Dear Mark: If a card counter has an advantage over the casino, wouldn’t it be to their advantage to have more hands per hour via a continuous shuffler? Travis C.  


You’ve read it here before, Travis, and you’ll read it again. Speed kills in a casino environment. Involving what is called “incremental game speed,” the more 99.9% of players are exposed to the built-in house advantage on any game the casino offers, haste will lay waste to their bankroll.


Most certainly, Travis, an automatic shuffler does speed up a blackjack game, and with a continuous shuffler, even more so. However, reasoning the more hands per hour against a continuous shuffler will automatically allow the house edge to favor the counter is erroneous because continuous shufflers operate by hand by hand randomness, making counting cards unmanageable.


Even if you are not a card counter, Travis, continuous shufflers work against you because there are no breaks to change decks and cut the cards, meaning the hands come at a much faster pace than those using non-continuous machine shufflers.


If all other rules are equal, the best games for basic strategy players and the Average Joe alike are single and double-deck hand-shuffled games, followed by six or eight deck hand-shuffled shoes. These will yield the fewest hands per hour.


Up next are regular machine-shuffled games where the cards are taken out of the machine and put into a shoe, and the worst games for players are those that use continuous shufflers.


True, card counters do want a faster-paced game with more hands per hour, especially when they have an edge on the casino. So, yes, they do prefer regular machine-shuffled or hand-shuffled games, but you will never see them on a continuous shuffler.


Dear Mark: Is using a Player’s Card worth it? I don’t seem to win any additional money whether I use one or not. Nancy C.  


Are you asking, Nancy, are you going to win more if you use one? Of course not! That’s not what they are for.


The benefit from using a Player’s Card is for the slot player to have their play recognized and to earn cash back and comps.


The math of comps is that the casino will return a certain percentage of their expected win in rewards for play. Your expected loss will always be more than the comps are worth.


Besides, Nancy, using a reward’s card doesn’t cost you anything — sort of.


Perhaps I shouldn’t say it doesn’t cost you anything. You are expected to circulate your hard-earned cash through a one-armed bandit to get those goodies.


Dear Mark: Every time the dealers have an Ace showing, they seem to always get a blackjack. What are the odds of a dealer getting a blackjack with an Ace exposed? Jerry C.


Using a six-deck shoe as an example, there are 16 X 6 = 96 10-point cards (10, Jack, Queen, King) cards in the deck. Eliminating the Ace showing, there are 52 X 6 – 1 = 311 possible cards under the Ace. Thus, the odds of a blackjack appearing are 96/311 = 30.86%. I’d say, Jerry, that’s a tad bit less than “always.”


Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Care and diligence bring good luck. ­– Thomas Fuller Gnomologia (1732)