Mark Pilarski – Deal Me In: I'll be back

Mark Pilarski – Deal Me In: I'll be back
Mark Pilarski – Deal Me In: I’ll be back Dear Mark: Recently, someone who wrote you was frustrated with never winning at slots. Your answer was excellent but you left something out that is probably also adding to his frustration: gamblers, especially slot players in my opinion, are notorious liars about their gambling outcomes. Although the examples of winners he gave sound legit, he doesn’t know how much those people put into those machines to get those jackpots. Many more people that tell you how much they “won” tend to leave out a lot of facts about that win, like how many hundreds they put in that machine to get the $100 jackpot. Or, they just outright lie to save face about blowing all their money, aka “Oh, I broke about even.” This can frustrate a person who hears all these (at best) half-truths about other peoples’ experiences, making a person think there is something wrong with him or her when, in reality, almost everyone else is in the same boat. Tom D.Your e-mail, Tom, is totally on target. Most players are notorious for overestimating their winnings and playing down their loses.It’s uncountable how many times a player will enthusiastically tell me, “Look, Mark, I’m winning,” as they point to their credit meter. OK, but showing me 250 credits on a quarter machine is nothing more than $62.50 worth of credits that they will probably end up burning through. What always slips their mind is disclosing that they are into said machine a few Benjamins.That, Tom, is not to say that there are not a handful of winners. A winning customer is the most important asset to any casino. Casinos cannot afford to have all of their clientele leave in a huff. That small percentage that does walk out winners tells friends and family, and then those future players are caught in a trap by the idea that a jackpot for them just might be one pull away.Accept as true, Tom, the mathematics of the gambling business. The house is going to hold a certain percentage of every dollar wagered on a slot machine, and then grind additional monies out of either Joe or Josephine as those players cycle through their remaining bankroll.What I believe is happening is that most players confuse winning with what they are experiencing, the “possibility” of winning. What keeps the slot player tied to a machine is the prospect, no matter how remote, of that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow jackpot. Reality only sets in when they finally total out and find themselves lighter in the wallet than when they started. Then, of course, out comes the proverbial, “Oh, I broke about even.”Likewise, the most favored words the casino loves to hear from that same losing player is, “I’ll be back!”Dear Mark: Of the 50 or so blackjack games where I play, there are still a half-dozen hand-shuffled games. I much prefer them to the shuffle machines that are just about everywhere. I have always been curious as to how many times the dealer has to shuffle the cards to get them random. Danny F.Randomizing a deck of playing cards provides the element of chance at blackjack.The most common shuffling technique used in the casino is called the “riffle” shuffle. Here the dealer separates two halves of a deck; then thumbs inward and upward to make a bridge such that when the cards are released they fall to the felt interwoven.According to the Gilbert–Shannon–Reeds model, which provides a probability distribution on shuffle permutations, the recommended number of times that a deck of cards should be riffled in order to be thoroughly randomized is seven.Shuffling seven times, Danny, is the number I had been told since day one in the pit, and what I have passed along to countless dealers. Seven hundred is the number of times I’ve been told to “Shut up and shuffle.”Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “In life we must make all due allowance for chance. Chance, in the last resort, is God.” – Anatole France, The Garden of Epicurus (1926)

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