CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

A Shuffle through the Gaming Mailbag

10 June 2003

Q. I play the five-quarter slot machines at the Grand Victoria in Elgin, and this has happened to me four times in six months. I always play the full five quarters until I go through $40.

Well, as the money rolls down, I'm usually left with three coins. I make one final three-coin bet--and inevitably the fifth line hits, but I'm left with nothing since I didn't play five coins. Just the other day, after playing for over 50 minutes on the same machine, I was down to my last three quarters. Sure as heck, line 5 came up with triple-triple-7. Is this coincidence? Do machines THINK, or are they fixed? It seems to me that something is amiss. How could this happen four times in a row?

AVR, via e-mail

A. It doesn't seem like coincidence when this happens to you, but that's what it is. Not only do machines not "think," the part of the game that determines your reel combination doesn't even "know" how many coins you wagered. The random number generator, which continually runs through possible reel combinations, is on a separate computer chip from the program that counts the coins or credits that you wager.

Odd streaks happen in gambling, and they really stand out in your mind when they happen in a small sample. If you were really to put it to the test and play for an extended period, counting 10 or 15 spins while betting max coins, then one with three coins, and repeating the process indefinitely, you'd be likely to find that winning combinations on the fourth and fifth paylines don't really show up more often when you're betting fewer coins.

Q. I am not a roulette player, I'm primarily a card player, but I have a question about roulette. My sister and our friends were sitting around talking and her husband brought up an interesting point about winning at roulette. It would take (besides luck), in my opinion, a minimum $1,600 bankroll every time you played. You make a $100 bet, say, on red (or black; whichever you think will come in). If you win, you walk away with a $100 profit. If you lose, you keep doubling your bet until you win; thus eventually getting to the $100 profit. I say $1,600, because in my opinion I rarely see the "colors" called more than four or five times in row of either the red or black. The $1,600 would cover five rolls ($100 doubled and so on).

So tell me, besides the possible amount of my starting bankroll, and of course greed, what are the flaws in this system that would prevent me from winning $100 every time I went out?

Ed, via e-mail

A. Let's start by picking a $1,500 nit. If you started with a $100 bet and doubled it for five spins of the wheel, a $1,600 bankroll would equal the size of your largest wager, but it wouldn't cover you for the sequence. You'd be betting $100, $200, $400, $800 and $1,600, or a total of $3,100.

Even if you start with that larger bankroll, longer streaks happen often enough to trash this system. A streak of six consecutive losses, for example, will show up an average of once per 47 trials. In the 46 trials you win, you profit by a total of $4,600. But in the one time you lose, you lose wagers of $100, $200, $400, $800, $1,600 and $3,200--a total of $6,300. That one losing streak costs you $1,700 more than all your profits. What then? Do you make a $6,400 bet to try to make that $100 profit? Will house betting limits allow that?

This system is a very, very old one, called a Martingale, one that mathematicians have been warning players against using for centuries, and which I've used as an example of a bad system in this column before. If you use a cutoff point to minimize risk, whether your cutoff is four losses, five, six or more, you will hit that cutoff often enough to more than wipe out all profits. If you don't use a cutoff point, you'll run up against house betting limits that will make it impossible to make a bet large enough to recoup losses.

By the way, after I sent this response to Ed via e-mail, I received this reply:

"Just wanted to let you know I went to the casino last night and, boy, am I glad I didn't test that system! On two of the roulette tables, red came in nine times in a row on one table and black came in nine times in a row on the other!! So much for trying to make a quick 100 bucks!!"

Q. Please settle an argument. My dad says it's better if the blackjack dealer hits soft 17, I say the opposite. Who's right?

Al, via e-mail

A. You are. The house edge is lower by about 0.2 percent if the dealer stands on all 17s.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski