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View Full Version : Did I have the best of it... and not know it?

cavalier
03-11-2003, 11:39 PM
Did I have the best of it and get screwed, or was I actually lucky and
didn't know it?

Here's a true story that changed the way I look at casinos, their games
and any game that I have the odds stacked against me. Basically, I
want the edge now or I'm not interested in playing.

On my honeymoon, in Antigua, my wife and I were walking on a sidewalk
when a man handed us two pink tickets and explained that we could
bet '\$5 for free' with these pink tickets in the casino we were
standing in front of.

Then a gambler, I said, "Sure. Let's see what it is.".

Our \$5 tickets were valid only on a certain game. It was played like
this.

There was a table with felt similar to a roulette table in front of
us. I think there were 100 numbers. Some of the numbers had POINTS
associated with them. Others had CASH PRIZES. Still others had FREE
SCOOP and finally, some were GOLD NUMBERS. I'll explain each as I tell
the story... which is exactly when I learned about all of their
meanings.

There was a broomstick with a small cup on the end of it. There was
also a large box that was filled with numbered ping pong balls ( lotto
balls ). The balls sat down in the box so you couldn't see the numbers
when you stuck the broomstick in to scoop a ball.

According to the guy, the rules were simple. You bet your \$5 and win
20 times your bet when you get to 100 points. The game continues until
you get 100 points ( and win ) or leave the table.

My wife made the first scoop. Once we identified the ball she picked,
we found it on the felt and BAM... a 10 point ball. Right off the bat,
we got 10 points!

The guy explained further that our current bet stays up and that she
goes again. He said that the bet only loses when we pick a BLANK
ball. We have to get to 100 to win and she goes again.

The second time, she got nothing. Still at 10 points.

OK, so now I hand in my \$5 ticket and continue playing.

I get a \$25 CASH PRIZE ball. Cool! We're up \$25 and we have 10 points.

A couple of blank draws and we hit a FREE SCOOP ball. She took it and
got a 50 point ball!

Wow, now we are upto 60 points and still have \$10 cash. Obviously, we
put the \$10 in action. We haven't spent anything yet and only need 40
more points to win \$200.

Eventually, *grin*, I was into my cash. I had just under \$1000 cash on
me ( we just finished lunch after hitting the bank for more money. ).

So, a few more draws yielded our first GOLD ball. OK, rule update.

The guy explains, "GOLD balls mean we MUST double our bet to continue.
However, we should keep in mind that they payout also doubles. The
payout is always going to be 20 times our bet." So, now we have to bet
\$10 to win \$200. We have like 65 points or so now.

I decide to give it a few more shots.

We get a few more points and then another GOLD ball. I'm already
hating these GOLD BALLS.

Let's say we were upto 75 points now, but the bets had to increast to
\$20 each now. Not really what I had in mind.

I'm about \$100 deep in my own money and I have exactly 75 points.

A few more scoops and a few more points and yet another GOLD ball.
Upto \$40 each bet now, but we need like 18 more points. Now, I have
like \$700 left.

Knowing that there are 50, 25 and 20 point balls in there, I decide to
go for it.

We hit a 15 pointer! Bang! We are set now. We need 3 points! If I
don't get a GOLD ball or FREE CASH or FREE SCOOP I have enough for 11
scoops. I'm in!

2 scoops later I get a 2 pointer. We are upto 99 points. 1 more to
win. I have just under 400 left. I say, "Call home Honey... we're
about to win \$1600".

Immediately after the 2 pointer, I get another GOLD ball. Bet is \$80
now. Prize upto \$1600. I got enough for 4 more scoops. ARGH!!!

I ask, in anger, "How many GOLD BALLS are in there?". He
replies, "It's about 1 in 8 to get a GOLD BALL and 1 in 11 to get a
POINT BALL".

Decision time. Since you are reading this story, you know I decided to
go for it. Four scoops. Zero points. With less than \$80 left, we're
screwed. We can't afford another roll and can't leave the table to get
more money ( oh, that's what they meant by over when you get to 100 or
LEAVE THE TABLE! ).

So, there you have it. We got robbed. We probaby got incredibly (un)
lucky to get the 1 ball that had 50 points on it in the first place.

Anyway, I often wonder if I had gotten so far in the game that I
actually had the best of it now.

That is, assuming I had more money, should I have continued to play or
not?

Actual odds were

1 in 11 to get a POINT BALL.
1 in 8 to get a GOLD BALL.

Cash prizes were so small ( \$25 max ) that they can be ignored.
Also assume I wouldn't get a FREE SCOOP since that happened only once
in all of our scoops.

Is there a way to figure out how much money I would have "most likely"
needed on me to get that one last point?

And... would it have been worth it?