40. Who are your favorite gaming authors?
I like just about all gaming writers -- even the ones whose ideas I might disagree with. My criteria for selecting my favorite writers is simply the sheer enjoyment I get from reading their books and the insights they give me. My favorites, in no particular order, are: John May, Sharpshooter, Bill Burton, Don Catlin, John Brokopp, Ken Uston, Henry Tamburin, Walter Thomason, Edwin Silberstang, Lyle Stuart, Barney Vinson, Arnold Snyder, John Grochowski, Marvin Karlins, Russell Barnhart, Bryce Carlson, Max Rubin, Sam Grafstein, Stanford Wong, Jean Scott and Darwin Ortiz. And there are others!
41. What are the three most important books ever written about casino gambling?
There were probably books written by mathematicians such as Pascal that did all the ground-breaking work in probability that allow us to analyze the underpinnings of today?s casino games. However, in the post World War II era, the following three books are my choices for the all-time most important. Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp, which was the first book about card counting. Although the method advocated by Thorp in his book is now outdated, the book was the battering ram that broke down the doors to the casino treasuries. It was also an enjoyable read. The Casino Gambler?s Guide by Allan N. Wilson was the first rational analysis of modern casino games and their mathematical underpinnings that the non-mathematician could understand. Again it was a fun book to read as well. And Ken Uston?s The Big Player, which gave playing blackjack a romanticism and lore that inspires many blackjack players to this day. Uston was the Zorro of blackjack! All of my books are, ah, fourth!
42. How important are comps?
They are not important at all and they are very important. If you can con the casinos into giving you more comps then your play deserves then you are getting value for your time. If you merely get the comps that are commensurate with your play then you are just getting what everyone else would get, which is also just fine -- take what they give you. Always hand in your player?s card to get what the casinos are giving but never give the casinos more than what you can afford to give in order to get a comp. Some people equate getting comped with their self-worth as in ?The casinos gave me a free room, a free gourmet meal, free show tickets and all the hosts called me ?sir!? and I only had to bet $200 per hand for four hours to get it.? That?s silly, stupid, and costly if you can?t truly afford to bet $200 per hand. Play at the level that gives you the manageable thrill you are looking for but not for one penny more. The comps will come and they have absolutely nothing to do with your self-worth. Casino personnel would call the devil himself ?sir!? if he bet big enough. Their job is, after all, making us feel good about losing our money.
43. Is the Captain a real person or are you the Captain?
Yes, the Captain is a real person. No, I am not the Captain ... but I am real, too.
44. What is the average number of craps rolls before a shooter sevens out?
About 3.5 rolls after the point is established, about 8.3 rolls all together.
45. What games have some of the highest win percentages for the players?
If you lay against the four or 10 in craps, you have 66 percent win ratio while laying the five or nine has a 60 percent win rate. Of course, you have to put up more money than the bet is worth, so you will still lose even with this win rate. In baccarat, the bank wins about 50.5 percent of the time if you exclude ties. So you will actually win more than half your bets if you play this proposition exclusively at baccarat. That?s why the casino takes a commission from the winning bets. The pass line at craps has a 49.3 percent player win ratio. Blackjack has around a 48 percent win rate if we exclude ties. The even-money bets at roulette (red/black, odd/even, high/low) have a 47.4 percent player win ratio.
46. What does hit frequency mean on a slot machine?
How many times the player receives some kind of payout from the machine. Most slot machines have hit frequencies around the 15 percent mark. That means about one in six spins will result in the player getting money back. Note that I said ?player getting money back? as opposed to ?winning money.?
It is theoretically possible to have a 100 percent hit frequency with a machine that takes all your money. Just program it to constantly return one or two coins on a three-coin bet or one to four coins on a five-coin bet. You would have a 100 percent hit frequency and lose every time. The change machine is a 100 percent hit frequency machine with no house edge.
47. Do slot machines have cycles?
No. When you hear casino personnel talk about cycles, what you are actually dealing with is the theoretical number of spins for all the possible combinations to come up based on the program involved. In the actual playing of the machines, everything is randomly selected based on the RNG -- the random number generator. There are streaks but these streaks are not predictable. So there are theoretical cycles and real streaks -- neither of which can help the player win.
48. Is there any way to tell if a slot machine is going to hit?
Yes, if you know that you are about to pop it with a hammer; no, if you are playing it legitimately.
49. What is the probability of the same number coming up four times in a row in roulette?
Once in 2,085,136 spins.
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