth card,” but it seems you all agreed, then spit up sour grapes, and finally you wrote me.
Well, it’s tough to referee after the fact an issue at someone else’s kitchen table, but here’s the deal, pun intended.
When it comes to burning cards, it is the function of the poker dealer is to burn a card after each betting round ends and before the community draw cards (the flop, the turn, and the river) are distributed. It’s commonplace in all casinos and card rooms that I have ever worked or played in and it is done to prevent cheating.
Dear Mark: I have a question for you regarding blackjack odds. Can you tell me the house edge in each of the following types of blackjack games – single deck versus two-deck, four-deck, six and eight-deck shoe and continuous shuffle machines? Seth S.
The house edge rises as the number of decks increases, all other rules being equal. So, Compared to a single deck, a two-deck game handicaps your play 0.35%, four decks, 0.48%, six decks, 0.54% and eight decks 0.58%. As you can see, it is always to your advantage to play on a game that offers the fewest decks. Also note, the house edge goes up substantially when you go from one deck to two, but the change is less dramatic as you add more decks.
As for a Continuous Shuffling Machine (CSM), it does lowers the house edge a miniscule amount compared to a cut card six-deck game, but that slight decline in the house edge will cost you more money. What? How’s that? It’s because the speed of the game increases by about 20 percent when a casino uses a CSM. If the dealer never stops to shuffle, you are going to be seeing a lot more hands per hour, and with that additional exposure of your hard-earned money, expect to lose more than any cut card game.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Here is the terrible truth. I get more pure happiness winning twenty grand at the casino crap table than when I receive a check for many times that amount as the result of honest hard work on my book." --Mario Puzo
By Mark Pilarski
Dear Mark: I happen to be a very tight player when it comes to playing Texas Hold’em. When I get a real decent starting hand like Kings or Aces, I get a little overly excited and bet heavily, which throws bluffing right out the window. Any ideas on how I can throw off fellow players? Chip B.
Hey, Chip, plenty of players, when getting a two-card starting hand of Kings or Pocket Rockets, froth at the mouth like a diseased coyote. Most players, like yourself, tend to raise, then re-raise with either of these hands. But once you are identified as a very tight player, folding most of the hands you’re dealt, and then all of a sudden you pull a Pickett’s Charge, obviously you ain’t bluffing nobody.
I would recommend you occasionally “slow play” your big hand. If you have a pair of Kings or Aces, just call before the flop. Your fellow players by now are used to you betting big on big hands, but by your slow playing, opponents will now figure you for a weak hand, and you’ll end up winning a bigger pot because of it.
Dear Mark: When playing slots, does it make any difference which increments of bills that I put into the machine? For instance, if I put a $10 bill in instead of a $100 bill, does that affect my chances of wining? Rachel H.
A slot machine does not contradistinguish your hard-earned cash as it gobbles it up, no matter what denomination, nor will it increase or decrease your odds of winning, except in the rare case of slot indigestion.
Dear Mark: What would happen if two players both made the progressive side bet in Caribbean Stud, and both get a Royal Flush? Is the pot split down the middle? I asked a dealer this question and he said he’s never seen it happen , nor was he sure exactly how the jackpot would be split. The dealer then called over the pit boss and she said it’s never happened in their casino nor has she ever heard of two royals in one hand. She too wasn’t quite sure on how the progressive would be split, but she didn’t think it would be down the middle. What are your thoughts on how the pot would be split? Chuck D.
The reason, Chuck, that both the dealer and pit boss have never eye-witnessed two royals in one hand is because the odds of that happening are over 20 billion to one. To be exact, it’s one in 20,103,110,301.Very few have ever played that many hands, and anyway, after the ten billionth, one’s memory begins to fade.
I’m frowning deeply here, and if wrong I’m sure I’ll hear about it, but I believe the player on the right gets the progressive jackpot and the other player wins a measly $10,000. Reason being, with Caribbean Stud, players get paid right to left, so the player on the right gets paid first, which would be the progressive jackpot, then the meter is reset to $10,000, and then the gone berserko second player would then get paid.
Settling this squabble could get ugly, but luckily, and I’m guessing here again, it’ll never happen in our lifetimes.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Industry executives and analysts often mistakenly talk about strategy as if it were some kind of chess match. But in chess, you have just two opponents, each with identical resources, and with luck playing a minimal role. The real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them. In our industry, Bill Gates owns the poker table until someone proves otherwise.” -- David MoschelCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
You mentioned that the odds are 40,000 to one of getting a royal flush when playing video poker. I also understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will hit one if I were to play 40,000 hands. But, if I were play those 40,000 hands and get one, how much would it cost me? Joe H.
A whole lot of time, $250, and an expanded waistline. Here’s the breakdown.
If you’re the average Joe, that’s you, you’re going to be playing about 350 hands per hour, give or take. At 350 hands per hour it will take you just over 114 hours to play 40,000 hands. If you were to play two, two-hour sessions per day, with a buffet in between, it will take you 28.5 days.
Okay, Joe, on your mark, get set…
…now that we have those 40,000 hands out of the way, and you have increased your girth by two inches, you should have lost $250. Here’s the arithmetic.
Playing the maximum coin amount on a quarter machine will cost you $1.25 per hand. Multiply that by 40,000 hands and you will have cycled $50,000 through the machine. (Tip one: You might as well get credit for all those quarters you’re inserting, so make sure you’re using your Player’s Club Card to get credit for those 40,000 hands.
If you were to play perfect basic strategy on a full-pay 9/6 jacks or better machine, and hit the royal in 40,000 hands, you should achieve a return of 99.5%. Multiply $50,000 by .05 percent, and you should lose, in theory, $250. The feeding frenzy using your Player’s Club Card should be free.
Tip two: Check out weightwatchers.com. Their point system works. I know!
For a low-roller like myself who enjoys video poker, which is better, playing five nickels on a nickel machine, or one quarter on a quarter machine? (P.S. The paytables are surprisingly the same.) Marcy S.
With similar paytables, Marcy, you will want to stick with the lower denomination nickel machine. Here’s why.
If you hit a royal flush on a nickel machine playing five coins you will win $200. Compare that to hitting a royal flush on a quarter machine with one coin where your payout is typically $67.50.
You are involving the same risk, one quarter, but a difference of $132.50 between the two machines when it comes to payoff for hitting the royal.
On select video poker machines, they offer a double down option where after you win a hand, the machine asks if you would like to double your win. I like this feature and always try for a winning streak of five consecutive wins before I quit. Usually I don’t get past the third win, which leads me to ask what my odds are of winning five of these double down hands in a row? Isn’t it still 50/50 each hand? Paul R.
The double down option feature that Paul is speaking of entails being dealt five cards face down, picking one card, and the machine picking another. If Paul’s card is higher than the machine’s, he doubles his winnings from the original poker hand. If it’s lower, he loses them.
You are correct, Paul, that it is a 50/50 proposition that you will double your money, but only the first time. Also, each subsequent time once you’ve won, the same 50/50 chance of winning applies. But your question states “trying for a winning streak of five consecutive wins before quitting.” Well, setting such a lofty goal gives you only a 3.13% chance of this occurrence happening, and not 50/50.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “The Vegas strip must contain more elegance and extravagance per square inch than anywhere in the known universe.” —Rob WiserCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Autism Association (NAA) today announced the first No Limit Hold 'Em Poker Tournament, to be held Thursday, November 2 at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City in the hotel's new 85-table poker room. The tournament will get underway at 7:00 p.m. with sign-in beginning at 5:00 p.m.
According to Borgata's Director of Poker Marketing Ray Stefanelli, "Borgata is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of others. Hosting the NAA Tournament is consistent with that mission." The event will follow genuine No Limit Hold 'Em tournament guidelines with cash pay-outs to the winners. "It's real Texas Hold 'Em action and excitement. Poker players can win while supporting a great cause," said Stefanelli.
The $250 entry fee includes buy-in to Borgata's nightly No Limit Hold 'Em Tournament, a $100 contribution to NAA, admission to an exclusive players' lounge at Mixx, and special gifts donated by corporate sponsors. The players' lounge at Mixx will feature live entertainment, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction. A non-player package is also available for $130, providing an option for those who don't play poker but want to join in the fun and support the cause.
Wendy Fournier, parent and NAA president, plans to ante-up for the event. "Autism has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., affecting one in 166 children. We hope the growing popularity of poker playing will offer an enjoyable venue for people to partner with NAA in finding a cure for the hundreds of thousands of children now diagnosed with autism."Categories: News
When does the random number generator stop and determine your outcome on a slot machine? Is it with the first coin, or when the player spins the reels? I’ve always wondered this because you hear of players who didn’t insert the maximum coin amount, and then missed getting the big jackpot. Kenny H.
The stop time of the random number generator, Kenny, is set by the individual maker of the machine. Some it’s when the first coin is inserted, others the moment the player hits the button that spins the reels. I believe the largest such manufacturer, IGT, triggers theirs by the initiation of the reel spin. Assuming IGT does this, it is highly unlikely that a player would have stopped the RNG at exactly the nanosecond needed to display the mega-jackpot combination on the screen if he had inserted the maximum coin amount, versus playing short. In that blink of an eye before inserting coin three, then hitting the button, the RGN would have cycled through tDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems housands more combinations, so the player who hit the jackpot with one or two coins played, would almost certainly not have hit it with the maximum coins inserted.
When I play draw poker at home, I have gotten a royal flush, and yet, I have never received one in the casino playing video poker. Are the odds the same, or does the casino make it tougher to receive one to keep its doors open? Willy H.
The odds of hitting a royal flush on a Jacks-or-better video poker machine are identical to the odds with a hand-shuffled deck at the kitchen table, approximately 40,000 to one. Yet that doesn’t mean Willy Wonder is guaranteed to hit a royal if he plays 40,000 hands. You could instantly hit a royal in 10 hands or 100,000 hands, or never see or hold one.
Take my Mom for example. She was a 20-year VP aficionada before she passed --I’m wondering out loud if the casino upstairs offers 9/6 machines-- but never hit a royal. My dad, who seldom if ever plays video poker, has hit two.
The casino’s advantage in video poker is in adjusting the payout for different poker hands in relation to the odds of making each hand, not in making it tougher for you to hit big in their house than it is at home.
There was this real frisky blond just across from me at the craps table, and she was wearing this blouse that became sort of semi see-through at certain angles of the overhead lights, and I was distracted and lost big. Isn’t that against the law? Gurth T.
Good to hear from you again, Gurth.
Your question reminds me of the woman who complained to Dear Abby of all the violence, nudity, fowl (sic) language, and sex on her VCR.
Gaming commissions have contemplated banning "Distractive behavior" from time to time over the decades, but are still happily researching the matter. Two things you could do in self-defense: 1) Keep your head down and only make smart wagers like a pass line bet with odds or placing the 6 or 8 (you shouldn’t lose big with those wagers even against a magical blouse), or 2) Have your -- or someone's -- wife with you; women are born experts in protecting their men from such visual assaults.
My accountant (sort of a gaming historian) would like to know just where the casino is that causes you this trouble.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "As a lifelong poker player, I can't believe the underhanded way this new bill restricting online poker was passed through Congress. What does Internet poker have to do with the Safe Port Bill? We Texans don't like this kind of trickery. Texas is a state where you can see an enemy coming, a friend is a friend, and you look someone straight in the eyes." -- Living poker legend Doyle Brunson
By Mark Pilarski
Northwest Indiana's reputation as the leader in live poker in the Greater Chicago area gaming market is about to become even more formidable.
The Blue Chip Casino Hotel in Michigan City gets in the game starting Oct. 23 at approximately 11 a.m. when poker room manager Vanessa Johnson's command to "shuffle up and deal" will set in motion the region's newest card-playing venue.
Blue Chip will begin operations with eight tables, which is smaller than the dedicated rooms at the Majestic Star Casinos in Gary (21 tables) and Resorts East Chicago (16 tables), but no less significant.
When one considers the only property among the four casinos on the Illinois side to have live poker is the Hollywood in Aurora with six tables in a small section of the floor, this latest addition is reason for fans of the game to celebrate.
The poker room will occupy a portion of the casino's High Limit area.
"We are very excited about bringing live poker to the Blue Chip," said Don Juzwiak, the property's director of slot operations.
"Its development has always been on the back burner since we opened the new casino. It was just a matter of deciding where it was going to go. We wanted the room to have an identity all its own, and I think we've succeeded."
The room will host the three most popular games: Texas Hold'em, Omaha and Seven Card Stud. The best news is that the stakes will be affordable for recreational players and even beginners, who are eager to play but intimidated by big-money games frequented by poker veterans.
"The limits will start at $3/6 for Hold'em and Omaha, and $2/$5 for Stud," Johnson said. "The games will be available at all times. Those will be our lowest limits, but of course we'll spread up to no limit and accommodate whatever games our guests request."
"Another nice touch will be when players stop by to have their names placed on a waiting list, they'll be given a pager to carry ... which will alert them when their seat is available. This will eliminate having to make announcements over the paging system throughout the casino."
Blue Chip officials are not ruling out expansion. Once the poker room has been up and running for a while, additional activities are planned, including the possibility of tournaments.
Given poker's broad-based popularity and the ratings of television shows devoted to tournaments and tours, the Blue Chip is taking a giant step toward meeting a market demand that is underserved in the this region.
BY JOHN G. BROKOPP
In Pai Gow Poker, what is the rank of the Joker when it applies to a flush? For instance, let’s say my five-card hand consists of an Ace, Jack, 7, 5, and four of hearts and the Joker to complete the flush. The dealer has an Ace, Queen, Jack, 4, and three of spades. Since the Joker can be used to complete a flush and also as an Ace, wouldn’t my hand beat the dealer’s being that my Ace, Ace (Joker) Jack bets the dealers Ace, Queen, Jack? David N.
Your five-card flush hand, David, would still beat the dealer’s, but you couldn’t use the Joker as an additional Ace for your flush in hearts. You beat the dealer because the Joker would be used as a King, which beats in your example the dealer’s second card Queen.
To complete a flush, (or straight or straight flush), the joker can substitute for any specific card not already in the hand, but not duplicate a card (e.g. two Aces as above) with but one exception: an Ace can be treated as a fifth-suit ace, which allows for the possibility of five aces.
I have the hardest time locating nickel machines in the casino. Is there a place where casinos typically place them? Helen M.
Unfortunately, Helen, there is no way I can tell you where your casino’s slot manager places their nickel machines, since when it comes to slot mix strategy (physical placement of machines), no two casinos are doing it exactly the same.
Slot management places its machines strategically to maximize customer appeal and potential casino earnings, and one of their variables, coin denomination, can be blended into the casino floor in infinite variations.
The easiest way to locate nickel machines on the casino floor is to look at the lights on top of slot machines. Called candles, the bottom of the light is colored and that color can tell you the denomination of the machine. Typically the nickel machine candles are red, quarter machine candles are yellow, and dollar machine candles are blue.Deal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems
When you come up to machine that you want to play, and you happen to find another player’s club card in the machine, what am I supposed to do with the card? I gave a left behind card to a cocktail waitress walking by, and when the player came back looking for it, he was pretty perturbed that it wasn’t still there. I thought I was doing him a favor, but I guess not. Debra E.
When I low-dose Ginkgo Biloba, I too forget to pull out my Player’s Club Card more than I would like to admit in this column.
Luckily, slot etiquette is that when a player forgets the player’s card on leaving the machine, it is customary for the next patsy, I meant player, to place the other player’s card on top of the machine for later retrieval. That’s where I look for mine when I leave it behind.
Now if only I can only recollect which machine I was previously playing on.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “…That is the best strategy to solve the problem. I mean, I – you – one has a stronger hand when there’s more people playing your same cards.” George W. Bush, WH Press Conference, October 10th, 2006. (Actually, you have a stronger hand when your opponents don’t play the same cards.)Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
LONDON -- Sportingbet PLC, the British online gambling company, said Friday it had dumped its U.S. operations following legislation to ban Internet gambling in that country.
Sportingbet sold its U.S. sports-betting, casino business and poker operations to Antigua-based Jazette Enterprises Ltd. for $1, offloading $13.2 million of debt.
The company said the sale saved it the $14 million cost of closing down the operations. The businesses have a total 500 employees.
Sportingbet said it will keep its European sports, casino and poker businesses, Australian sports business and the non-U.S. business of Paradise Poker.
Sportingbet sold the operations after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. If U.S. President George W. Bush decides to veto the legislation, Sportingbet said it would reclaim its U.S. operations from Jazette for a payment of $500,000.
Sportingbet shares were up 7.7 percent at 70 pence ($1.30) in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.
Andrew McIver, Sportingbet's chief executive designate, said in a statement that the company was "saddened to have to dispose of such a fantastic business as a result of political actions in the U.S. Congress."
"The sale however, prevents significant closure costs which would have been both expensive and time consuming. It also preserves the employment of ... colleagues who have worked so hard to build the U.S. operations into the highly profitable business it is today," McIver said.
Sportingbet will retain the Internet addresses and intellectual property of some sites, but won't use them for any U.S. gaming purpose. Jazette has agreed not to take bets from non-U.S. residents for two years, and not to take bets from customers outside the Americas for three years.
Sportingbet will keep its Paradise Poker business, marketing it in Canada, Europe and other markets, but will stop taking bets from U.S. customers as of Friday.Categories: News
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada casinos won $1.06 billion in August, a record for the month, the state Gaming Control Board reported Tuesday.
Frank Streshley, senior research analyst for the board, said the August win was up 7.5 percent compared with the same month a year earlier.
Streshley said the Las Vegas Strip had a big month, with a gain of 14.3 percent, due in part to strong table game action that favored the resorts. He noted the casinos' take from baccarat games was more than double what it was in August 2005.
Other factors included convention activity and the Hasim Rahman-Oleg Maskaev heavweight fight in Las Vegas.
While the Strip was up, downtown Las Vegas was down 14.3 percent, the third straight monthly decline. Streshley said factors included the closure of the Lady Luck hotel-casino for remodeling.
Other markets that showed declines included Reno, down 2.3 percent, and clubs on Lake Tahoe's south shore, down 12.8 percent. However, casinos in Sparks posted a gain of 7.6 percent.
Streshley said clubs on Tahoe's south shore were hard hit by lucky dice players. He said craps revenue in August was down more than 100 percent compared with the take in August 2005.
The statewide win was the amount left in casino coffers after gamblers wagered $14 billion during August. That included $11.3 billion bet in slot machine games, and the rest on table games.
The state collected $67 million in percentage fees on gambling winnings, based on the August win. That was up 8.3 percent compared with the fees collected for the same month in 2005, and the total is about $5.4 million higher than what the state Economic Forum had predicted earlier.
"Win" is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. It represents casino revenue only - not hotel, restaurant or bar revenues.
A breakdown of the win showed that slots accounted for about $726.1 million of the total. That included $307 million won by multidenomination slots, up 19 percent. Penny slots were second with a win of $118 million, up 37 percent.
The board said live games, including poker, accounted for the $337 million balance of total. That included $105.5 million won on blackjack tables, up 7.7 percent; $33.7 million on craps tables, up 13.6 percent; $29 million on roulette, up 10.9 percent; and $3.5 million on sports pools, down 42 percent. Poker games won $13.8 million, up 17.7 percent.
By BRENDAN RILEY
You have stated that depending on the maker of the video poker machine, the draw cards are either behind the first five dealt cards, or they are dealt right from the top of a deck. Okay then, I’m playing in Michigan, and the video poker machine is made by IGT. So, where do those draw cards come from, right behind, or from the top of a deck? Does it make a difference? Frank D.
The majority of video poker machines in the past operated using parallel dealing. That is where all 10 cards are dealt simultaneously, the point being that your display cards and any draw replacements that may be called for are selected, dealt, and held in a single movement. Today, most machines employ serial dealing. Here, replacement cards are dealt rigDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems ht from the top of the deck -- as in a live poker game.
Someone working for IGT in Reno who reads this column in the Reno Gazette Journal will correct me if I’m wrong, but to the best of my knowledge IGT’s machines continuously shuffle the remaining 47 cards, and it is not until you press the draw button that you get whatever cards are on top of the deck at that precise moment.
Either/or, Frank, the cards are shuffled and displayed randomly, and neither way would have any effect on the outcome.
Who pays the jackpots for progressive machines like Megabucks, the casinos or the slot maker?
Those gigantonormous progressive jackpots on machines like Megabucks, Quartermania, the Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price is Right, etc., are paid by the manufacturer of the slot, in this case, IGT. If ever someone’s stars do truly align, IGT (the games vendor) would send a representative to authenticate the win, and then pay off the winner. To date, IGT MegaJackpots have created hundreds of millionaires, and they have awarded over $3 billion in major jackpots.
Casinos also have their own proprietary progressive machines, typically with their name and logo on the facing. Although the casino sets the percentage they want returned to them when placing an order with a slot manufacturer, the casino would be responsible for the payout.
By the way, Susie, to grow the progressive, a portion of each bet made funds the winning jackpot.
Isn't 9-10-J-Q-K the second highest straight in Pai-Gow poker and not an Ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5? You mentioned it before in a column but I can’t remember which one you stated was the higher of these two straights. David D.
When I dipped into the archives, David, I found I had said this then and say it again now.
In Pai-Gow Poker each player is dealt seven cards that he is required to make into a five-card hand (the "high hand") and a two-card hand (the "low hand"). The five-card hand is ranked like traditional poker hands (royal flush, four of aDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems kind, straight flush, three of a kind, flush, straight, two pair, pair and high card) but the game does have a couple of exceptions. Your question happens to call attention to one of them. Only a straight consisting of 10, J, Q, K, Ace beats an Ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5. A straight of 9, 10, J, Q, K doesn’t.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. -- Steven Wright
By Mark Pilarski
I met a dealer who claimed that he could not only drop the ball within a certain section of the wheel, but on specific numbers. He even called out “get you bets down on the double zero because here it comes,” and it actually hit, which leads to my question, do you believe that a roulette dealer can put the ball in a specific number, and should I follow his advice when he tells us where to put our chips? Russell M.
Now, Russell, do you really, really believe this particular dealer possesses such preternatural powers? Yes? Bad instincts!
With over a dozen years dealing roulette, I’ve got some miles on my odometer when it comes to spinning that ball, and yet, I developed neither the knack or know-how when it comes to putting the ball in a specific section let alone a straight out-number. Nor, Russell, do I believe it can be done with any marked degree of success by anyone, anywhere, and here’s why.
For starters, the dealer spins the wheel counterclockwise but spins the ball into the track in a clockwise direction. But thenDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems as ball leaves its track it will more often than not hit one of the small metal buffers, strategically spaced in the lip of the wheel to ensure that the ball falls in a random way. As it zips off a buffer, it usually then hits one of the metal frets between the numbers and bounces up again before it finally lands in one of the 38 numbered pockets (Canoes) that make up the roulette wheel.
I won’t mention the casino by name as you did in your e-mail, but I know for a fact (I once worked there) that it’s a break-in joint for dealers, and if a dealer really, really had such a skill, he would simply find a confederate to make a bet wherever he planned the ball to land, and they would be rich. Of course he’s not, and neither will you by following his advice.
At what win level must a player fill out a tax form for a video poker machine? Dusty R.
On any electronic gaming device win, or as in your case a one-hand video poker win, the threshold would be $1,200; from there up, the casino would require that you sign a tax form before it pays you.
My system for roulette is to monitor the wheel without betting, and when I see a trend of let’s say red appearing five times in a row, I‘ll bet black on the next spin. Doesn’t it make sense to begin playing the wheel by betting on black since it is now due to appear? Allen D.
On a fair double zero wheel, Allen, if the ball just so happened to land in red 99 times in a row, the odds that black would appear on that 100th spin would be exactly the same as on that sixth spin, 47.37%. Check the third word in this paragraph.
Always one card away from my first, I finally hit the first royal flush of my life this past weekend. What were the odds of me finally hitting one? Nancy H.
Typically the odds of hitting a royal flush are about 40,000-1, but that varies from game to game, Nancy, along with how you play the initial cards dealt to you. If you were playing Jacks or Better or Bonus Poker it would have been as mentioned above. If your royal were on a Joker Poker machine, it would have been 42,000 to one, Deuces Wild, 45,000 to one, and 48,000 to one on a Double Bonus Poker machine. Anyhow, happy congrats!
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “In cards, you psyche 'em out, you shark 'em, you put the fear of God in 'em.” --Puggy Pearson, 1973 WSOP winner (1975)Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Online gaming firms faced their biggest-ever crisis on Monday after U.S. Congress unexpectedly passed legislation to ban online gaming there, threatening jobs and hitting stocks by as much as 70 percent.
Britain's PartyGaming Plc, operator of leading online poker site PartyPoker.com, and rivals Sportingbet and 888 Plc said they would likely pull out of the United States and warned on future profits.
PartyGaming's shares fell 59 percent by 0725 GMT, while Sportingbet lost 64 percent, 888 was down 45 percent and gaming software provider Playtech fell 55 percent. Austria's bwin.com Interactive Entertainment fell as much as 22 percent in the first few minutes of trading.
U.S. Congress unexpectedly approved a bill early on Saturday that would make it illegal for banks and credit-card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
The House of Representatives and Senate approved the measure and sent it to President George W. Bush to sign into law. Most analysts think his approval is certain.
"We believe that this will have a very material impact on the long-term prospects of online gambling, and in particular poker," said analyst Julian Easthope at UBS. "This will lead to a rapid decline in the use of online poker sites."
PartyGaming generates about 78 percent of its revenue from the United States, while Sportingbet gets about 62 percent there.
PartyGaming said in a statement: "If the president signs the act into law, the company will suspend all real money gaming business with U.S. residents, and such suspension will continue indefinitely.
"Any such suspension would also result in the group's financial performance falling significantly short of consensus forecasts for 2006 and 2007," it added.
PartyGaming's smaller rival Sportingbet said the likely ban would hit trading, and said it had scrapped a planned merger with World Gaming as a result of the passing of the legislation.
888 Plc said the move would hit its results, but stressed it remained a profitable and viable business.
Any ban would also hit payment-processors like Neteller Plc and Optimal Group's FireOne subsidiary.
Neteller Plc said the legislation would have a "material adverse effect" on its U.S.-facing business.Categories: News
WASHINGTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Most forms of Internet gambling would be banned under a bill that received final U.S. congressional approval early Saturday.
The House of Representatives and Senate approved the measure and sent it to President George W. Bush to sign into law.
The bill, a compromise between earlier versions passed by the two chambers, would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
Democrats had accused Republicans of pushing the bill to placate its conservative base, particularly the religious right, before the Nov. 7 congressional elections.
"It's been over 10 years in the making. The enforcement provisions provided by this bill will go a long way to stop these illegal online operations," said Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican and a chief sponsor of the measure.
Negotiators from the Republican-led House and Senate reached a deal on the legislation Friday and attached it to unrelated legislation to bolster port security, which the Congress approved.
The final bill dropped earlier provisions opposed by some gaming interests that would have clarified that a 1961 federal law banning interstate telephone betting also covers an array of online gambling.
By Peter Kaplan
ORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - When Bob Combs began farming pigs here 43 years ago, his was the only house light for miles out in the desert, and he could safely shoot his rifle in any direction at the stray dogs that came to attack his livestock.
Now, houses bump up against his 150 acres of farm land on all sides. The city around him, North Las Vegas, is the second fastest-growing in the United States.
"They keep moving in towards me all the time," said Combs, a lanky 67-year-old with a slow drawl.
Neither odor complaints nor the million-dollar offers from developers have gotten him to move. Combs says his R.C. Farms has a higher mission than just producing pork.
Thousands of his pigs eat food scraps from the biggest casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, recycling tons of material that would have gone to waste, and his mission statement claims: "Through recycling we are assisting in one aspect of God's greatest creation ... life."
"I want to be recognized as a community asset and not a public nuisance," he said.
But many nearby residents and the mayor of North Las Vegas portray Combs' farm as a smelly relic that is getting in the way of progress.
Rose Glisch and her husband, Norman, 70, moved into a three-bedroom home in the residential community that popped up across the street from the northern border of the farm two years ago.
"It stinks," Rose Glisch said. The smell doesn't keep them shuttered inside, but conversations with neighbors tend to revolve around the same topic: When will the farm shut up shop?
Mayor Mike Montandon said he was in the room when a developer offered Combs $75 million for the land, a figure Combs won't confirm but doesn't dispute. The offer would have been a reasonable amount, given that the land could hold 900 homes, enough space for 2,000 people in a city that saw its population grow 11.4 percent last year to 176,000 residents. It is now home to more than 200,000.
Not only is the property in a prime housing location, but a dusty roadway that splits Combs' land in half is being planned for a major transportation corridor that is to support a university campus, a hospital and mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.
"The vision doesn't necessarily include a pig farm in the middle of the city," Montandon said. "At some point, he's going to flip a coin and decide between waking up at 4:30 in the morning and putting muddy boots on, or $75 million."
Inside his modest single-story home, less than a hundred paces from rows of fly-covered pens and a towering, brown, slime-slathered cooking vat, Combs talks about being the third generation of pig farmer in his family to use scraps.
He shows a reporter a 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a starving Sudanese child crawling toward a U.N. food camp as a vulture looks on. It serves as inspiration amid the grime.
"That one always inspired me when I get disgusted with my business," Combs said. "You get depressed about it, and ask yourself, 'What am I doing here? Why?' This photograph inspires me always to stay at the helm."
Combs said he knows he is doing something right by recycling tons of food waste from a city 10 miles to the south renowned for excess.
Combs' roughly 3,500 pigs gobble up a slurry stew made by boiling organic garbage from 22 casino-hotels, including Bellagio, The Venetian and Caesars Palace. Project CityCenter, a $7 billion megaresort and casino planned by MGM Mirage Inc., has asked Combs to submit a bid to recycle its waste when it opens in 2009.
"R.C. Farms helps MGM Mirage recycle food waste that would otherwise be shipped to landfills," said MGM spokesman Gordon Absher. "And so it's of benefit not only to the company but to the community."
County officials, prompted by years of odor complaints, including 42 in 2005, have been speaking regularly with Combs about moving his farm, which is still on unincorporated county land.
Most of Nevada's available land is owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management, however. Completing a swap would take an act of Congress, said County Commissioner Tom Collins.
"Everything he's doing is good," Collins said. "We're going to try to continue to do that and alleviate the problems that North Las Vegas has caused by allowing residential growth to come too close to the farm, which is, you know, shame on them."
By RYAN NAKASHIMA
The first new Playboy club in 25 years opens in October in the appropriately named Fantasy Tower of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. ``The Playboy brand and lifestyle is a natural fit here,'' said Christie Hefner, the chairwoman and chief executive of Playboy Enterprises, whose company recently conducted a nationwide Bunny search to staff the club.
The Playboy Vegas experience will include not just the Playboy Club and Casino, but also a store; the Moon, a nightclub with a retractable roof; and the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa. The two-story, 9,000-square-foot villa has a media room, a fully equipped gym, a sauna, a poker table and an outdoor terrace. But it is the outdoor, cantilevered Jacuzzi with glass end walls and a bunny head logo, the ``Playboy Art'' selected by Hefner, and the 8-foot round, rotating beds that will give guests that Hef-like feeling. The cost? $40,000 a night (bunnies not included).
In a recent column you mentioned cold decks and cheating. What does a cold deck have anything to do with cheating? Doesn’t a cold deck mean cards that are cold in respect to player having an unlucky night? Dwight E.
In your scenario, yes, Dwight, a “cold deck” could mean a forensically fair game, but a tough luck time at the tables.
When I stated that cheating at cards can be done a whole host of ways, one being the use of physical objects such as cold decks, I meant decks that are pre-stacked, and are introduced either at the deal, after the real deck has been shuffled, or before the deal by a card mechanic using sleight of hand.
Secretly slipping a stacked deck into the game can provide a great potential payoff for the card cheat. The card charlatan’s goal is to introduce a new deck, stacked so as to give him or her a great hand, but it may also give all the other players great hands, too -- great enough to entice them (those lovely sheep} to bet a decent chunk of change, but not quite great enough to beat the sharper or arouse suspicion of his jiggery-pokery.
Let's just say two royal flushes, A-K-Q-J-10, show up in the same hand, obviously in two different suites. Do the suites or colors have an order of importance? Vernell C.
Your column stated that when there is more than one royal flush in a game that the hearts would be the highest. What order would follow? Ken
Granted, Ken, some of the hot air in this column contributes to global warming, but I did not say that hearts as a suit ranked supreme. What I referred to was a casino that offered a poker machine with a payout of $1,000,000 for a sequential royal flush, and if you were to play a machine that was suit specific, such as being in hearts, those odds would be astronomical.
Mutant home games, however, are known to have some quirky rules that embrace suits, like when I play a family game of pinochle, calling spades doubles your points. A poker game that comes to mind would be a Seven-Card stud game like Black Mariah, where the high spade in the hole splits the pot. But in general, Vernell, and you too, Ken, suits (hearts—priesthood; spades—nobility; clubs—peasantry; diamonds—the wealthy merchant class) have little to do with hand rankings. Hand rankings are strictly a function of probability. The rarer the hand, the more valuable it is.
