Mark Pilarski Publications
New gambling columns every
has worked in the following areas: Keno, Slots,
Soft Count, Hard Count, Cashiers Cage, Sports
Book, Dealer of all Table Games, Box man, Floor
man, Pit Boss, Games Shift Manager, Casino Shift
"The smarter you play, the luckier you'll be."
After working for 18 years in seven different casinos. Mark now writes for Web Casino Guide, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals.
Think Outside the Bun
Dear Mark: I
have a glass jar full of chips that I bring
home from each casino visit. Itís becoming
quite a collection and was wondering if they
have any value. Donna S.
Honestly, Donna, they probably have far less
value than what you forked over for them. I
recommend, check that, I highly recommend,
that on your next casino trip you exchange
them for hard currency.
of players keep casino chips as souvenirs
from their casino visit. Casinos love it
when you intentionally take their chips from
the casino premise because your $1, $5, $25,
or $100 memento only cost them 50Ę to have
made, as opposed to the face value they
represent. Now thatís not to say there isnít
a market for those who dabble in this form
of exonumia, the collecting of value
representations other than actual money.
With the advent of eBay, there are
thousands of listings (21,744 as of this
writing) for those who want to own a piece
of gamblingís past, especially if the casino
is long closed or the chip represented a
past special event at such-n-such casino.
Nevertheless, right now on eBay, there is a
DUNES, $100 Las Vegas Casino Commemorative
Chip that can be had for the price of Taco
Bellís new XXL Chalupa; $2.99, Buy It Now,
For the serious Russell Rulau type casino
chip collector, there are two price guides.
The Official U.S. Casino Chip Price Guide
and the Chip Rack. The first deals with
chips for most gaming jurisdictions
throughout the US, the latter, chips from
the State of Nevada. FYI, the largest
recorded sale for a casino chip to date is
$39,000, but Iím pretty certain you are not
sitting on a high-value chip in a Ball jar
on the fireplace mantel.
holding onto my chip collection, all seven
of them. They have sentimental value in that
they were from the seven different casinos
where I once worked. Four have since closed,
yet, the current eBay price on any one of
them wouldnít even get me a grilled chicken
burrito off the Why Pay More! menu at The
Dear Mark: I
have often read that the odds on higher
denomination slot machines are better than
for the lower. There are several slot and
video poker machines that feature
multi-denomination options. Do the
odds improve on these machines as you raise
the denomination? Dave M.
Most multi-denominational machines,
Dave, actually have better long-term
paybacks as you increase the denomination on
them. For a slot game, the machine uses a
different virtual reel layout, for video
poker, the machine just uses a different
For video poker,
paytables are in full view for you to
compare, as you move up the ladder from
nickels to quarters, and quarters to
dollars. On all of the machines I've
eyeballed, Dave, the paytable for the dollar
denomination is more generous than the
paytable for the quarter game, and quarter
more than the nickel denomination.
As for changing denominations,
remember, Dave, when you bet more, you can
lose more, at a much faster pace. Sure, you
may find a paytable that returns 98% to the
player playing quarters versus a 95% payback
for nickels, so effectively you've cut the
house advantage by more than half from 5% to
2%, but you are putting into play five times
more per hand ($0.25 versus $1.25).
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: ďIt
(gambling) is the child of avarice, the
brother of iniquity and the father of
mischief.Ē -George Washington,
President and racehorse owner
Video poker is more
skill than luck
Dear Mark, Outside of putting coins in a slot
machine and pulling the handle, I am lost in a
casino. Others have recommended that I try video
poker. Before I try video poker, could you
please share some tips and strategies? Devin F.
In slots, no matter how adroitly you ...
The language of craps
Dear Mark, I tried playing craps for the first
time on a recent trip to Las Vegas. I stuck with
the bets you mention on your tapes and actually
walked away from the crap table $200 ahead. And
though I was up $200, I still found the game
intimidating. Mostly because ...
Is counting worth the hassle?
Dear Mark, I've been kicking around the idea of
becoming a blackjack card counter for years. I
have decent math skills and am willing to spend
time learning the game. I would like to hear
some of your thoughts, theories, practical
application of, advice and a brief explanation
on how counting actually works. ...
Dealers call these players ...
Dear Mark, I hate gambling with my cousin. Not
only is he irritating to other players on the
table, he is very abusive to the dealer. You
have no idea how many times the dealer has to
tell him, could you please do this, don't do
that. How about some written table ...
Bankroll to bankrupt in three minutes
Dear Mark, Since I don't gamble very often and
chances of losing eight in a row are very
remote, don't you think it's logical to double
my wager every time I lose? Albert M. I see your
logic, if you call it logic, but it isn't. What
you are describing is called the ...