A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. Can you tell me if Bally’s Roulette game (upright slot) is a true game of chance with the bouncing ball or if the machine is being controlled or set based on betting patterns?
A. It is a true game of chance with results determined by a random number generator. The RNG receives no information on your betting patterns. The game has been lab tested for randomness, and every number has a equal chance of occurring on every spin.
My email brings more questions about slot machines than anything else. Most are of the “how …
The house edge does tend to be a little higher than table roulette because payoffs are sometimes lower than table payoffs. Ballys gives operators a variety of pay tables to choose among. It’s not uncommon to see single-numbers pay 34-1 or even 33-1 instead of table roulette’s 35-1.
Q. I saw this on a cruise ship, and I was wondering about the effect.
If you got a blackjack and both cards were red, it paid 2-1. They could be mixed suits, diamonds and hearts. As long as they were both red, you got the extra payoff.
If both cards were black, they paid the usual 3-2. But if you got one red and one black, it only paid even money.
It seems like it would just be a wash, that the 2-1 on all-red and the 1-1 on mixed would average out to 3-2.
A. The rule is negative for the players, adding 0.57 percent to the house edge. The reason is that there are more 1-1 payoffs than there are 2-1 payoffs.
Let’s look suit by suit for each Ace.
Ace of hearts: Eight cards complete 2-1 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of diamonds and of hearts); eight cards complete 1-1 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of clubs and spades).
Ace of diamonds: Eight cards complete 2-1 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of diamonds and of hearts); eight cards complete 1-1 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of clubs and spades).
Ace of spades: Eight cards complete 3-2 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of spades and clubs); eight cards complete 1-1 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of hearts and diamonds).
Ace of clubs: Eight cards complete 3-2 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of spades and clubs); eight cards complete 1-1 payoff (K-Q-J-10 of hearts and diamonds).
Add all that up, and you have 16 combinations that pay 2-1 and 16 that pay 3-2, but 32 that pay only even money.
The first 16 even-money blackjacks balance off the 16 2-1 pays, but the extra 16 even-money combinations drag the average payoff under the standard 3-2.
Q. I don’t like paying the commission when I win on banker on baccarat. Why can’t they set up the game so I don’t have to pay when I win?
A. In regular baccarat, banker wins more often than it loses, so the commission is necessary to give the house an edge. And make no mistake — if the house couldn’t get an edge, it wouldn’t offer the bet.
A number of baccarat-based games have been devised without a commission. Most involve altering the game so the banker bet loses more than it wins. EZ Baccarat, for example, declares that if the banker wins with 7, the bet is a push.
Another method is to alter the payback on certain hands. A game called Nepal Baccarat pays only 1-2 if banker wins with 6, so that a winning $10 bet would pay only $5. An online game called No Commission Baccarat uses a similar format, giving half-bet payouts if banker wins with 8.
None of these have really taken a foothold in the marketplace. Baccarat attracts fewer players than blackjack, craps, roulette and Three Card Poker, and those who play the game seem to prefer the traditional rules.