An employee of an Indian casino in our state told me that the return on all quarter machines is programmed for 82%. How would you describe slots that have such a poor return? Louise J.
Your letter, Louise, reminds me of an episode on The Andy Griffith show where Barney Fife describes to Andy the local talent.
Barney and Andy are peeking through a doorway into a room where people are dancing. Andy says to Barney, "Do you see anyone (girl) interesting in there?" Barney replies, "Naw, they’re all dogs, just dogs." Andy replies, "Barney, that’s not a very nice thing to say." To which Barney responds: "Andy, if a quail flew through there right now they’d all point!"
It seems those machines you were playing on are all dogs, just dogs.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “To master poker and make it profitable, you must first master patience and discipline, as a lack of either is a sure disaster regardless of all other talents, or lucky streaks.” -- Freddie Gasperian
By Mark Pilarski
PETER DICKS, the Sportingbet chairman arrested on gambling charges in America last week, was on his way back to Britain last night after a New York judged ruled that an extradition warrant issued in his name was not good enough to hold him in custody.
The decision was made at a brief hearing at Queens criminal court yesterday morning, where Mr Dicks appeared before Judge Gene Lopez. He was flanked by his two American lawyers who simply confirmed his name and asked for his passport to be returned.
Mr Dicks, who resigned as Sportingbet’s chairman yesterday to focus on his defence, had been detained on September 6 at John F Kennedy Airport on charges of illegal gambling by computer that were contained in an outstanding warrant issued by the State of Louisiana.
The Times understands that Louisiana has a total of more than 50 warrants outstanding against executives from internet gambling companies that have clients who live within the state’s boundaries. These warrants will remain sealed unless, as happened in the case of Mr Dicks, an arrest is made.
It is believed that those targeted by the warrants include other Sportingbet directors, including Nigel Payne, the chief executive, and board members of companies including PartyGaming and 888 Holdings. John Anderson, the chief executive of 888, stepped down yesterday, although he denied the move was related to the US legal situation.
Mr Dicks was the second British executive to be detained on internet gambling charges in the US. David Carruthers, then chief executive of BetOnSports, was arrested earlier and is awaiting trial on federal gambling charges in St Louis Missouri.
Online sports betting is deemed to be illegal in America under the 1961 Wire Act, although a small number of states, including Louisiana, have outlawed all forms of internet gambling, including poker and casinos.
Mr Dicks, who was arrested by the Port Authority Police Department, was later freed on $50,000 (£26,000) bail provided he remained within the five boroughs of New York. The extradition warrant was issued by the State of Louisiana but was cancelled at the eleventh hour by George Pataki, the Governor of New York, after Mr Dicks’s lawyers argued that it was incorrect.
A lawyer representing the State of New York gave no reason for the warrant’s withdrawal but said that prosecutors would not be seeking Mr Dicks’s extradition. His passport and driving licence were returned to him and Judge Lopez confirmed that he could travel back to Britain but must return to Queens for another hearing on September 28.
After the hearing Mr Dicks declined to comment other than to tell The Times that he believed he had been treated “fairly” while in US custody.
Barry Slotnick, one of his lawyers, said: “We argued late into the night that the warrant against Mr Dicks was not proper, not least because he is not guilty of committing any crime. We are very pleased that New York has decided not to extradite him.”
Mr Slotnick added that the State of Louisiana would be present at the court hearing in two weeks to argue the case for extradition once more.
By James Doran
I consider myself your typical blackjack player, out there to have some fun, and like you always say in your column, only spend the money that I can afford to lose. But lately it seems I’m losing more money at blackjack, and I think it is due to continuous shuffling machines. Do these machines affect the odds in blackjack? Joe D.
Although perpetual shufflers make it next to impossible for card counters, continuous shuffling machines do NOT affect the odds of the game for basic strategy players, or Average Joes like you. However, continuous shuffling machines and non-continuous shufflers alike will take more of a bite out of your bankroll than will a hand-shuffled game.
With continuous shuffling machines, the dealer never has to break to shuffle cards, and this, Joe, increases the number of hands dealt per hour, giving more of an opportunity for the casino advantage to peck away at your bankroll.
But my biggest dislike about ceaseless shuffling isDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems the loss of personal contact between the table player and the dealer. In the short span of time it took me to shuffle cards, I’ve traded avocado dip recipes, five-star sport picks for the weekend; I’ve even become life-long friends with many a player. That camaraderie is completely lost when continuous shufflers are used.
It seems today that far too many casinos stress hands-per-hour over customer service, and in the long run I feel it’s a bad deal for all.
A quick follow up question to a past column regarding Pyramid Poker. You mentioned in a future column providing the optimal strategy for it. Any chance you can post it? Pete P.
As a refresher, Pete, Pyramid Poker is a simplified version of Pai Gow poker, where, instead of seven cards, three cards are dealt to each player. Once both the dealer and players are dealt their three cards, the players arrange their hands so each has a two-card hand and a one-card hand. As in Pai Gow Poker, the one-card hand must have a lower value than the two-card hand. The hand rankiDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems ngs are just the same as in poker except there are no straights or flushes with the two-card hand, and aces are always high.
The following, Pete, is the optimal player strategy for Pyramid Poker.
If you’re dealt three singletons, play the middle-valued card as the one-card hand, except play the lowest card as the 1-card hand with any of the following hands: 2, 3, and any card 5 or higher, or 2, 4, and any card queen or higher.
With a pair and a loner, normally play the pair in the 2-card hand, except with any of the following:
With a 2 to 4 loner and a pair of jacks or higher, or................
with a 5 to 7 loner and a pair of queens or higher, or ...............
with an 8 or 9 loner and a pair of kings or higher, or ..............
with a 10 or jack loner and a pair of aces, split the pair, one in the 2-card hand and the other as the 1-card hand.
Do you ever foresee a casino adjoining the nuclear waste site in Nevada when it comes online? Gurth T.
I believe Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the nation's first long-term geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, will forever be off limits to casino gambling since NASA has secured 20 square miles of surrounding federal land in case they ever want to fake another moon landing.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “In the long run there's no luck in poker, but the short run is longer than most people know.” -- Rick Bennet
By Mark Pilarski
Regarding cheating, what is a mechanic? Anonymous
Regarding the postcard you sent incognito with personal and confidential penned on the bottom, I’m kinda hoping that this isn’t a career move on your part.
And yet, since inquiring minds besides yourself probably want to know, cheating at cards can be done a whole host of ways, such as collusion, sleight-of-hand movements like bottom stacking the deck, the use of physical objects such as marked cards, cold decks or holdout devices. A carDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems d mechanic, or card sharp -- not to be confused with card shark -- is a card cheat who specializes in sleight-of-hand card manipulation. You’ll find this handiwork employed by most magicians who, like a card sharp, try to keep track of, sometimes, just one specific card, and other times, the order of a complete deck.
No need or space here for wholesale writings on different forms of sleight-of-hand cheating techniques like false shuffles, false cuts, hand mucking, etc., but I will mention one that anyone with just a little practice might be using against you at a not-so-friendly kitchen table poker game, and that one is “dealing seconds”.
Dealing seconds is manipulating either the second card from the top, or the bottom card, instead of the customary top one. This stunt is also called "second deal" or "bottom deal" respectively. Any deuce dealer with a little practice can deal the second card, the bottom card, the second-from-bottom card, even the middle card without an untrained eye spotting what’s going on. Someone of masterful hand dexterity could even “cull”, meaning finding the cards he needs, placing them at the bottom, top, or any other place the cheat fancies, then falsely dealing them to himself or to a confederate player on the game.
You can identify a seconds-dealing pagan in your home-game village by looking at how the deck is gripped. A card manipulator will use what is known as the "mechanic's grip," a handclasp of the cards that makes it easier to deal not only seconds, but from the bottom, or even from the middle of the deck. A right-handed dealer holds the deck in his left hand, three fingers on the edge of the long side of the deck, and the iDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems ndex finger on the outer right corner.
Certainly a mechanic's grip alone is not enough proof to accuse anyone of being a double-dealing sharper, and you never want to get involved in a cockeyed game where cheating is going on, unless, of course, you are of the mind-set of legendary gambler Canada Bill. Bill was losing his entire bankroll at Faro when a friend approached and said, "Bill, don't you know this game is crooked?" "Yes," answered Canada Bill, "but it's the only game in town."
Is it possible to draw the same card that is discarded on a standard video poker machine? I have had it happen to me before. Jack H.
Although I am not familiar with any gaming companies using continuous shuffle technology on their garden variety video poker machines while a hand is in progress, if the video poker machine is dealing a fair game, the answer to your question would be, no, it is not possible to get the same card back. Once you discard a card it shouldn’t be returning to the same hand.
Video poker, Jack, can be played at chop chop speed, and after a while you can start seeing all kDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems inds of streaks and patterns, so some same-card placement sorta seems possible. In actuality though, once the hand is completed, cards are reshuffled and that seven of diamonds you discarded the last hand can easily appear as the first card dealt on the next.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “It's hard work. Gambling. Playing poker. Don't let anyone tell you different. Think about what it's like sitting at a poker table with people whose only goal is to cut your throat, take your money, and leave you out back talking to yourself about what went wrong inside.” --Stu Unger, Three-time WSOP Champion
By Mark Pilarski
BILOXI, Miss. - Valets held the doors open Tuesday morning as people walked into Beau Rivage and gawked before they gambled.
Giant butterflies in the shopping promenade, sculpted glass in the bars, and cocktail waitresses in shimmering brocade were a feast for the eyes inside Biloxi's first billion-dollar-plus casino.
"It's like a fairyland," said Doris Todd of Atlanta.
The casino reopened with a public salute to its 3,800 employees from MGM Mirage's top executives, Gov. Haley Barbour, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway. Originally built at a cost of $800 million by Steve Wynn, Beau Rivage had $550 million more invested in it by MGM Mirage after Hurricane Katrina.
"For us to do anything other than to rebuild like we have would have been a sin," said Terry Lanni, chief executive officer of MGM Mirage.
"We're here, we're pleased to be back and we love Mississippi."
The casino has 93 table games, 2,100 slots, 38 video poker games and a new poker room with its own bank of safe-deposit boxes for gamblers. The poker room features leather inlay on the walls and onyx flourishes.
"The goal was to really create the most elite and most beautiful card room that the South had ever seen," said Ken Lambert Jr., director of poker operations in Mississippi for MGM Mirage. "We also designed this room for customer service. We didn't go cheap on anything. All the countertops are solid onyx."
The Beau's 1,740 guest rooms and suites have been refurbished and are back open.
Sandy Simmons, a wedding planner, was staying at the Beau for the first time last year when he had to evacuate Aug. 28. He said the casino is more impressive now than it was then.
"It's a little Bellagio," he said. "I've been to Bellagio. They do everything so perfect. They don't do anything halfway."
George Corchis, president of Beau Rivage, said the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast had been an inspiration and had helped make the reopening possible.
"This is the power to rise above adversity, no matter how overwhelming the adversity, no matter how overwhelming the odds," he said.
Larry Gregory, the executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, was on hand to oversee the reopening.
"You look at the brick and mortar," Gregory said. "That's fine and dandy, but it's the smiles on the employees' faces, that's what it's all about."
Barbour said Beau Rivage had set the "gold standard" for the Coast.
"When you take the best and you continue to improve, I promise you you're on the right track."
Marlene Duronslet drove over from Metairie, La., to be on hand for the reopening. She said she was impressed that casino employees took the time to give her a personal tour, and she loved the look and tastes of the buffet. When she saw a long line of people waiting for new player's cards, she was skeptical when told it would take about 15 minutes for her to sign up. The line moved as quickly as promised.
"When I got to the front of the line, they had 12 people working," she said. "Banks don't have that many tellers."
The casino resort's new golf course, Fallen Oak, is slated to open in November. Three new restaurants will open in December: one of celebrity chef Todd English's Olives, a yet-to-be-named Asian restaurant and BR Prime, which specializes in steaks and seafood.
Beau Rivage is the seventh casino to reopen in Biloxi. The IP, the Isle of Capri, the Palace, Treasure Bay, Boomtown and the Grand Biloxi also are open. The Hollywood Casino, formerly Casino Magic Bay St. Louis, will open Thursday. The Island View Casino in Gulfport is slated to open Sept. 18 and the Silver Slipper in Hancock County in October.
By Tom Wilemon
What are your thoughts on the double up feature of video poker? Is there any limit to the amount of times you can double up? Is it a good bet? Guy F.
Some video poker games, Guy, allow you a Double Up or double-or-nothing bonus option on a winning hand. Activated by your pressing the "Yes" button after a win, the game then deals one card face up for the dealer and four cards face-down for the player. The player then chooses one of the face-down cards. If this card beats the dealer’s, the player wins double the amount previously won, along with the option to try to double op again.
Like the odds bet in craps, the Double Up wager is one of the few casino bets offered that doesn’t have a house edge. You have a fifty-fifty chance of winning any given bet (ties excluded) regardless of the amount wagered or the results of prior bets.
Most machines limit the number of double-ups to five times. How many times you should double up depends on the paytable and your risk tolerance level. Only you, Guy, know how much you are willing to bet on the turn of a card. If your goal is to achieve the highest expected return the machine can offer by lowering the overall house edge with the double-up feature, then you should double up the maximum number of times allowed.
Three caveats though, Guy: Many casinos do not allow you to use your slot club card and chase down cash points on double-up bets. Also, watch your double-up winnings so that you don’t go over the $1,200 threshold and end up being handed a W2G. Finally, because playing video poker is typically a negative expectation game, when saying yes to the double or nothing feature, you increase the total money wagered, but at no cost to that expected loss, thus lowering the overall house edge. But if you are playing a video poker machine that has a 100% plus return paytable, I would recommend against the double-up bet, since it will lower your overall advantage.
My Brother bet me 10,000 to one for $10 that I would never duplicate what he was dealt naturally on a video poker machine, a natural royal flush in hearts. He believes it would never happen in my lifetime figuring it seldom happens and most players need to draw cards to get royal flush. I figure it’s worth $10. What do you think? Charlie G.Deal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems
With a 52-card deck there are 2,598,960 possible hands, and what you’re asking for is that one of them to be dealt straight away, in hearts no less. Those, Charlie, are long, tall odds. And what about all that time and money spent chasing down a natural Royal flush in hearts? Well, here’s the barnyard math.
Leaving aside the fact that you know damn well that Bro’s never going to pay you the $100,000 anyway… at a buck and a quarter a pop, and a house edge of let’s say 4% -- I m guessing you won’t play every hand perfectly -- you’ll end up losing $129,948 to win $100,000. Plus, playing three hands a minute, it could take you over 600 days playing 24/7 before a natural royal flush in hearts appears. But why be extreme? Using ordinary 8-hour days, it would take just under 5 years to play out the bet (no time off for wedding anniversaries, holidays, sick leave, birthdays or any of that foolishness), and even then it’s not guaranteed, you know, just because the odds say it’s likely. Hmmm. In the same period, the kid that flips burgers, mows lawns and heaves shingles would reel in a cool $147,000. Again, Hmmm.
And yet your Brother’s proposition isn’t even close to being as impenetrable as the one a reader previously wrote in about: a casino offering a poker machine with a payout of $1,000,000 for a sequential royal flush.
For an ascending royal flush in any suit, the odds are 77,968,800. If it is suit specific, such as being in hearts, then the chances are one inDeal Me InColumnï¿¼.ems 311,875,200.
Sorry, Charlie, I’d pass on both.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “The commonest mistake in history is underestimating your opponent; happens at the poker table all the time.” --General David Shoup
By Mark Pilarski
Denver, Colorado ( PRWEB ) August 22, 2006 -- Recently, a new web site dedicated completely to bingo, was launched. BingoForum.com is one of the premier Bingo related web sites on the Internet. It is a complete guide and resource web site for both beginning bingo players and those who may be a bit more experienced.
The web site includes a forum that has a general bingo section as well as areas for its members to talk about some of the top online Bingo web sites Bingo Halls in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The forum also has a general chart section where members can talk about anything and share jokes or recipes. Apart from a forum, Bingo Forum has a free arcade with over 100 online web based games so no downloading is required to play.
The forum is still new but already has over 30 members and 300 posts and is an active forum with members continually posting and participating in the various discussions on the web site.
When asked why he created the web site the owner said, “I wanted to create a web site where people could just relax and talk about Bingo. I am a Bingo Fan myself and have been looking for a web site where people could just talk about Bingo. When I didn’t find one I liked, I decided to create my own and BingoForum.com as born.”
You can visit the forum and join the discussion or play some of the games in the arcade atCategories: News
SAN FRANCISCO — The recent arrest of a high-profile online gambling executive and a federal bill outlawing virtual wagers are generating headlines but will do little to curb the multibillion-dollar industry, gaming experts say.
Former BetOnSports.com CEO David Carruthers is scheduled to appear in a St. Louis federal court Monday. He and his company are charged with mail and wire fraud and money laundering.
His arrest in Dallas last month initially drove down shares of offshore operations such as PartyGaming and Sportingbet. It follows an indictment of another gambling executive and an anti-online gambling bill in Congress. Gaming experts say it does not signal a crackdown, as more sites emerge for poker players and sports fans, and online gambling stocks creep back up.
"One down, another 2,299 (gaming) sites to go," says Joseph Kelly, an online gaming expert who is a professor at SUNY College Buffalo.
BetOnSports, which was delisted from the London Stock Exchange, has fired Carruthers and vowed to press on outside the USA.
The Wire Act of 1961 makes it illegal to bet online. But the law is nearly impossible to enforce, and nearly 80 countries allow wagers online. The $12 billion industry is expected to soar to $24.5 billion by 2010, says researcher Christiansen Capital Advisors.
Because BetOnSports is a regulated UK firm, the U.S. government can do little, says Ken Dreifach, an Internet lawyer who once worked for New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
The Justice Department is "as vigilant as ever," spokeswoman Jackie Lesch says.
Yet arrests are rare. The only person convicted on federal charges of running an illegal offshore Internet gambling operation was Jay Cohen of World Sports Exchange. He served more than a year in a federal prison. The company is still in business.
William Scott, operator of Worldwide Telesports, was indicted on money-laundering charges in May but has not been caught.
Carruthers became a target for several reasons. BetOnSports advertised on billboards in the USA — a violation of federal law. He often traveled in the USA. And his former employer took bets on an 800-number from Americans, say Dreifach and Kelly. The outspoken Carruthers is out on bail — $1 million in cash — and living in St. Louis, says his lawyer, Scott Rosenblum.
When government officials pursue cases, it is invariably against sports sites. Sports bets are specifically barred by the 1961 law. The only American convicted of gambling online, Jeffrey Trauman, of North Dakota, paid a $500 fine.
Still, some gambling experts, such as Michael Tew, a principal at consultant CapitalHQ, say Carruthers' arrest underscores a systematic U.S. crackdown. The House recently passed a bill that would restrict the ability of U.S. financial institutions to process wagers.
By Jon Swartz
Even though I left Detroit in 1994, I still go online to read the Detroit News and your column. One thing I do not understand is what the fascination with slot machines is. You, insert coin, pull lever, insert coin, pull lever, insert coins, etc. it seems almost mind numbing. I only play blackjack because to me at least, I have more of a say in the outcome than just, insert coin, pull lever, insert coin. Am I missing something? Am I mistaken or is Blackjack the one game with the highest degree of self-determined outcome? Jim L.
I’m new to casino gambling and would like to find something in the casino that is very easy to play (where no brains are needed), and the house edge isn’t sky-high. Is it slots, or is there something else? Kathy R.
For starters, Jim -- I’ll get back to you in moment, Kathy -- blackjack isn’t the only worthy wager the casino offers. True, games like blackjack or video poker involve some skill; but there are plenty of others, for instance craps, where placing the correct bet in the right place on the layout can give what you refer to as “the highest degree of self-determined outcome.”
As for slots, besides the fact that little gray matter is needed to yank a handle, players like them because they are playing against a machine that doesn't talk back, nor snicker at shabby play, not give a hoot whether and how much you win or lose, oh, and I forgot to mention, give you a shot at those progressive bonus jackpots that allow you to fantasize of champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
Casinos love providing those mind-numbing machines because they don’t talk back to the management, they don’t ask for Christmas week off, and they don’t require medical and dental insurance, oh, and --- how could I forget ---they’ve got that cozy double-digit casino edge on most machines.
But not all slots, Jim, and you too Kathy, pillage your pocketbook. Casinos do offer “liberal” slot machines. What I mean by liberal slots are those in the casinos that advertise a higher payback percentage—like a 98.5% return—on selected machines. You’ll need to find a casino advertising liberal paybacks, you’ll then need to ask someone in slot personnel which machines those are. Sure, continually pressing a credit button might be monotonous, but you’ll have to use your noggin for machine selection.
As for you, Kathy, a newbie with little or no casino gambling experience who wants something effortless to play, I would recommend baccarat. Baccarat is one of the easiest casino games to play (you don’t even have to know the rules because correct hitting is predetermined), and the stakes are relatively low when you play on a mini-baccarat table. The house advantage is either 1.17% when betting the bank hand or 1.36% Deal Me InColumn.ems with a player hand wager.
When you see a video representation of cards for video blackjack or dice for video craps, are the odds the same as those of a live game, or are they altered to give the casino an even greater advantage? Jeff R.
It is a Nevada (and I’m sure most states follow suit) law that video representations of dice and cards follow the same odds as those in a real game with a human dealer. If the games, Jeff, are already profitable based on a fair play, the casino has no reason to swindle you.
What you need to concern yourself with is “altered” rules. For instance, in video blackjack, it's tough to find a machine that pays you the true value of a blackjack (3 for 2). Most video blackjack machines pay even money on natural 21's. The loss of that bonus is going to cost you an additional 2.3 percent. On these machines you are giving away a considerable amount percentage-wise, but the cards dealt, and dice thrown are random.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Poker is the only game for a grown man. Then, your hand is against every man's, and every man's hand is against yours. --Somerset Maugham
By Mark Pilarski
SEATTLE -- Non-tribal casinos have already lost tens of millions of dollars because of Washington’s new indoor smoking ban.
A new financial study, discovers taxpayers could loose millions as well.
Card-rooms, charity bingo halls, and some bars and restaurants are required to report financial information to the state every year. The state hasn't had a chance to look at the figures since the smoking ban took effect. I have. It looks like "no smoking" means economic devastation for the non-tribal gaming industry.
If there was ever any doubt that gamblers are also smokers, these numbers put that to rest.
KIRO Team 7 Investigators have been tracking revenue figures for 30 of the largest non-tribal casinos in Washington.
Before the smoking ban, that group had been averaging increased revenues of 13 percent the first 6 months of each year. Since the ban, instead of jumping up another 13 percent, gross revenues fell 14 percent.
“It’s killing us!”, says Tom Myers of the All-Star Casino & Lanes in Silverdale. He figures his poker room profits are down about 30 percent. Bar revenues have slipped worse than that.
Myers told KIRO Team 7 Investigators, “I'd like to be optimistic and think it will come back or at least level out, but the way the trend is, it's continually declining. You'll see more and more shut down. The stronger ones will survive, but the little-guy that’s creating, in here there are about 60 jobs alone, those jobs are going to go bye-bye if things go that way.”
Our exclusive research also found that during the first six months of telling gamblers that have to go outside to light up:
29 of the 30 biggest non-tribal casinos reported declining revenue. Several reported losses in excess of 40 percent.
“It’s devastating.” Says Dolores Chiechi of the Washington Recreational Gaming Association.
She says a half dozen casinos have already shut the doors & more are in real financial trouble. She adds many customers are heading to tribal casinos where they can smoke without leaving the table.
“They're definitely feeling the crunch because those who do gamble will always have somewhere else to go. They’ll go to the tribe casinos because they don't have to comply with the initiative rules that passed in November.”
The revenue shift is hard on state and local tax coffers as well. Tribal gaming operations pay about 2 percent back in local taxes. Non-tribal card rooms can pay up to 20 percent of gross receipts to taxes.
Myers adds, “The playing field need to be leveled. It's so lop-sided one way. It's tough to pay the bills let alone the taxes plus everything else you have to take care of to stay open.”
Ironically, Several of Washington's largest youth sports associations will likely also be seeing a dip in revenue this year.
Charity Bingo halls generate the majority of income for some local soccer, football, and swimming clubs.
Early figures show nearly every bingo hall in the state has lost money.
The State Gambling Commission is just now starting to look at the same numbers we've been crunching. That agency expects a full, detailed report in 6-8 weeks.
By Chris Halsne
I once heard that “breaking the bank” had something to do with a misbehaving roulette wheel that paid off vast sums of money to the person who figured out that it was malfunctioning. Is that where the term “breaking the bank” came from in relation to casino gambling? Mel G.
While bedside reading this past week, Mel, I happened to uncover the answer to your question in the just-released, revised version of Kevin Blackwood’s Casino Gambling for Dummies. On page 160, he writes that in Monte Carlo in 1873, an Englishman named Joseph Jagger identified a biased roulette wheel where nine numbers were appearing more often than randomness would allow. “Jagger pounced, and before the casino bosses figured out what was going on, he walked away winning with $350,000, an enormous sum in his day,” Blackwood wrote, regarding the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo.
I’m with the Casino Gambling for Dummies author in that Joseph JagDeal Me InColumn.ems ger was the first famous gambler to get some publicity in 1873 for breaking the bank, but, Mel, it was a con artist, a public relations-thirsty casino owner, a song, and a music hall star that made the term “Break the Bank” most memorable.
In French, if a gambler wins more than the chips that exist on the table, he was said to have "faire sauter la banque,” which actually means “blown up the bank”, but is usually translated to our milder "broke the bank.” If that were ever to happen, a black shroud would be placed over the table until reserve chips were brought to the game. The only time I ever saw a roulette table come to a complete halt was when a Super Big Gulp Slurpee tipped over on Red and Odd.
Although no gambler had come close to winning the whole reserves of the casino, the PR-savvy owner of the Monte Carlo casino, François Blanc, was always looking for ways to get greed-awakening publicity from stories of winning gamblers.
He found his poster-boy gambler in one Charles Wells, who in July of 1891 'broke the bank' twelve times in less than 11 hours, winning over one million francs. During one run, his number had come up in 23 of 30 successive spins of the wheel. In November of the same year, Wells returned and made another million francs in three days, including successful bets on the number five for five successive turns.
Despite hiring a slew of private detectives, Blanc could never figure out the Wells system. Wells always maintained that it was just pure luck, and the system he used was the Martingale, where you double your next bet afDeal Me InColumn.ems ter a loss, to make up for it. (Stupid system; don’t trust it.)
What eventually was uncovered was how Wells got his bankroll in the first place. He conned wealthy investors into bankrolling bogus inventions like a musical jump rope and a fuel-saving invention for steamships. Although Wells broke the bank six more times, his luck went south, and he lost not only his own money, but also that of his investors.
Charged with bilking money from investors by fraud, he was extradited to England, found guilty at the Old Bailey and spent eight years in the slammer. Wells served another three-year stay for yet another fraud before eventually immigrating to France, where still another financial scam earned him five more years. Are you counting?
In 1892, Fred Gilbert wrote the popular song, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, that was popularized by the music hall star, Charles Coborn, but the gambler was not Blackwood’s Jagger, but flimflammer Charles Wells, who was the inspiration for the song.
By the way, Mel, as most gambling stories go, Wells died penniless in Paris in 1926.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Lady Luck is like a politician. She has such few favors to give, and too many friends to give them to." -- John Gollehon, A Gambler's Little Instruction Book
By Mark Pilarski
I'm hoping you can clear up a question that's been bothering me for long time. I've noticed so many times on 50 and 100-play video poker machines that when dealt two pair, I get few full houses. They seem rigged! It seems like the 50 and 100-play have different programming. One VP expert has said they are programmed similar to a slot machine. Is that true? Sandy P.
Why is it that every time I play 50 and 100 play video poker machines, I make less money than when I play your standard video poker machine? Pete D.
Hi, Sally, meet Pete. Pete -- Sally. It seems Pete's noticed the same thing you have.
That expert was correct, Sandy. Like today's cybernetic slots, all video poker machines use a random number generator (RNG) software algorithm to determine the game's outcome. The number of coins played cannot influence the end result. It doesn't make any difference if one coin is being wagered or 50 or 100.
Also, they should have the same expected return – that is, if the pay tables are identical. Herein lies the secret -- why both of you are coming out cash-poor when playing the multi-play boxes. It's not because there is some sort of monkey business happening, but that multi-play video poker games usually have stingier pay tables than do their single-play kissing cousins. Typically, the more the hands offered, the worse the pay table.
For those who do prefer multi-play games, I suggest that you look for pay tables equal to that of a single-play game. Although a bit tough to ferret out, they do exist. Once found, perfect basic strategy (see below) always remains the same, be it for 1-play, 3-play, or 100-play.
Quick tip: Assuming that both Sandy and Pete were to find identical pay tables, they will then need to ask themselves what they normally would play on a single play machine, and will then need to divide that number by 50 or 100. For instance, if they play $1 single-line machines, they should then play a one-cent 100-line game, or two-cent 50-liners.
Please explain what you mean by playing perfect basic strategy? Dan H.
What I mean by perfect basic strategy, Dan, is making perfect use of the information available to maximize the expected outcome of the bet. In blackjack, perfect basic strategy is nothing more than how you play each blackjack hand against the dealers "up-card." In video poker it's which discards you choose, since eliminating the wrong cards reduces your overall payback.
I'm sending you two strategy cards that put these priceless details at your fingertips.
The casino near my home now offers Crapless Craps. Is it a good bet? Kallan D.
Never Ever or Crapless Craps is ground I've plowed before, Kallan, so I'll synopsize. You do not lose on the 2, 3, or 12 on the come out roll. Instead, if the shooter tosses the 2, 3, 11 or 12, that becomes the point, just as the 4, 5, 6, and 8, 9, 10 would in normal craps. The 7 on the come out is your only instant winner.
Two thumbs down is my recommendation for Crapless Craps. The house edge on the pass line with these modified rules is a whopping 5.4%, about four times the typical crap game's 1.4% pass line edge.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Blackjack--what a game! How simple it looks, yet how complex it truly is." --Victor H. Royer
By Mark Pilarski
I am surprised at how many players truly don’t know the hand rankings when playing poker. For example, a flush versus a straight seems to fool a lot of players. Anyhow, how about a list of hand rankings and some examples so that we can laminate them and post it for our always-friendly Thursday night game? Stan K.
Yep, Stan, you pegged that one. Seemingly more players mistake the flush’s and straight’s hand strength than that of any other poker hand. But before a top to bottom rundown opening with the quint major, this quick refresher of these contentious rules that seem to pop up at some not-so-friendly kitchen table games: Suits do not break ties, nor are cards used beyond the fifth; only the best five cards in each hand are used when comparing haDeal Me InColumn.ems nd strengths. Also, with ties, the pot is equally split amongst the winning hands.
Now it’s time to learn your flushes from straights, at least to the point where no one will think you are a complete newbie. The table below will show you the standard rank of different poker hands used by almost every poker room when playing most versions of poker.
Royal Flush: The highest-ranking hand in poker. To have a royal flush is to have the top five cards, lead by an ace, all in sequence, all the same suit. An example would be a 10-J-Q-K-A, all spades. This hand ranks just above a king-high straight flush.
Straight flush: Sometimes called quint or routine, this poker hand consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 2-3-4-5-6 or a 7-8- 9-Deal Me InColumn.ems 10-J. An ace-high straight flush, or royal flush, can also be considered a straight flush. The ace can also be used to create the lowest straight flush, a 5-4-3-2-A.
Four of a kind: Four cards that have the same face value accompanied by a "kicker.” Ranked by the quads, so that 6-6-6-6-3 beats a 5-5-5-5-A, and then ranked by the side card (if you happen to be sharing all four cards on the board), so that 6-6-6-6-K beats a 6-6-6-6-Q.
Full house: Any three cards of the same face value, plus any other two cards of the same number, such as 6-6-6-Q-Q. Ranked first by the trips, so that 6-6-6-Q-Q beats a 5-5-5-A-A, and then ranked by the pair, if trips are shared, so that 6-6-6-Q-Q beats a 6-6-6-J-J. Often identified by the three of a kind, three queens and two 6s is often known as queens full, and sometimes more specifically as queens full of 6s.
Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, such as A-Q-7-5-2 of clubs. Ranked by the top card, and then by the next card, and so forth for all five cards, so that A-Q-7-5-2 of clubs beats an A-Q-7-4-3 of the same, or any other suit.
Straight: Sometimes called a run or sequence, a straight is five consecutive cards of mixed suit. The ace plays either high or low, such as 5-4-3-2-A or A-K-Q-J-10 but NOT an "around the corner" straight like 4-3-2-A-K-Q.
Three-of-a-kind: Often called trips, triplets, tricon, or trio, a three-of-a-kind poker hand is three cards of the same face value plus two unrelated cards. Ranked by trips, so that K-K-K-7-5 beats Q-Q-Q-6-4, and then ranked by each kicker in turn so that K-K-K-7-6 beats a K-K-K-6-5.
