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20 Assumptions You Should Never Make in a Casino!9 July 2001
Tell me honestly, whenever you say something like: "Well, I assumed blah, blah, blah," doesn't it annoy the heck out of you when some idiot then counters with: "Always remember, when you assume you make an ass of you and me! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
None of us want to be told our assumptions are false. Or illogical. Or dangerous. Or dumb.
Could you imagine what would happen if we discovered our individual assumptions about God, heaven and hell were completely wrong?
"Hey, are you God? Am I in heaven because I was a good __________?" (Fill in the blank with your particular religion.)
"Me? God? Ha! Ha! Ha! No, no. I am Gwando, the Mean, the ruler of the universe. The one true religion was Gabagaba. There were four people who believed in it. They are here in heaven with me. All the rest of you, all nine billion humans who lived and died, were wrong and are now in hell, freezing. Their teeth chattering from the vicious cold down there. You shouldn't have assumed you had the truth about heaven, hell or anything puny mortal, ha! ha! ha! because when you assume you make an ass of.... [he presses a button]."
Now, that would be disquieting, wouldn't it? To discover that our most cherished beliefs "paved the primrose way to the everlasting refrigerator" (to misquote Shakespeare) instead of to "hog heaven" (to quote craps player, Barry Dickerson).
And it will be almost as disquieting for many casino players to discover that some of their cherished gambling/casino assumptions, many handed down by tradition and authority, are indeed false, illogical, dangerous and dumb.
Here are 20 things players assume that can make an...I assume you can finish that line, can't you?
Assumption #1: In blackjack, the dealer probably has a 10-value card in the hole.
Don't bet your life on that. True, the dealer is more likely to have a 10-valued card than any other single value, but he is much more likely to have a non-10 in the hole. Why is that? Because in a single deck of cards, there are only 16 cards valued as 10 (the King, Queen, Jack and 10) and 36 cards not valued as 10. Of course, you have a better chance of a 10-valued card coming out than you do a 2, or 3 or 4 or Ace because there are four 10-values to every one of any other value. Now, here's the really important thing to remember. We don't play basic strategy based on what we guess the hole card of the dealer to be. We play it based on the face-up card. The computer simulations that developed basic strategy did so taking into consideration every single possible hole card the dealer could have and in what proportions.
Assumption #2: I am due to win on this machine because it has been cold for some while.
If a slot machine is programmed to be random, and they are, the chances of a machine heating up or cooling down are always the same -- before you started to play, while you're playing, and after you've retired for the night. If the odds of hitting a given payline are 50 to one, they are always 50 to one. So don't think that because you have been dumping Little Timmy's college fund into the machine these past few hours that you'll win it all back and get his graduate school tuition to boot.
Assumption #3: The casino always wins.
No it doesn't. On any given night, there are plenty of people who are ahead of the game at any given time. There are also plenty of people who are ahead when their day or evening of gambling is over. In fact, I once read a statistic (I can't remember the source), based on a survey of people at the airport in Las Vegas, that approximately 10 percent of the folks leaving were ahead for their trip. If there were never any winners, the casinos would go out of business. Who would ever play if hand after hand, roll after roll, spin after spin, time after time you lost? No one. In the long run, the casino will beat almost every player owing to three variables: the casino edge on almost all games (that's the big one), the casino bankroll that can weather hot streaks by the players, and the poor play of many players. But the casino does not always win.
Assumption #4: New machines just put on the floor are always loose to encourage people to play them.
Maybe. Maybe not. Often new machines are so novel, so spellbinding, that people will take a crack at them whether they are loose or not. Why give the players who would play these machines simply because they are new a break? Why not just wait until the first wave of interest starts to subside and then jack up the payouts a bit more? In fact, there is no evidence that new machines are any more or less loose, or tight, than the old machines. It is an individual decision made by individual casinos as to how loose or tight their new (and old) machines will be.
Assumption #5: All casino games are just dumb luck.
Not true. Some games are a delightful combination of dumb luck (short run results) and smart skill (long run results). Games such as blackjack, poker, video poker, Caribbean Stud, Spanish 21, Let It Ride, Pai Gow poker, and even Three Card Poker require the best choices to be made on each and every hand you're dealt in order to cut the casino edge to its minimum and, in some cases, to turn the edge in favor of the players. On a given hand, on a given night, luck is the key factor, that is true, but in the long run how skillfully you play your cards will determine just what the casino wins from you -- or what you win from it!
Next time, assumptions 6-10.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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