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Gambling myths exploded!12 March 2009
There are so many crazy ideas in casino gambling that I find I have to wade through about 20 crazy e-mails sent to me before I come to one that makes sense. I am going to sift through them to give you the truth about silly myths that might just help you get the best bang for your bucks when you go to the palaces of Lady Luck, palace that have been mostly built from casino players' false assumptions.
Myth: There are an equal number of good and bad slot streaks.
Truth: There are more bad streaks than good streaks at the slot machines because slot machine hit frequencies are usually between 10% and 20%. That makes losing spins more than winning spins. Of course some of those winning spins bring in a lot of money so in monetary terms the bad streaks are economically somewhat smaller but they still dominate the machines.
Myth: Video poker has more good streaks than bad streaks.
Truth: The bad streaks dominate video poker as they do slots. Again, when premium hands are hit, the economics of video poker will bring in a lot of money, drawing the game close to its theoretical payout percentage over time.
Myth: Blackjack has more winning streaks than losing streaks.
Truth: In round terms, the house wins about 48% of the decisions, the player wins about 44% and the other 8% are pushes. Thus, there are more losing hands than winning hands. However, certain premium hands, such as double down hands and many splits, will offer the player better payoff making the contest in monetary terms closer than the win/loss on overall decisions.
Myth: "See a horn, bet a horn" because trends dominate in craps and all other gambling games.
Truth: Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh! This is a truth that contains the greatest falsehood of all gambling myths and it is a truth pushed by the biggest ploppies in casino gambling. Here goes: Yes, trends do dominate in all random and non-random games because everything that happens is a trend! The craps shooter has hit three horns in a row; that was a horn trend. The blackjack game has shown the dealer with low cards his last five hands; that was a low card dealer trend. The craps game is showing no perceivable consistent trend; that is a trend — it's called a choppy trend. The roulette wheel has shown 10 blacks in a row; that's a black trend. The roulette wheel is bouncing around with reds and blacks; that was a choppy trend.
You get the idea. All decisions form some part of some kind of trend. But the big lie is that these trends can now be predicted based on what happened in the last few or many decisions. They can't. If Joe has won his last seven decisions at roulette, that doesn't mean he will win the eighth one. If 10 blacks appeared in roulette it doesn't mean an 11th will appear. You trend seekers, do you figure the trend continues or ends? Based on casino profits, the trend continues and ends over time. The odds of something happening in random games do not change. Thus trends are just curious past events, nothing more.
The only time that "trends" mean something is when you are dealing with advantage players. If the single-deck blackjack game has no more aces left, there will be no blackjacks coming on the next hand. A card counter will know this; but the regular players will not. The trend will be against blackjacks (obviously). Advantage players play the changing statistics of a game and by doing so they will win in the long run.
Dice controllers also change the statistics of a game by their throwing prowess but they cannot predict with certainty what their next number will be. But overall they know they are perhaps reducing the appearance of the dreaded 7 or increasing the appearance of certain other numbers, such as the 6 and 8. Dice controllers are playing a statistical game that will give them an edge over time.
So trends do dominate in random games but they have no effect on the future of what will happen at that game. In advantage-play situations, some trends do have meaning because of the player's skill. You can take that to the bank with you — the casinos do.
Myth: Regressions (lowering your bet) are good things or progressions (raising your bet) are good things.
Truth: Both myths are right and both are wrong. In a random game, regression is better than progression. If you start with a certain bet and then decrease the amount you are betting, you will lose less money because the casino edge is working on less money. You haven't changed the nature of the game, just the amount you bet. Using progressions does the opposite — it places more money for the casino edge to hack away at. In a game where a player has a verifiable edge, increasing one's bet is better than decreasing it. By increasing your bet, you are playing into your advantage. By decreasing your bet, you are reducing the amount your advantage can win.
Oh, yes, there are many more myths, but I've run out of words. That is a trend in writing columns.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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