A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:
Q. Have you heard of a roulette bet called 2G’$? I saw it in Las Vegas. If you get 0 or 00 two spins in a row, you’re paid at 350-1 odds.
I know most side bets are terrible deals, especially those with big payoffs. What do you think of this one?
A. I’ve not seen 2G’$, but I saw it mentioned in Anthony Curtis’ monthly Las Vegas Advisor. Then I looked it up at wizardofodds.com.
The Gold Coast began a test of the bet in early October. Whether it stays on the floor and eventually spreads to other casinos will depend on its popularity and whether it makes enough money to justify paying a licensing fee.
2G’$ has a house edge of 2.77 percent. That’s just over half the 5.26 percent on nearly all bets on a double-zero wheel and only about 35 percent the 7.89 percent on the five-number basket of 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
Judging strictly by house edge, 2G’$ is a rarity in being more favorable for players than the main game. However, there’s a lot of volatility built into results. While a single-number bet will win an average of once per 38 spins, and an 18-number bet such as red or black once per 2.1 spins, 2G’$ will win only once per 361 spins.
Here’s the way it works. There are 38 numbers including 0 and 00 on a double-zero roulette wheel. To calculate the number of possible two-spin outcomes, multiply 38 by itself, and you get 1,444.
Four possible outcomes are winners: 0 on the first spin and 0 on the second; 0 first and 00 second; 00 first and second; or 00 first and 0 second.
Divide the four winners and the 1,444 total possibilities each by four, and you have an 1 in 361 chance of winning.
If you bet $1 on each of 361 spins, you’d risk $361. On average, you’d win once to collect $350 in winnings and keep your $1 bet. That would give the house a $10 profit for the sequence.
Divide the $10 house profit by the $361 wagered, then multiply by 10 to convert to percent, and you get a 2.77 percent house edge.
Q. I know you’ve written about the best no-skill casino bets like baccarat, where there’s a low house edge and you don’t have to know any strategy or make any decisions.
I’m wondering if you’ve ever seen a casino game where the house didn’t have any edge at all on a no-skill game. I’m not talking about something where you have to work, like counting cards in blackjack. I’m also not talking about odds in craps, where you have to make a bet with a house edge in order to get the one without.
Have you seen something where you could just walk up the table and put your bet down and not give the house an advantage?
A. In the 1990s, there was a casino about a 45-minute drive from my house that had craps tables with a field bet that had no house edge.
If the shooter rolled either a 2 or 12, the field 3-1. All other field numbers paid even money.
At some craps tables, the field pays 3-1 on either 2 or 12, but only 2-1 on the other. That gives the house a 2.78 percent edge. Other tables pay only 2-1 on 2 or 12, increasing the edge to 5.56 percent.