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Breaking down Gamblerspeak

If you spend any time around professional gamblers, you may hear them using esoteric terms. I’d like to let you in on the meaning of some fundamental gambler slang and some lessons behind the slang.

 

The terms are advantage-play situation, positive-expectation play and high fluctuation rate.

 

The first two phrases are often used interchangeably. An advantage-play situation refers to one in which, over the long run, you are likely to win money, and it usually refers to the moment before you make your bet. The key phrase is “over the long run”; being in an advantage-play situation gives you no guarantee of short-term success, just as a casino has no guarantee of short-term success when you plunk your money down on a craps table.

 

When you make that craps bet, though, the casino is in an advantage-play situation because it figures to make money over the long term. Another aspect to advantage play is that you want to bet as much as you can as long as you are not risking too big a percentage of your bankroll.

 

Suppose, for example, someone places six black marbles and four white marbles into a bag and offers you even money if you pull out a black marble on the first try. That’s an advantage-play situation: You’re a 6-4 favorite to win, but you only have to risk even money. Nonetheless, you would be foolish to invest every dollar you owned in such a bet because if you pull out a white marble you’ve lost everything.

 

A positive-expectation ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล play is similar, but the phrase is usually employed in regard to selecting a particular tactic. For example, doubling down in blackjack when you have two fives and are facing a dealer up card of six is a positive-expectation play, while splitting those two fives is a negative-expectation play.

 

Knowing a bet’s fluctuation rate is vitally important. Suppose we got out the old marble bag again, but this time put in nine black marbles and one white marble. If the bag owner told you he would pay 50-1 odds if you could pull out the one white marble, you’d be enjoying a advantage-play situation because the odds against you are only 9-1.

 

This is another situation where you wouldn’t want to bet everything, though. Even though the odds would favor you hugely if you were allowed to make thousands of small bets, if you are allowed to make only one or two plays, the odds are that you will lose. You’re going to lose nine out of every 10 times you try. When you do win, you’re going to do very well, but you need a large enough bankroll to stay in this game for a long time.

 

A poker player who enters a large tournament also faces a high fluctuation rate. Let’s say that I enter a tournament against 299 other players and that I’m one of the 20 best players in the field. Over a lifetime of tournaments, I rate to do well, but in any one given tournament, I’m an underdog; even as a great player, I could easily go 25 tournaments without finishing first.

 

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