Gambling City

We are Cash Back

Who Needs a Spleen Anyway

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: While surfing the internet I found your column on the Detroit News web page. My guess is that you must be familiar with casino gaming coming to the Motor City. Recently I have come into a small inheritance and would like to invest it in a business close to these new casinos. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

For starters, a Cash for Gold or a pawn shop could complement gambling well. A Plasma Center would work. Oh, don’t forget, Nathan, tell your customers they really don’t need two kidneys.

Dear Mark: Is there any one sure-fire way to win at slot machines?
J. C.

Sure-fire ways, absolutely, I will give you three: (1.) Obtain a casino gaming license and operate your own slot business. (2.) Invest in the solid companies that manufacture slot machines. (3.) Buy an antique slot machine and sell it when the demand increases.

Dear Mark: Could you please explain the Kelly System of betting?
K. W.

Called the Kelly Criterion, it is a financial management system that, at least on paper, Ken, gives you the capability to maximize your expected winnings by wagering an amount that is proportional to your bankroll.

By using this system a player wagers a certain percentage; example, 10% of his current total bankroll on every play. After each win or loss, you then recalculate your bankroll and bet the same percentage accordingly.

The biggest plus is that when you are on a losing streak, your bets become smaller and smaller, helping to avoid a gambler's meltdown. On a winning streak, your bets become larger and larger, allowing you to parlay your money. Many gamblers find this to be a very effective,systematic approach to money management.

I plan on giving the Kelly Criterion a run this college basketball season using free picks. Starting with a modest bankroll of $200, I plan on wagering 15% of my current bankroll on each free pick throughout the entire season. I will let you know how it all worked out.

Dear Mark: Can I make more as a part-time gambler than I could a full-time teacher?
S. H.

Taking into account the importance and scope of your job, the time, the effort and commitment, yes, even a losing campaign as a part-time gambler probably pays more. I would not be the first, Susie, and hopefully not the last to say that you are both underpaid and undervalued in your time honored profession.

Dear Mark: When is the best time to surrender in blackjack?
T. H.

When surrendering in blackjack, Thomas, you give up half your wager for the privilege of not playing out your hand. Known as one of the more sophisticated moves in blackjack, surrendering is best utilized when the dealer is showing a 10 or ace and you have a hard 15 or 16. This particular hand will lose more than three out of four times as opposed to you only losing half your bet. If your favorite casino allows surrendering in the above scenario, wave the white flag.

Dear Mark: Playing craps with a pass line bet and a point of 9, I asked the dealer what were my chances of winning. He said 40%. Was he right?
J. G.

Janice, the dealer was correct when he told you 40% with this simple formula illustrating it. There are six ways a 7 will appear (3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 2-5, 6-1, 1-6), and four ways a 9 can show (5-4, 4-5, 6-3, 3-6). Obviously, one of these ten combinations must happen for your bet to be decided. So, because, on average, you’ll make the point of 9 four of ten times, there’s your 40%.