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Misplayed Hands Dead Giveaway

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: Can the casino tell if someone at the table is a basic strategy player even if they are not using a basic strategy card? It’s not that anyone is trying to run me off, but occasionally I need to refer to my strategy card on some decisions. Tony K.

When I stood guard over the pit, I was able spot a basic strategy player because they don’t misplay certain hands. Basic strategy players on autopilot do not stand on a 16 vs. 7, but instead hit a hard 16 when the dealer shows a 7. They never stand on a soft 17. They hit on 12 if the dealer shows a 2 or a 3, hit a soft 18 if the dealer shows a 9, 10 or Ace, and they always split Aces and 8s, even when the dealer is showing a 10. Another dead giveaway are players who take insurance. If the dealer is showing an Ace or Face, a basic strategy player will stand down. Basic strategy players robotically play all these hands properly, which makes them relatively easy to notice. Most players who believe they are experts at basic strategy misplay about 15% of their hands, especially the ones above.

Your use of a basic strategy card, which is basically a matrix of 270 hand situations, gives you a concise, definitive play for every starting hand you will be dealt. I’ve got no issues, Tony, with your using one, nor did I when I was a pit bull. Surely you would prefer to learn basic strategy to the point where it becomes an automatic response, but while working up to that proficiency level, there’s no problem in carrying along a basic strategy card to for those tough-decision moments.

Dear Mark: You mentioned last week “pressing the Stop Spin button has no effect on your overall outcome.” You said, “All the press Stop Spin button does is halt the reels from their meaningless spinning.” Does that also hold true on a Wheel of Fortune machine, and the outcome of when I hit the Start button on the bonus round? Terry G.

Since first introduced in 1996 by IGT, Wheel of Fortune continues to be one of the most popular gaming machines of all time. With billions in jackpots being won, it’s easy to see why it is a player favorite for both machine and bonus features. IGT produces multiple Wheel of Fortune versions, but all Wheel of Fortune machines are equipped with a free spin symbol that gives you a bonus payoff of anywhere from 25 coins to 1,000 coins when it lands on the payline.

Like the Original Amateur Hour from the 50’s, with those intoned words as the wheel spun, “Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows”. The same holds true with the Wheel of Fortune bonus round. Its stopping point on any particular segment on the bonus wheel is determined by the random number generator (RNG), regardless of when you hit the Spin button.

Oh, and don’t forget, Terry, that the Wheel of Fortune is a 3-coin machine, and in need of max coins to be eligible for the bonus spin and the top award. Anytime you have to play maximum coins, you need to make sure that amount is within your financial wherewithal.

Also, Terry, those free spins are not necessarily free. Wheel of Fortune machines typically have lower paybacks than ordinary three-coin machines because they are usually tied to a progressive; in addition, you are not expending any money while playing the bonus feature.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:
A ruler should encourage gambling among his enemies, and put it down by military force at home. - Niccolo Machiavelli