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Strange Ideas and Weird Principles20 May 2000
Gambling can bring out the nut in the most sane individuals. I was thinking of my Uncle Stan, who thought that roulette balls were made of a lightweight, radioactive element that allowed the casinos to track where it would land, then judge who had bet on the area, then nudge the ball with radioactive isotopes hidden in the dealer's watch so that it would fall into a different pocket, thereby winning money for the casino and losing money for the player. My uncle would not step foot inside a casino for two reasons - he had no money and he was afraid of nuclear contamination. Of course, he was not a nuclear physicist. In fact, he spent most of his working life unemployed. But he had a theory and he knew he was right.
As I travel the country, giving talks and seminars, I have run into many mad and some ingenious though completely off-the-wall theories concerning the nature of why this, that, or the other thing happens in casino gambling. Some of these bizarre ideas come not from players but from casino personnel.
Here's one example of a dialogue I had with one Las Vegas pit boss:
"There are hot dealers and cold dealers. When a table is losing money to the players, you should bring in your hot dealer -- he's a house dealer and he'll win money for you."
"How do you know who is or is not a 'hot' dealer?"
"You have to track how much they win from the players over time."
"Are these hot dealers cheating? Is that why they win for the house?"
"No, they aren't cheating, they're just lucky for the house."
Another pit boss used to take out his false teeth whenever the craps table got hot and he would wave them over the layout. I guess this was to shoo away the good luck the players were having and replace it with the bad luck that had evidently cost him his teeth. Still another pit boss in a Las Vegas casino would never allow female dealers to deal craps if the table was filled with male players because she unconsciously would cater to the men. (Don't we wish!)
But players, too, have weird notions. Usually these are based on some form of misguided logic.
Theory: If a dealer is standing alone at a table that always means she has been hot and blown away the players.
Fact: It might be that - but it also might be that she just started, or that the casino isn't all that crowded. She might even have been cold, the players won and they ran with the money.
Theory: If a casino advertises that its slot machines are loose, its player's club will be tight.
Fact: Player's clubs compete with player's clubs. If you aren't getting the equivalent in comps from one club to the next, you avoid the cheaper one and play in the more generous one. The tightness or looseness of the machines is meaningless to this fact unless we're talking a huge difference in the percentage of return. The exception to this is in video poker, where slot clubs will often give back less to video poker players because such players are getting a noticeably better game of it. (The difference in video poker returns as opposed to slot returns is often five to 10 percent!)
Theory: Casinos allow players to win at new games to get them hooked and then they take their money.
Fact: The casino does not muck around with the edge on its games such as Let It Ride or Caribbean Stud. Players will win and lose in the long run what the math says they will win or lose. There's no way to make a game win more for the house the first few nights it's open short of employing some cheating method. No casino will risk its license to do something like that.
Here's one I particularly like. Of course, it is a craps theory because craps lends itself to superstition.
Theory: The dice have little microchips in the spots that can be programmed to influence how they fall. The boxman has a control button under the table that he can hit to bring on the seven at the right time for the house which is the wrong time for the players.
Fact: Not so. The seven has a nasty habit of coming up one in six times on average because there are six ways to make it out of 36 possible combinations of two dice. It doesn't need any more encouragement than that to make an appearance at the worst time for the players. Its nature is to do so!
Frankly speaking, there are hundreds of wild and crazy concepts concerning casino gambling. I've touched on just a few. In the future I'll share some more with you.
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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