My wife, the beautiful AP, says I have one criterion for judging people. According to her, “If they agree with you, Scobe, they are smart; if they disagree with you they are stupid. You have no in between.”
Okay, to show my beloved wife that she is wrong I took two people who have different opinions than I and we had a three-way conversation. Here it is, exactly as I recorded it:
HE: The worst table game in the whole casino is blackjack. I mean how do you know what decision to make? What are you supposed to hit? When do you stand? It is just too confusing.
SHE: Blackjack is a real pain in the neck because the people at the tables are all experts and some of them have big mouths and they tell you when you are doing something they don’t like. But I am betting my own money and how dare they try to intimidate me into playing the way they like?
ME: Blackjack is a good game if you know the right strategy. You can buy a basic strategy card in the casino gift shop and face maybe a half-percent house edge on the traditional game. If you play the correct basic strategy you can ignore what the “experts” at your table say because there is a good chance they are wrong. Just smile at them and then ignore them.
HE: I don’t want to look at a basic strategy card. People will think I am stupid. That would be embarrassing.
SHE: I really like to play those single deck games. I think you have a better chance to win at those games even with the 6 to 5 payout on the blackjacks. I heard single decks are the closest contest for the players.
ME: A lot of people use basic strategy cards. No one will make fun of you. It actually means you are smart. Now those 6 to 5 payouts on the single deck blackjack games, plus the fact that they hit soft 17s, will give the house about a 15 times greater edge on the single deck games than the casinos used to have in the good old days. You need to get that 3 to 2 payout on the blackjack to help make it a close game in terms of the house edge. So I think you must avoid all those games where the casino is taking too big a cut from you.
HE: I like craps because you have the best chance to win a lot of money at that game. You have bets that pay off like 10 to 1 and sometimes even higher. It’s a great game with a lot of excitement. I like to shake the dice up, blow on them, and then fling them down the table. I try to get them to bounce hard off the back wall and make it all the way back down to me!
SHE: Craps is too confusing. There’s too much going on.
ME: You know a lot of people think craps is confusing and it really isn’t. It’s a simple game. There are a lot of bets and almost all of them are bad. I hate to say this but all the bets that pay off large sums like 10 to 1 are bad bets with high house edges. Just use the Pass Line, take odds, place the 6 and 8 and the game is very close between the player and the house. You don’t even have to know the other bets because they aren’t worth making.
HE: I find roulette to be dull.
SHE: I love roulette. Some numbers get hot and if you are watching the scoreboard you have a really good chance to win.
ME: Roulette is fun and relaxing but the game is random so those hot numbers are not necessarily going to repeat themselves often enough for you to get an edge over the house. Because roulette at a crowded table is a slow game, the high house edge doesn’t hurt you as much as it would if you played the number of decisions you play in blackjack for instance.
HE: The other day I got a great comp from the casino. They treated us to dinner at the Steak House and I really enjoyed the meal.
SHE: My host loves to give us comps. She really likes us.
ME: Comps are rewards for play at specific levels. The host has some discretion but not a lot. If you get a gourmet comp that means you are betting enough that your losses will more than pay for that meal two or three times over. Comps are not given to people who are not going to make the casino enough money to warrant the comp.
HE: I always wanted to play baccarat but the losses at that game look like they are gigantic. All the high rollers play that game so they must lose a lot of money.
SHE: I understand it is a complicated game too. I saw the hitting and standing rules and I couldn’t even follow them.
ME: Baccarat is a good game with a relatively low house edge and the game doesn’t have a lot of decisions so your losses per hour are not so bad. In the high roller rooms the minimum bet is usually $100 but sometimes you can find games with $50 or even $25 minimums. The rules for hitting and standing have nothing to do with you. They are automatic and you don’t have to even know what they are. The dealers will tell you when to deal a card or to stand – which is one of the fun things about baccarat, you get to deal the cards at times. There is a mini-baccarat game too but this is very fast and the low house edge with a lot of decisions can still cut deeply into your bankroll.
There I did it. I didn’t tell either of these two that I was right and they were wrong. Of course, I was right and they were wrong. But I am sure you can keep that a secret from my wife.
Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at smile.amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, as e-books, on Kindle and at bookstores.