The best bets in the casino are usually bets with dull sounding names, the common-sounding Bank bet (1.17 percent house edge) or the drab Player bet (1.36 percent house edge) at baccarat, and the pass (1.41 percent house edge), don't pass (1.40 percent house edge), come (1.41 percent house edge), don't come (1.4 percent house edge) and odds (no house edge) bets at craps. Even in Sic Bo, a game known for its horrendous bets, the two best wagers are uninspiredly called the Big and the Small (both coming in with a 2.8 percent house edge).
Perhaps the single most exciting breakthrough in casino gambling in the 20th century for the average player was the development of Basic Strategy at blackjack. This allowed the player to play almost even with the house in single-deck games and with an approximately one-half percent house edge in multiple-deck games. And what did the player have to do to get such a good game? Just memorize a couple of dozen basic rules for the hitting, standing, splitting and doubling of hands. Still, the words ?basic strategy? hold no allure; they are as bland as bland can be. And the most exciting strategy discovery of all time for casino games, card counting at blackjack, sounds like something that can give you carpal tunnel syndrome of the mind!
Now, compare the above names for the above bets and strategies with the following and tell me which sound more interesting and exciting?
From craps: Yo, yo-eleven, snake eyes, post holes, hardways, horn, horn high yo, Big Red, world, whirl, C&E, hop, box cars, Big 6, Big 8, uptown, downtown, and across the board. Great names, bad bets.
Yo! is a one roll bet that 11 will be the next decision. It comes in with a hefty 11.11 percent house edge. Yo-eleven! comes by way of the Department of Redundancy Department since yo is eleven. Same high edge - 11.11 percent (which is ironically appropriate for a bet called yo-eleven).
How does snake eyes sound? Evil? It has an evil edge of 13.89 percent for the house. The post holes are actually the hard eight, which means the four four side on each die is showing (house edge: 9.09 percent) and the hardways (four and 10) come in with a 11.11 percent edge and the hard six has the same edge as the hard eight. These are hard to beat!
Want to bet the horn? That's just a bet that the next number will be 2, 3 11, or 12. You bet four units, one on each number. The house edge is in the double digits. The next one sounds intriguing, the horn high yo. You bet five units, with two units on the 11. Double digits again on that house edge.
Big Red is also known as Any Seven and has a house edge of 16.67 percent. The world and the whirl are the same bets. You bet five units, one each on the 2, 3, 11, 12 and the 7. This is another double-digit horror. C&E is either an operation or a craps-eleven, which is the same as the horn. Want to bet on the hop? Don't, because the house is extracting anywhere from 11.11 to 16.67 percent on any one-roll hop bet. What is a hop? It's either a dance or a one roll bet where you pick which dice faces will show.
The boxcars are the two six-spotted dice. In short, the 12. In fact, the house edge is long - 13.89 percent. The Big 6 and Big 8 are reserved for big dopes who bet even-money that the six or eight will appear before the seven. The edge is 9.09 percent. (If you just place the six or eight, you get a 7 to 6 payout and a low 1.52 percent house edge!) Uptown and downtown are place bets that the 8-9-10 will show or the 4-5-6 will show respectively. Across the board, merely means you are placing every number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10). Not a good move.
From blackjack how do these names sound: royal match, triple sevens, multiple action, and Spanish 21? Interesting, no doubt. Royal match is a side bet that you will get a blackjack composed of two cards of the same suit. High house edge in the double digits. Triple sevens has been borrowed from slots--so has the house edge, high! Multiple-action blackjack is just three hands of blackjack played against the same dealer upcard. If you're a bad player it just triples your badness. Spanish 21 is a new form of blackjack that can slaughter a player unless he plays the new strategy for that game (the Armada Strategy found in my book Armada Strategies for Spanish 21).
From roulette we get the split, the straight up, the street, and the corner. They all have the same house edge on their individual components--5.26 percent on the American wheel and 2.7 percent on the European wheel.
In general, the games with the highest house edges also sound the most intriguing: Caribbean Stud (sexy), Let It Ride (exciting), Casino War (epic), Russian Roulette (dangerous), Red Dog (cool). Compare those with: craps (yuck, disgusting), 21 (boring), blackjack (please don't beat me over the head) and baccarat (back a rat you said?).
Why is that? Why are the games, strategies and bets with the highest house edges the most alluring sounding? Since the substance of the games, strategies and bets leaves something to be desired, the name becomes the primary reason for playing the game, using the strategy, or making the bets. Frankly speaking, when Shakespeare asked: ?What's in a name?? - the casino executives answered: ?Everything!? And so it is.
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