Two pair: A poker hand consisting of two cards of one rank, two of another, plus an unrelated card. For example, A-A-K-K-Q is two pair, also known as two pair, aces and kings, aces up, aces over, aces over kings, and aces and kings. Ranked by the top pair, then the bottom pair and finally the kicker, so that Q-Q-6-6-5 beats a J-J-9-9-A, Q-Q-5-5-8, or a Q-Q-6-6-3.
One pair: Two cards of one rank accompanied by three unmatched cards, such as A-A-Q-7-5. Ranked by the pair, followed by each kicker in turn, so that A-A-Q-7-5 beats an A-A-Q-7-4.
High card: Any hand that does not qualify as one of the better hands mentioned above, such as a J-10-7-5-3 of different suits. Ranked by the top card, then the second card and so on down for all five cards.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Nobody is always a winner, and anybody who says he is, is either a liar or doesn't play poker.” —Amarillo Slim
By Mark Pilarski
LAS VEGAS, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, August 2, Caesars Palace will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a toga party at the legendary resort's outdoor Roman Plaza amphitheater. This historical event will be hosted by actress Jenny McCarthy and feature a live performance by Otis Day and the Knights, the band that rocked "Shout" during the toga party scene in National Lampoon's Animal House. Following the musical set, toga-clad partygoers will be invited to an after party at PURE Nightclub. Guests who arrive in a toga* will be granted free admission to both the outdoor concert, sponsored by VEGAS Magazine and Hendrix Electric Vodka, and the after party at PURE. Doors to the outdoor concert open at 7:30pm and PURE will open at 10pm.
When Caesars Palace opened its doors on August 5, 1966 the standard of luxury and magnificence for the hotel and casino industry was changed forever. Its opulent Roman-Grecian world of fantasy captured international attention as the first deluxe themed resort casino if its kind. With imported marble statuary, cocktail servers costumed as "goddesses," a dining experience fit for royalty and nightly performances by the world's greatest entertainers, Caesars Palace immediately became the industry standard for the ultimate luxury resort experience. Forty years later, Caesars Palace has expanded to almost five times its original capacity. The 85-acre resort features 3,340 guest rooms and suites, the largest poker room in the city, a world-class health and beauty salon and a 4.5 acre pool and garden complex, two dozen restaurants and the world renowned Forum Shops at Caesars. In March 2003 Caesars Palace opened its 4,100-seat Colosseum spotlighting international performers Celine Dion, Elton John, and Jerry Seinfeld. The Roman Plaza, a 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre plays hosts to a variety of outdoor sporting events, concerts and private functions.
* (All guests must be age 21 or older and have valid photo ID. Admission limited to venue capacity. Management reserves all rights).Categories: News
Local casinos wiped out the statewide competition, according to a readers' choice poll in the July issue of Casino Player magazine, a 15-year-old magazine with a readership of about 750,000.
Ameristar and Harrah's took first and second place in every category in the Best of Gaming 2006 poll, with the exceptions of best bar, where Vertigo at Harrah's was the only bar listed; the best comedy club which went to Penguins Comedy Club at Isle of Capris in Bettendorf, which was the only comedy club listed; and Best Room Packages, which also went to the Isle of Capri in Bettendorf over Harrah's and Ameristar.
The survey took place prior to the opening of Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, the nation's 19th largest casino market.
Adam Fine, editor in chief of Casino Player, said he's curious to see what impact the Horseshoe will have on the local market.
"It's a fantastic property for the Midwest," he said.
Fine also said he wants to see how Harrah's goes about fitting into the expanded Council Bluffs market and what moves Ameristar may make in response to the Horseshoe.
Ameristar Casino Hotel won Best Overall Casino and Best Overall Hotel accolades and 28 overall awards including 15 first-place awards in the market. Slots, craps and video poker took the top awards, with Prairie Mill Café winning Best Coffee Shop and Ameristar taking the top spot in the Best Overall Entertainment category.
Ameristar General Manager Teresa Meyer said the company's investment in the facility, training and recognition of team members is paying off.
"It's just wonderful," she said.
Meyer said she was most proud of winning in the category of Best Casino Hotel.
"And I like the one, Luckiest Casino, because luck is a perception," she said. "It's kind of a happiness, feel-good kind of thing. I think that's really a compliment to us."
Harrah's won 13 first-place awards, including Best Overall Hotel Casino and Best Casino Promotions, and 29 awards overall. Reel slots, blackjack and players club were other areas where Harrah's took the top prize.
Christie Scott, manager of public and community relations for Harrah's and Horseshoe Casinos, said the company was pleased with the number of first-place honors Harrah's Council Bluffs received.
"The variety of awards shows that our customers really have fun playing at Harrah's and that they receive a real value in our Total Rewards program," Scott said. "Our guests know that they can play with us and earn comps that can be redeemed at any of our Harrah's Entertainment properties around the country, including our new Horseshoe Casino as well as all of our casinos on the Las Vegas strip."
Casino Player's Fine said Iowa took some risks in starting out as the first casino riverboat state, and that has limited the industry's growth.
"It's very frustrating to see that from an industry standpoint," he said. "The market is there. The problem is the casino facilities themselves."
The biggest problem, as he sees it, is an absence of hotels.
"If you have the rooms, you have the people downstairs," Fine said. "And that Horseshoe can handle a great hotel."
By PHIL ROONEY
When the Professional Domino Association tour got started in February, Jerome Wooten of Kansas City had no idea what to expect.
But here he is, more than $40,000 richer. Wooten is the leading money winner on the inaugural tour of a league that most people don’t realize exists, and he has been declared the champion even before the tour is finished.
The association was founded by former music executive Jay King, whose group Club Nouveau topped the pop charts in 1987 with its remake of “Lean on Me.” The final tournament of the regular season is today in Atlanta.
The 12-city tour has stopped in such places as Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland and Phoenix and has averaged 55 participants at each stop. The association has doled out $30,000 in prize money in each city, and one of the ESPN networks plans to televise three or four of the tournaments, starting in October.
Association officials have high hopes for the sport, if that’s the right word. They want to take dominoes off the picnic table and put them on the big-screen TV, transforming the game from a geriatric pastime to a major spectator event.
In short, they want to see it explode in much the same way that poker has.
“We are going to be to dominoes what the NBA is to basketball, what MLB is to baseball, what the PGA is to golf,” King said by phone from his Los Angeles home. “People will eventually get paid a salary to play in the PDA just like everything else.”
Wooten and some other Kansas Citians hope to be among those who will reap the rewards.
“If this thing gets as big as poker, I’m going to give up the real estate,” said Wooten, 30, a home appraiser.
The game played at tour stops is called “Five Up” or “High Five.” The dominoes — 28 white tiles etched with zero to 12 black dots — are face down when each player draws seven of them. There are two players in each game, and each takes a turn laying tiles with numbers that match those at the end of the line of tiles.
Players earn points by placing a domino that, added with other dominoes at the end, equals a multiple of five. Players also earn points by being the first to run out of tiles. If they cannot play, they keep drawing from the pile.
The first player to earn 150 points wins the game, which can be over within five or 10 minutes — or less, if Wooten is playing. His strategy is to play fast and keep his opponents off guard. Other players are more deliberate and thoughtful. Still others run their mouths incessantly, talking trash.
Travis Newsome, owner of Newsome Realty Co., this year formed a domino team called the Kansas City Show-Me Domino Dominators. Members of the team have won seven of the 11 tournaments on the PDA tour and nearly half of the prize money.
Three team members are ranked among the tour’s top 10 players — Wooten at No. 1, Newsome at No. 9 and Eddie Rice at No. 10. They practice a lot between tournaments, playing dominoes nearly every day.
Besides the $40,500 he already has won, Wooten has earned $30,000 for being the tour’s regular-season champion. He said that total haul of $70,500 is significantly more than what he makes annually working for one of Newsome Realty’s appraisal firms.
It also is far more than the $5,000 or less he made in the previous seven years, bouncing from one domino tournament to another.
For now, the Professional Domino Association is very much a startup organization trying to find its niche.
King said that he and a cousin were “carrying the ball” financially and have spent about $1.8 million this year. As King said: “That ball is heavy.” A few corporate sponsors also have contributed financially.
When the tour swung through Kansas City in late June, participants and organizers locked up only 20 or so rooms at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center hotel. By comparison, the International Society of Glass Beadmakers has more than 230 rooms booked this weekend at the hotel.
PDA events aren’t yet populated by celebrities. While poker has Ben Affleck, dominoes counters with Omar Gooding, younger brother of actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
In fact, the “crowds” at tour stops generally are limited to participants, a few family members and an occasional wayward hotel guest who expects to see rows of upright dominoes tumble methodically.
Tour participants hope that will change soon.
The Professional Domino Association will distribute $555,000 in total prize money this year, including $150,000 next month at the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas.
“We want our team and our players to be the center of attention,” said Newsome, who learned the game at age 12 and has played in tournaments since 1978. “We want to be right in front when this thing really gets popular.”
By STEVE ROCK
For more inforamtion on the game of dominoes visit Dominoes HQCategories: News
Could you please explain the ace as it relates to poker, both using it as high or low, and using it in a straight? Also, can the Ace ever be used in this scenario: Queen-King-Ace-2-3 to form a straight? Ray W.
The genesis of the Ace’s mighty rise to power can be traced back to the French Revolution, when the lowest numbered card (in that era the one) was positioned above the King to represent victory over the monarchy by the common man. Its chest did swell with pride, Ray.
Many games today, such as poker and blackjack, alDeal Me InColumn.ems low the player to choose whether the ace is to be used as a high or low card. For example, in Hold’em poker, an Ace is considered the highest card in the deck, with one exception: it can help form what’s called “the wheel,” or the lowest straight possible; an Ace - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. With this 5-high straight, the five is the top card, not the Ace. Conversely, the highest straight, called an ace-high straight or “Broadway,” is
Ten-Jack-Queen-King-Ace. Unless you are playing a game where an Ace is specifically given a high or low value, it's usually played as either, never both. Wrapping the Ace, Ray, a Queen-King-Ace-2-3, would never constitute a straight.
When playing best low hand, there are some poker games that permit the Ace to play low, ignoring both straights and flushes. For example, the 5-4-3-2-Ace is the best possible low, even if it makes a straight or straight flush. Other games count straights or flushes against you, but let the Ace play low, making 6-4-3-2-Ace the best possible hand. In games where the ace is ranked below the deuce, a pair of aces would also score lower than a pair of deuces.
Here is a tip your readers might be interested in. Deal Me InColumn.ems When ordering a cocktail in a casino, you might as well order a quality drink. Why get Scoresby when you can order Johnnie Walker Black. Robin L.
Holy befuddled with booze, Batman! Robin’s got it right. Casinos will actually serve you the best call liquor behind the bar, that is, if you ask. But, Robin, if you’re trying to hustle premium drinks versus some hooch from the well to offset your losses at the table, fugedaboutit. A little select spirits might be a good thing, but too much of it and you'll find yourself, not the drink, on the rocks. Besides, they don’t call it chip remover for nothing.
Can a player toss in his cards, then change his mind, and get them back from the dealer? Jay F.
No way, Jay, afterthoughts are not allowed in poker.
That collection of faceDeal Me InColumn.ems down cards near the dealer composed of discards and folded hands is called the muck, garbage pile or trash. When someone throws one's cards into it, the thrower automatically withdraws from further participation in the current pot.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Poker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism and democracy. Poker can be rough-hewn or polished, warm or cold, charitable and caring, or hard and impersonal, fickle and elusive, but ultimately poker is fair, and right, and just.” -- Lou Krieger
By Mark Pilarski
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to ban Internet gambling is facing some opposition in the U.S. Senate and will not come up for a vote before the chamber takes its August recess, an aide to the U.S. Senate majority leader said on Thursday.
Backers of the legislation had hoped to push it through the Senate quickly this month following the arrest in the United States of David Carruthers, the chief executive of BETonSPORTS, on charges of racketeering and conspiracy.
Carruthers is scheduled to appear at a hearing in U.S. district court in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday to determine if he must remain in jail until his trial.
However, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said that lawmakers were still working on the bill and would not be able to hold a floor vote before the Senate recesses for its August vacation.
The Senate bill is virtually identical to legislation overwhelmingly approved earlier in July by the U.S. House of Representatives. It would prohibit most forms of Internet gambling and make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
The Republican-backed bill has been criticized by some as an election-year appeal to the party's conservative base.
Supporters of a crackdown on Internet gambling say legislation is needed to clarify that a 1961 federal law banning sports betting also covers an array of online gambling.Categories: News
July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Betonsports Plc Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of racketeering conspiracy in connection with a U.S. gambling probe.
The London-based Web gambling company was also charged, along with its founder, Gary Stephen Kaplan, the Justice Department said. The indictment, issued June 1 by a federal grand jury in Missouri and unsealed today, charges nine other people and three additional companies.
``Illegal commercial gambling across state and international borders is a crime,'' Catherine Hanaway, U.S. attorney in St. Louis, said in a statement. ``This indictment is but one step in a series of actions designed to punish and seize the profits of individuals who disregard federal and state laws.''
The charges came as lawmakers in the U.S., the company's main market, are seeking to crack down on online gambling, a $12 billion-a-year business. Last week, the House of Representatives approved legislation designed to stifle Web gambling by forbidding credit card companies from collecting payments to Internet casinos.
Betonsports, which gets most of its business from running a sports book and also offers casino games and poker, said earlier today that Carruthers had been detained in the U.S. as he changed planes.
The company's shares fell 17 percent, by 24.5 pence to 122.5 pence, in London. The percentage drop was the biggest since November 2004.
U.S. gamblers accounted for almost three-quarters of the $48.3 million in customer deposits paid to Betonsports in the fiscal first quarter ended May 6.
Along with the criminal charges, the U.S. also filed a civil case in St. Louis federal court, asking that Betonsports be ordered to stop taking bets from the U.S. and return money held by U.S. bettors in wagering accounts. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry issued a temporary restraining order granting the request today and said a hearing would be held within 10 days.
The indictment alleges that Kaplan, 47, started his gambling enterprise in New York in the early 1990s. After being arrested in May 1993 on New York state gambling charges, Kaplan moved the betting operation to Florida, and later, offshore to Costa Rica, according to the court papers.
Kaplan is alleged to have failed to pay federal wagering excise taxes on more than $3.3 billion in bets taken from the U.S. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $4.5 billion from Kaplan and other co-defendants.
A warrant has been issued for Kaplan's arrest, the Justice Department said. Carruthers, 49, is in custody in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Peter Wilson, media director for Betonsports, and two of Kaplan's siblings were also charged. The three other indicted companies, all based in Florida, are Direct Mail Expertise Inc., DME Global Marketing and Fulfillment Inc. and Mobile Promotions Inc.Categories: News
New federal legislation may derail Fargo state Rep. Jim Kasper's plans to revive a proposal to make North Dakota the first state to license Internet poker sites.
The measure, which the U.S. House overwhelmingly approved last week, would ban Internet gambling sites, including online poker rooms, from taking money from customers in the United States.
It changes a 1961 antigambling law, called the Wire Act, to explicitly apply its terms to Internet gambling. It requires the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department to write regulations to block gambling money transfers by American banks.
Kasper said he has not reviewed the legislation, which is a meshing of separate bills introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa. The House endorsed it 317-93. One of its supporters was Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.
Approval from the Senate and President Bush is still needed for the bill to become law. The Senate has not taken up the measure, and may not do so before the current session of Congress concludes at year's end.
Kasper said he was unsure of the legislation's implications for his North Dakota poker licensing bill, but that he is reluctant to abandon the concept.
"I don't want to give it up, because there's too much money for the people of North Dakota, and there's too many good things that can happen if we become the first state that regulates the Internet poker business," Kasper said. "But I've got to interpret what this bill does ... Maybe there are too many restrictions in it. I don't know."
During the 2005 Legislature, Kasper sponsored a bill and a North Dakota constitutional amendment to allow North Dakota to license and regulate Internet poker sites. They are now based in several countries, including Costa Rica and Antigua, an island nation in the eastern Caribbean.
Both proposals squeezed through the North Dakota House, but were walloped in the Senate. Both measures got only three Senate votes in favor, and one of the "yes" votes, Sen. Jack Traynor, R-Devils Lake, is not seeking re-election.
Kasper believes North Dakota could reap considerable revenues from poker site licensing, and from using the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to process the sites' financial transactions. Under the Fargo Republican's proposed legislation, most of the poker licensing revenue would be set aside to finance local property tax cuts.
The federal legislation exempts horse racing and state-run lotteries from Internet gambling restrictions, and would allow Internet gambling operations that are contained only within a single state. The intrastate exemption would be meaningless in North Dakota, which is not a large enough market to sustain a lucrative Internet poker business.
Kasper toyed with the idea of circulating initiative petitions to put the Internet poker measures directly to a vote this year, but the effort never got started.
He said any new poker legislation he offers in the 2007 Legislature will have stronger provisions to ensure that underage gamblers would not be allowed to play, and safeguards would be included to stop players from gambling away too much money.
In an interview with CardPlayer.com, a poker Web site, Kasper said he had consulted Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president of the American Gaming Association, about the effects of the federal measure, and that he would be soliciting gaming industry assistance in drafting his own legislation.
Kasper has been a featured speaker at several industry conferences about his North Dakota Internet poker measures, and is scheduled to speak at a "poker summit" in Montreal in early October.
"A lot of people want to know what I did, why I did it, how I did it and what happened, and what does this hold for the future of the Internet poker industry," Kasper said.
By DALE WETZEL
All too often I am able to line up two of the highest jackpot winning symbols but never the third. Sometimes the third will appear, but not directly on the line needed for me to win the machine’s highest award. My question is: is the casino doing this to induce play, or is it just a coincidence? Sue L.
We’ve all been there, Sue; Treasure Chest, Treasure Chest, and then…why you blankety-blank!
What you are describing, Sue, -- winning combinations appearing more often than would occur randomly -- is called "near-miss" programming. Although I can’t speak to the legality of "near-miss" programming for each and every gaming jurisdiction, I can state that it has been ruled illegal in both New Jersey and Nevada; and most states’ Gaming Commissions tend to follow the big boys.
Because thDeal Me InColumn.ems e reel display of modern slot machines is controlled by computer software, sure, a slot machine could be programmed to frequently display combinations that are close to winning combinations. Repeatedly displaying Treasure Chest, Treasure Chest, and a non-Treasure Chest can tease players into a playing frenzy because they think they’re almost winning.
We need to also consider, Sue, with 20 symbols on a reel and possibly 256 stopping points, Treasure Chests can appear above or below the payline and seem as a "near-miss," but even so, slot machines cannot be specifically programmed to show "winning combinations” at a mathematically impossible frequency. The “near miss” must be just as likely to occur as any other equally randomly distributed combination.
Getting paid “to” one versus “for” one to the player means what? Steve S.
A payoff of “9 to1” means the winner is paid nine chips for every chip bet; and since the winner keeps the chip wagered, he winds up with 10 chips in hand.
When the payoff is “9 for1”, the winner is paid nine chips for every chip wagered; however, Steve, the house keeps the originally wagered chip, leaving the winner with 9 chips in hand. Words to watch for!
After going through two rolls of quarters, I got up from a cold machine and moved one machine over. A lady then started playing on the machine I had just left hits a $10,000 jackpot on her first three quarters. Was I a day late and a dollar short? Del E.
Not even a second late and six bits short.
Most players, Del, falsely reason; "If I had played just three more quarters, that $10,000 jackpot would have been mine.” But even gluing your hopeful fanny to that same machine’s stool would not have given you that $10,000 jackpot. Why? Because the results of a modern slot machine’s spin depend on exactly when the spin began.
The RaDeal Me InColumn.ems ndom Number Generator (RGN) within the machine is constantly generating random numbers at a rate as high as a million per second. As soon as the lever is pulled (or the "Play" button pressed) the most recently generated random number is used to determine the outcome. Since results vary depending on exactly when the handle is yanked, an earlier or later pull by you would have created a completely different outcome.
Consequently, Del, it is highly unlikely that you would have received the same result if you had played three additional quarters. The only way you could have had the happy lady’s booty was for her to say to you, “It’s all yours, Buster” at the end of the down pull, and she gives you her seat while the reels were still spinning. Sure, it’s corny example, but I’m trying to drive home the point on how improbable the 10K was of being yours.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Poker is the game closest to the western conception of life, where life and thought are recognized as intimately combined, where free will prevails over philosophies of fate or of chance, where men are considered moral agents and where – at least in the short run - the important thing is not what happens but what people think happens. —John Lukacs
By Mark Pilarski
The House easily approved a bill yesterday to curb online poker games, sports betting and other Internet-based wagering that gained infamy as a central focus of a major lobbying scandal.
The 317-to-93 vote came nearly six years to the day after a similar measure went down to surprise defeat. At the time, unknown to its conservative supporters, the bill was derailed by lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the office of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, on behalf of the disgraced lobbyist's gambling clients.
"This is the opportunity to expunge a smear on this House done by many lobbyists," Abramoff included, said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), one of the legislation's chief sponsors. "Now is the time to set the record straight."
The bill that was passed yesterday seeks to restrain the booming but difficult-to-regulate Internet gambling business. Proponents of the crackdown said the industry, which is mostly based overseas, provides a front for money laundering, some of it by drug sellers and terrorist groups, while preying on children and gambling addicts. Americans bet an estimated $6 billion per year online, accounting for half the worldwide market, according to analysis by the Congressional Research Service.
Critics said the bill overreaches and would be difficult to enforce. At its heart are two provisions. One would update the 1961 Wire Act, which bars gambling entities from using wire-based communications for transmitting bets, to include the Internet. The other aims at cutting off the money flow from players to Internet gambling sites by barring the use of electronic payments, such as credit-card transactions.
The biggest losers could be the estimated 23 million Americans who play poker over the Internet. "This bill would needlessly make outlaws of the millions of adult Americans who enjoy online poker, and is the latest example of how our representatives in Congress are ignoring real issues facing our country," warned the grass-roots Poker Players Alliance, in an alert to its more than 25,000 members.
The alliance urged Congress to regulate and tax online poker, rather than effectively ban it, as the House bill would. An economic analysis by the group showed that the federal tax revenue could reach $3.3 billion annually, while states could collect $1 billion more. "We hope that this analysis will give a fresh perspective for U.S. senators about the benefits of regulation," said Michael Bolcerek, president of the alliance.
Some Senate Republicans, in particular Jon Kyl of Arizona, have promoted similar measures and may revive their efforts now that the House has acted. The bill carves out exemptions for horse and dog racing, online lotteries and other games, including fantasy sports leagues, that are legal within state boundaries.
Abramoff's efforts in 2000 to kill the House bill have been under scrutiny in the federal government's ongoing corruption investigation. In March this year, Tony C. Rudy, a former senior DeLay aide, pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy. Rudy admitted to helping Abramoff scuttle the bill as part of a series of acts he performed in exchange for a stream of gifts, including luxury trips, golf fees, restaurant meals, entertainment, use of sports arena skyboxes and cash payments to his wife's political consulting firm.
Among other things, Rudy e-mailed Abramoff internal congressional communications and advice helpful to defeating the legislation, The Washington Post reported last year. Months later, Rudy was hired as a lobbyist by Abramoff.
DeLay, who ranked third in the Republican House leadership at the time, voted against the bill, saying that it had unacceptable loopholes to placate regional lawmakers, such as exemptions for horse racing. Two months before he voted against the bill, DeLay, his wife, two aides and two lobbyists took a lavish $70,000 golf trip to Scotland, paid for by Abramoff clients who opposed the bill. DeLay denies any connection between the trip and the vote.
An Abramoff ally in the earlier fight, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, has appeared on Capitol Hill this year to again oppose the bill. In 2000, gambling opponents such as Sheldon and Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, were enlisted as part of Abramoff's $2 million pro-gambling campaign.
Sheldon said last year that he could not remember receiving money from Abramoff's client and that he was unaware that Abramoff was involved in the campaign to defeat the bill. A spokesman for Reed, now a candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia, said that he and his associates were unaware that any money they received had come from gambling activities.
By Shailagh Murray and James V. Grimaldi
Washington - Gamblers who prefer their laptops to blackjack tables won't like what Congress is doing.
Today, the House plans to vote on a bill that would ban credit cards for paying online bets and could padlock gambling websites.
The legislation would clarify existing law to spell out that it is illegal to gamble online.
To enforce that ban, the bill would prohibit credit cards and other payment forms, such as electronic transfers, from being used to settle online wagers. It also would give law enforcement officials the authority to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling websites.
Some opponents of the legislation say policing the Internet is impossible, that it would be better to regulate the $12 billion industry and collect taxes from it. The online gambling industry is based almost entirely outside the United States, though about half its customers live in the U.S.
Other critics complain that the bill doesn't cover all forms of gambling. They point to exemptions that they say would allow online lotteries and Internet betting on horse racing to flourish while cracking down on other kinds of sports betting, casino games and card games like poker.
"If you're going to support legislation that is supposed to 'prohibit gambling,' you should not have carve-outs," said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition.
Other conservative and antigambling groups are supporting the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa.
John Kindt, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the issue, calls the Internet "the crack cocaine" of gambling.
"There are no needle marks. There's no alcohol on the breath. You just click the mouse and lose your house," he said.
Congress has considered similar bills several times before. In 2000, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff led a fierce campaign against it on behalf of an online lottery company. Online lotteries are allowed in the latest bill, largely at the behest of states that increasingly rely on lotteries to supplement tax revenues.
Pro-sports leagues like the bill, arguing that Web wagering could hurt the integrity of their sports.
The horse-racing industry supports the bill because of the exemption it would get. Betting operators would not be prohibited from any activity allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act.
That law written in the 1970s set up rules for interstate betting on racing. It was updated a few years ago to clarify that betting on horse racing over the Internet is allowed.
"Somehow we find ourselves in a situation where Congress has gotten in the business of cherry-picking types of gambling," complained Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla.
Wexler had tried unsuccessfully to include exemptions for dog racing and jai alai, both popular in Florida.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is leading support for the ban in the Senate. The gambling issue has not been debated in that chamber this year.
By Nancy Zuckerbrod
As most of us toasted liberty and pursued happiness last week, Jim Harvill opened his mailbox and learned these rights are not as unalienable as he thought.
On July 3, Harvill, an affable operations manager for Sprint PCS near Spokane, got the following letter from the publisher of two magazines he has subscribed to for years. "It is with deep regret that we must inform you ... " it read, "we must cancel all subscriptions to Washington State."
The magazines are "Casino Player" — a monthly review of U.S. casinos and hotels — and "Strictly Slots" — a guide to one-armed bandits, video poker and other mechanized means of gambling.
Hardly classic literature. But Harvill liked them. And now he can no longer read them, thanks to a twisted reading of the state's new law against Internet gambling.
The state says placing bets online is against the law. Fine. But the state goes on to say that even writing about Internet gambling in a way that's promotional is "aiding and abetting" an illegal industry.
So now two print magazines consider themselves banned in this state. It's not clear whether the publisher pulled them on his own or was asked to by the state. The letter vaguely cites "new state laws regarding the legality of online gaming."
Mind you, no actual betting occurs via these magazines. People like Harvill buy them just to read about gambling.
"It's completely surreal," Harvill says. "My government is saying there is something I'm not allowed to read. I've lived in this country for 60 years and I can't remember anything like this happening to me before."
Well, it has certainly happened to others. Ask Larry Flynt. But it is almost never allowed to stand. Has to do with all that stuff we heard ad nauseam last week about independence and the freedom to think and speak as we want.
The nation's birthday week was a dark one for the most unruly and inconvenient of our freedoms, expression.
We learned that a high-school band in Everett had been barred from playing "Ave Maria" because the song is too religious. This is as baffling as if an art class were not permitted to study Michelangelo.
And then a Fort Lewis Army officer, who was properly accused of refusing to ship out to Iraq, was inexplicably charged for saying "contemptuous words against the President of the United States."
Lt. Ehren Watada had said the president misled us into a war that, in retrospect, was a mistake. Shocking! Even in the military, how can stating the obvious be a jailable offense?
I realize there are arguments for all these clampdowns. Still, it ought to give us pause that in one Fourth of July week we had two magazines banned in the state, one song muzzled in a school district and a slew of words outlawed in the military.
Would a confident people do this to themselves?
Oh, well. So we can't read up on Internet betting. Students can't play songs about Jesus' mother. Soldiers can't call the president a charlatan.
If we all get really bored, at least we can still burn the flag.
By Danny Westneat
I enjoy reading your column in the Reno Gazette Journal each week. I am a craps dealer, but possibly a confused craps dealer. I always thought that the casino advantage was higher on the 6 and 8 hardways than the 4 and 10 hardways since there are more ways to roll easy sixes and eights. Your June 29th column lists the 4 and 10 casino advantage 11.1% and the 6 and 8 at 9.09%. Have you made an error or have I been under the wrong impression for 16 years? Please explain. Peter P.
I do thank you for those kind words, Peter P, Deal Me InColumn.ems and now to work.
The actual odds, Peter, pitted against the player’s payout, determines what the casino’s advantage is on a hardway bet, and NOT how many more ways you can roll an easy 6 or 8 versus 4 and 10. Let’s examine this further, Peter, using the hard 10 and 8 as examples.
When betting a hard 10, there are eight ways to lose: six ways to throw a seven (4-3, 3-4, 5-2, 2-5, 6-1, 1-6) and two ways to throw a 10 the easy way (6-4, 4-6). This would mean that the correct payoff for a hardway 10 should be eight to one. Yet you, Peter, the 16-year Green Felt Jungle veteran, will pay the winning patron just seven to one, effectively giving the casino an 11.1% advantage on this wager.
As for a hard 8, there are ten ways to lose: again, six ways to throw a 7, and four ways for an 8 the easy way (5-3, 3-5, 6-2, 2-6). Because there are ten ways to lose, the correct payoff should be 10 to one on a hard 8, but your payoff to the player is only nine to one, which gives the house a 9.09% edDeal Me InColumn.ems ge on this bet.
Yep, Peter, there is only one way to win a hardway bet, and oodles of ways of losing. So, with payouts not to the player’s advantage, I’m hoping readers retain what they’ve just read and save their hard-earned money for more advantageous bets on the layout.
Last week you mentioned different proposition bets on a crap table but didn’t mention a “hop” bet. I’ve heard it yelled out on a crap table before but I’m not quite clear how to play it, or even where it is located on the table.
Also, what are your thoughts about the “due factor” as it relates to craps? By reading last week’s column I took away the fact that you are no fan of any proposition bets, but what are your thoughts that if the 11 hasn’t appeared in let’s say an hour, wouldn’t a little side action on it (the 11) be justified? Neal C.
A hop bet, Neil, is a wager on any combination of the dice on the next roll. For example, “Hard” 6 on the hop pays 30-1 (the actual odds, Neal, are 35-1) if matching 3’s appear on the dice on the next roll only. You may also bet "Easy" combinations, such as a 4-2 or 5-1, which pays off at 15 to one, with actual odds of 17 to one.
The reason you can’t ferret out a hop bet on most craps tables is that hop wagers do not have a designated space on the layout; instead, they are usually placed in front of the boxman, often with a "hop" marker placed on top of your chips.
As to the second part of your question, past die rolls do not influence the probabilities of future die rolls. The famous and costly Gambler's Fallacy, Neil, is the belief that a craps player should bet on 11 if an 11 has not appeared in the last umpteen rolls. In actuality, each roll of the dice is an independent event, with the pDeal Me InColumn.ems robability of rolling an 11 not changing from one in 18, even if the 11 hasn’t appeared in the last 24 hours. But ... show me one gambler who really believes that, and I’ll show eighteen who don’t. That’s called the Casino Owners’ Magic Carpet.
Gambling wisdom of the Week: "If you've lost every penny you brought to gamble with, that might be a good time to leave." -- Frank Scoblete, Casino Gambling
By Mark Pilarski
TUNICA, Miss. Two North Dakota American Indian tribes are among several groups seeking gaming licenses to operate the proposed Myriad World Resorts in Tunica, Mississippi.
Myriad World Entertainment and Resorts' one-point-nine (b) billion-dollar development calls for a casino resort featuring a climate-controlled, fully enclosed, 18-hole, covered golf course and botanical gardens.
High Plains Equity L-L-C, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians based in Rolette County, North Dakota, and the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota have each published a notice in The Tunica Times weekly newspaper that they plan to seek a gaming license.
Myriad has an agreement to sell three separate casino parcels within its 540-acre development and plans to close on the sales on June first, 2007, according to information on its Web site.
The groups are expected to seek site approval at the commission's July or August meeting.
The developers told the Mississippi Gaming Commission in March that they would like the resort to eventually include six casinos in addition to the one they hold a license to operate.Categories: News
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Atlantic City casinos could lose more than $20 million a day in revenue and cut thousands of jobs, an industry executive said on Wednesday, as a New Jersey budget impasse forced operators to halt operations.
