Measuring Your Gambling

Individuals who find the greatest pleasure in gambling do so with

– Realistic intentions
– An understanding of the odds
– An informed strategy
– Some skill, depending on the game

To paraphrase the character Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, it’s no great shame to lose at gambling – but it’s no great honour, either. I emphasize that gambling can be a fun experience whether you win or lose … but it’s a lot more fun when you win.

In that spirit, I hope to arm you with the understanding and knowledge you need to maximize your enjoyment and success at casino gambling. Before you take a step into a casino, I suggest you answer the following ten questions to measure your grasp of gambling and the world of casinos. If you answer them all correctly, congratulations! And if not? Not to worry; you’ll soon pick it up by reading hte articles on this site.

The questions

1.    To come out ahead overall at sports betting, you need to win approximately

A.    50 percent of the time.
B.    53 percent of the time.
C.    20 percent of the time.

2.    You’re playing Annie Duke at the final table of the World Series of Poker. She makes a big bet         and then starts blinking her eyes rapidly. Is she
A.    Flirting with you?
B.    Having contact problems?
C.    Bluffing?
3.    At which game would you lose more per hour (on average)?
A.    Playing a 25c: Double Diamond slot machine
B.    Playing $1 video poker
C.    Playing single-deck blackjack for $100 a hand
4.    You’re at the roulette table and a black number has come up five times in a row. What are the     odds that the next number will be red?
A.    47.3 percent
B.    75 percent
C.    50 percent

5.    How many US states have legalized gambling?
A.    48
B.    52
C.    2
6.    Players who bet on the pass line in craps are hoping the first roll is a
A.     12
B.     Yahtzee
C.     7
7.    Video poker is adapted from what poker game?
A.    Texas Hold’em
B.    Strip poker
C.    Five-Card Draw

8.    Which of these games can you play while in the bathroom?
A.    Keno
B.    Bingo
C.    Slots

9.    Where is the biggest casino in the world currently located?
A.    Monte Carlo
B.    Connecticut
C.    Las Vegas

The Answers

1.    B. In sports betting, a gambler needs to win approximately 52.4 percent of his bets to break even because the house charges a commission (or vigorish) on every bet.

2.    C. This could be a trick question because Annie Duke has bluffed and flirted on the same hand. However, rapid eye blinking is often an indicator of bluffing.

3.    C. Surprisingly, playing high-stakes blackjack can be easier on your wallet than low-limit slot machines. Assuming you know basic strategy, your loss in a good single-deck game should be less than $14 an hour. Likewise, video poker (Jacks or Better 9/6) is a good bet and also will only set you back about $14 an hour. Neither one of those is very bad, considering that three quarters going into the slot machine every spin adds up to over $15 an hour.

4.    A. No matter how many times one color or number comes up, the odds for the next spin aren’t related to past spins. And the answer isn’t 50 percent because there are also two green numbers (0 and 00) on the roulette wheel (in addition to the 18 red and 18 black numbers).

5.    A. Currently 48 states offer some form of legal gambling, but just 20 years ago, there were casinos in only two states, so C was a reasonable answer. However, if you picked B, you may want to retake that high school geography class.

6.    C. Seven is an automatic winner for pass line bettors on the come-out roll (first roll). B is incorrect because prowess at Yahtzee rarely translates into winning at the craps table – the pit boss is never happy when you try to throw all five dice.

7.    C. Video poker has many versions, but all are based on Five-Card Draw. So you never need to worry about losing your shirt (or your socks) at this game.

8.    A. Keno is one of the few games in which you don’t have to be present to win. It’s even possible to play from your room or the buffet line.

10.    B. The Foxwoods Casino just outside Hartford, Connecticut, is the biggest casino on the planet.