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Frank Scoblete - Editing Luck and Dumb Gambling Strategies

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  • Frank ScobleteAll humankind is a work in progress. As such, we need lots of editing. Luckily, we are given it. Religion edits the human incline towards evil and directs us towards good and God. Medicine edits us by creating regimens that can increase the number of chapters in our particular book and that can make the turning of our pages not quite so painful as they were in the past.

    Even in small areas of human endeavor, we see the effects of the editing factor. Cars are safer than ever before, so are planes, trains and stoves. Why? Because over time we have edited what doesn?t work quite so well in all these individual things in order to make the totality of each and every one work just that much better.

    And so it is with gambling, casino gambling in particular. Even as I write this, an editing process is occurring that can make the casino player a more dangerous hombre for the casinos to deal with.

    If knowledge is power in the real world, than knowledge is money in the glitz and glamor of the casinos. The smarter you are, which is to say, the smarter you play, the more money you?ll win or, more correctly, the less money you?ll lose for the same number of thrills. But to get smart at casino gambling, we must edit some of our dumb casino strategies.

    Dumb Gambling Strategy #1: ?I prefer not to carry too much cash with me. If I do lose the money I brought with me to the casino, I?ll just take an advance on my credit card.? Edit: No, no, no! Credit card cash advances come with outrageously usurious fees. Smart players who don?t like to bring too much cash to the casinos with them would do well to look into getting a credit line at the casinos of their choice. A casino credit line comes with no interest and anywhere from one to six weeks to pay off your debt.

    Dumb Gambling Strategy #2: ?I like to make the bets that give me the greatest return for the least investment. That?s why I play progressive slot machines; I always make the proposition bets in craps and pay the extra dollar to be eligible for the jackpots at Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud and Progressive Blackjack.?

    Edit: The illusion that you are making a ?little investment? when you play the slots in an attempt to win big money is just that -- an illusion. Most slot players most nights that play those progressives will end up losing their money. The progressive slots come with house edges of up to 20 percent (depending on where in the country you play them). That means the house is going to keep 20 percent of all the money you put in the machine in the long run. How much do you think an ?average? slot player can put in a machine in four hours of play? A dollar player, playing three coins per spin, can put over $8,000 in a slot machine. Now, multiply that over many, many visits and extract that 20 percent and does anyone seriously think he is making a ?little investment? for a big payout in the long run? If our $8,000 player goes to a casino a dozen times in a year (that?s only one one-day visit per month), he is really wagering $96,000. The 20 percent casino cut makes his expectation a loss of $19,200. Small investment? If you?re Bill Gates maybe.

    Our proposition bettor in craps is playing against edges of between 5 percent and 17 percent on the totality of the money he puts into action on these bets -- which can, as in the slot example above, be enormous.

    And what about that teeny, tiny little one-dollar side bet at those other table games? They all have between 60 and 90 decisions per hour. That means you are betting $60 to $90 per hour, $240 to $360 per four-hours (a normal evening of play). Most side bets have house edges coming in around 25 percent. Do the math and what do we see -- big losses over time on these seemingly innocuous bets.

    So, edit these bets out of your gambling repertoire!

    Dumb Gambling Strategy #3: ?I base all my blackjack decisions on my own experiences and my own reasoning powers. I never hit my 12 against a dealer 2 or 3 and I never hit my 16 against a dealer 7. Why? Because when a dealer has a 7 up, there is only one card that can help him and that?s a 10, all the others make him have to hit a stiff hand.?

    Edit: Experience is a good teacher in life but it is not the perfect teacher in gambling. Because blackjack has millions of possible combinations of cards (that?s right, millions of combinations exist in a 52-card deck), your individual experiences are the equivalent of looking at an elephant through a microscope. You?ll note the texture of the skin in the given nano-inch you?re looking at and you might notice a few other things, but you will not see the totality of the huge beast. You can?t. You are using a microscope! That is what happens in blackjack when we base our hitting, standing, doubling and splitting strategies on our experiences. The computer, which can do the necessary combinations enough times to give us the right decisions to make, tells us to make certain decisions such as hitting 12 against a dealer 2 or 3 and to hit your 16 against a dealer 7. To do anything else is just dumb.

    Dumb Gambling Strategy #4: ?All gambling is just pure luck. If your luck is running good, you?ll win; if your luck is running bad, you?ll lose. I just gauge my luck when I go and then decide what and how to bet.?

    Edit: This might sound like intelligent advice but, upon examination, it is dumb. You will always have more luck in the long run at games where the casino has a small house edge than at games where the casino has a large house edge. That is a fact. Gambling is really just math in action for most players. What we take for luck -- the swings in our fortunes as we win or lose bets -- are just fluctuations and they tell us very little about the long-run prospects that we face. You put some money in a slot machine and win on the very first spin. Does that indicate that you will win consistently on this machine for years and years to come? No. You might lose the next 15 spins after a win because the hit frequency of a machine is usually around 15 percent (1 in 6). Don?t rely only on luck or think that because you have had a good run that you can now play bad games, make bad bets and your good run will continue. Although it is possible to have incredibly good runs at even bad games, or by making bad bets, we?d bet against those outrageously favorable lucky streaks happening with any frequency. Why? Because they aren?t in the math.

    Obviously, this article does not exhaust the various editing that should be done in our playing and thinking strategies. In truth, every day our web page contains ?editing? advice for the gambler. Incorporate those edits into your play and you?ll be one tough casino customer.

    Some of Frank's most popular books can be purchased by clicking one of the image links below:

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