All 12 of the city's casinos closed on Wednesday morning after a budget impasse led Gov. Jon Corzine to shut down non-essential services July 1, furloughing most state employees.
The casinos, which generate millions of dollars in taxes for New Jersey, must have state-employed regulators in place to operate. A state appellate court on Monday rejected a plea by casinos to stay open.
"It is a terrible thing for Atlantic City," Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. Chief Operating Officer Mark Juliano said. "For future investment it makes people think that there is not a government that is stable enough to administer their own policies."
Corzine, who wants to raise sales tax one percentage point to 7 percent to close the state's $4.5 billion budget deficit, said on Wednesday he did not have the authority to exempt casino regulators.
Major casino operators affected include Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, a joint venture between Boyd Gaming Corp. (Charts) and MGM Mirage (Charts), and Harrah's Entertainment Inc (Charts)., the world's largest gaming operator, which runs four casinos there. Other casino operators in Atlantic City include Aztar Corp. (Charts) and Colony Capital LLC.
Trump Entertainment's Juliano said a prolonged closure could lead the company to lay off about 2,000 casino employees as well as affect its expansion plans.
The loss to the industry could be between $20 million and $22 million a day, he said.
A Borgata spokesman said the casino floor at the opulent Atlantic City property had closed but other non-gaming facilities were still open.
"There are still customers around," spokesman Michael Facenda said. But "the news has gotten out that the casinos have been ordered to be closed."
"We didn't think it would happen," Juliano said.Categories: News
AUSSIE poker king Joe Hachem is in the money again after winning $345,000 in a Las Vegas tournament.
The former Melbourne chiropractor, who won $10 million playing poker almost a year ago, yesterday outlasted 822 poker players to finish runner-up in the World Series of Poker event.
But Hachem was a little disappointed he didn't win the tournament and the $649,000 first prize.
"It's bittersweet. On one hand it's a great result but I'm not happy that I didn't win," the 40-year-old father of four said.
Hachem looked set to beat Californian Russ Boyd but the turn of the final card, a five of diamonds, gave the American two pairs and the tournament.
Hachem said when he saw that card "my heart sank to my ankles".
"I had him right where I wanted him," he said.
"I'm disappointed I didn't win. I pushed him as hard as I could."
Hachem's finish was watched by his wife, Jeannie, who hugged him moments after the No Limit Hold 'Em game ended.
"She was disappointed for me. She's my No. 1 fan," Hachem said.
"She said to me, I hope you are happy with the result."
Asked what he was going to do with the $345,000 he'd earned for three days' play,
Hachem laughed and said: "I have no idea. Maybe I'll buy a property for one of the kids."
Hachem said he hoped the big payday would send a message to the world's best poker players that he was "the real deal".
"Anyone in their own field wants the recognition they deserve," Hachem said.
This month Hachem will defend his World Series of Poker world title in Las Vegas, competing for a first prize of $13.4 million.Categories: News
I had an interesting situation happen on a crap table and I would appreciate having your take on it. I had been playing for approximately an hour or so and ran out of chips with the exception of a lone $5 chip in hand, plus what I had on the Pass line and its odds. I tossed the $5 chip on the table and yelled out to place the 6 for $25, and was reaching for my wallet for the additional money when the dealer yelled back “No Call Bets” and shoved the money back my way. As you may well have guessed the 6 came up. Regardless of my ill fortune, my question still remains, is this standard procedure? I will defer to your answer before raising issue with the casino next time I go in. Kregg M.
Before raising cain, Kregg, you Deal Me InColumn.ems first want to check and see if the crap table you played on states "NO CALL BETS” on the layout. What that sign means is that a player is not allowed to call out a bet without having at least enough chips on the table to cover the bet. The dealer wants to see you’ve got the cabbage in plain view before he or she will book your wager.
Another reason the No Call Bets rule exists is to prevent confusion as to the amount of your wager. You could have tossed that $5 chip on the layout, pretended to be reaching for more moolah and simultaneously yelling, “place the 6 for a nickel,” and a dealer, not visually seeing your meager $5 bet being lobbed in, might interpret “a nickel” as $500.
Because of the frenzied pace on the crap table, dealers do allow a player to make last-second bets when the dice are about to be thrown. For instance, you could toss out a $25 chip and clearly call out, “place the six for $5, and the dealer will say "it's a bet" and return $20 change to the player after the roll. The dealer doesn't even have to actually place the wager in its proper place on the layout for it to constitute a valid bet.
Also, the No Call Bet rule aside, if the dealer is not clear about the intention of someone’s play, he or she can and will state "no bet" and push the chips back to tDeal Me InColumn.ems he player.
I noticed while cleaning an old purse $10 worth of Mega Millions lottery tickets I purchased last year in California (I actually live in Reno). I checked a web site and found they were not winners, but I was still wondering how long I had to redeem them had I won anything, and what would happen if no one came forward to claim the big MEGA Millions jackpot? Aubrey F.
If a jackpot prize is not claimed within the required time limit, in your case 180 days, each of the participating states in the MEGA Millions game gets back all the money they contributed to that jackpot. The 12 states where the game is played, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington, each use unclaimed prizes for different purposes. Your tickets, Aubrey, were purchased in California, so their portion of the unclaimed MEGA Millions jackpot prize would go toward public education.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Whether he likes it or not, a man's character is stripped bare at the poker table; if the other players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in cards, as in life.” —Anthony Holden from the Big Deal
By Nark Pilarski
LAS VEGAS -- If you are an affluent "trendsetter" who is financially responsible, then you just might be a gambler, according to a survey released by Harrah's Entertainment Inc.
The latest survey by the world's largest casino company used interviews of 2,000 adults and a survey questionnaire of 57,000 people last year to profile a typical gambler.
It found the median household income of those who gambled in the previous 12 months was $56,663, compared with $48,997 for the U.S. population ages 21 and older. About 31 percent who earned more than $95,000 a year gambled, compared with 20 percent who made less than $35,000.
More gamblers, or 79 percent, had a computer at home than nongamblers, at 65 percent.
About 71 percent of gamblers owned a DVD player, while 59 percent of nongamblers did, the survey found. Some 21 percent also said they were likely to be the first to try new restaurants, versus 12 percent of nongamblers, according to the survey, which is a follow-up to one conducted in 2004,
"We discovered that they are often asked by friends and neighbors for advice on food, travel, new technology -- even home decorating and automotive choices," Harrah's chief executive Gary Loveman said in a statement.
"Just as gamblers like to try new activities, they also tend to be the first to buy new products, and to tell their families and friends about the experience," he said.
Observers said the casino company was trying to show that gamblers were innovators who would get others to visit casinos as well.
"What their hope is that someone becomes a loyal customer of theirs and they get some of their neighbors and associates to view Harrah's as a positive brand as well," said Matthew Jacob, an analyst with investor research firm Majestic Research Corp.
David Schwartz, coordinator of the UNLV Gaming Studies Research Center, said some of Harrah's findings match other surveys that show the typical visitor to Las Vegas is getting wealthier and spending more.
"They're showing that gamblers are in some ways perfect libertarians because they're fiscal conservatives," he said. "They save for the future. But they're also progressive and experimental."
According to the survey, 46 percent of gamblers expect to have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, versus 37 percent of nongamblers. Some 65 percent of gamblers said they put aside money regularly, separately from pension plans, compared with 46 percent of nongamblers.
Nongamblers were found to be more religious, with 38 percent associating "being true to God" with personal success, compared with 24 percent of gamblers. About 49 percent of nongamblers also said religion was "very important" in their lives, compared with 39 percent of gamblers.
About 25 percent of U.S. adults, or 52.8 million, visited a casino in the past 12 months and averaged 6.1 visits per year, the survey said. That compared with 26 percent of U.S. adults, or 53.4 million visitors, and 5.8 visits a year in the 2004 survey.
The margin of error for the casino visits portion of the survey was as high as plus or minus 1.7 percent.
Jacob said that targeted marketing campaigns to casino operators' core customers could have resulted in more visits by fewer customers but the change was too small to be conclusive.Categories: News
Comedian Dave Chappelle does a skit spoofing the World Series of Poker by changing it to the World Series of Craps.
It's hilarious, but also eye-opening for those who never have played craps in, oh how can this be put delicately . . . an urban environment (read: the 'hood).
As Chappelle notes, there's a big difference between craps at Bellagio and craps in the inner city, where games are rife with highly entertaining figures.
But it looks as if ESPN has taken Chappelle's joke somewhat seriously. Only instead of the World Series of Craps, it's the World Series of Dominoes.
Well, something like that.
ESPN has a deal with the International Domino Federation through 2011 and already has been airing domino tournaments on ESPN Deportes and ESPN2.
You're probably thinking this is another lame attempt by ESPN to fill the void between now and football season.
Partly. But televising domino games is actually one of the network's smarter decisions. And this is coming from the person who once thought televising poker was as ridiculous as the Orlando Magic selling Fran Vazquez jerseys.
But ESPN is bringing something special to the mainstream that has been the underbelly of various ethnic cultures.
Not trying to pull a Reggie White here, but certain games have a special cachet in ethnic communities. Among Latinos, blacks, and Caribbean peoples, dominoes is treated as seriously as fourth-and-goal on the 1-yard line.
Thankfully, no ESPN cameras were around at the domino games in my family. I'm almost certain dominoes was the irreconcilable differences listed on the divorce papers of cousins Fred and Sheila.
"People bring a lot of emotions to the game," said Lino Garcia, general manager of ESPN Deportes and a lifelong dominoes player. "It's a game where you can talk a lot of smack, or just sit there quietly."
ESPN is hoping dominoes becomes the new poker, which might be too lofty of a goal because an estimated 100 million people play poker worldwide.
Televising dominoes is still a solid investment for ESPN. The game is more interesting than hockey. And since dominoes doesn't have the same gambling stigma as poker, kids won't be selling their iPods on eBay to cover domino debts.
But the people of Orlando have a vested interest in hoping dominoes does well. For the next few years, Orlando will be home to the world's best dominoes players. The Pan American Domino Tournament in October 2007 and the World Domino Tournament in June 2008 will be held at Osceola Heritage Park. In August, the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau is hosting a smaller-scale tournament.
ESPN is broadcasting all three events, and I hate to be the one to point out that the nation's foremost sports network only seems to come to this area when it needs to film NFL stars in canoe races at Disney.
Thankfully, dominoes isn't as useless as, say, competitive eating. It's the rare "sport" that fits the category of cultural enhancement. We won't watch just a game, but also history and how cultures relate.
Luis Rivera, who grew up in Puerto Rico, is the one who told the higher-ups in Kissimmee to bid for international dominoes tournaments. It's not just a game for him -- and I suspect for other ethnic peoples who watch on ESPN.
"Latinos learn how to play when they're little," said Rivera, who plays dominoes three times a week. "You pass it along from generation to generation. You get people together from different countries at the table. You get hyper. You start arguing. It's fun."
By Jemele Hill
I am interested in the following proposition bets that were getting a lot of play the last time I was on a crap table: Bets like the 11 appearing on the next roll, Hardways, Craps, and someone was even betting on the Seven appearing on the next toss. Could you please provide a brief explanation of each, list the payoffs and actual odds, plus, which of the above mentioned bets do you recommend, if at all, to play? Al M.
Proposition bets, Al, are generally located in the center of a craps table, and although they pay off at temptingly high odds, they come with a significantly higher casino edge.
As for the 11, the “yo,” it is a one roll bet that the shooter will make a certain number of your choosing, in this case the 11, on the next roll. The afore-mentioned 11, the 3, or "ace-deuce,” and a "hi-lo," a combination bet on 2 or 12, all pay off at 15-1, but the actual odds are 17-1, giving the house a wallet thumping 13.9% edge. “Snake eyes,” the 2, and “box cars”, the 12, pay off at 30-1, but the actual odds of a 2 or 12 appearing are 35-1.
A Hardway is a wager that a shooter will make a number the hard way such as 3-3 (6) before throwing a 7 or a 6 the easy way (5-1 or 4-2). The hard 4 (2-2) and hard 10 (5-5) pay off at 7-1 odds with actual odds of 8-1, and the hard 6 (3-3) and hard 8 (4-4) pay off at 9-1 odds with actual odds of 10-1. The hard 4 and 10 carry a casino advantage of 11.1% and the hard 6 and 8 come in slightly lower at 9.09%.
Any Seven, also nicknamed "Big Red," is a bet that the shooter will roll a seven on the next roll. The true odds are 5-1, yet the casino only pays 4-1, giving the casino a humongous 16.67% house edge, making it, Al, the worst variety of the worst species of wager on the crap table.
Any Craps is a bet that the shooter will roll 2, 3 or 12 on the next roll. The true odds are 8-1, with a casino payoff of 7-1. The house edge on this bet is 11.1%.
The Field bet is a wager that any of these numbers, the 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will appear on the next roll of the dice. This bet pays 2-1 on the 2 or 12 and even money on the others (3, 4, 9, 10, 11), although many casinos do generously pay 3-1 on the 2 or 12. The casino advantage is typically 5.5% on a Field wager, but reduced to 2.77% if the 2 or 12 pay off at 3-1. Unlike the other proposition bets above, a Field bet is physically placed by the player in a box between the Don't pass line and the Come box and is not handled by a stickman or dealer.
All these wagers that you have showed interest in can be quite costly and damaging to a player’s bankroll. So, Al, since the house’s edge on the bets we’ve hung out to dry above, is far above my forever-suggested 1.5%, my recommendations as to which one to bet is, trumpets please, ta ta ta ta ta ta, NONE.
The canny craps player would instead put his/her hard-earned cash to work on either the Pass line or Don't Pass line with full odds, and complementing the Pass line wagers with place bets on either the 6 or 8.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Poker is a game of people. It's not the hand I hold, it's the people that I play with.” —Amarillo SlimCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
LAS VEGAS, June 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: PNK) announced today that the Company intends to build a new $350 million casino resort in Lake Charles, La., adjacent to its highly successful L'Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino property. The new resort is a replacement for the Harrah's Lake Charles facility, which was largely destroyed by Hurricane Rita and that the Company recently agreed to acquire.
Sugarcane Bay will evoke the laid-back island feeling of the Caribbean, combined with gracious Southern hospitality in an environment of comfortable luxury. The resort will feature 400 guestrooms and suites, many with panoramic views of beautiful Contraband Bayou.
As at L'Auberge, the hotel and other amenities will surround a new single-level riverboat casino. The Sugarcane Bay casino will feature a dedicated poker room, table games and approximately 1,500 slot machines. Such casino is subject to approval from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Sugarcane Bay will also feature a variety of exciting new restaurants, retail shopping, a tropical pool area and an island spa. It will be connected to L'Auberge so that guests can easily access both properties.
Construction on Sugarcane Bay is expected to begin in 2007 with a planned opening in 2009, subject to final approval from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
Additionally, L'Auberge, which opened in May 2005, will break ground in August on its previously announced hotel room expansion. The new 250-guestroom tower will expand the total number of hotel rooms and suites to approximately 1,000. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2007.Categories: News
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ--(MARKET WIRE)--Jun 19, 2006 -- Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa will unveil the largest poker room in Atlantic City on June 30, 2006, further staking its claim as a premier poker destination.
Borgata's 85-table, 21,500 square-foot poker room will feature an eighteen-table High Limit Room offering food service; a nine-table tournament area offering bleacher seating for tournament viewing that can be partitioned off as a "reserved" poker area, and a 58-table Main Poker Room offering live poker action outfitted with plasma televisions. As an added convenience, a safe deposit box room is provided by Borgata for poker customers. Already known as the East Coast's preeminent poker hub, Borgata will offer the largest variety of games and limits in Atlantic City including all variations of Texas Hold'em, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha.
To celebrate the opening of the poker room, Borgata has lined up exciting events throughout the summer:
WIP Grudge Match Final Table: June 30, 2006
WIP Sports Talk hosts Angelo Cataldi and Howard Eskin have taken their dislike for each other to Borgata's poker tables in The WIP Poker Grudge Match. Throughout the month of June, Angelo listeners have taken on Howard listeners in weekly poker tournaments. The WIP Grudge Match Final table will be held at Borgata on Friday, June 30 in the poker room. Participants have a chance to win a share of $25,000 for representing Team Eskin or Team Cataldi in the poker tournament.
Borgata Holiday Weekend Tournament Schedule: June 30-July 4, 2006
To kick off Fourth of July weekend, Borgata will host daily tournaments in the new 85-table Poker Room.
-- Friday, June 30 - Noon, Buy in: $250 + $30 -- *$50,000 prize pool
-- Saturday, July 1 - 11 AM, Buy in: $300 + $40
-- Sunday, July 2 - 10AM, Buy in: $150 + $25
-- Monday, July 3 - 10AM, Buy in: $150 + $25
-- Tuesday, July 4 - 11AM, Buy in: $50 + $10
-- Tuesday, July 4 - 6PM, Buy in: $50 + $10
Poker Opening Celebration Electronics Giveaway: July 1-4, 2006
Borgata will also host an Electronics Giveaway, July 1-4, for all My Borgata cardholders playing in the poker room. Borgata will announce one winner every hour from 11AM - 8PM. Giveaways each day include:
-- Saturday, July 1: SONY DVD RECORDER
-- Sunday, July 2: SONY CYBERSHOT DIGITAL CAMERA
-- Monday, July 3: SONY PORTABLE DVD PLAYER
-- Tuesday, July 4: iPOD NANO (2G
-- Additionally, all My Borgata cardholders playing with their My Borgata
card July 1 - 4 have a chance to win a Sony 32" Bravia XBGR LCD Flat Panel
Integrated HD Television. The winner will be announced July 4 at 8 PM.
-- Plus, every My Borgata cardholder at the winning table each hour will
receive $25 comp dollars.
Borgata Summer Poker Open Tournament: July 5 - July 20, 2006
The inaugural Borgata Summer Poker Open Tournament will open for play on July 5 and offer players a chance to participate in thirteen main events including Texas Hold'Em No Limit, Texas Hold'Em Limit, 7-Card Stud, and Omaha tournaments. The sixteen-day, forty-one event tournament will also feature super satellites, second chance cash, and sit-and-go tournaments. The tournament will culminate with the $5,000 + $200 No Limit Championship. The Championship is a four-day event, starting on Monday, July 17 and concluding on Thursday, July 20. To register online, visit www.theborgata.com.
In addition to the Poker Room, Borgata's $200 million first-phase expansion will also feature three celebrity chef restaurants -- Bobby Flay Steak, Wolfgang Puck American Grille and SEABLUE, A Michael Mina restaurant; 36,120 square feet of casino floor space including 45 table games and over 500 slot machines; a second nightclub named Mur.Mur, and a multi-concept quick service dining option named The Cafeteria, which will include a number of beloved national and regional outlets such as Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches, Fatburger, Panda Express, Hibachi San, Villa Pizza and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, as well as two original concepts, Lettuce Head and MiniBar.
The second phase of Borgata's two-part $525 million expansion is scheduled to complete in fourth quarter 2007 with the debut of a $325 million hotel tower to be named The Water Club at Borgata.Categories: News
How big of a disadvantage does the blackjack player who counts cards have against continuous shuffle machines? How about online play? How often do they shuffle cards? Jack M.
Casinos thwart card counters by using different countermeasures. They can use more decks, which decrease Deal Me InColumn.ems the player's advantage, or they can shuffle prematurely. The downside to frequent shuffling against a suspected card-counter is that it takes time, and if the dealer isn’t pitching cards to non-counting players and putting their kiss goodbye chips in the tray, the casino’s losing money.
Casinos can speed up play, and simultaneously curb counters with automatic shuffling machines.
Some shuffling machines shuffle-up one set of cards while another is in play. Others, known as Continuous Shuffle Machines, allow the dealer to simply return used cards to a single shoe, which allows play without any interruption. Because Continuous Shuffle Machines essentially allow minimal deck penetration, the advantage of traditional counting techniques is completely lost.
As for online casinos, the deck is reshuffled at the start of each hand, giving the card counter zip advantage. You will see some online casinos show an animation of the dealer shuffling the cards intermittently to give the illusion that the cards are being shuffled infrequently, but the cards are nonetheless actually shuffled after every round. It’s for show, Jack, not for wrapping you in dough.
Have you ever head of an abbreviated game of Pai Gow poker that uses less than the traditional seven cards? Gary B.
Pai Gow Poker is a seven-card poker game played with a standard 52-card deck and a joker. The art of the game is to skillfully arrange your cards into two poker hands, one of five cards and the other of two. To win, both your five-card hand and your two-card hand must beat the banker’s corresponding hands. When setting your hands, remember your five-card hand must have a higher poker ranking than your two-card hand. Winning one hand while losing the other is a push or tie, where you neither win nor lose.
Your question, Gary, describes a nifty little game called Pyramid poker, a simplified version of Pai Gow poker, where, instead of seven cards, three cards are dealt to each player. Pyramid poker also uses a standard 52-card deck but does not include a joker.
Both the dealer and player are each dealt three cards, which are arranged into a two-card hand and a one-card hand. As in Pai Gow Poker, the one-card hand must have a lower value than the two-card hand. The hDeal Me InColumn.ems and rankings are just as in poker except there can be no straights or flushes with the two-card hand, and aces are always high.
Once the player sets his two hands, the player’s one-card hand is compared to the dealer's one-card hand, and then the player's two-card hand is measured against the dealer's two-card hand. In order to win, both hands of the player must be higher than both of the dealer's. If only one hand is higher and the other loses, then the bet is a tie, or push. You lose only if the dealer wins both hands.
If hands are of equal face value -- say for instance you both have a Queen in your one-card hands -- it’s called a copy, which automatically goes to the dealer, giving the casino a built-in house edge of approximately 3.5%.
Although you can find Pyramid Poker in some of the larger gaming jurisdictions, it’s not yet here in the woods of Northern Michigan, but I have, Gary, given it a kitchen table workout. It’s fun, and faster than Pai Gow Poker, and probably worth adding to my play list amongst friends, but that 3.5% casino advantage by way of copies is a bit steep for me.
I’m short on space, Gary, but I will do a Q&A on optimal playing strategy in the future if someone writes in with an interest.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "If you got talent, Las Vegas is the land of milk and honey. If you don't, it's a burial ground." --Benny Binion
By Mark Pilarski
NORMAN, Okla. —
Riverwind, to become the state’s largest gaming casino, is on schedule to be completed and operating in mid-July.
The 219,000-square-foot casino, just across the river from Norman on Highway 9 West, will be the 18th gaming facility owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. Chickasaw Nation officials said Riverwind is 80 percent built. More than 950 of the 1,874 employees needed to run it have been hired.
The Chickasaws have been staging job fairs to attract the necessary number of workers.
“We need to hire 184 people a week to reach our goal” before the July 17 opening date, said Linda Dalton, Chickasaw Nation chief human resources officer.
Dalton said Riverwind job openings are varied, ranging from cashiers, cooks and housekeeping personnel to service technicians and ticketing clerks. Officials say most positions will be part-time, with pay ranging between $7 and $9 an hour.
Riverwind construction began last July. It will include 2,200 electronic gaming machines, more than 70 blackjack and poker tables and a 77-seat off-track betting lounge. There will be a 1,500-seat theater for concerts, a 300-seat VIP mezzanine, two restaurants, a food court and an event center. The Chickasaws are building a sewer plant and 2.1 million-gallon water tower capable of accommodating thousands of visitors a day.Categories: News
I’m new to poker, so please excuse the two somewhat similar Hold’em questions. When two people both make a flush, and the highest card is shared, is the pot split, or is the tie broken by the second highest card in each flush? Also, if two players have a straight using the same five cards, again, is the pot split, or do you use a sixth kicker card to determine the eventual winner? Ellie N.
Let’s do basics first, Ellie, then I’ll give you a simple little rule to remember.
A flush is a hand in which all five cards are of the same suit. Deal Me InColumn.ems A straight is a hand composed of five cards of consecutive rank. Example: An Ace-2-3-4-5 is a five high straight (an Ace can count as high or low), or a straight to the five. An 8-9-T-J-Q is a Queen high straight, or a straight to the Queen.
Now, Ellie, commit to memory the Five Card Rule: Every player's final hand is made up of five cards and five cards only. The remaining two cards in Texas Hold’em mean diddly squat.
As to your flush question, you compare the hands card-by-card in order to determine the winner. Therefore, an Ace-Q-10-7-5 of spades is more valuable than an Ace-Q-10-7-4 of spades. By sizing up these two flush hands, you will note that the hand with the highest card not shared, which in this case is the fifth card, the five, becomes the winning hand.
Of course, Ellie, the second card could determine the winner, a Jack in one hand versus the Queen, or the third card and so on. Only in the case where the players have exactly the same flush in different suits, or where two or more Deal Me InColumn.ems players benefit from all five cards on the board being of the same suit would there be a tie, and the pot would be divvied up accordingly.
As for straights, the straight to the higher card wins. After your card-by-card comparison of your straights, and the hands are dead equal or all five cards are shared, you split the pot.
Regarding the kicker, the highest unpaired card in your hand; it never participates in five card hands like straights, flushes, and full houses.
Are the odds of hitting, for instance, a straight flush on a Triple Play video poker machine different from that of when playing on a single-hand machine?.Cindy B
Playing any three, five, 10, 50 or even a 100-Play video poker machine does not change the arithmetic. Each and every hand has its own deck, and the odds of completing a straight flush are exactly the same, except that, when you play a multiple play machine, you just happen to have more chances of it’s occurring.
As for playing strategy, Cindy, play all multiple play games as you would play regular video poker. More chances at winning combinations does not mean you should wander from correct play.
Could you please give an example of the blinds in Texas Hold’em? I am confused as to how much they cost the players that are forced to pay them.Deal Me InColumn.ems Manuel D.
In Texas Hold’em, a blind bet, or blind, is a forced wager that must be posted by two players before anybody gets a peek at their cards. Blinds are an alternative to antes for initially getting money in the pot. A "big blind" and "little blind" are the terms used to refer to the players who post these bets.
These compulsory wagers that the first two players to the dealer’s left are required to pay play out like this. The little blind, the first player to the dealer's left, pays half the low limit. Say for instance in a $10/$20 game, the little blind’s initial contribution would be $5. The big blind, second player to the dealer's left, would stake the low limit, or $10 in the $10/$20 game.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Hold'em is a game of calculated aggression: If your cards are good enough for you to call a bet, they are good enough to raise with. -- Alfred Alvarez
By Mark Pilarski
SEATTLE - Gambling is for people who like to take a risk. But as of Wednesday, on-line gambling in our state got quite a bit riskier.
A new state law raises the stakes on online gamblers. Placing your bet online for poker and other games is now a felony - even though the state says it's unlikely it'll go after individual gamblers.
The state is more interested in stopping money laundering, gambling "scams" and preventing kids from playing.
Use a search engine to find an on-line gambling site and you can choose between thousands. At peak hours, it's not unusual for 50,000 people all betting on a poker game on the same Web site.
An online wager used to be a misdemeanor, but now it's a felony.
"I think the government has a lot more important things to do than to worry about online poker," says Bob Holley after winning a hand at poker at a local casino.
Holley says he never wins online, but might take his chances and play anyway.
Lawmakers who supported the law say all gambling in Washington is regulated, but online gambling is different. It's too difficult to police says co-sponsor Senator Karen Keiser.
"It's very easy for the organized crime element to take over and develop it; whenever you have that it becomes a very dangerous enterprise," says Senator Karen Keiser, one of 4 co-sponsors of the legislation.
The state opened 12 Internet gambling investigations in the past, but most of their efforts were foiled because it's difficult to track down the electronic bad guys.
They close up operations quickly or more offshore. Senator Margarita Prentice was legislation's the main sponsor. She refused to do an interview. Her staff says she "doesn't want to participate" in any interviews on online gambling, but wouldn't say why.
Instead, her staff forwarded us a letter the senator sent to her constituents that explains the law and claims too many people are confused by the new regulations.
In the letter, Sen. Prentice explains breaking the online gambling law is consider an 'unranked' felony. The jail time could be 90 days or less for first time offenders and no more than one year for others.
"I don't think it's gonna stop anybody," says casino owner Mark Mitchell.
Online gambling operators complain casinos and tribes and even the state lottery will benefit most from the law. But Mitchell doesn't think gamblers will quit betting online. He's betting the law is too difficult to enforce.
"I don't think it will have any effect whatsoever," he says.
By Michelle Esteban
LAS VEGAS - Maxim, the racy men's magazine, plans to lend its name to a more than $1.2 billion hotel casino that would open in 2010 on the Las Vegas Strip, the publisher said Monday.
``It's going to be upscale, it's going to be four-star, it's going to be sexy and flirtatious, absolutely,'' said Barry Pincus, New York-based director of brand development for Maxim publisher Dennis Publishing. ``But it'll also be fun, it'll be comfortable.''
Maxim plans to team up with Los Angeles- and Las Vegas-based real estate developer Concord Wilshire Partners to build the 2,300-room Maxim Hotel & Casino with a 60,000-square foot casino on nine acres just north of the Circus Circus casino hotel.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2007.
A management company would be hired to run the casino and hotel, Pincus said. Maxim would gain licensing fees from the operation, which would also include a 3,000-seat concert venue, pool, spa, retail stores, restaurants and a Rande Gerber-operated nightclub called Maxim Lounge.
About 2,000 of the rooms are expected to be condominium units that can be rented as hotel rooms when the owners are not there, Pincus said.
Maxim, which is published in 45 countries, has a U.S. audience of 13.7 million readers with an average age of 28 years old.
Las Vegas-based condo developer and market watcher Paul Murad said the announcement marked the latest attempt by men's magazines to put their stamp on Sin City.
Playboy is licensing its brand to the first Playboy Club to operate in 25 years when it opens at the Palms casino hotel this fall. GQ magazine has also sponsored local events.
``We may see more of a trend with magazine publishers wanting to have a flagship property to showcase the lifestyle that they promote through their pages,'' Murad said.
Pincus said the publisher will also introduce its music magazine Blender brand to the concert venue. He said the company will be intimately involved in every aspect of the property.
``Structurally, it's a license, but in terms of input into the design, look and feel, the programming of the facility, we will be intimately involved in every phase,'' he said.
By Ryan Nakashima
What is the benefit of playing the full coin amount in either video poker or slots? Emily K.
Next time you’re front and center of a one-armed bandit, give the paytable a once-over and you’ll note that when five coins are wagered, all winning hands, except for the royal flush, are paid out multiplied by a factor of 5. The royal, Emily, commonly pays mucho more.
By not playing the maximum coin amount on most video poker machines, your overall return is affected. For example, playing short reduces the long-term payback by up to 1.5% on a Jacks-or-Better machine. It’s even worse on some double-pay Deuces Wild games where you receive double pay on four deuces, but only if you insert five coins. By playing less than the maximum coin amount on this machine, your long-term payback is hacked by over five percent.
As for slots, Emily, note on the paytable the proportional difference in the size of your payoffs. Example: One coin inserted pays 500 coins; two coins bring back 1000; and for three coins, a whopping 4000 is returned. Your windfall, Emily, comes when three coins are played.
Playing the maximum coin amount almost always pays off better, overall, than any of the lower multiples. By pressing Max Coin, Emily, you receive the best payoff odds available on that particular machine.
I believe it is easier to beat blackjack as a single player, whereas a dealer told me it makes no difference how many players are on the game. Was she right? Sheldon D.
She’s bright and right, Sheldon. The number of players on a game makes a duck’s egg difference in terms of the game being beatable. The house edge remains the same if there are one, two, three, or even five players on the table. However, because the speed of play slows with multiple players, you end up playing fewer hands per hour, and since the casino has a built-in edge on all play (except play by card counters), you will, theoretically, lose less money. So, Sheldon, for most players, a multiplayer game is more favorable, not less.
By the way, Sheldon, playing decisions made by other players at your table will not affect your expected return. If some nincompoop on third base splits tens, yep, it’s annoying, but statistically it makes zero difference to you over the long haul.
In draw poker, why does it seem tough to catch an open-ended straight let alone an inside one? What are my chances of completing straights? Alex B.
The arithmetic, Alex, says your inklings are incorrect. The proven odds of completing straights, such as drawing one card into an open ended straight, are 1 in 6. Drawing two cards into an open-ended straight has1 chance in 23, while drawing a single card to make an inside straight racks up at 1 in 12.
As for that elusive straight, drawing one card to an open-ended straight flush is 1 time in 24 and drawing one card to a royal flush is 1 time in 47 tries.
Does a straight ever beat a flush in poker? Doug L.
In poker, Doug, a flush outranks a straight with but one exception. In Three Card Poker a straight actually does beat a flush.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Whether he likes it or not, a man's character is stripped bare at the poker table; if the other poker players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in poker, as in life.” -- Anthony Holden, author of Big Deal (1990)Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
Las Vegas Sands has become the first Nevada company to announce it will introduce mobile gambling devices at its casino resorts.
The owner of The Venetian says it will introduce games such as black jack, roulette, video poker and slots on handheld devices provided by Cantor Gaming.
A field trial is scheduled for later this year or early next year.
