Casino players are always trying to figure out when is the best or most propitious or most advantageous time to place their wagers. Should I wait for two blacks to appear in roulette before I bet red since red is now due? Or should I wait for two blacks to appear before I bet black since black is hot and may continue to be hot? If numbers appear in one column on the roulette layout, should I bet that column or jump to a different column? Decisions, decisions.
Whatever system a player uses to determine the correct time for wagering is called a “qualifying” event. As with the myriad number of players, there are a myriad number of qualifying events that can be used to determine the appropriate time to risk one’s money on Lady Luck’s largesse. And let us not kid ourselves, qualifying events herald winners and losers based on Lady Luck’s whim.
Are qualifying events real? Obviously, yes. But are such events in the various games an indicator that the player has the edge over the house at that moment? Sadly, almost all qualifying events have no impact on the house edges of the various games. Bet red; bet black; bet the first column; bet high, bet low, none of it matters how you arrived at your decision because luck determines the outcome and math determines the house edge.
A player’s luck is no match for the math of the house edge whether the player uses a qualifying event or whether a player just dumps his money on the table helter skelter and calls out, “I’ll bet every number on the craps table!”
Still there is one thing these qualifying events tend to have in common; they slow down the total number of wagers the players make and thus using such events will slow down the rate of loss for those players even though the house edge remains the same.
So let’s take a look at some methods players have used for qualifying when and how to bet.
At many casino games players use a trend-betting system. If two, three or more of the same event occurs, one can bet that same event continuing or against that same event continuing. You see this clearly in the roulette examples above. But variations of this will work with blackjack and other card games as well.
In blackjack if you see that the dealer has busted once or twice or three times in a row, you jump into the game figuring he will bust again. This is called following a positive trend. However, if he doesn’t bust you can figure he will bust on the next hand and jump into the game. Or you can figure he won’t bust and you stay out of the game. You can also decide to raise or lower your bets as you play based on such trends as high cards coming out together, low cards coming out together, a combination of high and low cards coming out together, the dealer getting two blackjacks in a row, the dealer getting two hands of 20 in a row and so on.
In baccarat, Pai Gow poker, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, Three-Card poker and many of the other “carnival games,” you can sit out hands and use a trend-betting system to determine when to jump into the fray. There is no rule that you have to play each and every hand so sitting out and waiting for your qualifying event is a mathematically smart move.
During a game you can raise your bet if you have won several hands in a row (you determine what constitutes “several”) or lower your bet if you have lost several hands in a row. Of course, you can also lower your bet if you have won several hands in a row since that might mean you must lose the upcoming hand. You can also raise your bet if you have lost several hands in a row figuring, “I have to win sometime!”
At craps, there is a host of qualifying events that you can use to decide which numbers or propositions to wager. If several Crazy Crapper bets such as the 2, 3, 11, or 12 have been rolled, you can jump on this trend thinking these numbers are getting hot. You can decide to bet multi-bet Crazy Crapper bets such as the Whirl, the Horn, or the C&E if such groups of numbers seem to be showing a lot.
If you are looking for a qualifying event to actually start betting at craps, many players like the shooter to make a point before they bet. Some players take the bull by the horns (what sane individual would ever take a bull by the horns?) and ask the dealers before cashing in, “Is this table hot or cold?” If the dealer says, “Hot,” the player jumps in figuring the table will stay hot or he can choose not to jump in figuring the table must therefore get cold.
Card counters at blackjack use a simple formula to determine when to raise and lower their bets. If the game favors them at a given moment owing to which cards have been played, the card counter bets more. If the game favors the house at that moment they bet less. This is the only qualifying system that actually works to give the player the edge.
So to qualify this column, qualifying events can be a fun way to play but they will rarely give you any kind of edge.
Frank Scoblete’s web site is frankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, kindle, e-books and at bookstores. Get Frank’s articles by e-mail!