Gambling City

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A Push is a Push, Except For…

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: Please settle a dispute between my wife and I. She believes a pair of Jacks is a win at video poker. I believe it to be a push. Who is right? K. H.

The disrepute of ties, in both gambling (blackjack) and sports, is echoed in the adage, "A tie is like kissing your sister." The earliest known use of that phrase is linked to Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz after a scoreless tie against Duke in 1953.

The same wordage is also used to describe something that is dull, boring, or anything along those lines that someone would not want to repeat doing. Obviously, your wife, Kent, finds ease with the antonym of boring, exciting, and she may have a point.

The creators of video poker games have accomplished something that no other game developer has been able to duplicate: By returning your original wager, they make you immediately feel like a winner. My take, Kent, is that the return of your primary bet is a push, nothing more, with but one exception.

If you belong to a casino Player’s Club, a push has some value in video poker. By being a member, you get credit for play on your card for that pair of Jacks. Since a tie reinstates your original wager, when you hit the deal button again, you then get more credit on your Player’s Card.

Dear Mark: How do you go about getting those free coupons I see occasionally played on table games? L. S.

What those coupons are, Lucinda, is FREE money.

Many casinos offer FREE fun books that contain coupons for wagering, dining, discounts, and other gift offers. What you are illustrating are Match Play coupons, or lucky bucks that are frequently found in those fun books. They give you additional money to play with when you win a bet at the table games. For example, if you have a $10 dollar match play coupon, you can bet ten dollars with the coupon, and if you win, you will double your money and be paid $20.

These Fun books can be gotten by going to the Player’s Club welcome booth, casino cage, or by just asking a casino host. When a player uses a match play coupon with a real “even money” bet, the match play will be converted to a like amount in cash if the player wins.

For example, if the player has a $10 match play coupon and pairs it with a $10 Line bet in craps, if the player wins, his Line bet wins $10, and his match play coupon will be changed to ten real dollars. Win or lose, the match play coupon is then taken out of play.

My recommendation, Lucinda, is to use a match play coupon on bets that have less than a two percent house edge. A hand of blackjack or a Bank or Player hand in a baccarat game, or in craps, a Pass line bet or placing the six or eight would be the smartest move here.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:
“You know what luck is? Luck is believing you’re hold front position in this rat-race you’ve got to believe you’re lucky.” —Stanley Kowalski, A Streetcar Named Desire