No place like home for the amateurs

Here in Kansas the Indian casinos offer an array of poker opportunities like Live Poker, Let it Ride, Three-card Poker and Caribbean Stud. If one plays video poker, or a game like Caribbean Stud, can one assume that the player is ready for a “live” poker game? Viola H.

Viola, m’dear, how can I say this? The Auntie Em crowd that plays video poker would click their heels and wish for home if they were to stumble in on a live poker game. The differences are far too many to delineate in this limited space, but for starters, video poker and games like Let it Ride and Caribbean Stud lack competitor-interactions: no bluffing or deducing your adversaries’ hands from their betting patterns or demeanor.

Not to say that skill is unimportant in the opponent-less games. You can improve your chances of winning a lot by knowing what to hold or discard in video poker, whether to bet or fold in Caribbean Stud, and how to manage the optional bets in Let It Ride.

But unfortunately, such minimal skills only serve as bait for the cutthroat card sharks that cruise the poker room looking for wannabe Wizard poker players from Kansas.

When playing blackjack, if all seat positions (first through third base) have to place their bets at the same time, wouldn’t deck penetration be negated as to where you sit? Justin B.

Granted, first and third base players have the exact same information when they are placing their initial wagers, but if you are on third base, you can view an abundance of extra cards (deeper deck penetration) before reacting to your hand. True, on the next hand the first base player will have yet deeper penetration, but the third base player will always see a little farther into the deck than the first, unless of course, nobody takes a hit. Here again, the third base player will make the very last player decision, and as a consequnce have the very deepest penetration at the table.
Anytime, Justin, you get to see more cards in play before acting on your hand, as Martha Stewart would say, “That’s a good thing.”

Does the Megabucks machine that has a jackpot of $1,250,000 and continually climbing in Reno/Tahoe have the exact same jackpot in Las Vegas? Jim K.

Yes, Jim, they are exactly the same.

Megabucks is a statewide network of progressive slot carousels linked together to produce huge, dramatic jackpots. It was created by IGT to challenge the big payoffs found in state lotteries.

Each slot machine in the Megabucks network plays independently. A small computer chip in each machine monitors every coin played and communicates that information electronically to a mainframe computer at IGT’s headquarters in Reno. The central computer keeps track of every Megabucks slot and maintains a constant tally of the jackpot. Then the computer projects the ever-changing jackpot total to all Megabuck units where it is displayed on the digital tote board.

Gambling thought of the week: “In the queer mess of human destiny the determining factor is luck. For every important place in life there are many men of fairly equal capacities. Among them, luck decides who shall accomplish the great work, who shall be crowned with laurel, and who shall fall back into silence and obscurity.”-William E. Woodward