Columnist

Gambling myths only hurt players

 
 
Published: 5/23/2008 12:13 AM

Throughout the casino, gamblers search for some "foundation" to build a winning strategy upon for their favorite games. The bad news is, most of these so-called foundations have no worthy basis whatsoever. In fact, many of them actually work in reverse and tend to make the gambler lose even more! Here are some examples.

Deadly Deuce: Take the false belief harbored by most blackjack players that a dealer's deuce up is a "killer" card. As a result, many players refuse to split a pair of 9's, (as well as possibly some other proper splits) against a deuce. If you're one of these people, your misplaced fear in the dealer's deuce is just costing you money! The other day, I saw a player refuse to double down with 10 against a deuce - a hand he'll win 59 percent of the time!

Tracking Roulette Colors: Yes, it's correct to assume that over the long haul, Red will come up just as often as Black. It's totally incorrect however, to assume that a recent glut of one color will be "counterbalanced" by an overdue appearance of the other color so as to "even things up"! That's not how chance events work.

What has occurred up to now was sheer, unrelated happenstance. Once the color Red has pulled out in front, with say, 15 appearances against only 5 Blacks, Red is 50-50 to stay 10 appearances ahead for the rest of the day! That's right! The only thing that's supposed to even out by the end of the day is that you're likely to end up with something like 315 Reds to 305 Blacks. Out of the next 600 Red/Black spins, you'll probably have about 300 of each.

Charting Baccarat Outcomes: This is exactly the same principle as the roulette colors. No matter what pattern you may have discovered, it was purely a chance thing and has nothing to do with the future. The basic odds are still your best predictor of what's about to come. Why do you think the casino puts up those roulette reader boards and hands out baccarat index cards anyway?

Hot/Cold Dice: The random chance of winning a pass line bet is 49.3 percent. Now suppose three passes in a row have just made. What are the chances of making the fourth pass?

Most craps shooters won't believe it, but they're still 49.3 percent! So if you're pressing up your bets with each successive pass using say, a 10-20-30-50 progression, you're always an underdog to make the next pass. Over time, you'll just end up winning 49.3% of all your $10 bets, $20 bets, $30 bets, etc. That puts you right back where you started.

Am I saying there is no such thing as hot dice or cold dice? No, the dice definitely do get both hot and cold. The thing to understand is that hot dice have simply "been" hot up to now, got that way with no warning, and are always 50.7 percent to cool off on the next roll. Because this is true, streak betting leads down a golden path to nowhere.

A Ten is Due: Blackjack players tend to believe that the next card is likely to be a 10. They hurt themselves six ways to Sunday with this impossible misconception.

Here's the most profound example of that I've ever seen. A high roller was playing two hands with $25 on the first hand and $2,000 on the second. He was dealt a 14 and an 11. The dealer had an 8 up. Apparently wanting to "save the 10" for his 11, he stood on the 14 and then doubled the 11 -- buying a 6.

Now let me ask you. Which card was more likely to be a 10 -- the first hit, the second hit, or the very last card in the shoe? Correct answer? All the same! Please don't shoot yourself in the foot with faulty logic.