A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. A while back, you wrote about one-roll bets in craps and included the qualifier, “with standard U.S. paybacks.” Are payoffs different in other countries? Better or worse?
A. At wizardofodds.com, Michael Shackelford notes that some casinos in Australia and the United Kingdom have more liberal payoffs than those we see in the U.S.
On any craps, the standard U.S. payoff is 7-1, but outside the U.S., you might find 7.5-1. that lowers the house edge from 11.11 percent to a not-quite-so-horrendous 5.56 percent.
On 2, 12, or hard hops bets, there’s a division in payoffs even in the U.S. The most common return is 30-1, so that if you bet $1 and win, you keep your $1 bet and are paid $30 in winnings, so you have a total of $31 for your $1 bet.
Less common are 30-for-1 payoffs, which are the same as saying 29-1. If you win a $1 bet, you keep your $1 bet and get $29 in winnings, so you have a total of $30 for your $1 bet.
The house edge is 13.89 at 30-to-1, and an even worse 16.67 at 30-for-1.
Shackelford lists several overseas returns on 2, 12 and hard hops that are better than either U.S. version. The house edge shrinks to 11.11 percent at 31-1, 8.33 percent at 32-1 and 5.56 percent at 33-1.
One more. The most common U.S. return on 3, 11 and easy hops is 15-1, and that carries a house edge of 11.11 percent. You might also find 15-for-1 returns, which are the same as 14-1, with a 16.67 percent edge. But overseas, you might find 16-1 returns that reduce the house edge to 5.56 percent.
Not even the reduced house edges at some U.K. and Australian casinos are strong enough to put these bets on my play list. A 5.56 percent edge on 2, 12, and hard hops is better by leaps and bounds than the most common U.S. edge of 13.80 percent, but nowhere near as good as 1.52 percent for placing 6 or 8, 1.41 percent on pass or and less than 1 percent if I back pass and come with odds.
The enhanced payoffs on these one-roll bets leave you with wagers that are merely bad instead of dreadful.
Q. I just had my biggest video poker win. Hooray!
Weird thing is, it didn’t even involve a royal flush, and that it was even possible was a mistake on my part.
I was on a Ten Play Poker machine, playing quarters, and I went to play Double Double Bonus Poker. That’s my go-to game, and I saw a 9-6 pay table. I thought I was getting a good deal for quarters.
I’d only played a few hands, and I got dealt four Aces! The fifth card was a 9. so I threw it away, hoping for a low kicker.
I got four of them! But those four showed payoffs of 4,000 coins instead of the 2,000 I expected.
It turned out I’d hit Triple Double Bonus Poker by mistake, instead of Double Double Bonus.
But for this time, I got 4,000 quarters four times and 800 for four Aces six times for another 4,800. That’s 20,800 quarters, or $5,200! I’d had a dollar royal once for $4,000, but I’m really a quarter player, so $5,200 was a really special mistake!
A. Congratulations! As with the reader who wrote a few weeks ago to tell of a strategy mistake that led to a royal, you can laugh the error of your ways all the way to the bank.