Q. I have read about roulette but I have never played. I plan to play only with money won on something else, like on football, horse racing or slot machines, and only if I am ahead. I am afraid if I lose on roulette, it will be sudden, and I might not be able to win it back that day because you have to play so much.
They have roulette where I usually play, but I feel a little intimidated about the way they run it. They have a wheel that is constantly moving. Is that normal? If that is true it is nothing like I have ever read about. I would be more comfortable with a wheel where it is stopped and the casino employee doesn't move it until everyone has their bets placed. Are other casinos just like that?
Also, what is the normal cost for a chip and the usual minimum bet? I know that at other casinos, the minimum bet depends on the time of day, and what the demand is. On a normal day it may be $5, but on very busy days it might be $10 or even $25!
A. Casinos do like to get as many spins per hour as they can. Normal procedure is to pay all bets, clear the table of losers, and have a very short pause as players start to bet. Then the dealer starts the wheel moving again, and players continue to bet while the wheel is spinning until the dealer calls no more bets.
It can seem a little frantic if you're not used to the game, but roulette actually is one of the slower-moving games in the casino. There are more hands per hour in blackjack, and more rolls per hour in craps than there are spins per hour in roulette.
The normal betting and chip cost limit will vary from market to market and casino to casino. Basically, the casino will make it as high as the market will bear. If it can get a reasonable amount of people playing with the minimum at $10 or $25, then that's what it'll be. On the other hand, I've seen older casinos with $1 minimums and 25-cent chips, and even $1 minimums and 10-cent chips.
In any market, your best chance at getting a low table minimum is going to be in the daytime during the week. When the crowds are bigger at night and on weekends, betting minimums usually go up.
Q. We have an acquaintance who we see at several casinos. When he plays Double Double Bonus or Triple Double Bonus Poker, he will automatically go for the kicker payoff if he gets a 3-of-a-kind deal with a kicker OR a pair of Aces, 2's, 3's or 4's. We have discussed this with him on a few occasions saying that we believe that is the wrong play but he gets testy and tells us that the payout is worth it and that he has hit the combinations needed "a bunch of times." Your thoughts, please.
A. With three Aces and a kicker, it is the correct play to hold the kicker in Triple Double Bonus Poker, where there's a 4,000-coin jackpot, but not in Double Double Bonus Poker, where the jackpot is 2,000 coins for four Aces and kicker. Dealt Ace-Ace-Ace-2-6, for instance, the average return in 9-6 Double Double Bonus is 62.4 coins per five wagered when you hold just the Aces, and that drops to 59.1 when you hold the kicker, too. In 9-7 Triple Double Bonus, the bigger jackpot more than makes up that difference.
With low cards, it's similar. Dealt 3-3-3-2-6, in Double Double Bonus the average return is 37.2 coins for holding 3-3-3, but only 33.6 for holding 3-3-3-2. Just hold the three of a kind. In Triple Double Bonus, where we can get 2,000 for four 3's and a 2, average returns are 57.6 for 3-3-3-2, and only 45.0 for 3-3-3. So in Triple Double, we hold the kicker.
Two pair and a kicker is another matter. Not even in Triple Double Bonus is it worth your while to hold a kicker with a single pair. Dealt Ace-Ace-5-5-2, in 9-6 Double Double Bonus, the average return for a five-credit wager is 9.6 coins when you hold Ace-Ace, and only 7.6 when you hold Ace-Ace-2. Even in 9-7 Triple Double, the higher return comes from holding just the pair, with an average of 10.4 per five credits wagered when you hold Ace-Ace vs. 9.4 for holding Ace-Ace-2.
By holding the extra card, you're limiting your opportunities to draw four of a kind, or even three of a kind. The occasional big quads-plus-kicker pay can't make that up.
Find John Grochowski on Facebook (tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column runs weekly.