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Is there any time that you can have an edge over the casino in video poker? Kelly S.

Yes, Kelly, you can find certain progressive machines whose eventual payout is better than true odds. To illustrate, consider the standard jacks-or-better, “8/5” machine – so-called because of the 8-for-1 payoff for a full house and 5-for-1 payoff for a flush).

To have an edge over the house, find an 8/5 machine with a progressive jackpot of $8,750 for $1 machines, $2,200 for $.25 machines, $440 for $.05 machines. Playing a machine at those jackpot levels, you will be playing even-Steven against the house. But if the progressive jackpot is higher, your get an advantage. And there, Kelly, is your edge over the casino – sort of. Why “sort of”?

Well, you will need to hit the royal flush to enjoy that advantage. And, of course, you will need to play each hand flawlessly. Hitting a royal, Kelly, takes an average of 60 hours of speedy play before you can scream yippee. And, it is going to take an enormous bankroll (about as large as the progressive jackpot itself) to survive long enough to win. Until that happens, the casino enjoys an advantage of about 5%, that is, until your YAHOO! heralds its sudden departure.

Dear Mark,

What is the correct tipping amount in poker rooms? I have heard 50¢ for each winning hand is standard. Should it be more? Frank N.

Come on, Frank, every dealer wants you to know he or she makes a living off tips, not off the minimum wage that drops down when the eagle flies – that’s merely a token thank-you for pitching cardboard while luxuriating in cigarette clouds and swirls of heady perfume and grinning dutifully at the old and familiar off-color jokes.

Though tipping is always a personal issue, it is customary for the winner of each pot to tip the dealer anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar, or more. That figure depends on the casino and the stakes played. BUT … try raking in the pot on a mega high-limit game and tossing the dealer 50¢; that’s asking for the Jack McCall treatment Wild Bill got holding those Aces and 8s.

Dear Mark,

Could you please explain an “any craps” bet, and an “any seven” wager on a crap game, plus, what is the house edge of each wager? Dusty F.

“Any craps” is a wager that the next roll will be 2, 3, or 12. Payoff is 7:1, giving the casino an edge of 11.1%. Yuck! But it gets even worse, Dusty. An “any seven” wager is a bet that the next roll will be 7. This bet pays 4:1 and has a house edge of 16.7%. I advise you pass on both.

Dear Mark,

Please settle a disagreement I am having with one of my poker buddies. Isn’t Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em actually the same game with the exception of one rule; each player receives four down cards versus two? Paul C.

Strategy differences aside, Paul, you forgot one additional rule. Texas Hold’em and Omaha Sbobet Hold’em are both “community card” games, meaning, some cards are dealt face-up and shared by all the players. Though the rules of Omaha and Texas Hold’em are generally alike, there are two differences, not one.

With Omaha, each player receives four hole cards, not two. Also with Omaha, you MUST use three community cards and two hole cards to make your hand. With Texas Hold’em, you are not even required to use your two hole cards to make the best possible five-card hand. Instead, you can “play the board” and use no hole cards at all.

Gambling thought of the week: Probably the greatest probability is that something improbable will happen. – Anonymous

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