In March, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved regulations that would enable gambling on mobile devices in any public area of the state's casinos but not hotel rooms or other places that cannot be supervised.
Cantor managing director Joe Asher said the deal makes Cantor the Sands' exclusive mobile gambling provider but does not prevent Cantor from making deals elsewhere.
He says the companay is pursuing agreements with other companies and expects that one day such devices will be in all major casinos.Categories: News
In poker, what are your thoughts about a player requesting that the dealer to show the next card, even if the hand is officially dead? The group of a dozen or so I normally play with has three players who want to see the next card or cards that could have made their hand. I, on the other hand, believe once the hand is over, it’s over, and if a player really wants to see the next card then that player should have bet. We’ll go by your ruling. Melvin G.
I’m with you, Mel. “What if” players should shove their chips in the middle if they want to see whether they would have hit their straight, flush, four-of-a-kind, etc.
In gamblese, it’s called rabbit hunting, where you ask a dealer to show you the next card(s), even though a player has already won the pot without a showdown, and the hand is over.
Most card clubs, casinos and poker tournaments prohibit rabbit hunting, although I have played in a few games where rabbit hunting is permitted, once all live hands have been surrendered to the dealer.
I have found that when you permit a look-see at the “next” card(s) of an unmatched wager, the privilege is always abused. Solution for your kitchen table game: allow it, but, if a player really wants to know whether he/she could have won by staying in the hand longer, a contribution is called for – one, possibly two additional betting units to the next pot. That should keep those curious sorts from having a dealer deal the flop, turn or river cards to see what would have, should have, could have been.
Normally I play Jacks-or-better video poker. I am always on the hunt for 9/6 machines, which by the way are getting very tough to find, or those with an 8/5 paytable. The casino where I play also has 7/5 and 6/5 machines. How much is the player giving up if they play on machines that pay less for a full house and a flush than 9/6? Barb D.
With video poker, Barb, you can actually see the price and financial return you can expect when playing the game. That’s why I've used more than my share of ink writing about shopping for value and playing on video poker machines with the best paytables.
Paytables, or pay schedules, which are always posted somewhere on the machine, tell you what each winning hand will pay for the number of coins played. Casinos can "loosen" or "tighten" the return of a game by manipulating the number of coins won on certain pay categories. For Jacks-or-better, it’s the full house/flush numbers that are the primary indicator of a machine's payback percentage.
A 9/6 machine makes the payback, or return of 9 units or a full house and 6 units for a flush, with one coin inserted. A 9/6 Jacks-or-better paytable should look like this:
Royal Flush 250
Straight Flush 50
Four of a Kind 25
Full House 9
Three of a Kind 3
Two Pair 2
Jacks or Better 1
One caveat though, Barb: the payback percentages listed below are based on thousands of hands of video poker, and include hitting an elusive royal flush. They are not based on your personal gambling timeline such as downing two Bloody Mary’s or burning through a roll of quarters.
A 6/5 machine (six for a full house, five for a flush) returns 95.00%; a 7/5 machine 96.15%; an 8/5, 97.30%; an 8/6, 98.39%; a 9/5, 98.45%; and that phantom 9/6 machine 99.54%.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Limit poker is a science, but no-limit is an art. In limit you are shooting at a target. In no-limit, the target comes alive and shoots back at you.” --Crandall Addington, Texas oil millionaire
By Mark Pilarski
WASHINGTON (Reuters)—The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Thursday aimed at banning Internet gambling, an estimated $12 billion industry.
The measure would update and expand existing law to cover all forms of interstate gambling in the United States and would bar a gambling business from accepting payment in the form of credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers.
It would also prohibit gambling on an estimated 2,300 Internet gambling sites, many run by offshore companies, and also require banks to block gambling transactions by customers, which the industry has argued would be difficult to identify.
Despite the committee's approval, 25-11, it remains unclear whether the legislation will reach floor votes in the House and Senate this year. Congress has a relatively few work days left in 2006 because of the November congressional elections.
"The legislation is badly needed because ... the amount of money going to these illegal unregulated offshore enterprises has quadrupled" in the past few years, said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the author of the legislation and a Virginia Republican.
Under U.S. law, interstate gambling over telephone wires is already illegal and other gambling is banned unless regulated by the states.
"In the United States, gambling is essentially illegal unless regulated by the states. This is a measure to work through that to make sure that the states are indeed protected in their right to continue to regulate gambling," Goodlatte said.
Some Democrats objected to the measure. They said it would do little to prevent underage gambling and it unfairly placed a regulatory burden on local banks to comply.
"I believe there are more effective Internet gambling regulatory approaches," said Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott.
The poker industry, which has exploded in recent years, argued that the bill unfairly targets its game while legalizing online betting for horse racing, Internet lotteries and certain fantasy sports.
"If games of chance are given a free pass in this bill, it makes no sense that a skill game like poker should be banned. Congress should not be picking online winners and losers," said Poker Players Alliance president Michael Bolcerek.Categories: News
Please can you tell me when and where did the game of Bingo originate? Was it not called Housey Housey years ago? Yvonne B.
Sometimes called beano, the corn game, and yes, Yvonne, even Housey-Housey; credit the Italians for being the inventors of Bingo.
The game was first called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D' Italia," but when the French got hold of it in the late 1770's, they shortened the name to "Le Lotto." Initially Le Lotto was played strictly amongst opulent French aristocrats. I’ll bet those upper-crusters couldn’t handle the action my Mom managed; at least a dozen cards at once.
An etymologist I’m not, but my belief is that the development of the word Housey-Housey can be traced to England as that was what the popular game was called amongst seafaring British troops during both World War I and World War II. Our boys much preferred dice and a blanket, and as my Uncle once said, dice games probably kept more soldiers on their knees than did any Chaplain.
Edwin S. Lowe, a traveling salesman who accidentally chanced upon the game at a carnival in Atlanta in 1929, is credited for making the game popular, but the word Bingo itself, suggesting a bell’s ring, was added a bit prior in 1925 to announce a win.
I won our service club’s (I’ll keep its name private since technically we’re not supposed to be gambling) Texas Hold’em tournament with the following hand.
My two hole cards were kings, and on the flop I received two more making a four-of-a-kind on the first five of seven cards. I slow played an aggressive player by just calling his bets, and he eventually went all in at the turn, when he caught a full house. He had deuces as pocket cards and caught the deuce on the turn. Needless to say he was pretty upset that his hand wasn’t good enough and said it was a million-to-one shot that beat him. I doubt that, but what were the odds of my four-of-a-kind occurring at the flop? I was just wondering how lucky I was. Phil T.
Luck of Irish Sweepstakes proportion, nah, but congrats on your score, Phil, supported by King David (spades), Alexander the Great (clubs), Charlemagne (hearts) and Julius Caesar (diamonds).
The probability of being dealt two kings before the flop is 72.7 to 1. Catching two more kings and another card, in this case a deuce, on the flop to make four kings is 407 to 1.
I have read that faro was a very popular game in the Old West. Did it originate in this country? Was it ever legal as a game in Nevada? Can you still play it now? Gordon W.
Faro was a card game invented by the French, who adapted it from the Venetian game of Basetta, which can be traced back to the 15th century in Italy. French gamblers called the game Pharaoh because one of the honored cards bore the face of an Egyptian Pharaoh. John Law, an exiled Scotsman, introduced it to this country by way of New Orleans, where it then chugged up the river on the Mississippi steamboats, and then cantered across the Wild West.
It became a casino game in 1931 when Nevada legalized gambling, but virtually disappeared by the 1950s. The last faro game was dealt in 1975 in Ely, Nevada, although it did reappear for a short period of time in Reno in the early 80’s.
There were three reasons why the game initially became so popular. It was simple to play, it held a casino advantage of under 2%, and the game was played at very fast pace--two hands per minute. Faro’s demise was because the opportunity for a dealer cheating was greater than with any other card game, that, and its low house edge.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Sir, I really like poker. Every hand has its different problems.” -- Henry Fonda, playing Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine
By Mark Pilarski
Can a casino shuffle-up early, even on a multi-deck game, before the cut card appears? Are they trying to stop card counters? I’ve had this done to me on different occasions and was wondering if it is legal. Pat P.
Ordinarily a dealer inserts the cut card anywhere from the halfway point to 75% from the top of the deck(s). Because counters gain their advantage the deeper they can penetrate into the deck(s), casinos will thwart a counter’s profit potential by inserting the cut card closer to the front.
Since counter profits dwindle when the cut card is inserted closer to the front, which by the way is legal, consistent winning for the card counter becomes much more difficult since counters can capitalize on higher plus and minus counts when they were allowed to access the deck deeper.
Casinos everywhere may also legally shuffle the deck(s) before the cut or burn card presents itself. If management suspects a player of card counting, they may “shuffle-up” on him without warning, even after just a few rounds have been dealt on a multi-deck game, or even after the first round on a single deck.
Premature shuffling destroys the advantageous situation counters typically enjoy. The successful card counter avoids the early shuffling countermeasure by camouflaging his play and remaining undetected by pit personal.
It has been well established, even by you in this column, that you can gain a mathematical edge counting cards in blackjack. Do you believe the same holds true for baccarat? Danny R.
Baccarat is a card game with one major similarity to blackjack, Danny. Once the cards are dealt, they are then placed in a discard rack and do not reappear until the shuffle. In theory, knowledge of the remaining cards can be used for an applicable counting system. Because counting does works in blackjack, some believe a card-counting system can/should work for baccarat, being that the effect of removing any given card from the game favors either the player or the house.
That said, personally I’m not willing to expend my already depleted brain cells and count down eight decks of randomly shuffled cards for a hypothetical, minuscule off-balance in my favor, especially when playing baccarat either drunk or stupid the house only holds a 1.17 or 1.36 percent house advantage on the bank or player bet.
Even two leading authorities on counting systems, Peter Griffin and Edward Thorp, believe baccarat is not a countable game. As a matter of fact, Griffin’s analysis showed that a card-counter could earn less than ten cents per day by using the strongest possible count system. Talk about minimum wage!
Likewise, I’ll band with Thorp and Griffin, even though I once learned a supposedly simple counting method that an old-time pit boss named Dennis taught me when I first learned to deal mini-baccarat. I’m sure it was for my amusement and not to protect the casino’s war chest, since we seldom saw a wager over five bucks, but he told me to count the 4s and 6s as they left the shoe. He said when 4s exit the deck, statistically the player should be betting on the banker, and when 6s come out, the player wager is the smarter bet.
Is this count method practical? Hell if I know, but one thing Denny was always good for was free after shift drinks at the casino bar.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "If winning at poker rewards your soul, then you're fine, but if losing at poker rewards you in your soul, you'd better change to checkers." –John Vorhaus, "Killer Poker"
By Mark Pilarski
OKLAHOMA – (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Choctaw Poker Room in Durant, Oklahoma has started up tournament style poker play with mid-week $50 + $10 ($60) buy-in NLHE Freezeout tournament events. Having started May 2nd, and continuing through the month of June, they will be hosting tournament events every Tuesday and Wednesday. There are two events each of those days in which up to seventy players may register per event. Maximum payout for a full seventy person event will be $1925 to the winner, $1050 to 2nd place, and $350 going to the 3rd place finisher. Payouts are adjusted according to the number of players buying into each separate tournament.
"Besides the prize payout (1st-55%, 2nd-30%, and 3rd-10%) for the winners, 1st and 2nd place winners in each event will automatically receive an entry into the "$10,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout Tournament" to be held on July 1st, 2006. Players that finish 3rd thru 10th place get their names put in a hopper for a drawing to win a "wildcard" entry into the $10,000 shootout", says Larry Mundy, the poker room manager.
Players will start with 1500 in chips and the blinds will increase every twenty (20) minutes. Players can earn extra starting chips (up to 600 maximum) by playing in the live games immediately prior to the beginning of the tournament event. Bonuses are 100 extra starting chips for one hour of live game play before the tournament. Play a second hour and get 200 more chips. Play the third hour and you receive an additional 300 starting chips to go with what you already accumulated from hours one and two – grand total is a possible 600 extra tournament starting chips to add to the 1500 chips you receive with your buy-in. This can allow you to start the tournament with 2100 chips instead of just 1500.
Events will be held twice daily on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with one Afternoon game and one Night game.
Registration times are as follows:
Afternoon game registration begins at 11:00 am and runs through 2:00 pm both days. Night game registration begins at 4:00 pm and runs through 7:00 pm both days.
The first set of tournaments for May 2nd and 3rd went off very well with more than two hundred people in attendance over those first two days.
The Choctaw Poker Room is located at 4418 Hwy 69/75, Durant, Oklahoma, just inside the new Choctaw Casino. You must be at least 18 years old to enter and play. Call 800-788-2464 with any questions you might have.Categories: News
Yes or no, would video poker on a machine be considered a true “draw” poker game? Larry L.
Elitists of table poker would say, NO WAY. But look at it this way, Larry: video poker is one player against a machine that displays the player's cards as graphic images on a screen; the player still has to place a stake, is dealt five cards from a standard 52-card deck, and has an opportunity to discard any number of unwanted cards, and to “draw” an equal number of replacement cards from the deck.
Many I have debated in the past have dissected the word “draw” to suit their argument, yet in both table draw poker and video draw poker, there is a second round of cards during the hand where you are allowed to discard some of your cards, and draw more cards with the hope of improving your hand.
As for me, a connoisseur of any kind of poker, I swallow yes, demi-glace with the finest Traverse City dried cherries, red wine and shallots. If it looks, walks and quacks like duck, it must be a duck, even if your opponent is a cybernetic one-armed bandit and not a big mouth mortal who happens to have bad breath.
I was approached by a casino security guard and asked to leave the casino (in Nevada) because he though I was walking through the casino looking for coins left unattended in the trays of slot machines. Is that illegal to do? Ralph G.
Even though Nevada is called the “Silver State,” Ralph, you’re not allowed to Sunday-walk the joint silver mining. The practice of treasure hunting for orphan coins, credits on a slot machine, or even coins on the floor is illegal.
Gamblers who forget (there’s a lesson here) their stored credits or loose coins in the tray are effectively donating them to the casino. Such goodies are not considered coinage for those with keen eyes circumnavigating the casino floor to rescue someone else’s poor left-behind moolah.
I hope you don’t mind me asking what could very well be a stupid question, but what do you mean by an “up card” when you have answered a few different blackjack questions in the past? By the way, I don’t play the game. Jack L.
How’s that old saying go, Jack, “the only stupid question, is the one not asked.” Gambling questions of any kind are no exception, at least here, that is. Anyhow, an up card is the face-up card the dealer deals himself at the opening of a hand of blackjack.
Dealers deal their own opening hands with one card face-up and one card face-down. The card dealt face-up is the dealer’s “up” card, and the card that is dealt face-down is said to be the dealer’s “hole card.”
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: I've often thought, if I got really hungry for a good milk shake, how much would I pay for one? People will pay a hundred dollars for a bottle of wine; to me that's not worth it. But I'm not going to say it is foolish or wrong to spend that kind of money, if that's what you want. So if a guy wants to bet twenty or thirty thousand dollars in a poker game, that is his privilege. -- Jack Binion
By Mark Pilarski
Harrah's Louisiana Downs
Guests who have signed up for a new Total Rewards Card or have a Total Rewards Card but never have visited Harrah's Louisiana Downs will be eligible to receive up to $100 of their slot losses reimbursed. Guests who play for at least one hour with a Total Rewards Card properly inserted in any slot or video poker machine will be reimbursed losses up to $100 (minimum $10 loss) via a voucher in the mail to redeem during their next visit. Stop by the Total Rewards Center for more details.
If your birthday is in May, you can spin the prize wheel for a chance to win cash or prizes in the Birthday Bash Promotion. Stop by the Total Rewards booth on Monday and win.
The Rewards Plus Club is for Harrah's Total Rewards members 50 or older. Members are qualified to play in a special tournament every Tuesday in May. They can begin registering for the special slot tournament Tuesdays at 10 a.m. The first round begins at noon with cash prizes awarded to the Top 20 competitors. Space will be limited.
A $1,500 Casino Nights slot tournament is held every Wednesday and Thursday. Registration begins at 4 p.m. at the Promotions Desk inside the casino and rounds begin at 5 p.m. The tournaments are free for Seven Star, Diamond and Platinum Total Rewards members and $10 or 1,000 Reward Credits for Gold Total Rewards members. Space is limited.
Every Friday between 6 and 10 p.m., Total Rewards members may participate in the newest Bank Buster promotion. Guests will have the opportunity to select a seven-digit code that could Bust the Bank for $10K. Participates who get two numbers right will win $10 and $5 for each additional number guessed correctly. Each week that the bank goes unbusted, Harrah's will add $5,000 to the pot, which can grow to $25,000.
Racing enthusiasts can win cash and prizes Saturday during the Kentucky Derby Simulcast. To participate, guests can swipe their Total Rewards card between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the lobby Promotions Desk. Each participate will be randomly assigned a number on a Derby horse for the Kentucky Derby race. If the participant's horse places in the top four they can win $100 cash, 5,000 Reward Credits, a Mint Julep cup or a Kentucky Derby T-shirt.
On May 28, one lucky guest will drive away in a new Chrysler 300 Touring. To enter, guests can swipe their Total Rewards card between 5 and 8:45 p.m. Drawings will be held at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. to select finalists. Every hour three finalists will be selected to compete for the car.
Harrah's will pay out $5,000 during the May 28 and 29 Millionaire Maker Slot Tournament. The first-place winner will win $2,000 and a free trip for two to Atlantic City for the finals to compete for the guaranteed $1 million prize. Early registration is May 28 from noon to 2 p.m. Guests who register on that day will have the opportunity to play in a bonus round at 2 p.m. the same day. On May 29 registration times are 11 a.m. to noon with rounds beginning at noon. Guest can reserve their spot by calling (800) HARRAHS.
Texas Hold 'Em poker tournaments are held daily. The weekday tournaments require a $50 buy-in, which provides the player with $1,000 in tournament chips. There are unlimited $20 rebuys through the first round with less than $500 in chips. The tournament also features $40 double rebuys. The Saturday and Sunday tournaments have a $100 buy-in and provide the player with $1,000 in chips. There are unlimited $50 rebuys through the first round with less than $500 in chips. The tournament also features $100 double rebuys. Registration for all tournaments costs $15 each and begins at 9 a.m. the day of the competition. Tournaments begin at 11 a.m. Call the Poker Room at (318) 220-5274 for more information.
Manic Mondays weekly slot tournaments have $3,000 in guaranteed prize money per tournament. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. on tournament days. Tournaments are held every Monday at 7 p.m. Entry fee is $20. See Club Eldorado for complete details.
Tournament Tuesdays are reserved for blackjack players. Located on the first level of the casino, the tournament is held each Tuesday at 5 p.m. and has a guaranteed prize pool of $2,000. The entry fee is $20. Registration begins at 4 p.m.
The Honda Ridgeline event at Boomtown features more than $70,000 in cash and prizes, including two rugged 2006 Honda Ridgeline trucks. To win a truck or a share of cash, earn entries now through May 29 by playing your favorite slots and table games. Win a share of $5,000 with the prize drawings on May 26 and 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. with the two Ridgelines on May 27 and 28 with drawings from 6 to 11 p.m.
Boomtown has doubled the $100,000 monthly progressive drawings. Earn entries now for the Progressive Jackpot drawing on May 13 from 8 to 10 p.m. Ten thousand dollars is guaranteed to be given away each month. The Progressive Jackpot will increase $5,000 each month until someone hits the jackpot or it reaches $100,000.
Shop till you drop with Boomtown's $15,000 Louisiana Boardwalk Shopping Spree. Earn entries throughout the day May 12 and 14 at 4 p.m. Prize drawings will be held May 12 from 6 to 10 p.m. and May 13 and 14 from noon to 4 p.m. and win a share of $15,000 in Louisiana Boardwalk gift cards.
Earn points in the Picture Yourself Here $10K Giveaway drawing to win $10,000 and get your face on two billboards in the area. Earn throughout the day May 6 with the drawing at 8 p.m.
Win a robe by earning 100 points any Monday in May in Boomtown's new Comfy Cozy Mondays promotion. Redeem your points at the Circle B Club from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Earn 50 points any Thursday in May and walk out with slippers on your feet or earn 200 points and get a pair of Crocs in Boomtown's Footloose Thursdays. Claim your prize from 10 a.m. to midnight at the Circle B Club.
The Senior Slot Tournament is held every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Win your share of $1,275. See the Circle B Club for details.
Horseshoe will offer a No Limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament weekly at 6 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. Wednesday. Registration begins two hours prior to the tournament in the poker room. Buy-in requirement is $60 plus a $15 entry fee. Rebuys and add-ons are $40. The first three levels will last 30 minutes; each level thereafter will last 20 minutes. Players start with $800 in tournament chips. Payout for first place with 50 or fewer players is 45 percent and 40 percent for tournaments with 51 or more players. Call (800) 798-0711 for more information.
Now through May 27 guests can swipe their Total Rewards card at the Promotions kiosks for their free daily entry in the Porsche Boxter Giveway. Additional entries may be earned based on additional play, and bonus entries can be earned each Wednesday. On May 27 at 10 p.m. five finalists will be selected to compete for a Porsche Boxter.
Horseshoe offers a slot tournament in the $60,000 Binion's Bucks Tournament Series on May 24. The tournament is open to the public and is free for Diamond and Platinum members and $25 for Gold members. Guests can call (800) 798-0711 to reserve their spot. Registration begins on the day of the tournament in the Riverdome foyer from 8 to 11 a.m. The first round begins at 1 p.m. and each participate will play one 10-minute round. An awards ceremony will follow the tournament at 5:30 p.m. and space is limited.
Isle of Capri
Win cash every Tuesday in the Isle's $25,000 Terrific Tuesday Slot Tournament Series from 7 to 10 p.m. through Aug. 22. Registration begins at noon every Tuesday at the first deck cashiers cage. Entry fee is $10 or 100 points earned in a 24-hour period Monday through Tuesday. All first- through 15th-place winners will be invited to participate in a slot invitational tournament held Aug. 29. Must be 21 years of age and an IsleOne member to participate.
Wednesdays and Sundays, IsleOne members 50 or older will receive coupons for double points from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. with $5 off breakfast or lunch in Calypso's buffet, a free ice cream cone or large Icee in Tradewinds.
IsleOne hotel guests who earn 250 points Sunday through Thursday or 350 points Friday through Saturday from check-in to check-out on their IsleOne Card will receive a hotel voucher good for a free stay on their current visit. Receive vouchers from the hotel or IsleOne Club.
Table players will receive a Calypso's Buffet for one hour of rated play for Table Game Mondays.
Winners will get the opportunity to step into the Whirlwind Money Machine for a minimum of 30 seconds and grab all of the $5,000 cash they can. If you are playing with your Prime Rewards Card you automatically get additional time in the Money Machine. Additional 10 seconds for Prime Card holders, additional 20 seconds for Silver Card holders and additional 30 seconds for Elite Card holders. One hot seat will be selected in the casino every half hour from 4:30 to 9 p.m. for a total of 10 participants Wednesdays, May 3, 10 and 17.
Sam's Town will give away $6,000 in May in Tournament Tuesdays. Weekly slot tournaments will be May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. It's a free entry with your Elite Card. Registration is from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Pavilion Promotions Desk. At 1 p.m. the tournament begins on the first deck of the casino. At 7:30 p.m. awards will be announced at the Prime Rewards Center. Tournament Tuesdays are on a first come, first served basis.
Prime Rewards cardholders may participate in a $20,000 giveaway. Participants can earn entries while playing slots with their Prime Rewards Card between midnight May 18 and 4:30 p.m. May 20. Participants can pick up their entries from May 18 to May 20. One winner will receive $20,000. Winners have five minutes to claim their prize in the pavilion. If the prize goes unclaimed within the allotted five minutes, drawings will be held every five minutes until a winner is found.Categories: News
The Mississippi Gaming Commission recently posted the "Hold" percentage for table games on the coast. Blackjack was listed at 14.58%. If, using perfect basic playing strategy, the house edge is supposed to be approximately one half of 1%. Am I comparing apples and oranges, or is the average BJ player completely ignoring basic playing strategy? Ray F.
Yes and yes. But for starters, Ray, you are confusing house edge with casino hold.
The "house edge" is a predetermined percentage of each bet that the house takes as payment for letting you sit at their tables. The casino's "hold" is the share of the chips the player bought that are won back by the casino. It’s not all that hard for the casino to turn a house edge of 1% and then, “Presto! begone!” turn it into a 14-plus percent hold.
Casinos, Ray, are not in the gambling business. They are in the math-and-time business. Casino operators know that, even considering a halfway decent blackjack player, the longer his keister is in their seats, the higher their hold will climb.
Allow me to clarify. Most blackjack players give up 5% of their wager to the house based on their shoddy play. (The house has a 5% advantage against the “average” blackjack player. Incredibly, less than 1% of all BJ players employ perfect basic strategy.) Consequently, after 20 hands, based on perpetual play, they should mathematically have $95 remaining. But the average player stays stuck to the stool, so with their remaining $95, slowly but surely, they fatten up their losses, giving the house a higher hold than the actual casino edge on the game.
Multiply that, Ray, by 24 hours a day play, grinding away at squatters on hundreds of blackjack tables across Mississippi, and 14.58% doesn’t really seem all that high. The only one gambling here is the blackjack player, not the casino.
The only way you, the gambler, can avoid getting caught in this grind is to shorten your gambling timeline. Casino operators know all too well that such cautious behavior has negative implications on the casino’s hold. They would much prefer to see you crazy glued to a stool and anteing-up casino chips all day long.
I don’t gamble a lot, but when we have guests who think we’re lucky to live only 15 minutes from a sharp casino, we always take them, and I play craps, my favorite. I’ve been told that the best bet is on the pass line, and wonder if it’s true. Brenda C.
Craps with cronies can be enjoyable entertainment, and based on your pass line play, you’re already an expert amongst your friends. Still, less than one percent of players who belly up to the game understand dice as you do. Most players are greener than the felt on the table. So, Brenda, allow me to give your gambling gang and fellow readers the only bets you really want to make on a crap table. The best bets on a crap game are the pass and come line bets you subscribe to, those wagers with odds, and the placing of the 6 or 8. These three wagers have a casino edge of 1.5% or lower. Stick to these three, and you’ll be certified to get your teaching credentials.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Besides lovemaking and singing in the shower, there aren’t many human activities where there is a greater difference between a person’s self-delusional ability and actual ability than in poker. -- Steve Badget
By Mark Pilarski
Legislation that would make it legal to hold the popular Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments fell two votes shy of clearing the House on Monday.
Rep. Warren Triche, D-Thibodaux, can bring House Bill 1149 back up for a vote.
However, Gov. Kathleen Blanco has made it clear that she is not in favor of the legislation.
Blanco told lawmakers at the beginning of the legislative session that she would veto bills that would expand gambling.
During a committee meeting, Triche blasted the governor for interfering with the legislative process before the bill reached her desk.
He was upset that the governor’s legal adviser testified against the bill.
HB1149 is aimed at clarifying whether bars and restaurants can hold the poker tournaments. Businesses have been hosting the tournaments to attract customers on slow nights.
Triche told lawmakers Monday that the tournaments are not gambling because the businesses do not get a cut of the wagers.
“The house gets nothing that’s why it’s not gambling,” he said.
State law enforcement have a different interpretation, reasoning that businesses do sell more drinks and food because of the tournaments. To them, that is profiting from gambling.
Triche’s bill would allow the businesses to hold poker tournaments once a week for people at least 21 years old as long as the owner doesn’t get a part of the proceeds and doesn’t charge an entrance fee. The bars and restaurants wouldn’t be able to operate the tournament, furnish supplies such as cards and poker chips, or advertise beyond their regular business signs.
The House amended the bill to exclude Orleans Parish from being able to have tournaments.
Rep. Jack Smith, D-Stephensville, asked if it would still be OK to have legislative poker games.
Triche said it would.
By MICHELLE MILLHOLLON
Dear Mr. Pilarski,
Time and again, even from such esteemed sources as Visiting Vegas type shows on The Travel Channel, and perhaps even your feature (I don’t recall), I continually hear the advice to play the maximum coins (usually five) in the slot machines. Why is that? My question is prompted because everyone seems to push playing maximum coins. E. W.
For almost all multiple-pay and multiple-play machines, the maximum coin line tends to yield a better percentage payback. Note on the paytable the proportional difference in the size of your payoff. Example: One coin inserted pays 500 coins; two coins: 1000 coins; three coins: 4000 returned. You clean up when that third coin is played. Play fewer coins, E. W., and the casino advantage rockets north. That is why esteemed sources, and myself in the past, (love that! Good company...) suggest playing the maximum coins allowed to yield a better payback percentage. If playing the maximum amount happens to be a budget buster, those same esteemed sources and Yours Truly will also recommend switching to a lower denomination machine. Can’t hack playing $3 a yank? ...play 75¢ instead.
There are, however, a few machines that do return 500 for one coin inserted, 1,000 for two coins, and 1,500 for three coins. If you happen to come across this sort of proportional paytable, you wouldn’t need to play the maximum amount of coins to get full value from this machine.
Everything I’ve seen about the vigorish on video poker includes maximum coin play with a royal flush. If the royal is excluded from the computation, what is the vigorish on a 9/6 machine? Mike H.
For inquiring minds, what Mike meant by a “9/6 machine” is that it’s a Jacks or Better machine paying 9 for a full house, 6 for a flush, with one coin inserted.
Jacks or Better video poker with maximum coin play has a house edge of 0.5%. Excluding the royal flush, the casino’s advantage would be approximately 2.5%. Here’s a barnyard math way of viewing it. If, for instance, you were to play 600 hands per hour on a $1 Jacks or Better 9/6 machine, you can expect to lose about $75 per hour, on average, for each hour you play without hitting that phantom royal flush.
I need an alternative to my recent losing ways in the casino. I have recently discovered mini-baccarat. Is there any secret to this game, such as, betting on the tie? Sally D.
The secret to baccarat, Sally, is that there is no secret, so long as you stick to the Banker or Player wagers. You will not break your “lose everything, win nothing” track record by betting on a high vigorish proposition bet such as the tie wager, when the two other, far less punishing, alternatives are available.
As for that tie bet, it is the only proposition wager on the table, and a lousy one to boot.
Statistically, a tie appears every 10.5 hands, but the casino is willing to pay you only 8:1, which gives the house a 14.4 % edge on a tie wager.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Why keep betting more when you are losing? Only idiots do that and there are plenty of them around.”—Mike Goodman, “How To Win”
By Mark Pilarski
Is there an easy way to figure out the commission in baccarat when betting the banker hand? Secondly, why do they charge a commission in the first place? David F.
Here's a nifty little trick I used to figure out the commission when I dealt the game. Divide the winning bet by two, and then scratch the zero. For instance, you make a $60 bet on the banker hand and it wins, paying even money. Half of the $60 win is $30, drop the zero, and your commission is $3.
As for why a commission, David, it's because the player hand is always played out first, causing the banker hand to win 50.7 percent of the time, versus the player hand at 49.3 percent, ties excluded.
To roadblock the gung ho gambler from forever betting the banker hand and being in receipt of a 1.4 percent advantage, the casino taxes all winning banker wagers at a rate of five percent. It is due to this commission, charged on your winning wagers, that the casino holds a 1.17 percent edge over the banker hand, and a 1.36 percent advantage over all player bets, ties included.
Still, even if the casino levies a slight percentage from your winning loot, the banker and the noncommissioned player hand are two of the best bets on the casino floor. Both are fun and profitable, and isn’t that, David, what gambling should be all about?
I see the jackpot for the Mega Millions is now over 200 million. What are the odds of hitting a prize for that lottery? Jimmy K.
Was that "a" prize, Jimmy, like "just any", or the "Big Kahuna?" Either way, the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are approximately one in 176 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.
It seems the consistent recommendation in blackjack is to always split 8s. But if the dealer is showing a strong card, does it make sense to put more money on the table with the dealer in a strong position? Bill S.
I am sure, Bill, that most readers will warm to your point; it has a certain healthy smell of horse sense about it, but not quite enough. Watch closely. With two 8s against a dealer 10 card, the good common sense your momma raised you with tells you that splitting this hand just creates two losers. It probably seems that every time you've split 8s it in the past, sure, you might occasionally get two 10s, but then the damn dealer flips over his card and it's always a 10 card in the hole. But actually, what you're really doing when you split 8s is breaking up a 16, the worst possible hand you can have in blackjack.
Here's the arithmetic, Bill, based on a kazillion computer simulations of 8s against a dealer's10. If you split 8s, you will lose $44 for every $100 wagered. If you were to just hit the hand, you would lose $51 for every $100 bet. You may not necessarily always put extra jingle in your pocket by splitting 8s, but you will lose less money over the long run if you split 'em.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: One day a chump, the next day a champion. What a difference a day makes in tournament poker. --Mike SextonCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
It strikes many as unfair, unjust, ungodly but also par for the course that one of the biggest winners to emerge from the devastation of the hurricanes is the state´s casino industry.
