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 I have noticed that you recommend the quick, hit-and-run method of gambling, unless of course, you are on the winning streak from heaven. Wouldn’t waiting for the win streak to occur be a better way to play? Gerald H.

How would you know when it started, Gerald? The reason I highly recommend hit-and-run gambling is that short-term play is the breeding ground for unusual fluctuations, where-briefly-results seem to defy the dictates of probability. The casino’s built-in advantage may not tick over during brief stints. It is to your advantage to make your gambling timeline as short as possible, and here’s why: the casino’s advantage is quite real, but it’s predicated on the operation of the “law of averages” over a long period. (In Old World casinos, it’s even called the “law of large numbers” -not a bad name considering that thousands of players bet on millions of hands, year-in, year-out.)

By exposing your money for an extended period, you veer unavoidably closer to the ultimate built-in loss that the casino’s statistician has prepared for you. Brevity of gambling session is, for that reason, a handy secret weapon for you. It’s not guaranteed to make you win; but a long session is guaranteed to make you lose.

The casino edge for slot machines, and for that matter for all casino games, is based on long-term trials. Casinos, open 24 hours a day, greet with a big smile those millions of hands of blackjack and handle pulls. With thousands of hopefuls playing slots, craps, roulette, and blackjack at any given moment, and with a mathematical advantage to the casino in every one of them, the casino can’t lose, but players who lengthen their bankroll’s exposure give the casino a correspondingly greater opportunity to eat it.

Bottom line: Your best chance to win comes when you shorten your playing time, exploiting any favorable deviations from the law of big numbers that may occur. Of course, when you’ve won the entire casino, then you opt for all-night gambling sessions. Until then, master the hit-and-run method of gambling.

I am curious about playing multi-line slot machines. Is each line independent from the other? Carrie G.

The three-line-pay machine offers a one’ or two’ or three-coin option. The first coin activates the middle line, the second the top line, and the third the bottom. A five-line payer, commonly called the crisscross machine, offers two additional diagonal lines. Playing on a three-line or five-line machine is like playing on three or five separate machines all at once since all the lines and pay-outs operate independently.

With progressive jackpots in the millions, is it possible that a large hit on a progressive slot machine can break the casino and you won’t be paid? Scott J.

No teardrops are necessary for the casino, Scott, as those big-number progressives will not deplete the cash resources of the casino nor of the manufacturer, who shares in the payment liability. Note closely text on the machine: those super jackpots are paid out over a 20-year period, so this debt and your payoff are spread out over time. When the jackpot is finally hit, a slot manufacturer like IGT buys T-Bills with staggered maturity dates whose matured value tallies up to that of the jackpot.

Gambling thought of the week: “He loved gambling for its own sake, like moralists love virtue for its own sake.” George Devol, on “Canada” Bill Jones

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