Issue 1
July 23 - August 6, 2000
Volume 1
page 2

Playing Strategy by Al Krigman
How to Win an Unbeatable Game

You frequently hear non-gamblers grumbling that players can't win because the odds favor the house or the casino has the edge. Were that not annoying enough, you also read experts describing casino games as "unbeatable." Yet the same gurus tell everyone how to win. And solid citizens who follow this advice, not to mention some who flout it, often do. Such apparent contradictions are not mutually exclusive. They differ in the time frames from which they are viewed, with reconciliation complicated by results being matters of probability rather than certainty.

I'll use single-zero roulette and a $100 bankroll to illustrate. Similar reasoning applies to other games and amounts. Imagine the shortest conceivable roulette session. You wager your wad on a single spin, then walk -- regardless of outcome. You could put all the money on an "outside" bet such as "red" or "odd." Your chances are then 18 out of 37 of earning $100 and 19 out of 37 of blowing $100. That's a 48.6 percent shot at winning versus 51.4 percent at losing -- the same amount either way. Considered from another angle, if 1,000 players made this bet, 486 would be expected to hit and 514 to miss.

Alternately, you could bet the entire $100 on a single number. Now, your chances would be one out of 37 to pick up $3500 and 36 out of 37 to drop the $100. That's 2.7 percent versus 97.3 percent, but it's $3500 to $100. Again

thinking of those 1,000 players, 27 are projected to win $3500 and 973 to lose $100.

Other one-spin possibilities let you improve your prospects of pleasure by shaving the size of the prize. An example might be to bet $50 on each of two 12-number columns. This gives 24 chances out of 37 to win $50 and 13 out of 37 to lose the $100. That's 64.9 percent likelihood of $50 profit contrasted with 35.1 percent of $100 loss. When the 1,000 hypothetical players try it, 649 should strut home $50 richer and 351 slink away $100 poorer.

Maybe you prefer longer games with less exposure per spin. Start with the same $100, bet $10 per round on each of the two 12-number columns, and quit when the well runs dry or clear $50. Analysis based on "risk of ruin" shows that your chance of triumph is 57.6 percent. Had you bet only $5 per column, your chance of reaching the goal before losing your stake would be 48.5 percent. Back to the 1,000 players, 576 will achieve the $50 target the first way, and 485 will get there with the lower bets.

There are further trade-offs. The longer you play, and the larger the fraction of your bankroll you bet per round, the more apt you are to bite the proverbial dust. Begin with the $100 and bet $5 on each of two 12-number columns. You have a 30.8 percent chance of going bust within 100 rounds and a 65

percent chance of hitting bottom before 200 rounds are finished. This is equivalent to 308 and 650 of the 1,000 players losing their bankrolls within 100 and 200 rounds, respectively. Betting $10 per column drops your chance of outlasting 100 rounds below 1 percent, and having money for 200 rounds close to -- but not quite -- zero.

Some conclusions can be drawn from these examples. (1) You can adjust your play to enhance your chances of winning sessions in beatable games. (2) Chances of winning rise as earnings amounts drop. (3) Chances of reaching specific targets rise as bet sizes increase. (4) Chances of surviving sessions of arbitrary duration with given bankrolls grow as bet sizes decline. (5) As a group, players lose more than they win. (6) The longer you play, the greater the chance you'll lose your entire stake.

This shows how and why bettors can and do have winning sessions, even strings of successive successful casino visits, playing games that are supposedly unbeatable. That elusive entity, luck, lurks under the tables and behind the machines. But, as Louis Pasteur said, "Luck favors the prepared mind." Goals and matching betting strategies are key elements of that preparation for gambling. As the poet of perplexity, Sumner A Ingmark, put it:

When your goals are contradictory,
Balance is the key to victory.

More Gaming Strategy articles
by Alan Krigman

Two Armed Men Rob Treasure Island Casino - Two armed men robbed the main cashiers cage of the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas on July 12 and assaulted two of the resort's workers at 9:30pm.  The robbers stole an undetermined amount of currency.  The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police is investigating two suspects.

MGM Grand Changes Name to MGM MIRAGE - Las Vegas - MGM Grand, Inc., which acquired Mirage Resorts Inc. for $6.4 billion on May 31, will operate under the new name MGM Mirage to reflect this largest acquisition ever in the gaming industry. Shareholders will formally approve the new name at its August 1st meeting. "This new name takes full advantage of two of the most powerful brands in the gaming and entertainment industry," said Terry Lanni, chairman of MGM Mirage. MGM Grand owns and operates, through subsidiaries, 18 casino properties in the United States, Australia, Witbank, and the Republic of South Africa, including: the MGM Grand and New York-New York Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. Whiskey Pete's, Buffalo Bill's, Primm Valley and the Primadonna RV Village gaming properties on the California and Nevada state line and the MGM Grand casino in Detroit, MI.

CDS and IGT Ship Gaming Machines to California Casinos - Casino Data Systems and International Game Technology announced shipments of gaming machines to casinos throughout California. The CDS games, including "Easy Street™", "Bingo™", "Super Aces™" and "Reel Deal™" gaming machines, were put into operation on June 14th at the Viejas Casino and Turf Club, a tribal gaming facility in San Diego County, California. This marks the first time ever that Las Vegas-style coin-operated slot machines were put into operation legally in California. These games were legalized with the passage of the state's Proposition 1A on March 7, 2000, an initiative which authorized a wider range of gaming operations on tribal lands in California. The IGT machines, including popular game themes like Wheel of Fortune®, Little Green Men™, Fortune Cookie™ and Leopard Spots™ from the company's iGame-Plus machine series, were shipped to Native American casinos throughout California. More than 1,500 games were shipped into California in the month of June.

New Gaming Products at Harrah's Atlantic City - With Harrah's Atlantic City's recent addition of new slot machines and a new "spin" on a favorite table game, you will find the choice of gaming products in the casino more exciting than ever. Whether you want to try your luck on a virtual "fishing trip" or you seek the challenging combination of blackjack and slots in one game, Harrah's features the newest, state-of-the-art gaming options, including 18 slot machines, 33 triple play video poker games, and 12 nickel video reels. The facility now has 3,056 slot machines and 79 table games on its casino floor.

Aladdin Resort & Casino

This summer, a legendary name returns to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. The brand new Aladdin Resort & Casino, part of a $1.3 billion development located on the site of the original Aladdin, will open on August 17, 2000 offering the most shopping, dinning and entertainment of any at Las Vegas Resort.

In its prime location on the Strip, across the street from the Bellagio Resort and next door to Paris Las Vegas, the 2,600-room, 35-acre resort will bring to life a fantasy theme based on the "101 Arabian Nights" stories. In addition to its prestigious address, Aladdin features 130+ shops and 21 world-class restaurants - including Commander's Palace, the New Orleans-based winner of the James Beard Best Restaurant in America Award; the four diamond-rated Anasazi of Santa Fe, the Blue Note Jazz Club of New York; and P.F. Chang's China Bistro.

Aladdin's 115,000-square-foot casino is also designed to be open, with multiple levels and overlooks. A high-stakes casino will be located off the main casino floor in the Sultan's Palace. The London Club, a European-style gaming club being built in partnership with London Clubs International, will be a first for Las Vegas. You will find an elegant 15,000-square-foot gaming area offering baccarat, poker, roulette, blackjack and premium slot machines.

Elsewhere at Aladdin, you will find two sparkling pools on a sixth-floor deck that overlooks the Las Vegas Strip, 75,000 square feet of meeting space and the 7,000-seat Aladdin Theater of the Performing Arts - home to a continuous lineup of concerts, theatrical productions and other touring shows.

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