Yes, three riverboats are still out of commission but the other twelve are raking in more dough than the whole fleet won during the same period last year. Harrah´s New Orleans was shuttered for six months, but has come back strong. Though the company´s two Lake Charles boats are still closed from Rita, Pinnacle´s splashy new resort L´Auberge du Lac has boosted the size of the local market.
Gambling was one of the few diversions available after the storms for those with more to lose. The dice halls also proved to be an irresistible lure to the influx of relief workers, insurance adjusters and contractors flush with more cash than luck. Also, with three-fourths of Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos closed, many of their old Louisiana customers are playing closer to home. So even when you blow the house down, the house always wins.
As always, success in one segment of the industry breeds avarice in another. Seeking to catch up, video poker operators had bills introduced at the Legislature to expand the number of machines at truckstops and to increase jackpots and maximum bets.
That gained the notice of Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who, in her speech to open the legislative session, gave a two-part response to the poker agenda: "No" and "Veto."
Yet while the governor stands at the gate to block the expansion of gambling, the next new big thing is coming in the back door. It´s video bingo, and it doesn´t look like it sounds. Instead, the devices look and play like slot machines, but are perfectly legal in places where slots and video poker aren´t.
This new way of separating fools from their money was born, as usual, from an acrobatic interpretation of state laws to define and suppress gambling.
A few years ago, the Legislature, attempting to help out struggling charitable bingo operations, legalized an electronic device to enable patrons to play multiple games simultaneously without having to keep track of all those cards. Something to help out the little old ladies in bingo halls and the charities that receive 55 percent of the proceeds.
But the electronic machine that was introduced barely resembled what the legislation envisioned. The player faces a video screen that looks exactly like a slot machine, with its random combination of symbols changing with each play. But the real game is being played on a tiny bingo card in the corner of the screen. When the bingo game shows a winner, the slot machine screen also displays a winning combination, and credits are rung up that can be cashed in or bet again.
An official in the state Department of Revenue, which regulates charitable bingo, declared the device illegal. But he was overruled on appeal by an administrative law judge, who said that while it looks and plays like a slot machine, it´s really a bingo game, and thus legal. The outcome is consistent with a body of law that holds that gaming isn´t gambling.
If the device is ingenious, the business model is diabolical. There are plans to open charitable video bingo parlors in Hammond and Alexandria, in parishes that have banned video poker. Industry watchers expect a move to be made on the biggest of pokerless parishes, East Baton Rouge. Some of the investors are video poker operators looking for virgin territory. Others in the poker business are unhappy about the new development, either because they are not in on it or because they fear someone will get greedy and give the larger electronic gaming industry a big black eye.
Another advantage for the new game is that, unlike a truckstop casino sited on a five-acre plot out on the highway, a charitable video bingo parlor can set up in a shopping center in the middle of town. Rows of clanging slot machine look-alikes nestled between the beauty parlor and the family pharmacy might not be what Louisiana residents had in mind when they voted to ban video poker in their parishes. But they shouldn´t be surprised. The house always wins.
By John Maginnis
There is a new game show called Deal or No Deal. The participant selects a brief case containing anywhere from 1 cent to 1 million dollars, and there are 26 cases to choose from. Then, all non-selected cases are slowly revealed until there are just three left, two on the board and the one the player has selected. My wife believes at the end of the game, when only 3 cases are left, the player has a 1 in 3 chance for the highest prize, assuming that the 1 million has not been seen yet. I believe the true odds are still 26-1, which is what they were when the case was selected. Which is it? Dick D.
Do you watch Deal or No Deal, and what is your take on the game in general and when should you take the banker's offer? Cheryl A.
Yes, Cheryl, I've watched Deal or No Deal a bit, although not a lot since I really don't see it as much of a game, since neither skill nor trivia is involved, just an ambiguity, a bellowing brother-in-law, the prickle of greed, and a baseless guess.
My take on it, Cheryl: I find Deal or No Deal excruciating to watch because of its tortoise pace, (an exercise in Job-like patience), not to mention all those dreary commercials to keep the suspense alive (huh?). When they finally return from pushing products, we get to watch five more minutes of a brother-in-law in the wings yelling; "Take the Deal, you Putz!" Now that Nielson knows what I think of the show's staging, plot, and general entertainment value, and because of my resultant limited exposure to it, I really can't answer your Banker offer question with 100% certainty.
From what I have seen, I am sure that probabilities are re-calculated by the anonymous silhouetted banker, based on what values remain in play, which allows me to put Dick's question to bed. At the onset, Deal or No Deal offers the best odds for winning $1 million on national TV -- 1 in 26. But once only three cases remain, those odds are improved to 1 in 3. Your wife is right, case closed.
Back to you, Cheryl. From my limited observation of Deal or No Deal, the banker seems to start with offers well below the expected value of the remaining suitcases, getting closer to the expected value near the end. A smart player would refuse the banker's offer until it is close to or exceeds the average of the remaining suitcases. If the contestant just wants to maximize the expected value of their winnings they should always turn down the Banker, and yet, it seems most players end up accepting the Banker's deal before all the brief cases are opened. So, are they well advised by their brother-in-law to take the money and run? Probably yes, because it seems their decisions are made based on what we call in the gambling business risk aversion.
Given the choice between two gambles: Gamble A making the weak promise of a very high payoff, and Gamble B making a more likely promise of a more modest payoff -- the gambler showing "risk aversion" will choose Gamble B, preferring to take the lesser risk. The "risk seekers", familiar at casino tables, accept a negative expected return or the thrill of financial risk and a possible immense payoff.
Also factored in is that the amount of money involved in Deal or No Deal is a significant fraction of the contestant's net worth. As we crunch the banker's offer in our heads at home in the comfort of our Lazy Boy, the banker's stingy offer may be far more than the contestant makes in a year. It's easy to see why many players become risk averse and are willing to accept a sure amount rather than a possibly higher amount by taking additional risks. Let's face it, taking risks is... risky.
Just like those million dollar figures on a progressive slot machine, Deal or No Deal taps into the most basic human emotions: greed, a desire to improve one's situation through a get-rich-quick scenario. It's something we can all relate to, and one we all play in life differently.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience leaves with money and the man with money leaves with experience. -- Anonymous
By Mark Pilarski
For years I’ve been trying to convince my wife that playing on a single zero roulette table, which, by the way, our local casino offers, is a much better play than on a double zero wheel. She sort of believes me but it’s just that the 00 is her favorite number on the layout. Besides, she believes that splitting the 0/00 reduces the house edge to that of a single wheel game. I don’t believe she is correct and we have dinner in the casino buffet riding on your reply. Who wins? Eugene T.
The feeding frenzy at the trough is on your wife, Eugene.
Placing a split bet on the 0 and 00 in roulette makes zero difference to the house edge. The casino advantage of 5.26% applies when splitting the 0 and 00, just as it would on any other split bet on the layout. All split wagers, single-number bets, as well as all outside wagers with the exception of one (the 1, 2, 3, 0, 00) carry that same steep 5.26% house edge. What would drop the house edge would be dropping zeroes.
Most players don’t realize this, but the casino advantage of 5.26% in roulette comes from the presence of the 0 and 00 on the layout. The casino pays all wagers according to how the odds would be if there were just 36 numbers on the wheel, even though by adding the 0 and 00, there are now 38 numbers. The true odds of hitting your number are 1/38, yet winners are paid only 35-1. By playing on a single-zero game, which when given the choice you and wife should always do, you cut the house edge in half; the house will still pay you 35-1, even though the true odds are improved for you to 1/37.
Here’s a bit of roulette trivia your significant other would probably appreciate. Originally, the single-zero wheel began in America and the double-zero wheel in Europe. But Europeans eventually prized the single-zero wheel more, while the double-zero wheel became more popular in America, so they switched. Today, the European wheel, also known as the French wheel, and the single-zero wheel are synonymous, all having 37 betting spots.
I can personally attest to this oddball lunacy brightening the late 80’s. I dealt roulette at Bill’s Lake Tahoe Casino, where at that time we had the only single-zero wheel at South Lake Tahoe -- the best deal for the customer, yet we ended up yanking it after nine months, not because management was whining about the house edge being reduced to 2.63% across the layout, but because of the drone of customer complaints generated by uneducated players who couldn’t bet the 00 anymore. Go figure, because those misguided gamblers sure couldn’t.
A friend of mine and I were talking about the maximum amount of players at Texas Hold'em. I said 22 players and he said only 21 could be the maximum because by tradition you can't use the last card in the deck. Please settle this argument. John M.
Unlike blackjack, John, in Texas Hold’em, you do not discard the top card of the deck prior to dealing a round. So, theoretically, Texas Hold’em can be played by up to 22 players (44 player cards, three burn cards, and five community cards).
As to some unwritten law of not using the last card, I’ve never heard of it. Also, since Hold'em is generally played among 2 to10 people, you'll only see a spread larger than that late at night when the poker room is short a dealer, or in tournaments when they occasionally combine two tables.
As for myself, I've never sat in on anything larger than a 12-handed game.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Even the most cunning strategist is helpless in the face of an ice-cold run of cards or someone else's idiotic good fortune." --Phil Gordon
By Mark Pilarski
Whether it involves clicking on an online slot machine, laying down at a Web poker hand, or spinning an on-screen roulette wheel, Internet gambling is hotter than blazing sevens.
Gambling Web sites hauled in $12 billion worldwide last year, up from $8 billion the year before, according to Christiansen Capital Advisors, a research firm that tracks gambling statistics. Online gambling is expected to double to $24 billion by 2010.
CCA estimates 9 million U.S. residents gamble with "some regularity."
This despite online gambling being illegal in the United States.
Federal law prohibits online casinos from operating in the United States, and the estimated 1,800 Internet gambling sites are run from foreign countries.
The Department of Justice also says it's illegal for individuals to gamble online, though three judicial rulings have questioned the law.
Several states, including Indiana, have created their own laws restricting Internet gambling. In Indiana, the activity falls under the category of "unlawful gambling" and is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Despite the layers of law, an online bettor has a better chance of winning the World Series of Poker than being arrested for Internet gambling, says attorney I. Nelson Rose, an expert on online gambling.
Only one person in the history of Internet gambling has ever been arrested, Rose says. That North Dakota man paid a $500 fine, moved out of the state and became a very successful gambler, Rose says.
"At least one person wins the World Series of Poker each year," he says.
Police and prosecutors "don't want to be in the business of knocking on bedroom doors and going after $5 bettors," he says.
Catherine Wilson, spokeswoman for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office, says her office would potentially prosecute online gamblers and would possibly refer such cases to the U.S. Attorney's Office or FBI.
She doesn't know if the office has ever prosecuted online gambling but says no cases have been brought to prosecutor Michael Dvorak since he took office in 2003.
Whether it's legal or illegal, experts expect online gambling to continue to grow.
"The big question is how long we're going to keep doing this and not license it, and regulate and not collect taxes on it," says Indianapolis attorney Greg Hahn, who's worked in the gambling industry since the 1970s.
"Gaming in our society is accepted by probably 80 percent of the population, and as more and more people get a home computer ..., it will only continue to get bigger."
Though governments are discussing Internet gambling constantly, "There's no technical way you can block it," Hahn says. "We'd have the same screaming and howling over (right to privacy as with) the eavesdropping over e-mails and telephones."
In the end, Hahn predicts, governments will decide to benefit from Web gambling. "They are going to come to that point where it's the same as going to the riverboat, and we need to regulate this and tax it. That's the bottom line."
By CHRISTINE COX
SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- GSN has partnered with gaming company Shuffle Master Inc. to air the finals of the first ever Three Card Poker National Championship Tournament. The two one-hour specials, hosted by Mark L. Walberg ("Temptation Island," and "Russian Roulette") and Danielle Demski (Miss Arizona 2004 and Miss USA Finalist), are slated to air on Friday, April 21 and Friday, April 28 from 9:00-10:00 PM E/8:00-9:00 PM C and is being produced by LMNO Productions and Shuffle Master subsidiary Shuffle Up Productions. (Note: Three Card Poker was previously announced to air Monday, April 17 and Monday, April 24 from 9:00 to 10:00 PM ET/PT).
The popularity of Three Card Poker has risen quickly over the past nine years, making it one of the most played casino table games in North America, with international expansion close behind. Shuffle Master Inc. includes a portfolio of proprietary table games including Three Card Poker® and Let It Ride Bonus®.
"We are excited about giving away a $1 million to the winner of our first event. Next year we anticipate bigger crowds and more players competing for the finals at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. We expect to conduct 30 to 35 Regional events in 2006 throughout North America," said Brooke Dunn, Senior Vice President of Shuffle Master, Inc.
In Three Card Poker, players compete against the dealer. Each is dealt three cards face-down and must make the best poker hand with them. Hand rankings are slightly different from five-card poker: straights beat flushes, and the highest ranking hand is a straight flush. There are three wagers, pair plus, which pays based on the rank of the hand and the ante and play wagers that pay off if the players hand is higher than the dealers hand. The dealer must have a queen high or better to qualify.
Shuffle Master held 20 regional Three Card Poker tournaments throughout North America, and over 250 people qualified to play in the finals at The Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The special will focus on the nine finalists as they battle for the $1 million dollar grand prize and a diamond and ruby-encrusted bracelet worth over $30,000.
"GSN is on the forefront of bringing casino games to television in a compelling and entertaining manner," stated the show's executive producer, Eric Schotz. "Three Card Poker is a perfect fit for viewers. It is a game based on skill and luck that anyone can play."
GSN, the Network for Games, is the only U.S. television network dedicated to game-related programming. The network features game shows, reality series, documentaries and casino games. As the industry leader in interactivity, GSN has allowed viewers to play-along with on-air programming via their computers and GSN.com since 2002. Reaching more than 57 million Nielsen homes, GSN is distributed in the U.S. through all major cable systems and satellite providers. The network is jointly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media Corporation. For further media information, visit GSN's press website at corp.gsn.com.Categories: News
I am writing a screenplay with a character who has the ability to affect the outcome of dice on a crap game with his throws. I need a term for such a person who has this skill. Billy F.
I'm guessing here, Billy, but I think you are inquiring about a player so gifted at throwing dice that he can alter the conventional odds of the game, not the cutesy-pie player who merely slides the dice in prohibited fashion across the table.
In gamblese, Billy, the player you're envisioning is called 'an arm'. As to whether or not such a golden arm actually exists, who can chuck the die with any accuracy is dicey at best. I fly on the side of gaming folklore, and hold that it ain't so. Others in the betting house biz disagree. One of my favorite gaming authors, Frank Scoblete, penned a very enjoyable read called, Golden Touch, Dice Control Revolution. We are both on the same page in that craps is a losing proposition and the game is structured to mathematically beat all betting systems. But in his book, Frank feels that you can control the outcome of a roll and that the skilled dice controller can change the nature of the game to favor the player. I’m not saying phooey aloud here, it’s just that after spending 18 years on the inside, an umpteen years bellying up to a table that I have to see it to believe it, and I haven’t seen it yet.
As for a player sliding the dice across the table to get a specific result, yes, that's a possibility. I’ve witnessed that, along with those who have tried it being escorted off the game. Crap dealers, a box person, the pit boss or the eye in the sky tend to go berserko if some dice jockey tries to illegally manipulate the cubes so that a random outcome doesn’t occur.
It's your play, of course, and your hotshot is certainly going to be sharp enough to know all that, so you might invent a brand new term for his magic anatomy: Dicerony, Warlock 7, The Wrist of Doom… Let us know when and where we can see it.
Could you tell me the house edge on Video Blackjack and how different rules and playing perfect strategy affect the house edge? I enjoy playing at my own pace and can wager smaller than at a table. John S.
You've got the advantages of video blackjack down cold, John: the low minimum bankroll required, with some machines taking as little as 5 cents a hand to play. They also spare you the intimidation factor of a live game, while delivering excellent practice sessions, where you can work on perfect basic strategy.
On the downside, it's tough to find a machine that pays you the true value of a blackjack (3 for 2). Most video blackjack machines pay even money on natural 21's. Because you can expect a blackjack every 21 hands on a live game, the loss of that bonus is going to cost you an additional 2.3 percent. Considering that blackjack has a house advantage of less than 0.5 percent over the basic strategy player like yourself, you are giving away a considerable amount percentage-wise.
Also note that some machines round down on blackjack payoffs. If you do happen to find a machine that pays the bonus for a blackjack but rounds down, make sure your wagers are in two-unit increments so that you can get the maximum value of your every blackjack.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "I vow to never touch a slot machine again...although I suspect this resolve has all the firmness of a cream pie." -- Barry Meadow
By Mark Pilarski
LAS VEGAS — Sarah Steineker, 50, is stuck to her seat. She's got a bingo game going, and the "hot ball" jackpot is up to $14,490. But thanks to mobile gambling regulations that passed the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday, she soon may be able to take that bingo game with her elsewhere in the casino.
"I could be eating in the restaurant but I'm still involved in the hot ball," she said Wednesday as she sat with an electronic bingo device at the Texas Station casino. The downside of mobility is "you'd probably spend more."
Automated, portable bingo devices like FortuNet Inc.'s BingoStar have been around since the early 1990s _ and are now available in 26 jurisdictions in North America _ but they are not allowed outside bingo halls.
Regulations passed Thursday make Nevada the first in the nation to approve the use of handheld devices for gambling in any public area of the state's casinos, such as restaurants and poolsides.
Rules allow a range of games, including bingo, poker, blackjack and horse race betting. Use in hotel rooms and other places that cannot be supervised is prohibited.
Advocates say the move will better use resort space that is increasingly being devoted to non-gambling activities, such as shopping, dining and clubbing.
But they admit it's not likely to lead to the lucrative world of Internet betting, which is barred by state and federal law.
"Pools, that are used by people as they are meant to be used, are not making them (casinos) any money," said Joe Asher, managing director of Cantor G & W (Nevada) LP, which has pushed to legalize mobile gambling in Nevada for the past two years. "We can offer a casino a revenue enhancer."
Casino operators remain hesitant.
Major players Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and MGM Mirage Inc. and neighborhood casino operator Station Casinos Inc. say they are taking a wait-and-see approach as the regulations and the technology unfold. Boyd Gaming Corp., whose holdings include the Stardust in Las Vegas and co-ownership in the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., said it is unsure about demand for hand-held gadgets, despite having electronic bingo devices at halls in its Las Vegas properties.
"Even when we brought those (bingo devices) in, they didn't replace paper," Boyd spokesman Rob Stillwell said. "We're still uncertain about how much demand there might be."
The process of certifying systems and having field trials will take at least several months, Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said.
Still, at least four prospective manufacturers are plowing ahead, while keeping their estimates for market demand close to their chest. Many expect New Jersey to follow Nevada's lead.
"It's nice to hear that Nevada is going to be again leading the charge forward," Commissioner Sue Wagner said Thursday.
Cantor has sunk "millions of dollars" into development, Asher said. The company plans to use bond-trading technology that already has been in use on its "Cantor Index" mobile gambling devices in Britain since September 2003.
FortuNet said in a January share prospectus that, if mobile gambling was approved, it would move immediately to introduce more games for its current clients to install on their BingoStar devices. "We expect to subsequently expand our marketing efforts beyond Nevada," it said.
Shuffle Master Inc., a manufacturer of automatic card shufflers, has partnered with SONA Mobile Holding Corp., to create a personal digital assistant system that delivers its patented games, such as Ultimate Texas Hold'em and Three Card Poker.
"This allows the casino to increase the number of wagering positions in the casino without adding any bricks or mortar," Shuffle Master CEO Mark Yoseloff said.
But taking gambling off the casino floor will make it harder to ensure minors don't wager, said state Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, the lone lawmaker who voted against the bill when it passed the Legislature last year.
Manufacturers say biometric fingerprint readers and regulations limiting use to public areas will keep devices out of the hands of minors.
"It's already hard enough to stop kids from playing Keno," said Carlton, a part-time legislator who is a full-time waitress at the Treasure Island resort's coffee shop.
As for mobile devices she has seen, "They look like a little Game Boy. They look like a toy."
By RYAN NAKASHIMA
I was asked to leave a casino because a pit boss believed I was adding more chips to my bet on a roulette table after the dealer “supposedly” called no more bets. I told him I didn’t hear the dealer say it, and that I was just adding chips to my favorite number, which I believe he was upset at because it just happened to be a winner. Does the casino have the right to toss me out? Nick B.
Let’s just say you were lucky, Nick, that you weren’t treated to powdered eggs for breakfast compliments of the county.
It’s obvious from your letter that the pit boss felt, right or wrong (I wasn’t there) that you were capping you bets, meaning, you were piling extra chips on top of your initial bet after the ball had dropped. Casinos consider this a serious form of cheating, and it’s a good way to get 86’ed from the casino and/or to spend some time in the slammer.
The primary function of a pit boss is to protect the company’s assets. It’s their job to be on the lookout for charlatans who “past-post” an unsuspecting croupier by adding chips to a winning number, or removing chips from a losing number after the ball has already dropped into the wheel. One time Yours Truly had such a hustler on a game that was graced with the hands of a magician. He could get chips on or off a table without me, a patsy break-in roulette dealer, even noticing. Luckily, an alert pit boss did, the 'eye in the sky' confirmed, and the casino ended up pressing charges to the fullest extent of the law.
Regarding the dealer calling “no more bets,” every casino, Nick, has its own set of guidelines on when they want the dealer to call it. Some before the spin, others will allow an experienced roulette dealer to halt wagering at his or her discretion. Since the casino holds a hefty 5.26% advantage over the player on all but one bet on the layout, obviously they want to wave in as many wagers per spin as possible within reason. To avoid a future fracas with casino pit personnel, I suggest you get your bets in early, well before the dealer voices “no more bets.”
Lemme see here. I will lay 5-1 that this is the 500th or higher e-mail you’ve received about your Hardways explanation. You were just checking on your readers to see if we are alert enough to gamble, right? Mike H.
The egregious error, Mike, (a 7 and 1 to make an easy eight on a dice roll) was purposely done so, as to give away some of my Hooked on Winning tapes for those alert enough to spot it. Surprisingly, I got nowhere near 500 readers catching the blatant mistake for the free giveaway.
The half-baked idea of seven-sided dice on a crap game had blown in from Gurth. You might remember him -- the knucklehead who wrote in wanting to wrap his Uncle in Reynolds Wrap to block Uncle’s pacemaker signal from interfering with an electronic slot machine. Recently he sent me a letter crawling with indigestible mathematical muck to prove that the game of craps could rain cash and glory on the player if seven-sided dice were introduced on the game, I am guessing illegally.
I’m figuring Gurth is in possession of a pair of seven-sided dice, since I’ve seen them before, associated with a variant form of Backgammon that uses seven-sided dice and a seven-sided polygon board with seven points in each quarter instead of six, as on a standard board. Anyhow, I’ve put Gurth on special secret assignment, asking him to field test a seven-sider with five million random tosses to see if all seven numbers on the dice equally appear. That should keep him busy, and hopefully out of trouble. I figure he’ll be done in nine years, four months and three weeks. I’ll post the results.
Nice catch to you, Mike, and those others who noticed it. The tapes are in the mail.
Gambling wisdom of the Week: "If bankroll accumulation is your goal, there are better methods for obtaining it (for most people) than gambling. Work two jobs. Bank everything. Spend nothing." --Bob Dancer
By Mark Pilarski
But those two favorites are far from the only options for gamers eager to put their money on a card game. Casinos are dedicating more and more space to poker- and blackjack-derivative games or, as some gaming executives call them, “carnival” games. These games are followed easily by those who already understand basic blackjack or poker, and the extra incentive of sizable jackpots in some of them is keeping seats filled.
“We’ve learned that customers really enjoy new slot products and new video slots,” said Joe Barrett, vice president of table games at Caesars Indiana. “Table games can drive that same excitement.”
Among the carnival games, Three-Card Poker has seen the most consumer traffic at Ohio River casinos. Players are attracted to the ease of the game and the possibility of big payouts.
The premise of the game is simple: Get a pair or better in three cards. Do that, and you automatically win on a wager called “pair plus.” Yes, three-card straights and flushes count and earn bigger payoffs. The biggest payoff is earned with a three-card straight flush (three cards in sequence and of the same suit), which pays 40 times the original bet.
Players also may take on the dealer with an ante and play bet, and if the dealer has at least a queen in his or her hand, the hands are compared and the player will win on both bets with a better hand (if the dealer doesn’t have a queen, the play bet is refunded and the ante is paid).
“It’s a simple game to understand, with quite nice payoffs (for premium hands),” said Patrick Banfield, director of table games at Grand Victoria Casino. “People who like to play for some time can last a lot longer; some of the other games may be a little more volatile.”
Caribbean Stud poker is similar in how a player’s five cards take on the dealer’s five, but there’s no automatic payoff for pairs or better like Three-Card Poker. Instead, with an optional dollar side bet, a player receives a bonus for flushes or better. An elusive royal flush can pay a six-figure jackpot.
Let It Ride is another five-card game with the lure of big paydays, but players don’t have to play against the dealer. Instead, a player’s three cards are combined with the dealer’s two cards to create the best five-card poker hand. A player starts by making three identical bets and can opt to pull one bet back after each dealer card is revealed. Depending on the casino, a royal flush here can pay 1,000-to-1.
Not surprisingly, there’s also a game called Texas Hold’em Bonus that’s catching on at casinos. Like the popular poker game, a player gets two cards and there are five “community” cards that are shared, in this case between a player and the dealer. If a player’s best five-card poker hand beats the dealer, a payout is won, and an optional bonus bet on the player’s two “hole” cards also can win payouts.
Based off blackjack
Carnival games aren’t limited to poker-style games. The steady popularity of blackjack has led to some spinoffs, each with its own set of rules and tweaks that players need to understand before committing their money.
Spanish 21 can be as favorable for players as standard blackjack; certainly some of its rules have instant appeal. In this game, a player’s 21 automatically wins and a player blackjack beats a dealer blackjack, just to name two rules.
The catch? All the 10s are removed from the decks, which makes blackjacks a little tougher to come by. But that hasn’t kept players away.
Other carnival games based off blackjack are coming out all the time, some with bonus features that offer extra payouts based on a player’s first two cards (watch out for same-suited cards or identical cards). As with any of these games, casino personnel can explain the rules fully before play.
By John Schwarb
COUNCIL BLUFFS (AP) --- Iowa's biggest casino opened Wednesday night as about 2,000 guests got a sneak peak at an invitation-only event.
The Horseshoe Casino has 100,000 square feet and features some Las Vegas-like touches, including huge crystal chandeliers and thick carpeting with a golden horseshoe pattern with hues of burgundy, black and turquoise.
"This is absolutely gorgeous," said Maren Palmer, a financial securities manager from Council Bluffs. "It's overwhelming when you walk in here."
The $85 million casino was built by Harrah's Entertainment Inc. to replace the Bluffs Run Casino.
The most frequent patrons can visit the Diamond Lounge, which offers a free buffet and drinks. The wealthiest customers can spend time in a special "high limits" room off the main floor that allows bets of $10,000 per hand for blackjack games.
One of the property's biggest draws is expected to be an 18-table World Series of Poker room, which can accommodate 170 poker players.
Gaye Gullo, Harrah's senior vice president in Council Bluffs, said her company initially planned a smaller renovation of the old Bluffs Run Casino. But those plans changed after the Iowa Legislature revised tax rates for the casino industry and permitted racetracks to offer table games.
"All these things fell together," Gullo said. "We decided that if we are going to build an expansion in this market, let's really do it right and in a way that we can entertain our customers."
Horseshoe Casino is part of a $742 million expansion of Iowa's casinos. It's strategically located on the western Iowa border, where it can also attract thousands of patrons from Omaha, Neb., which has about 409,000 people.
Council Bluffs is Iowa's most profitable casino market, drawing more than 8 million gamblers last year who left behind $431 million -- an average loss of $53 per customer, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Horseshoe Casino hopes to draw many customers from outside Iowa, including Kansas City, Denver, Minneapolis and other major Midwest cities. Some of those guests will bet as much as $10,000 per hand for blackjack games, said Gary Blevins, a Harrah's shift manager.
"I don't know that it will happen every day, but it will certainly happen, although more likely on the weekends than on a Tuesday afternoon," Blevins said.
Besides the Horseshoe Casino, which has 1,000 employees, Nevada-based Harrah's also owns the Harrah's riverboat and hotel on the Missouri River in Council Bluffs. The city's third gambling business is Ameristar Casinos' riverboat and hotel.Categories: News
MANITOWOC — It was a few minutes before midnight Friday outside Time Out Sports Bar & Grill and Brandon Panier was flush with the thrill of victory.
The Marinette resident had just captured the regional crown in the USA Rock Paper Scissors tournament. Next stop, Las Vegas and the nationals in April.
"That was intense at the end. I dominated the competition," Panier whooped. "This will be my first time going to Vegas. I'm going to tear it up and come home with the 50 G's."
That's right. You can now win $50,000 by displaying a rock (closed fist), paper (flat, open hand) or scissors (index and middle fingers) while trumping your opponent's move.
"I rarely throw rock. That's bush league. I use scissors and paper in combinations of three," Panier said of his strategy in conquering fellow finalist Jared Romanowski of Plymouth.
For those who have forgotten the rules of this game most have played as kids: rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats rock.
There's more than luck involved swore Romanowski. "It's equal parts charisma and clairvoyance and drinking plenty of Bud Select," said the man who would drop trou to expose his lucky boxer shorts before each match.
Indeed, many of the 64 contestants Friday had chosen to drink a few, or more, beers in the spirit of Bud Light's sponsorship.
Larry's Distributing in Sheboygan is the designated Anheuser-Busch wholesaler that had the right to conduct the tourney in more than 30 bars in Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Calumet counties the past two months.
Lots of alcohol, lots of fun
"It's been great for our company," said Krisi Kaiser of Larry's Distributing, flanked by two young women in referee's shirts. "They're not Bud Girls. They're part of the 'Contemporary Marketing Team.' That's classier," Kaiser said.
Jessica Avina and Andrea Rickmeier had the challenge of having contestants pound the table three times in unison before throwing out their rock, scissors or paper.
For those who had wet their whistles frequently, the throw downs proved challenging.
But it was all in good fun with nary a cross word exchanged between foes. That doesn't mean there weren't some mean looks.
"I tried to stare her down but she didn't flinch," Manitowoc's John Raiten said after Debbie Kuehnl, also of Manitowoc, beat him in an early match.
The action lasted nearly two hours with plenty of high-fives for victors.
Finally, at 11:45 p.m. Panier and Romanowski were the final duo ready to duel for the four-days and three-nights, all-expenses paid trip for winner and guest. Panier had a last minute offer.
"I'll take you to Vegas if I win if you'll take me if you win," said the high school history teacher. The Plymouth car salesman agreed.
Romanowski's lucky boxers came up short. Panier won in less than two minutes. Emily Lancour gave Panier a victory hug and kiss.
"Forget about me. Take your girlfriend," Romanowski told Panier.
He will and he won't be going to Las Vegas with humility.
"What Lance Armstrong is to cycling, I am to this sport," Panier crowed.
By Charlie Mathews
St. Lucian authorities have approved plans for the first casino in the eastern Caribbean island, hoping to give a boost to the country's vital tourist industry.
The casino, which will have 350 slot machines and 14 gaming tables, is scheduled to open by December, according to the management company, Treasure Bay Corp. LLC of Biloxi, Miss.
Treasure Bay said the 15,000-square-foot casino would be built 10 miles north of the capital, Castries, and would employ 300 full-time workers.Categories: News
I heard you on a radio show talking about getting comps, and one of your suggestions was to call a casino host and ask what type of action was needed to warrant, as you said; “getting some goodies.”
So, I called a casino host and asked how much I would need to play in order to get both a dinner for two in their steak house, and possibly a buffet for two. She said that I would need to “put in action” at least $5,000 to warrant the free meals. I’m not that big of a player. Don’t you think that betting that amount is a bit unrealistic when all I’m asking for is a couple meals? Peter T.
Whoa, Pete, all that the casino you called wanted was for you to blow into town with some of your hard-earned money, and not necessarily five large, and they’d like a crack at it.
What the host meant by “put in action” was NOT the actual dollar amount of money you were to bet per hand, nor even the amount you are supposed to bring to the table with a “Gamble” ear tag on it.
For instance, suppose that you sat down at a blackjack table with $500 and proceeded to play 100 hands an hour over, say, three hours, betting $20 on each hand. Now multiply 100 hands, times three hours, by $20, and it totals $6,000. This would be the amount of money you “put in action,” even though your actual bankroll was just $500.
This is but one criterion a casino would use to assess your rating and eligibility for comps. The joints I worked in had sort of the same formula to figure out what you’re worth. To get your goodies from us, we also wanted you to bet a decent chunk of change for a calculated stretch of time, but we based your RFB’s merit (Room, food and beverage) on what you were probably going to lose.
We considered your average bet, how many hours you were possibly going to play, speed of the game, and the casino advantage. This, in theory, computes essentially your expected loss to us over a certain period.
