Dear Mark: On a multi-line/multi-coin video slot machine, how many coins do you recommend per line? Also, on a slot machine where you can push a button to stop the reels when I do decide to stop them, does it make any difference as to my chances of winning? Susan L.


On multi-line/multi-coin slots, I would recommend playing one coin per line. The reason, Susan, is that more than likely you are playing on what is called a Straight Multiplier or an “equal distribution” machine. The payouts on additional coins per line are just straight multiples of the one-coin payout on most of these machines. Hence, there is no advantage to playing more than one coin per line.


Pressing the stop button at your choice of intervals, Susan, has no effect on your chances of winning, or losing for that matter. What pressing the ‘Stop Spin” button does do is cut out the “round and round she goes…” fun factor that many players enjoy.


Dear Mark: We are offering a Las Vegas Night this year for our charity. There will be two blackjack games, both single deck. Chips will be valued at $1 with winnings that can be turned in for prizes, not cash. Although we will be using standard blackjack rules, I am questioning burning a card after the shuffle. Should we, and what is the reasoning behind it? Henry P.


With blackjack, Henry, the top card or cards are typically discarded after the shuffle. When these card or cards are discarded from the top of the deck, they are called burn card(s). The reasoning for this security measure is to reduce the chances of a player or players getting advance information about future cards.


There is a good chance that as you swap out dealers at your charity event most will forget to burn a card every time. Even newbie dealers in a casino sometimes forget, added Yours Truly to that list when I broke in.


Worry not, Henry, as this security measure is certainly not imperative with casual play, especially if your top prize is a gigantic stuffed teddy bear.


Dear Mark: I have two questions regarding home-play poker ethics. First, what are your thoughts on a player who “chip dumps?” Some of my poker buddies find it acceptable to do, but I don’t. I find it unethical. What are your thoughts? Also, is it okay to talk about your poker hand while playing? Pete J.


To clarify for readers who don’t know, chip dumping is when a player makes large bets and raises, only to fold later to a much smaller wager, a bet that any legitimate player would typically call.


Another example of chip dumping is two players who are collaborating; one making large wagers with an inferior hand and expecting to lose to the accomplice, which gives the co-conspirator more chips.


Players who chip dump think it’s ethical. I believe it’s out-and-out cheating.


Talking about your hand, especially with the disingenuous intent of deceiving other players, is called coffeehousing. Again, is it ethical? Personally, Pete, I don’t think it is. My suggestion here is that house rules with respect to coffeehousing and chip dumping should be established at the outset of kitchen table play.


Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “The only man who makes money following the races is one who does it with a broom and shovel.” – Elbert Hubbard