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The Oracle at Odds - Part 920 August 2001
This is the age of lists -- the top 100 movies of all time, the top 100 books of the 20th Century, the top 100 colleges for academic excellence or bargains or partying, and the top 100 women former President Bill Clinton scored with; plus all those weekly top 10 this list, and top 10 that list and top 10 those other things list. In the interests of keeping up with the list makers as well as the (Dow) Joneses, I decided to list the top 60 questions I am asked whenever I give talks about casino gambling. My list is in no particular order of importance, but these are the most-asked questions of yours truly and the answers that I give when I'm asked them. All value judgments are mine. So if I say this is the best thing, that is just my not-so-humble opinion. Of course, in my opinion my opinion is the correct opinion as today I assume my new identity as The Oracle at Odds -- Nostragamus! Ask and it shall be answered!
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 Although the method advocated by Thorp in his book is now outdated, the book was the battering ram that broke down the doors to the casino treasuries.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!
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.
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.
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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