Again, suppose you are betting $20 a hand for three hours, averaging 100 hands per hour, coupled with a house advantage of five percent the casino holds over the average blackjack player, we could predict in advance that you should lose $300 ($20 X 3 hrs. X 100 hands X .05 = $300) of the $6,000 wagered, or as she said, “put in action,” over that time period. That free trip to the chow line was really going to cost you $300.
On a Field bet on a crap table, some casinos pay 2-1 if a 12 rolls, others pay 3-1. How much of a difference is there in the house edge between the two? James D.
A Field bet is a wager that the next roll of the dice would turn up a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or a 12. This one-roller pays even money for 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11, and usually pays 2:1 for either 2 or 12. Some casinos pay 3:1 for either the 2 or 12, but not both.
When the casino pays 2-1 on the 12, the house edge is 5.56 percent. If they pay 3-1, the casino advantage is reduced to 2.78 percent. Either way, both advantage levels are far higher than the 1.41 percent edge on a pass line wager or 1.4 percent on the Don't pass, so, James, I’m recommending neither.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Betting is the only moral thing you can do. It is an intellectual pursuit, as good as The Times crossword. For millions, it is the only uninfluenced democratic decision they take." - Lord WyattCategories: Gambling Tips and Articles
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In craps, is there a difference between a hopping hardway and a regular hardway? Is either worth playing? Clint F.
With a hardway, Clint, you are betting that a matching pair of dice will appear before a 7, or before two dice of the same total value are rolled. When the face of the dice are rolled as 2 and 2, it is considered a hard 4; the 3 and 3 is a hard 6; the 4 and 4 is a hard 8; and the 5 and 5 is a hard 10. Using a hard 8 as an example, you lose if a seven is rolled, or an eight the “easy” way (6 and 2, 5 and 3, or a 7 and 1).
With a hopping hardway, you are betting that a certain matching pair will appear on the next roll. This one-roller pays 30-to-1, compared to a payoff of 9-to-1 for the run-of-the-mill hard 6 or 8, or 7 to 1 for the hard 4 and 10.
Although all proposition bets like a hardway have high payoffs, the casino advantage on them is between 9-11%; far too high to chance them with your hard-earned money. The only thing hardways are good for is the house. Besides, Clint, they don’t call ‘em hardways for nothing.
What is the "allowable" size difference in a set of five dice on a craps table? The reason I ask is, I got some game-used ones from a casino I frequent. They are numbered 1230 and 1232, which I figured to be part of a five number set. We got bored at work and measured them on our Coordinate Measuring Machine. We found a .0007 variation from all sides of the pair. David S.
Games management is the second line of defense when a new deck (set) of dice is introduced on a crap game. Prior to their baptism, a pit boss will inspect the dice with a micrometer to make sure they were produced to a tolerance level of .0005 of an inch.
The first line of defense is the dice maker. That manufacturer deals in tolerances of .0002, with imperfections discarded, making the random nature of a dice throw a certainty.
The most unlikely scenario is that dice 1230 and 1232 were from different decks. They could be from a slightly larger than normal set of dies allowing more tolerance, or they were lackadaisically inspected upstairs and somehow slipped through.
Either way, I doubt that the extra .0002” deficiency from one die to another would affect the outcome of the rolls. Next time you happen to run into a couple ten-thousandths of an inch, just ask ‘em.
With super mega lottery jackpots usually being split by more than one winner, do you have any recommendations for how to play that would put you in position to be a sole winner? Peggy S.
Of late, Peggy, there has been single ticket winners of both the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery games.
To be a sole winner of any lottery, you just need to select numbers that nobody else picks. Simple enough. So, since most people tend to play birthdays and anniversaries, don't pick all your numbers under 32. Don’t play geometric sequences on the card, such as rows, columns, and diagonals. Don’t play a numeric sequence, such as 42-43-44-45-46-47, and especially not 1-2-3-4-5-6, since over 50,000 players have marked that sequence in the past when the jackpot was enormous.
What I can’t help you with, Peggy, is beating those insurmountable odds.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Gamblers everywhere are eating better these days; even the buffets--some of which barely used to count as edible--are serving top-notch nosh." --Buster Phillips
By Mark Pilarski
DURANT, Okla. The Choctaw Nation plans to open its largest-ever casino next week.
Situated along U-S Highway 69, the new casino is part of a 50-acre development that includes a rodeo arena, coliseum and hotel.
The new 108-thousand-844-square-foot casino contains one-thousand-426 gaming machines, some compacted and some older machine varieties.
Thirty-two blackjack tables and a poker room with 18 poker tables are also in place. An off-track betting site completes the gaming package, offering 100 television-operated betting stations.
The casino also boasts the first gaming floor with ticket-in, ticket-out technology, where players' cash-out tickets can be reinserted into any gaming machine on the floor.
The casino is one of eight gaming sites the tribe operates within its 10-county jurisdictional area in southeastern Oklahoma.Categories: News
A month from now, the first of four new Iowa casinos will open its doors for business. The Diamond Jo in north central Iowa's Worth County broke ground last June and is on track to roll the dice the first week of April.
General Manager Jim Dickstein says 80 percent of the casinos four-hundred employees have been hired. "Our first day of live gaming will be April 4th, but that will be for friends and family and Worth County people that we're inviting," Dickstein says. "Then on the 6th (of April) it opens to the public and we'll have what we call (a) soft opening or sneak peak weeks until the 19th which is our grand opening."
Dickstein says it's fitting that the casino in Northwood is the first of the new casinos to open since the people of Worth County were so dogged in going to the statehouse day after day to try to convince state legislators to allow more casinos. "The people in Worth County worked very hard to first change the law and then to petition to get a license in their area," Dickstein says.
The referendum which allowed a gambling casino in Worth County passed overwhelmingly with 70 percent of the vote, and more than 15-hundred people applied for jobs once the casino started hiring. "The economic impact we know is just going to be terrific for a variety of reasons," Dickstein says. "We've hired a lot of Iowa people from the Iowa area. Also, our location tells us that about 70 percent of our money will be coming in from Minnesota. That's real new money for Iowa. That's not just Iowa money shuffled around within the middle of the state."
The casino will feature five-hundred slot machines, 15 table games and five live poker tables. It also has a Burger King, a sit-down restaurant and bar -- plus the City of Northwood's first Starbucks. The Wild Rose of Emmetsburg plans to open on Memorial Day. The new casino in Riverside plans a September opening and the Isle of Capri Casino in Waterloo plans to open next May.
by O.Kay Henderson
ATLANTIC CITY — That small object that casino guests are holding at poolside may not be a book or a bottle of sunscreen.
Gamblers could use wireless devices to place bets while lounging at the pool or sitting in a restaurant at Atlantic City's casino hotels, under a proposal considered by a state Senate panel Thursday in Trenton.
Gambling devices similar to handheld video games would allow patrons to play the slot machines, blackjack, poker and other table games without actually being on the casino floor.
New Jersey is thinking of joining Nevada in legalizing the devices, which are at the forefront of the casino industry's efforts to fend off competition from Internet gaming and attract a new generation of tech-savvy gamblers.
“Technology is evolving. Public policy must evolve to reflect that,” said state Sen. Barbara Buono, chairwoman of the Senate's Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
Legislation to legalize wireless gambling is expected to be introduced later in the year, Buono, D-Middlesex, told the Associated Press after her committee heard testimony from casino executives and New Jersey gaming regulators.
Taking a cue from Nevada, New Jersey lawmakers will consider allowing handheld gambling devices in public areas of Atlantic City's 12 casinos. Nevada is preparing to introduce wireless gambling at pools, restaurants and other public areas of the casino buildings, but will prohibit its use in hotel rooms.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board expects to adopt regulations this month, paving the way for gamblers to start betting on the devices sometime this year. The rules will include a series of safeguards to protect against cheating and underage gambling. Wireless devices would be linked to a casino's main computer server to prevent unauthorized use.
New Jersey lawmakers and gaming regulators are already discussing ways to prevent abuses, including possibly using password-protected devices that would be inoperable in hotel rooms, parking lots or garages. The state's top casino regulator wants assurances that the devices will not fall into the hands of underage gamblers.
“We would want to examine it to make sure it does what it says it does and protects the integrity of the gaming industry,” Casino Control Commission Chair Linda M. Kassekert said.
New Jersey law limits gambling to the casino floor, so legislation would be needed to allow it to spread to other parts of the casino complex for wireless betting, Kassekert said.
In addition to handheld gambling devices, regulators are considering high-tech downloadable slot machines that would enable casinos to switch games and jackpots with the touch of a button. Kassekert said downloadable games are essentially computers operated by remote terminals, which may be vulnerable to hackers.
“Obviously, the concern there is that they can be tampered with or that they can be hacked into,” she said.
The Casino Control Commission and the Division of Gaming Enforcement have written preliminary regulations for downloadable games and are seeking input from casinos.
A test run of downloadable slot machines is tentatively scheduled for late this year or early 2007. Barring any glitches in the testing process, the games may be ready for the casino floor sometime in 2007.
“The industry has undergone monumental changes to the electronic games offered to patrons in the past five years,” said Thomas N. Auriemma, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. “I believe even greater changes will be made in the next two years. First and foremost is the advent of downloadable slot machines.”
Also on the horizon are so-called smart chips that allow casinos to track betting activity at the table games in real time. Known as Radio Frequency Identification Devices, or RFIDs, they will also help cut down on cheating and counterfeiting.
State Sen. Nicholas Asselta, a member of the Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, questioned whether the introduction of so much technology could threaten casino jobs and help spread illegal Internet gambling.
“Technology is good and it's bad. Sometimes it means (fewer) job opportunities,” said Asselta, a Republican who represents Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic counties.
By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
A proposed $1 billion expansion of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has been canceled amid rumors that owner Peter Morton is in negotiations to sell the property to an unnamed buyer.
The expansion was going to include more than 1,200 condo units, plus additional entertainment, retail and pool/spa space on 24 acres behind the hotel, along Harmon Avenue.
Deposits were already being taken for the condos, and all of that money will be returned to the people who reportedly laid out anywhere from $40,000 to $250,000 to make a reservation for one of the upscale units that had been planned.
This doesn't necessarily mean that the condos won't be built, but that decision will ultimately go to new owner, whoever that may be. The rumored asking price is somewhere in the neighborhood just south of $1 billion, including the land on which the expansion was to be built.
There have been several whispered rumors of who might be the leading contender for the property, with nothing but denials coming from places like Station Casinos, Harrah's Entertainment and Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, who already announced his intention to build a Rolling Stone-themed hotel in the same neighborhood.
Whether the property will keep its Hard Rock branding is another mystery that will depend on who buys it.
By Rick Garman
On one episode of the television show CSI, Grissom talks about a guy who goes into a Las Vegas casino and bets one million dollars on one roll of the dice and loses. Is that a true story? Ralph S.
Ground zero for plenty of Las Vegas legendary lore was Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, a favorite amongst folks whose preference was no-frills gambling with some of the best odds in town. One factual account at this grind joint on Freemont Street was that of an adventurous gambler named William Lee Bergstrom from Austin, Texas.
Bergstrom heard that Benny Binion’s latest gimmick was that the sky’s the limit” when it came to maximum betting amounts at the Horseshoe. Bergstrom called to ask Binion if he would really accept a bet of a million dollars. Binion assured Bergstrom he would book a million dollar wager, so long as it was his first bet.
So one day in comes Bergstrom with $777,000 stuffed into a suitcase, plopped it down on the crap table (they never bothered to convert the money into chips) and told the dealer to put the entire amount on the Don’t Pass line. On her third roll, cinco dos, adios, an elderly woman sevened out. Bergstrom was handed an additional $777,000, then walked straight out the casino front door escorted by Benny’s son Ted.
Naturally, no fevered gambler can forget and forgo that kind of action for long, so Bergstrom returns and wins another $590,000 all-or-nothing bet; then he comes back and wins a similar $190,000 wager, then beats Binion’s again for an additional $90,000.
In November of 1984, Bergstrom finally had his one million dollar war chest to wager. He calls Binion’s to ask if he could once again bet the whole shebang, and Binion, already down over $600,000 to Bergstrom, backed up his often quoted phrase: “Your biggest bet is your first. After that, let it roll” and said yes.
Bergstrom returns with one million buckaroos and tells a dealer to once again to put the whole million dollars on the Don’t Pass line. It was the come out roll, meaning, no point had been established, so on the initial roll, Bergstrom had only four ways to win (by a 2, 3 12 rolling) and eight ways to lose (if a 7 or 11 rolled). The lady roller tosses a six-one: a front line winner, back line skinner. He was done. Bergstrom’s $1,000,000 was gone.
Three months later at a Strip hotel Bergstrom committed suicide, although one version of the incident that I have read had him playing Russian roulette with his six-shooter and he drew the short bullet. Either way, he wagered his own life, and lost.
True, plenty of players with a million-dollar loss would pull the plug, but do the math; Bergstrom was $647,000 to the plus, at least against Benny Binion.
Considering you have worked for several casinos, who is to say that you are not under some kind of gag order prohibiting you to give any information considering gambling? I know several people that have and still work for casinos and they are prohibited from telling any information whatsoever. MJ
My casino work history files mimic the citizenship portion of my elementary school report card. He talks too much! All too often I heard the “Hey, Pilarski, shut up and deal.” Those verbal slap-downs had nothing to do with me lending a customer a helping hand, more like me kibitzing with another employee whose is also dealing on a live game.
As for offering assistance, every casino has its own set rules, yet of the seven casinos where I was employed, none had any problem with us rank and filers offering customers advice, with maybe the single exception of whether a player should hit or stand in blackjack. That was the extent of my restrictions on offering comment on play to patrons.
As for here and now regarding a gag order from casinos affecting this column, you obviously don’t read it often enough. But once a coalition of casinos offers me some payola, well...
Gambling quote of the week: "If you got talent, Las Vegas is the land of milk and honey. If you don't, it's a burial ground.” Benny Binion
By Mark Pilarski
BILOXI — The Beau Rivage will reopen this summer with three new restaurants, including one of celebrity chef Todd English's Mediterranean cuisine Olives.
Executives with MGM Mirage Inc., the casino's parent company, discussed the plans in a conference call Thursday after releasing an earnings report. MGM Mirage reported a 31 percent jump in earnings for the fourth quarter.
Beau Rivage is expected to reopen Aug. 29, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in Mississippi, said Bob Baldwin, president of the casino giant's Mirage division.
World-renowned designers will give the resort a new and fresh environment, he said.
"The property will reopen with 1,200 rooms, eight of its restaurants and all its bars and lounges," Baldwin said. "The balance of the amenities will reopen in the fourth quarter. Beau Rivage will reopen with three newly designed gourmet restaurants: a new steak house, a hip Asian concept and a Beau Rivage version of Olives."
MGM Mirage's Bellagio in Las Vegas also has an Olives restaurant. Others are located in high-end hotels in Aspen, Washington, New York and Tokyo.
In 2001, English was awarded Bon Appetit's Restaurateur of the Year award and was also named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People."
Beau Rivage's casino will feature the return of a poker room, a contemporary high-limits area and a completely reconfigured table games layout.Categories: News
Harrah's Louisiana Downs
Guests who have signed up for a Total Rewards Card or have a Total Rewards Card, but never have visited Harrah's Louisiana Downs can receive a free buffet dinner or a free breakfast item and drink from Louisiana Bread Co.
A $1,500 Lucky in Love slot tournament is held every Wednesday and Thursday. Registration begins at 4 p.m. at the Promotions Desk in the casino and rounds begin at 5 p.m. The tournaments are free for Seven Star, Diamond and Platinum Total Rewards members and $10 for Gold Total Rewards members. Space is limited.
The Rewards Plus Club is for Harrah's Total Rewards members age 50 or older. Members are qualified to play in a special slot tournament every Tuesday. Rewards Plus members can register for the tournaments Tuesdays at 10 a.m. The first rounds begin at noon. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 20 players.
Guests will have an opportunity to win $10,000 in the Hot Seat promotion on Fridays. Enter the promotion at 1:30 p.m. by swiping your Total Rewards card at the Promotions Desk. Ten names will be called to win $100 every 30 minutes from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
For a limited time, guests can redeem Reward Credits for cash every day. With this promotion, 2,000 Reward Credits equal $10, and guests can redeem up to 20,000 Reward Credits each day for up to $100 in cash. Reward Credits are redeemable at the Total Rewards center for a voucher they can use at the casino cashier cage.
Texas Hold 'Em poker tournaments are held daily. The weekday tournaments require a $50 buy-in, which provides the player with $1,000 in tournament chips. There are unlimited $20 rebuys through the first round with less than $500 in chips. The tournament also features $40 double rebuys. The Saturday and Sunday tournaments have a $100 buy-in and provide the player with $1,000 in chips. There are unlimited $50 rebuys through the first round with less than $500 in chips. The tournament also features $100 double rebuys. Registration for all tournaments costs $15 each and begins at 9 a.m. the day of the competition. Tournaments begin at 11 a.m. Call the Poker Room at (318) 220-5274 for more information.
Manic Mondays weekly slot tournaments have $3,000 in guaranteed prize money per tournament. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. on tournament days. Tournaments are held every Monday at 7 p.m. Entry fee is $20. See Club Eldorado for complete details.
Tournament Tuesdays are reserved for blackjack players. Located on the first level of the casino, the tournament is held each Tuesday at 5 p.m. and has a guaranteed prize pool of $2,000. The entry fee is $20. Registration begins at 4 p.m.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Eldorado will give away more than $30,000 during the Golden Seat Giveaway promotion. Customers win $250 if the computer randomly selects their game seat. In addition, Eldorado members playing slots and table games can earn entries for drawings held Sunday at 4 p.m. One winner of each drawing will win $10,000 cash.
Boomtown's Sweet Sensation Mondays will get you various sizes of Whitman's chocolates. Earn 10-125 points playing your favorite slots and table games every Monday in February. See the Circle B Club for details.
Earn 75 points for a cuddly bear or 125 points for a jumbo bear by playing your favorite slots and table games every Friday in February in the Beary Fun Fridays promotion. See Circle B Club for details.
Check out the Double Zs with the Nissan 350z Giveway. The two 350z's will be displayed in the Mardi Gras parade. Following the parade, guests can win $63,000 in cash and prizes. Earn entries by playing your favorite slots and table games Saturday. Qualifying drawings will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. A car will be given away at 11 p.m. Saturday.
Guests can win $41,000 in cash and prizes in the Boomtown Feel Alive in a G35 Infiniti Giveway. Earn entries by playing your favorite slots and table games now through March 18. Qualifying drawings occur March 17 and 18 from 8 to 10 p.m. The Infiniti G35 will be given away March 18.
Horseshoe will offer a No Limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament weekly at 6 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. Wednesday. Registration begins two hours prior to the tournament in the poker room. Buy-in requirement is $60 plus a $15 entry fee. Rebuys and add-ons are $40. The first three levels will last 30 minutes; each level thereafter will last 20 minutes. Players start with $800 in tournament chips. Payout for first place with 50 or fewer players is 45 percent and 40 percent for tournaments with 51 or more players. Call (800) 798-0711 for more information.
Isle of Capri
New IsleOne members who join the IsleOne Players Club and earn 25 points in their first visit are eligible for a choice of a free night's stay at the Isle of Capri Hotel or two buffets at Calypso's. Table game play will require one hour of rated play to be eligible for the new member offer.
Wednesdays and Sundays, IsleOne members age 50 or older will receive coupons for double points from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. with $5 off breakfast or lunch in Calypso's buffet, a free ice cream cone or large Icee in Tradewinds.
IsleOne hotel guests who earn 250 points Sunday through Thursday or 350 points Friday through Saturday from check-in to check-out on their IsleOne Card will receive a hotel voucher good for a free stay on their current visit. Vouchers may be received from the hotel or IsleOne Club.
Table players will receive a Calypso's buffet for one hour of rated play for Table Game Mondays.
The Isle's $145,000 Cash Giveway promotion will be held from March 4 through April 1. Daily cash prize drawings will be from 7 to 10 p.m. IsleOne members receive a free daily entry and IsleOne Select members receive two free daily entries for a chance to win daily cash prizes. Additional entries may be earned with 20 points in slot play or one hour of rated table game play. Unclaimed prize cash amounts will roll in to the next hourly drawing. Full details available at the Isle One Club.
Guests can win a Dodge Ram 1500 truck on Sunday in the "It's Ram Town at Sam's Town" promotion. There will be drawings for $1,000 at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. The Dodge Ram truck drawing will be held at 7 p.m. and $1,000 drawings at 8 and 9 p.m. Redeem earned entries through 8:30 p.m. Sunday. All entries must be placed in the drawing drum between 2 and 8:55 p.m. to be eligible for the drawings. Winners have one hour from the time their name is announced in the Pavilion to claim their prize. See the Prime Rewards Desks in the Pavilion for details and pick up your free Prime Rewards card.
New Prime Rewards members can play one hour and receive a T-shirt. Sign up at the Prime Rewards desk for a free Prime Rewards card.Categories: Casino Promotions
The Cherokee Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma was the location for the Oklahoma Ladies State Championship. One Hundred Thirty-Six women from Oklahoma and surrounding states played for the title as State Champion. This was the first event hosted by a division of the LipsTour known as the U.S. Ladies State Poker Championship (USLPC).
Dottie McDonald of Austin, Texas emerged victorious and captured the coveted title. Dottie, who started playing poker in a woman’s poker league just two months prior to the event, had never played a major tournament before. When asked to comment regarding her overall experience she stated, “I admire anyone, man or women, who can do this for a living. It takes an extreme amount of concentration, stamina and energy to play a major event”. Dottie played the final table like a professional. She made a few unbelievable calls that secured her chip lead going into heads-up play. When asked about why she made the calls she replied, “I believe women have an advantage over men, we have the power of instinct. In several situations, I just let my instinct guide me and it was right on!”
Runner-up Courtney Farrell, a 24-year-old poker dealer from Norman, Oklahoma, gave Dottie a run for her money. Courtney started playing poker six years ago while attending college and earning her degree in Public Relations. She played with sheer aggression through out the event, making the right moves at the right time. When asked whom she admired in the poker industry, Courtney replied, “I admire Linda Johnson for being a pioneer of women in poker. She has done so much for the poker industry in general.”
The USLPC will seek out venues in each of the fifty states to host Ladies State Poker Championships. The goal is to make each state championship a full-blown event, complete with luncheons, parties, gifts and camaraderie as well as serious competition. The winner of each State Championship will win a seat into the U.S. Ladies State Poker Championship which is set to be the most prestigious event for women in the world. It will consist solely of the each state champion and one “wild card” champion. The winner of this event will be crowned the “U.S. Ladies State Poker Champion”.
Prior to the start of the tourney, Cherokee Casino hosted a brunch and fashion show. Two-time WSOP Bracelet winner Susie Issacs attended along with Kathy Liebert for a “Meet and Greet.” After the luncheon, the women had a little free time to shop the wares of the participating vendors, and then it was time to shuffle up and deal! The excitement was electric! Scotty Nguyen stopped by on a few occasions to say hello and to wish the women luck. USLPC provided complimentary T-Shirts and Lips pins to each of the participants. Celebrity Tournament Director Robert Thompson of Celebrity Poker directed the event.
The results are as follows:
Oklahoma Ladies State Poker Championship
Cherokee Casino, Tulsa OK
February 11th, 2006
Prize Pool = 35,360
1st - $12,521 – Dottie McDonald, Austin, TX
(Plus Seat into U.S. Ladies State Poker Championship & LIPS Grand Championship)
2nd - $5,842 - Courtney Farrell, Norman, OK
3rd – $3,780 - Cheryl Baugus, San Springs, OK
4th – $3,093 - Beth Laird, Frisco, TX
5th – $2,578 - Mary Blumer, TX
6th - $2,234 - Marleena Rubinsak, OK
7th - $1,890 – Terri Hill, OK
8th - $1,547 – Rita Estes, Tulsa, OK
9th - $1,375 – LeAnn Lay, OK
10th - $500 – Rikki Wisdom, OKCategories: News
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Now you can not only watch
the WORLD POKER TOUR(R) on television, but when you go to the casino you'll be
able to play in a WPT-branded poker room. WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE)
and Foxwoods Resort Casino, the word's largest casino, announced today that
Foxwoods' newly expanded poker room, set to open in late March, will bear the
WORLD POKER TOUR name.
"It's a very exciting landmark for the WORLD POKER TOUR," said Steve
Lipscomb, Founder and CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc. "This is the point when
our brand truly moves into the casino in a major way. We've licensed our name
to slot machines and gaming tables, and this is the next significant step-the
evolution of the WPT brand at the casino level. Poker players will experience
the WPT excitement first hand in an environment that evokes the cool, classy,
charismatic character of our show. We applaud our partners at Foxwoods for
continuing to expand the benefits of our mutual relationship."
A charter member of the WORLD POKER TOUR, Foxwoods has staged some of the
largest events in WPT history over the Tour's four years. In fact, Foxwoods
was the very first casino to sign onto the Tour. Slated to debut in late
March, the WPT World Poker Room at Foxwoods will boost the number of poker
tables at the resort to 114 from its current total of 76. This is a more than
40% increase in the capacity of the existing poker room. The expansion will
allow expanded tournament offerings, which will result in greatly increased
prize pool totals. It also solidifies Foxwoods as one of the largest and most
prestigious casino poker rooms in the country and the only venue for poker in
"This is a significant step for poker and further proof that the WPT and
Foxwoods are a formidable team," said Kathy Raymond, Director of Poker
Operations at Foxwoods. "We continually strive to lead the way when it comes
to poker, and this new expanded state-of-the-art room will give our players a
truly memorable experience."
The new WPT branded poker room at Foxwoods will move to a more expansive
space located near its current poker area. New poker technology will also add
to the player experience, including use of LED table components, automatic
card shufflers and a state-of-the-art seating system. The poker room will be
smoke-free and will offer a new 100+ seat restaurant, adjacent to the poker
For more information on WORLD POKER TOUR-brand poker rooms, contact
Lawrence Kalinsky (323) 330-9850.
WPTE launched the poker phenomenon when it first aired the WORLD POKER
TOUR(R) on the Travel Channel, March 30, 2003. It continues to lead the way
in developing poker as a major international sport. The highest rated show
ever on The Travel Channel, the WPT is now seen in 130 countries and
territories worldwide. WORLD POKER TOUR(R) airs every Wednesday at
9 p.m. ET/PT on the Travel Channel in the U.S.
NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.'s (NYSE: HET) Harrah's New Orleans Casino is committed to helping rebuild New Orleans' tourism business, and pledges to get the Mardi Gras party started with fun and excitement, with a re-opening ceremony on Friday, February 17th at noon central standard time at the Canal Street entrance.
"This is a magical city for our nation," said Anthony Sanfilippo, president, central division for Harrah's. "We knew that Harrah's coming back, employing 1500 people, reaching out to our customers throughout the nation, and inviting them into New Orleans, was going to be crucial to restarting the city," he continued.
The first of Greater New Orleans Mardi Gras parades roll later on February 17th, beginning a parade schedule that continues through Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The casino, closed shortly before Hurricane Katrina made landfall last year, features a 115,000 square-foot gaming floor, more than 2,000 slot machines, more than 90 table games, and the largest poker room in the South. In addition, work continues on a 450-room, 26-story hotel, located just across Poydras Street from the casino. The $150 million project is expected to open in September 2006.Categories: News
Could you please explain the physical process of shuffling that casinos use in blackjack? Also, why when a new deck is brought in, do some casinos place them face down and swish them around like we did as a kid when playing the game of Fish? Richard C.
Casinos differ on shuffling procedures used to prepare a deck or decks for continued play. They may include "riffling" or "stripping" the cards as well as "washing", "plugging", "boxing", and other idiosyncratic techniques. The ultimate goal, when a dealer shuffles up, is to achieve some level of randomization in the order of the cards. I'll discuss the three most commonly used shuffling methods used in casinos today: Riffling, stripping and washing the cards.
Riffling the cards is the most commonly used shuffling technique used on all casino card games. To accomplish a riffle, the deck is divided roughly in half, then the dealer will pull the card corners up with the thumbs and let the two halves "riffle" together, interleaving the two halves into a solid deck. Sometimes called "zipping" the cards, riffling a deck can range from a fine riffle to a coarse riffle. Dealers usually riffle the cards between three and five times before dealing the next round.
Stripping is a shuffling technique that reverses the sequential order of groups of cards in the deck. Say for instance a dealer took the first card off the top of a deck and placed it on the table, and then took the second card off the top and placed it on top of the first card. Continuing this process through the entire 52 cards would exactly reverse their order. This characterizes the basic process of stripping.
Dealers don’t strip cards one at a time, but instead they rapidly pull small clumps of cards off the top of the deck, actually altering the order of cards in the deck. The number of cards in the clumps determines how fine or coarse the stripping process is. Stripping the deck is a procedure that some casinos make their dealers employ before riffling the deck.
Washing, per your Fish question, where cards are placed face down and fanned out to form a stock, is where the dealer spreads the cards on the table face down and then proceeds to commingle the cards in a washing-like motion before collecting them up and performing a more conventional riffle shuffle. Card washing is intended to remove any consistencies in the sequencing of the cards, and are typically washed, Richard, when new decks are brought into a game.
I sat next to a player who began with $100, and over a three hour period had won over two thousand. Then his luck turned and he lost it all in under 10 minutes. What makes a player give all his winnings back? Bud W.
In the poker world, Bud, it’s called "going on tilt." In blackjack, we call it "steaming". Either way, it's when a player loses emotional control of his game and starts betting more aggressively, often impulsively, in an attempt to turn his bad luck around. I’ve seen this reckless conduct far more often than you can imagine, that of a player trying to spin straw into gold, only to become so frustrated with how poorly his playing session is going, that he losses his entire bankroll in mere minutes. Canny players avoid that fate by setting and sticking to loss and gain limits
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "People are by far the worse when it comes to superstitions. They have lucky charms, lucky jackets, lucky underwear, and God knows what they have in their pockets that's lucky." -- Tony Korfman
By Mark Pilarski
U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte introduced a bill to prohibit online Internet gambling on Thursday.
Co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-9th, the bill seeks to crack down on illegal offshore gambling and illegal gambling that crosses state lines over phone lines and the Internet.
"These activities suck billions of dollars per year out of the U.S. economy, serve as a vehicle for money laundering, undermine families, and threaten the ability of states to enact and enforce their own laws," Goodlatte said in a prepared statement released Thursday.
Goodlatte, a Republican, represents Virginia’s 6th District, which includes the central Valley.
The proposed legislation would clarify that betting online is illegal.
The earlier Wire Act prohibited gambling over telephone lines, but Internet is delivered by other means.
The proposal increases the penalty from two years to five years.
Gamblers would not be able to use credit cards or electronic transfers to play.
Federal, state and local law enforcement representatives would be able to seek injunctions to prevent or restrain violations of the act.
The proposed legislation leaves the regulation of intrastate gambling within the jurisdiction of the states.
This is the third time that Goodlatte and Boucher have attempted to get legislation through Congress that would prohibit Internet gambling.
In previous sessions, Jack Abramoff and his lobbying effort helped defeat the legislation, according to Goolatte’s office.
Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in a deal that requires him to provide evidence about members of Congress.
With Abramoff sidelined, Goodlatte is making another attempt.
"For too long," Goodlatte said in a prepared statement, "our children have been place in harm’s way as online gambling has been permitted to flourish into a $12 billion industry. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act brings the current ban against interstate gambling up to speed with the development of new technology."
The bill has 115 co-sponsors, according to a spokeswoman in Goodlatte’s office.
Support for the legislation is also coming from off Capitol Hill. The Family Research Council, Focus on Family, the National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, and Christian Coalition have all issued statements of support for the proposed legislation, H.R. 4777.
"Recent news stories about the behind-the-scenes maneuvers to defeat Internet gambling legislation only emphasizes the need for Congress to act now," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "Law enforcement agencies and financial institutions must be provided with the commonsense tools necessary to enforce laws addressing this illegal activity."
Internet gambling, said Peter Brandt, spokesman for Focus on the Family, is an increasing threat to millions of Americans.
"Gambling Anonymous members are younger and younger as a growing percentage of adolescents become addicted to poker games and online gambling," he said.
By Jeff Mellott
LONDON - Online poker giant PartyGaming has put an end to its litigation with small rival Empire Online after agreeing to acquire certain assets from the group.
PartyGaming has agreed to pay $250m in cash to Empire in return for acquiring its EmpirePoker.com skin and other associated white label agreements relating to AceClub.com and StarluckCasino.com.
The agreement also sees the withdrawal of all legal claims by Empire.
The dispute arose after PartyGaming announced last October that it would stop Empire's gamblers playing alongside its own pool of 9m customers.
PartyGaming said it expects the sites acquired to be earnings enhancing in the current financial year.
Empire meanwhile said it reaffirms its expectation that continuing businesses will contribute $37m of net profit in the year to December.Categories: News
Does it matter much which casino I play in since the game is pretty much the same from one casino to the next? Barry D.
