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Bettor's Rx

The Best (and Worst) Prescriptions for Gambling Fever
Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Denzel Washington, Jan/Feb 98

(continued from page 4)

Just remember this the next time the fellow next to you on the plane boasts of his latest keno triumph: anyone who claims to have a system for beating keno is either sadly mistaken or a congenital liar.

NO. 1--Caribbean Stud Poker and Let It Ride, Bonus Side Bet: --47 percent

It's just a dollar. One measly extra dollar, and--who knows?--it could make you rich.

That's what the casino's hope gamblers are thinking when they play Caribbean Stud Poker and Let It Ride: If I bet the extra dollar and the dealer gives me a royal flush, I'll win $50,000, or $100,000, or maybe a couple million. If I don't bet it, I can't win the big bonus.

Here's the facts: you'll receive a five-card royal flush about once every 640,000 hands. At Caribbean Stud tables, generous casinos will pay you upwards of $100,000 for this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence; stingy ones pay as little as $10,000.

As for Let It Ride, when you make a straight or royal flush, a winning $1 bonus side bet earns you little equity, only a spot in a nationwide tournament, where the ultimate winner takes home millions. Unfortunately, you are probably more likely to win your state lottery than the Let It Ride tourney.

Think of it this way: every time you see someone plunk down a dollar on either of these bonus side bets, he is, in effect, asking for change. But instead of getting back four quarters, he happily accepts 53 cents. That, it seems, is the price one pays to cure a bad case of gambling fever. *

Contributing editor Michael Konik is Cigar Aficionado's gambling columnist.


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