October 26, 1994, will always be remembered by fans of SIC Bo. On that day, not the most popular gambling game became the most attractive for all users reading the newsletter Current Blackjack News. There was a note in it telling how to beat one popular casino in Sik Bo.
The publication was produced by the legendary Stanford Wong, and his competence in the field of gambling even then did not cause doubts even among the most ardent skeptics. The famous expert, whose real name is John Ferguson), specialized in blackjack and craps. He himself played professionally and more than successfully in the casino, wrote several books and produced a computer program for blackjack lovers.
When Current Blackjack News published an article about SIC Bo, its headline caused mild bewilderment among regular readers, but the content of the material made many immediately understand the features of sic bo and head to Biloxi, Mississippi.
Let's recall how events unfolded.
Sic Bo Game
First, briefly remind the rules of the Sik Bo game. It is sometimes called the Chinese variety of craps. It really originated in China many centuries ago and is most popular in this country.
Sic bo uses three hexagon dice with the different number of points and a table with special markings for numerous types of bets.
The aim of the game is to guess which combination will fall on the dice.
The client can make one or more bets, combining them at his discretion. Bets are paid at different odds, and they have certain levels of theoretical return.
Grand Casino's costly mistake
In the traditional version of SIC Bo casino has a mathematical advantage over the client in all bets. Playing the optimal strategy, it can be reduced to less than three percent, but for some positions, this figure is much higher.
Any changes in the payout ratios entail changes in the theoretical return and, accordingly, the superiority of the institution.
Grand casino, located in Biloxi, began paying a bet on 4 and 17 at an unreasonably high ratio.
- The probability of getting such a combination is 71:1,
- The classic payout, in this case, is 60: 1,
- Grand Casino paid this bet in a ratio of 80:1.
By this, it provided customers with a 12.5% advantage over themselves.
Up to one hundred dollars was allowed to bet on this position. About seventy rounds took place within an hour. We will not go into detailed calculations, but simply explain what it means for customers:
Playing for $100, an hour could win an average of $1500.
As was made out to Stanford Wong? After all, he is not keen on SIC Bo. This was stated in the article. Next quote:
A professional SIC Bo player reveals a secret two-step approach to gain an advantage. Mississippi reporter Blair Guthrie confirms the method is working.
The two steps to success in Sik Bo are as follows:
- Go to the Grand Casino in Biloxi;
- Bet on 4 and 17.
Wong later claimed he wasn't joking about a professional player. Why anyone would want to share such a lucrative secret, history is silent.
What happened next at the casino Grand?
On October twenty-sixth, 1994, the Sic Bo table at the Grand Casino opened as usual at 11: 00 a.m. By four o'clock, two clients unknown to the administration were playing behind it.
By the evening, there were no empty seats left, but this did not stop the players, because most arrived from afar. A couple of people even flew in from Las Vegas. Say one guy as soon as I heard about this error, jumped in the car and drove for nearly a day without stopping.
People crowded around the table and stretched over the heads of other customers, trying to place chips on the field. One player later recounted buying a seat from another visitor for forty dollars and then winning eight thousand in a matter of hours.
Naturally, all bet on 4 and 17. The chips didn't fit in the slots, but the dealers took bets even if the tokens were nearby. Every time one of these numbers came up, the casino parted with several tens of thousands of dollars. In such situations, the dealer had a long time to understand who should win, which slowed down the process, to the great dissatisfaction of the public.
On that day, a gross error with the payout ratio was not the only problem of the casino "Grand". Numbers 4 and 17, as luck would have it, fell out much more often than the theory of probability suggests.
Several inspectors were on duty at the table, trying to figure out why the establishment was losing so heavily. Apparently, among them, there was not a single expert who understood the intricacies of Sik Bo.
To the credit of the Grand Casino management, the disastrous state of Affairs did not force them to stop playing. The table was open until three in the morning, which was the standard schedule. According to unverified data, the institution lost $180,000 that night.
Not all cat carnival
The next day, a dozen casino employees checked the table and equipment. They tried the bones almost to the teeth, climbed the floor, looked into all the cracks, tested the electronic scoreboard, but did not understand what was wrong.
At eleven o'clock a huge crowd was waiting for the game to begin. The dealer appeared at the table, stood for a couple of minutes and left. Then the audience was addressed by the pit boss, who said that he would not play in the Sic Bo casino that day.
Only after another day managers realized their mistake. Perhaps someone showed them a copy of the Current Blackjack News Bulletin. They ordered a new cloth for the table with the correct coefficients, made changes to the rules and only then re-launched Sic Bo.
Needless to say, there was no more excitement, because when paying 60: 1 at the rate of 4 and 17, the institution has an advantage of more than 15%.
Casino managers often make mistakes. Many misses are costly to the institutions. Reckless changes in the rules, too generous cashback, thoughtlessly frequent promotions, very large prizes in the drawings fly into a penny gambling clubs.
Admittedly, the author of this article, working in senior positions in the casino, was wrong more than once, but not as dramatically as the administration of the Grand Casino in Biloxi.
Have you ever found and used casino errors for your own purposes? Share stories in the comments.
P.S. Sic Bo for online casinos is offered by many software developers for gambling. Models on random number generators and tables with real croupiers are presented. Game reviews are available at Casinoz.