A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. I thought it was funny when you wrote about the blackjack dealer who was pitching the cards so hard they were flying off the table. I’ve had that happen, though where I live you don’t see a lot of single-deck and double-deck pitch games.
What I do see sometimes in six-deck, face up games are dealers who go so fast I can’t keep up with them. I know the house wants a lot of hands per hour, but it gets my mind racing. I fall into their pace and make decisions way too fast. I know I make mistakes just because I’m not taking time to really look at cards and think about decisions.
This mainly happens when I’m heads-up with the dealer. When there are other players, the game naturally slows down.
Should I just not play heads up?
A. Gravitating to tables with other players is one approach. Even if the dealer is fast, the game moves slower when other players are making decisions and the dealer has to take time to pay winners and collect from the rest.
But if you like to play heads-up with the dealer, there are a couple of things you can do. One is to discipline yourself to take a deep breath after the deal and pause to really look at the cards in front of you. Even if the hand is an instantly recognize stand, such as two faces, take a couple of seconds to look at your cards and glance at the dealer’s up card before you signal to stand. That will slow the pace.
The other thing you can do is just to ask the dealer to slow down. Be polite and use the dealer’s name, but say something like, “(Name), could you slow it down a little, please? I’m having trouble keeping up.”
Most dealers will be pleasant about it and slow the deal. If you find one who gives you grief and won’t slow the pace, you can always change tables.
All that said, most players are better off at tables with more players. Fast games favor whoever has the mathematical edge on the game. If you’re a card-counting whiz, that could be you, but the house has an edge over the overwhelming majority of players.
Q. When I’m on a slot machine and finish a spin, how long are the symbols that were on my screen out of commission?
With five rows, each three symbols deep, I see 15 symbols on the screen. So if four 7s, maybe they line up for a winner, maybe they don’t, but I don’t expect to see them again right away. I know there are more 7s and I could get winner 7s, but how long is it before those 7s are back in the mix to possibly land on the screen again?
A. All symbols are available on every spin. There is no time that symbols are out of commission, as you put it.
The symbols you see on the screen are just representations of an internal game where the random number generator spits out numbers, and other programs map those numbers onto reel positions and stop the reels.
The situation is similar in other electronic games. If a keno draw brings a No. 68, it’s still possible to get a 68 on the next draw. If a video poker hand brings a Jack of diamonds, it’s still possible to get the Jack of diamonds on the next hand.