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Best of Frank Scoblete
Nonsense and Sense20 July 2006
In all areas of human endeavor and thought, there are good ideas, bad ideas and nonsense. In gambling, from the patrons' end, there is more nonsense than sense in what casino gamblers believe. Why this is so, I don't know, but I do know that part of the reason that gamblers lose time and time again is only just partially because of the house edge. It is also partially due to nonsensical ideas that most casino gamblers have.
Let's take a look at a few of the nonsensical ideas and put them right, shall we?
Some slot players believe that if a machine is hot - that is, you have won a few spins in a row - you are likely to win more spins in a row. They give as their reasoning that the machine has win cycles and loss cycles and that the player must be in a win cycle because he has just won a few.
In fact on all slot machines at all times, you are more likely to lose a few spins in a row than win a few spins in a row. Why is this? Because the slot machines have hit frequencies in the 10 to 20 percent range, which means many, many more losing spins exist on a machine than winning spins. It's as simple as that. You can always, in every situation, expect to lose the next spin of the slot reels than you can expect to win it.
Now this fact does not mean that you will not have winning spins, maybe even several in a row, it just means there are more rainy days - in fact, a lot more - than sunny days in the world of the slot machine. If you think you have hit a magic moment where your machine is about to give out several more wins in a row, I will be happy to bet you that you are wrong. If I were lucky enough to be able to make a few thousand of those bets, I would win millions!
Some pundits of casino gambling say that "no one ever wins in the casinos." Many recreational casino gamblers who go to casinos once or twice a month, naturally, agree with this summation since most frequent gamblers are long-term losers. In fact, the statement is dead wrong. On any given night in the casinos, there are plenty of winning players. If there weren't, no one would ever come back. In games where the casino has a small edge such as blackjack when using basic strategy or at craps making the low house-edge bets, there are a good number of winners each and every night. If all players in a casino played for about two hours, you would find that about 30 to 40 percent were ahead of the game in that two-hour period.
So why don't more players win in the long run? It's the wearing away factor. Because those small house edges build up over time, it is always easier to be ahead in the first hour of play than in the 20th hour of play. The water of the ocean wears away at the rocks slowly - but it does wear away nevertheless. In blackjack, players win about 44 percent of the hands and they lose about 48 percent of the hands. The remaining hands are ties or pushes. You can see that in the short run, you can have nice winning streaks, but that over time, those losses will start to eat away at you.
In craps, on the Pass and Come bets, the casino wins 251 decisions for every 244 decisions won by players. Again, in the short run, the player can hit great streaks of wins but over time, the Pass and Come bets, the two best bets at craps, will wear away the bankroll.
On games with very high house edges, such as slots, there are fewer winners even in the short run. The higher the house edge, the harder it is to win, period!
Some people believe that because there are such things as "loose" and "tight" machines, that finding loose machines is a guarantee of winning. Not so. Loose and tight are merely relative terms. In some casinos, loose machines are paying back about 95 percent; in other casinos loose machines are paying back 90 percent. In the first casino tight machines are paying back about 90 percent and in the second casino tight machines are paying back 85 percent. Notice that in both casinos, both the loose and tight machines still have house edges. The loose machines are just paying back more relative to other machines.
Except in rare circumstances, no slot machines are programmed to return more than 100 percent of the money played in them. Even loose machines are money winners for the casinos. However, by playing loose machines, you lose less of your money in the long run.
Many players believe that there are betting systems that can overcome the house edge. Some players raise their bets after winning; some players lower their bets after winning. Some players raise their bets after losing; some players lower their bets after losing. Some players incorporate long progressions and regressions in their betting schemes.
In fact, unless you are actually doing something that changes the house edge, such as counting cards at blackjack, controlling the dice at craps, or playing video poker machines with 100 percent or more returns, you can't get the edge by manipulating your bets. All those bets are going up against the house edge and all those bets will ultimately see the casino extract its money from them.
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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