For starters, the number of decks of cards being used and each casino’s in-house rules determine how much of an advantage the casino has over their patrons. Furthermore, both playing rules and number of decks in use often differ from one casino to the next. Some casinos allow the players to surrender and to double down after pair splitting, others don’t. In Casino A, dealers might stand on a soft 17, in Casino B they hit. Even within the same casino, or same pit, you will find one dealer holding a single or double deck right next to a dealer dealing out of an 8-deck shoe, both using different rules based on the decks in play.
If you want to know what really matters when playing blackjack, it’s shopping for best rules at hand.
If the object of blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible, why do you stop at 17, 18, or even 20? Kathy S.
The objective of blackjack is to avoid going over 21 when the dealer does, or to beat the dealer by having your hand total higher than the dealer's hand. Your assumption, Kathy, is amiss, and it would take a pricy toll on your bankroll if ever employed. Say your hand totals 18, and you’re thinking maybe you’ll say “Hit me”, when ZAPPO! -- a frantic gray cell points out that only three cards are safe at this point, the Ace, 2, and 3, while any one of the rest – ten! Count ‘em – will sink you like a lead dollar.
I pretty much stick to basic strategy except for one hand. I never hit a 12 when the dealer' has an up card of 2 or 3. Every time I have hit my 12 in the past, out comes a 10 and I bust. Would you recommend just standing when this scenario happens? Brett H.
No doubt, Brett, a 12 is a crummy hand, yet you will win more often over the long haul when you hit those 12’s. Here’s the rithmetic’. If you hit your 12 against a 2 or 3 you will win 37% of the time and lose 63%. If you stand, you will win 35% of the time and lose 65%. Personally, I prefer to win 37% of the hands rather than 35% of them. Wouldn’t you?
If you win 50% of the hands at blackjack, where is the house edge? Larry F.
Yo, Larry, no one wins 50% of his or her hands in blackjack. Discounting ties, which happen 9% of the time, you will win, on average, 47% of your hands and lose 53%.
By the way, Larry, the only advantage the casino has over you in blackjack is that you must act on your hand before the dealer takes action on his. Rule variations have some effect on the player's expected return, but not on the casino's sole advantage of having players whack away and bust before the dealer exposes the hole card.
When you lose five hands in a row in blackjack, do you recommend betting more money based on the fact that you are due to win the next hand? Marty M.
Ah, betting more based on the “due factor.” How sweet it isn’t!
The cards, Marty, don't give one iota that you just lost the five hands., didn’t even notice it. The sixth hand remains an independent event, and your chances of your winning it are the same whether you lost, won or tied the previous 5, 10, or 15 hands in a row. Betting on this misconception that you are “due” to win will put you in the poorhouse sooner than later.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "The whole world loves a gambler, but not when he loses." Coach Lombardi after his (and my beloved) Green Bay Packers won an unprecedented third straight National Football League title.Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- A new casino is nearly complete in Council Bluffs.
Much of the Horseshoe Casino is now open for business, even though there is still some construction under way.
The $85 million project is on the Bluffs Run property and owned by Harrah's Casinos. The new facility has slots and poker tables, as well as restaurants.
A 500-seat entertainment center is still under construction.
When complete, the casino will add 300 new jobs in Council Bluffs.Categories: News
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Driving north on I-65 from Nashville into Louisville, there's a large billboard on the right side of the highway with the words ''Seize the Day.''
The billboard isn't touting a self-help process, a spa or a Churchill Downs horse race. It's an advertisement for Caesar's Indiana casino, located 20 minutes from Louisville, and the photo on the billboard depicts a smiling elderly couple amidst slot machines.
If tugging on slot machine arms is a preferred means of carpe diem, there are several options for Nashville day-trippers. But while the slots remain by far the biggest money-maker for area casinos in Tunica, Miss., Metropolis, Ill., Evansville, Ind. and at Caesar's near Louisville, the Caesar's folks have also erected billboards proclaiming their possession of ''The Midwest's Premiere Poker Room.''
Now, that's not exactly like boasting ''Maine's Best Lobster'' or ''Nashville's Best Guitar Player,'' but the Caesar's room is actually quite impressive. And quite popular. Thanks in large part to the television exposure afforded the World Series of Poker tournament (gamers abbreviate it ''WSOP''), poker rooms are big business. Players compete against other players, in real time, for real money.
''In seven years, we've gone from having five tables to having 33,'' said Billy Marshall, manager of Caesar's poker room. ''We've expanded twice in the past year.''
The Caesar's poker room, located on a docked boat on the Ohio River just southwest of Louisville, features plasma-screen televisions, a deli, restrooms and a cashier. Sepia-tone photos of World Series of Poker champs, including Tennessee's Chris Moneymaker. line the walls.
''I went to Vegas in June to see their rooms,'' Marshall said. ''I'm quite happy with the product we have here.''
Marshall draws regular customers from Nashville, East Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. One of the semi-regulars is 28-year-old Mike Scarborough of Cincinnati. Inspired by the no-limit Texas hold 'em tournaments he saw on television, Scarborough decided to go pro.
''I worked at a restaurant, but now I haven't worked in three months,'' he said. ''It started real well, then I hit a couple of tough weeks. If you want to play professional, you really need a year's stake.''
Scarborough frequently plays online, where there are, he said, ''Lots of fish. 'Fish' are easy players. There are still fish here at Caesar's, but less of them. On weekends, they're all over the place. I make tons of money on weekends.''
Caesar's Wednesday night tournaments draw hundreds of players, many of whom are looking to parlay local successes into career moves.
''When Moneymaker won in 2002, he bought into a local tournament for $39 and moved up from there,'' Marshall said. ''He's a millionaire now. Because of that, the sport has become something people feel they can make a living at. They have big aspirations.''
Caesar's is far from the only poker room within driving distance of Nashville. Harrah's Metropolis has a room that opened in 2005, Casino Aztar has poker tournaments six days a week, and most of the Tunica casinos also offer poker rooms. In 2007, the Argosy Casino near Cincinnati is scheduled to open a 40-table room.
Nashvillians may wish to consider factors beyond the size of the poker room when deciding where to head for gambling. For players who mix blackjack action and top-draw entertainment with poker proclivities, many of the Tunica casinos provide finer facilities than can be found in Illinois or Indiana.
For players who'd like to stay near a city with grand entertainment possibilities, Caesar's location near Louisville allows gamblers to venture out for a nice meal or to check out the Louisville Slugger factory or Churchill Downs. Harrah's in Metropolis is right across the river from the charming little town of Paducah, Ky., which is a surprisingly interesting place to stay on any day except Sundays, when local blue laws are the cause of most downtown restaurants (the ones that serve alcohol) shutting down for the day.
But if poker is the only draw, it's hard to beat Caesar's. Robert Tate, 77, of Jeffersonville, Ind., is there every day, though he avoids the no-limit games.
''Slow and steady play, that's how you make it,'' Tate said. ''Unless you're at a table with those young kids who decided they'd get into poker after watching a game on TV. We call 'em three-week experts. I love it when those guys show up.''
By PETER COOPER
How do I play three pairs in Pai Gow Poker? Should the highest go up front, or the second highest? Also, how about this for your unusual file? The dealer and I copied hand four consecutive times. Shawn R.
Pai Gow (which rhymes with pie now) Poker is played with up to six players and a banker, each being dealt seven cards. There are no draws. You strategically arrange your seven cards into two poker hands, one hand of two cards and the other of five. To win, both your two-card hand and your five-card hand must beat the banker's corresponding hands. Winning one hand and losing the other is a push (tie), and you neither win nor lose.
Pai Gow Poker also has a 53rd card, the joker, and that jester can be used as a wild card in a straight, a flush, straight flushes, or as an ace. The hierarchy of Pai Gow poker hands is comparable to that of typical poker hands, except that a five-ace hand (four aces plus the joker) outranks a royal flush.
Newbies at Pai Gow Poker typically make two rookie mistakes. They fail to see a five-card flush or straight, or they incorrectly set their hands when dealt two or more pairs. Since two-pair hands appear fairly often, setting them correctly is imperative. Perfect strategy protocol for playing two pairs is this: If your hand has either an unmatched Ace or King, keep the two pairs in your five-card hand. If you have neither, play the lower-ranking pair as the two-card hand.
As for three pairs, always use the highest pair in your two-card hand, and the second and third highest pairs in your five-card hand.
Your heap of consecutive copies, Shawn, was eerie because you lost, but it happens. For those needing to know, a copy is where the player and banker have identical two-card or five-card hands. For example, let's say both you and the dealer each have a King and Queen as your two-card hands. Copies always go to the banker, giving him/her a built-in advantage over the player.
Do pushes on parlay bets win if you tie a game? The bookie I use won't pay if one of the games ties. Chuck D.
Being that your return mail address shows me that you don’t reside in one of the two states where sports betting is legal (Nevada and Oregon), I surmised, Chuck, that your bookie operates from the left of the law. Besides, land-based "legal" casinos usually don't penalize for pushes. Most legal bookmakers will still pay off your parlay wager even if one or more selections ties. When a push occurs, then the wager simply reverts to the next lower number of bets made. For example, if you place a six-team parlay and you have five winners and a push, your bet pays out as a five-team parlay. If you place a two-team parlay and one team wins and one pushes, the wager becomes a straight bet. Likewise, if any of your picks loses, your wager loses, regardless of the outcome of the other games.
It seems the only winner here, Chuckie, is your bookie.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "A casino is like a beehive. You know there is honey in it, but to get at it, you have to endure many stings." --VP Pappy
By Mark Pilarski
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Hooters, the tongue-in-cheek eatery that parlayed spicy chicken wings and busty waitresses in skimpy outfits into an international restaurant chain, is opening its first ever casino and hotel a stone's throw from the Las Vegas Strip.
The grand opening Thursday marks the latest foray for the "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined" restaurant that began in 1983 in Clearwater, Fla., and later branched into calendars, merchandise and even an airline.
"The Hooters customer is already a Vegas kind of customer. They're a little punky, they're a little high energy, they're looking for a getaway — and all of those things just match up," said Ed Droste, one of the six men who founded Hooters. Four of those original partners together own a third of the renovated hotel-casino.
The 696-room property with nine restaurant/bars is a revamp of the Hotel San Remo and, despite its makeover, remains a midget compared with the 5,035-room MGM Grand across the street on a corner of the Strip that offers 14,000 hotel rooms.
The Hotel San Remo, first built in 1973, has been run for the past 17 years by the Izumi family of Japan who maintained a one-third stake in the rebranded business.
The San Remo's revenues and profits stagnated for at least the past five years, dwarfed in the shadow of the MGM Grand, New York-New York, Excalibur and Tropicana hotels on the nearest corner.
"San Remo was a nice little business," said Richard Langlois, senior vice president of marketing for Hooters Casino Hotel. "But the property can be better utilized with a brand like Hooters."
Hooters' operators hope to draw from a customer base of about 61 million annual visitors at its some 400 restaurants in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia and the Caribbean.
Information and reservation hotlines have been set up at 80 restaurants in the Southwest, and staff will be rewarded with discounts and free rooms for promoting bookings, executives said.
Talks are ongoing with Hooters of America to fly customers to Las Vegas on Hooters Air, they said. The Atlanta-based company bought the franchise and licensing rights from the founders and launched the airline in 2003.
Hooters casino operators have rebranded almost every inch of the hotel, including using subtly placed borderline gags about the female form to appeal to a core audience of mostly married men aged 25 to 54.
Observers said the company might carve out a niche with a down-market offering in an area of the Strip that has become more expensive.
"You know their market. It's relatively blue collar and young," said University of Nevada, Las Vegas history professor Hal Rothman, who wrote Neon Metropolis: How Las Vegas Started the 21st Century."
"There's really nothing else on the Strip that caters to that market," he said.
The revamp was paid for with $125 million in debt. Langlois said he expects to more than triple the San Remo's annual revenue to about $100 million and have an operating profit of $22 million to $24 million.Categories: News
Who sets the payout percentages for large progressives like Megabucks? Do they change those percentages on the weekends when it is busier? Douglas D.
To eat up your latter question first, “do casinos take a screwdriver to their slots on the weekends to tighten them up?”, the answer is no. It is not cost-effective for the casino to continually alter the payouts on their machines. To alter the percentage return in their favor, the casino must, by law, make a hardware change. They do this by swapping out an internal component, the ROM portion of the microprocessor chip. ROM, or read only memory, is a chip the slot manufacturer provides the casino that tells the slot machine to pay back so many coins every time BAR BAR BAR appears. Some state gaming commissions won’t even allow casinos to switch chips in-house. Besides exchanging chips, Doug, they would also have to physically change the glass payout schedule for each machine.
As to who sets the payout percentages for Megabucks, since the progressive jackpot is paid out by IGT, those payout percentages are set at the factory. Don’t ask, Doug. It’s a trade secret what those exact percentages are. You won’t get any hush-hush tittle-tattle from IGT.
Casinos also have their own proprietary progressive machines, typically with their name and logo on the facing. On their own machines, the casino sets the percentage they want returned to them when placing an order with a slot manufacturer. Once they decide on the payout percentage needed based on the payout range received from the buyer, the makers of the machine program each slot based upon the leasing and/or purchasing agreement. When a casino wants to make a change to those percentages, they usually have to notify the gaming commission and the manufacturer to have those changes made.
What is the casino advantage in Multiple Action Blackjack versus regular blackjack? Greg N.
The casino advantage in blackjack is determined by both the playing rules and the number of decks used. So, Greg, house rules being equal, there isn’t any difference in the house edge between Multiple Action Blackjack and traditional blackjack.
I just want to say “THANKS” for the brilliant response to the question about wearing Reynolds Wrap to block a pacemaker signal from interfering with an electronic slot machine.
I haven’t had such a good laugh in a long time. It was a nice break to my day! The sad thing is the guy (Gurth) who wrote the question was probably being sincere, if that’s possible from a total weirdo. I’ll keep an eye out at the slots section of the local casino to see if someone is wearing their beanie. Katie O.
Being a certified screwball myself, it does give me the inside track into the psychology of whack jobs, so answering Gurth’s silvery ductile metallic element question was a no-brainer. Gurth over the years has sent me a whole slew of dillies, some kooky, some pretty spooky. Look for those in future columns.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Having an ATM in a casino is like having a lap-dancer at a Hell's Angels Convention. -- Mark Twain impersonator McAvoy Layne
By Mark Pilarski
How did Blackjack come into being and arrive at the number 21? Why not 18 or 33? Also, where did the 3 to 2 payoff come from? Nick B.
Just about every card game has a unique history, but unfortunately historians cannot always uncover the full trace of a game. Blackjack is one such shadowy customer. It confounds some researchers even today.
Many scholars believe that blackjack was derived from French games such as "French Ferme." and "Chemin de fer." When a game resembling blackjack first appeared in French casinos around the early 1700's, it was called "vingt-et-un," meaning twenty-and-one, and most likely, Nick, the genesis of the number 21.
The word Blackjack got its name from one of its winning hands, a Jack an Ace, both of Spades. If a player was dealt these two cards, they not only won the hand, but also got an additional bonus.
When Blackjack was first introduced in America, it wasn’t very popular, so in order to attract players, gambling houses of ill repute tried gimmick bonuses and payouts. One such reward was a 10-to-1 payoff if the player held the Ace of spades and any black Jack, hence the name Blackjack, American style. The name "Blackjack" stuck, even though the bonus payoffs were eventually eliminated.
Yet Blackjack was still not as popular as either Craps or Roulette, so to stimulate interest, casino operators offered a 3 to 2 payoff for any two-card count of 21, and a 10-to-1 payout if the 21 consisted of the ace of spades and either the Jack of spades or Jack of clubs. Eventually the 10-to-1 payout was once again eliminated but the 3 to 2 payoff and the term" 21" remained as an alternative name for the game.
In 1919, tables manufactured in Chicago with the "Blackjack Pays Odds of 3 to 2" motto began appearing in illegal gambling joints throughout America. Then once gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, the popularity of Blackjack grew to its number one table-game-status that it still holds today.
For a home game of poker, should "cards speak" or should the player call his or her hand? We’ve always played that a player must call his hand, but in casinos "cards speak" seems to rule. Please comment. David T.
Played almost exclusively at home, in gamblese you’re playing what’s called a "declare game", where a player calls the value of his or her hand to claim the pot. In most poker rooms, "cards speak," meaning, that the value of your hand is determined solely by your cards. You do not have to declare your hand to claim the part of the pot you win.
Personally, I believe "cards speak" is a fairer rule, even at a kitchen table setting, because the player with the best hand should win the pot. It’s easy enough, David, to pilfer the billfolds of newbie players, so I’m for cutting novices some slack when they overlook a potentially better winning hand. Even on my last outing, a 20-year battle-scarred veteran caught and declared a losing straight on the river that he completely overlooked his more powerful winning Jack-high straight flush. The gentlemanly thing to do was to give him the pot anyway.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Some players prefer to rely on hunches and superstition. That's okay, but it's expensive. -- Basil Nestor, "Casino Player"
By Mark Pilarski
Kansas City’s Isle of Capri Casino is poised for an $85 million expansion and facelift. The package will give it more parking, more restaurants, more slot machines, a special events arena and a new grand entrance off Front Street.
“This has been a long time coming — too long,” Tim Hinkley, president and chief operating officer of Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., said Tuesday in an interview.
Kansas City’s smallest casino has lost ground to rivals in recent years in the battle for market share. The Isle fell nearly two percentage points in 2005 to a 13.7 percent share, despite operating more than 18 percent of the area market’s gambling capacity.
The expansion plan announced Tuesday would add nongambling amenities and an estimated 400 slots on a remodeled second-floor deck, pushing Isle past Argosy Riverside as the market’s third-largest casino.
The expanded Isle would have about 2,150 seats for gamblers at table games and slots, compared with 2,037 spots at Argosy and 2,203 at Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino & Hotel. Ameristar Kansas City Casino and Hotel is the market’s dominant property with more than 3,000 slots and 3,647 total gaming positions.
“We’re going to give the casino a grander presence, a grander feel,” Gregory D. Guida, senior vice president for development and legal affairs for Mississippi-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., told members of the Kansas City Port Authority at a meeting Tuesday afternoon. “We think the changes we’ve got planned will really help reposition this property in the market.”
Guida projected a spring groundbreaking and 12 to 15 months of construction if the package is approved by the Missouri Gaming Commission and the City Council.
Port Authority members appeared enthusiastic about the proposal.
Isle officials approved the broad strokes of the plan at corporate meetings last week in Florida.
One thing the package does not have is a hotel, leaving Kansas City the only location in the growing Isle chain without a hotel or one under construction.
To fill that lodging void, the Kansas City Isle since 2004 has offered package deals through several area hotels that include a room, buffet meals and free shuttle service.
Hinkley said Tuesday that a hotel remains in the long-range plans but not for this round of expansion.
“It’s a step-by-step process,” he said. “This is the first phase. There’s no talk of hotel right now, but we’re bulllish on the marketplace.”
The company has never promised that a hotel would be added to the property, but expansion plans for up to 200 rooms figured prominently in presentations in 2000 that led to licensing approvals from the Gaming Commission and the Port Authority.
Isle just completed a modest addition to its gambling floor, including an elevated stage for live entertainment that would be torn out and moved.
The redesign scheme presented to the Port Authority calls for:
■■A Caribbean village facade and new porte-cochere entrance on the building’s south side off Front Street, which will flow into the casino’s ground-floor level.
■ A 1,000-car garage addition that would stretch the current 650-car structure south toward Front Street and offer new indoor entrances to the casino complex.
■ The current casino buffet and VIP lounge would be moved to the new main entrance structure.
■ That new structure would also include a new buffet and two new restaurants, plus a 1,000-seat, 12,000-square-foot concert and event arena that could be partitioned into smaller meeting and party spaces.
■ The current buffet area would be remodeled as an expanded gambling floor, with new escalators linking the split-level casino.
“We have been considering an expansion project in Kansas City to improve the overall guest experience since we purchased the property, and we are excited to see our plans become a reality,” Hinkley said.
When it bought the property in mid-2000 for $33.5 million, Isle paid less than one-third of the $116 million it cost the Hilton Hotels Corp. to build the floating casino, restaurants and garage that opened in 1996.
Hilton was forced by the Gaming Commission to sell the property after licensing and legal issues arose over questionable payments by Hilton to business associates of a former Port Authority chairman.
Earlier deals to sell the Flamingo to Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts and then Station Casinos Inc. fell through.
The 2000 sale set in motion a $15 million makeover to convert the property to “Isle Style,” the company’s standardized decor and operations system used at each of its 15 U.S. casinos. The casino also expanded its gambling floor area in November 2003.
Guida said the latest changes planned for Kansas City represent state-of-the-art Isle Style, including a new Italian-themed restaurant it hopes to mimic at other properties.
By RICK ALM
When playing blackjack on a shoe game, what are the most cards that a dealer can draw without busting? Though it’s probably not a record, last night the dealer drew nine cards before he got a 17. She even called over the pit boss who said that was the most he’d ever seen. Matt T.
Even if you are not a card counter, Matt, I’ll assume that once you observed all those aces on the felt, you held up betting until the dealer shuffled up.
Anyhow, I’ve come up with the maximum of a 12 cards, and it would have to play out like this: A, A, A, A, A, A, 6, A, A, A, A for the dealer to get to a hard 16, then, another Ace, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to make their hand. Although I can’t remember my personal best when pitching cards or observing dealers in table games management, it wasn’t a dozen cards, or anything close to it.
Incidentally, rules that dictate a dealer standing or hitting a soft 17 wouldn’t matter.
When playing blackjack, is it better to play single deck or multiple decks? I like two decks myself. Rita K.
Given the choice, Rita, I always recommend playing on a game where they use the fewest decks. With perfect basic strategy on a single deck game, you can thump the casino advantage down to 0.15% over the long run.
Compared to single deck odds, your favorite, the two-decker, shrivels your odds by 0.35%, (with four decks 0.48%, six decks 0.54%, and eight decks 0.58%.).
My uncle has a pacemaker, and he thinks it interferes with the electronics of the slots he likes to play. He's never won nothin’ since they put the thing in him. Should he wear some Reynolds Wrap or something like that under his shirt since aluminum shields you from radio signals? Gurth T.
Your query, Gurth, at first seemed a bit on the fringe, but since I’ve been know to answer all questions gambling related, I went to my ace-in-the-hole resource, Area 51’s living legend, Blackjack Jack for help with the answer.
Blackjack tells me that the government has been using satellites to read and control the minds of certain citizens for decades. He figures your uncle might be one of them since the radio signal from his new pace-maker is doing something wacky to the slot machines. His first question to me was; did he get it put in by the “they” at a Veterans Hospital?
Blackjack thought you might be on to something when you suggested Reynolds Wrap, since the use of aluminum helmets (beanies) has become a common guerrilla tactic against the government's invasive snoopery. Arrayed against satellites hovering overhead, and presumably against the White House’s recently revealed spying tactics, the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFD is a type of headgear that shields your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. These beanies are supposed to protect you against all incoming radio signals, and also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading. Mild disadvantage: they also block the mental exits, threatening thought-back-up and possible head swelling so the beanies don’t fit right anymore. Beanie labels caution against careless over-thinking.
Blackjack tells me that earlier AFDBs, with caramel chips in the stator, didn’t always work properly, because sugar crystals corrupted the spy function and actually caused thinking in some brains. To safeguard against that awkward development, advise Uncle Twirch to wear only the AFBDs manufactured after Jan 3, 2005, whose serial number begins with XXXT, and always to approach slot machines walking backward with short steps. He should also avoid the Chinese knock-offs with the little propeller on top. Those can bring on paranoia when tuned into the frequency ranges reserved specifically for governmental use.
So, Gurth, for a sane, sensible solution, Blackjack adds the following: Have Uncle pull the slot handle with his left hand while, with his right hand, tapping his beanie with a lead salad fork. That should do the trick.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "The one golden nugget of strategy that works for all games for just about all players is this: SLOW DOWN! What's your rush! Take it easy. Chill out!" --Frank Scoblete, "109 Way To Beat The Casinos"
By Mark Pilarski
LAS VEGAS: The 1,500-room Stardust hotel-casino in Las Vegas is to be replaced by a $4-billion hotel-casino-shopping complex to be called Echelon Place.
The new complex announced by Stardust owner Boyd Gaming Corp. is set to open in 2010 and will compete against the other mega-projects that have come up in the city, reports The Los Angeles Times.
Echelon Place would consist of four hotels with a total of 5,300 rooms, plus shops, restaurants and a convention center. The Stardust would keep operating through this year and would be demolished in early 2007.
Las Vegas has experienced an "upscaling" of its properties and the Stardust intends to be a participant in that, Bob Boughner, who would be Echelon's president, told the Times.
The current dominant players on the Las Vegas Strip include the MGM Mirage, which owns the MGM Grand, the Bellagio and the Mirage, and Harrah's Entertainment Inc., whose resorts include Paris Las Vegas and Caesars Palace. MGM Mirage is planning a $5 billion complex called CityCenter that would include hotels, a casino, stores and condominiums, the report said.Categories: News
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — With a tournament that attracted the likes of Ben Affleck last year, Tunica's Gold Strike Casino is going head- to-head with neighboring Grand Casino as the hot venue for high dollar poker.
"In the month of January 2006, Tunica will be the center of the poker universe," said Webster Franklin, president and CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Players only buffets, plasma screen televisions and prize money, which this past year topped $5 million, have contributed to Gold Strike's tournament being featured on the popular Travel Channel program World Poker Tour alongside tournaments hosted by sister casino properties Bellagio and MGM Mirage in Las Vegas.
The show has featured celebrities turned poker players, such as Jennifer Tilly, as well as players who have joined the celebrity ranks like Vietnam-born Scotty Nguyen.
In its seventh year, the World Poker Open at Gold Strike opens Monday with preliminary rounds in the 1,200 room hotel/casino's ballroom. The final tables are set to begin on Jan. 19.
Ken Lambert Jr., who oversees poker operations for Gold Strike, created the event in 1989 while working at rival Tunica casino. With the increase of international competitors participating in the tournament, Lambert said the event outgrew its old venue, leading him to a partnership with Gold Strike.
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, who has accumulated more than $4 million in poker earnings, is expected to be among the big name players attending this year's tournament, Lambert said. In all, 150 players from around the world, including Ireland, Amsterdam and Africa, are expected.
"This event last year was probably the second largest attraction for ... foreign players of any tournament in the country," Lambert said.
He also pointed to the popularity of the World Series of Poker circuit events held in the area.
Grand Casino Tunica's World Series of Poker Circuit event got underway last week with the finale scheduled for Jan. 27. The Caesars Entertainment-owned casino has previously played host to the circuit events, including one in August.
The World Series of Poker has become one of the most visible tournaments in the county due to extensive coverage on ESPN.
The 2005 World Series of Poker boasted more than $106 million in prize money. The 2005 main event champion Joseph Hachem won $7.5 million.
Poker has been increasing in popularity in recent years through televised professional and celebrity themed games. Mary Cracchiolo, assistant director of public affairs for Gold Strike, credits television exposure for helping the game achieve international appeal.
"The trend in poker has taken flight and a lot of that can be attributed to the World Poker Tour and televised poker, which has been able to bring poker to the masses," Cracchiolo said. "Because you can watch it every week, many more people are exposed to it than ever before."
Cracchiolo feels the event is unique because it offers an opportunity for an amateur online player to eventually match wits with veterans.
"Where else can you have an amateur sitting next to a living legend?" Cracchiolo said.
Amateur or professional, Franklin said the exposure generated from the tournaments is good for the local economy.
"It brings great exposure to Tunica not only as a destination for poker players from across the country and across the globe, it can also introduce people all over the country to what we have to offer here," Franklin said.
Tunica's gaming industry generates an estimated $1.2 billion a year.Categories: News
Dear Mark, I have a question concerning a dead hand in poker. Here’s the scenario: I'm playing Texas Hold'em heads up till the river card. First position bets, I call and turn over my cards. First position is excited he won, slams his cards on the table face up, but one card falls on the floor. What is the correct ruling? Isn't it a dead hand when the card leaves the table? Larry R.
There is nothing better, Larry, than when you’ve dead meat holding a crappy hand, and an opponent hits a straight flush on the river and slams the hand down in excitement yelling, "Beat that, Sucker!" only to have one of the cards bounce off the table and onto the floor. Too bad, so sad, you’re now glad. He just lost all interest in the pot. The hand, Larry, is forfeited once that card falls off the table.
According to the rules of just about every poker room you’ll ever play in, any card not in play, or one that cannot be played for some technical reason, like a card being dropped on the floor, by either the dealer or an overly excited player, creates a dead hand. The player must "have it and show it", meaning to complete the hand, the player must present two cards, and it wouldn't have mattered if the card that flew off was or was not needed to complete the straight flush. Once any card leaves the sight of fellow players, there is no way to verify that the card that comes off the floor was the same card that left the table. Calling it dead, Larry, protects the integrity of the game.
There is one exception. Say for instance that nobody called first position’s hand and everybody folded, and first position in his exuberance slams his cards on the table. Even if one card flies off the game, the winning pot would still be his.
Last week you stated that there was no difference between playing one coin and five coins in regards to what hand that appears on the screen. But wouldn't playing one coin affect the possible future value of the hand? Gayle F.
You are correct, Gayle, in that if you don’t play the maximum coin amount on most video poker machines, the royal flush’s return would be affected since, on a Jacks-or-Better machine, that would be an example of a hand whose per-coin payoff is different with five coins played. Playing short can reduce the long-term payback by up to 1.5%.
Another example would be in some double-pay Deuces Wild games where you receive double pay on four deuces, but only if you play five coins. If you play less than the maximum coin amount, your long-term payback can be reduced by over five percent.
Do the casinos really allow you to look at a blackjack strategy card while playing? David S.
As you already know, David, playing your hand correctly will bring the casino advantage down to less than one percent. Since you cannot control how the cards fall, you must focus on what you can control -- how to play the hand you were dealt. Using a blackjack strategy card allows you to go nearly even up against the house.
Luckily, almost every casino in the country doesn't give one iota about a player using a strategy card on a blackjack game, just so long as you don't grind the game to a squalling halt. Why, many even sell them in their gift shops.
Even with the mucho many strategy cards I've strewn across the planet over the years, I've only had feedback once that a casino in a Midwestern state considered such a card to be an illegal gambling device. All trades have their occasional pucker-butts, David. Don't sweat it.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "The ATM is like the coach's pep talk. "Here's another hundred! Now get out there and fight! It ain't over till it's over!" --Frank Legato, "Strictly Slots"
By Mark Pilarski
If a video poker machine shows a good hand with only one coin bet, would the same hand have appeared if I had played the maximum amount of coins? Sue L.
In practically every gaming jurisdiction, Sue, the answer would be yes. Using Nevada as an example, their regulations mandate that the number of coins played cannot influence the outcome. Once that first coin is played, or the Bet button is pushed, the shuffling of cards is halted. Consequently, it wouldn’t make any difference had one coin been bet, or five. You would have gotten that same hand you see dealt on the screen.
My favorite poker player is Doyle Brunson. His book, Super/System, is great bedside reading. My question though is how do I go about getting his World Poker Tour win last year on DVD? I don't get the Travel Channel with my cable subscription, so I was wondering if it existed on DVD? Ira G.
First, Ira, you're right, Doyle's Super/System is not only the bible for aspiring pros and amateurs alike, it is also considered by many pros as one of the best books on poker ever written. By the way, Ira, Brunson has recently released Super/System 2, which expands on Doyle's original book with new strategies and new expert collaborators, including Lyle Berman, Crandell Addington, Jennifer Harman, Johnny Chan, Todd Brunson and Daniel Negreanu. You might want to add Super/System 2 to your nightstand since it's a brand new book and NOT just an update to Super/System.
Brunson, even though he's in his 70s, is still a feared competitor who last year schooled the final table contestants at the World Poker Tour's Legends of Poker Tournament at the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles.
You can watch the Godfather of poker give a master class in winning on the World Poker Tour Best of Season 3, 4 DVD set. Both retail it for $39.95
Once a hand has been dealt, can a player reach in their pocket for additional money during the hand if they want to bet or raise additional money? For example, at our most recent Thursday night game, Player A bet $10, then player B, with only $10 remaining in front of him, called, and then went to his pocket for more money to raise $20. Half of our group believes it is appropriate, the other half doesn't. Doug D.
You didn't mention, Doug, if your bisected clutch of buddies is allowing me to make the final call here, but I will give you a poker room, not a kitchen table, decision.
Player B is NOT allowed to reach into his pocket in the middle of the hand to take out more money. Player B can do this BETWEEN hands, but never while a hand is in play.
In that Player B is playing light on funds (short stack), and he or she just happened to pick up a whopper of a hand, Player B just ends up winning much, much less with it; but the unfortunate Player B can't be forced out of the pot with a larger bet, either.
In most poker situations, it is a distinct advantage to be the one starting with more money. You can bully many a player with the size of your stack, but you can never push the short stacks completely out of the hand.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "The action is everything. More consuming than sex, more immediate than politics; more important always than the acquisition of money, which is never for the gambler, the true point of the exercise." -Joan Didion, "The White Album"Categories: Gambling Tips and Articles
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