May 3, 2016
Hollywood would have us believing that only a genius can crack the code to success inside a casino. In Rain Man, Raymond Babbitt used natural abilities to count cards in blackjack while pit bosses were none-the-wiser. In 21, a team of gifted MIT students developed a system to engineer the same game. Others have used everything from sophisticated loopholes to computer algorithms to break games like blackjack, poker, and, in this case, roulette to win millions.
February 13, 2015
Martin Jacobson went into the final table of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event with the second shortest stack of the final nine players. He also went into that final table as the only player to have more than $1 million in WSOP tournament winnings. While coming close to a title a few times, he was never able to put that gold bracelet on his wrist until last year when he claimed the most coveted prize in poker.
February 6, 2015
This is a brief glimpse into the serendipitous lives and times of the MIT Blackjack Team, one of the most enduring legends of contemporary gambling.
This group of geniuses met when they were studying at the most prestigious universities in the United States, including Harvard, Columbia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They were math whizzes and, judging by the story that unfolded after their legendary collaboration, it seemed that their favorite sport was risk-taking. Together they formed the MIT Blackjack Team and their story was immortalized in the 2008 movie 21.
January 27, 2015
Whether you like placing bets for fun or do so professionally, everyone’s got a little gamble in them. Gambling itself is rich with a full lexicon of words that it pays to understand before you start making your wagers. Here, then, is a rundown of 21 of the more common terms used in all forms of gambling. Why 21? No particular reason other than that being the minimum age to gamble in Las Vegas—and we all know there’s nothing like gambling in Vegas!
January 8, 2015
The ideal poker hand means different things to different people. Beginners think the ideal poker hand is one of the best starting hands such as a pair of aces while intermediate players extend their range of ideal poker hands to include suited connectors and other speculative hands. Professional poker players, however, consider many factors before determining what would be an ideal hand: his opponents, the table dynamics and how much money is on the table.
So what is it? An ideal poker hand is any hand that has the potential to maximize winnings while minimizing losses. An ideal hand does not necessarily mean a premium hand.
For instance, it is safe to say being dealt 10-2 is usually an automatic fold. But, for Doyle Brunson, 10-2 is an ideal hand; in 1976 (and again in 1977), Brunson won the World Series of Poker Championship with this hand. Although it’s not the first choice of starting hands, it goes to show that any hand can be an ideal hand if you know how to play it and your opponent.
January 6, 2015
Great poker players are not born with winning poker skills and probably don’t have a burning desire to play ‘No Limit Hold ’em’ by the age of five. In fact, many of the top poker players in the world had chosen very different paths for their lives when they developed an interest in poker.
Here are three of those players.
December 2, 2014
Many poker terms have infiltrated the English lexicon over the years. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to hear people talking about having to “go all in” on an idea or “raise the stakes” in real-life situations. More mathematically-minded professional poker players even talk about whether non-poker decisions they’ve made were “+EV” (expected value) or not. When you think about it, a lot of poker skills can be applied to your life away from the felt. Here are a couple of examples.
November 20, 2014
Roulette is a simple game. The dealer, also known as a croupier, spins a ball over a wheel with 36 numbered slots and two zeros (for American roulette). The slot the ball falls into is the winning number. Gameplay is simple at face value, but winning at roulette isn’t so simple.
The casino only pays 35-1 for a bet on a specific number. If casinos paid true odds they would offer a 38-1 return on a roulette number wager. The probability of getting a winning number on a single roll is 2.63%. The casinos have a 5.26% house edge on a single number wager in roulette. In fact, that’s the house edge the casino has for most wagers in roulette. That’s quite a large advantage for the casino and players have been trying to find the perfect system and strategy to beat roulette for years.
November 18, 2014
To become a master chess player (think Garry Kasparov or Bobby Fischer) you must have a certain set of skills that includes cautious recklessness, the ability to react in the face of adversity and strategic thinking and planning. Sure, there are some skills chess players possess that can be applied to poker strategies, but the two games are quite different in that chess is defined by skill while poker is just as much chance as it is skill (that’s what makes it exciting, after all). Chess involves playing on what you can see and poker is mostly about what you can’t see. However, there are some similarities between the two crafts and also a few lessons poker players can learn from chess masters.