Paul Newman

Paul Newman

Casino Games – Pai Gow

Casino Games - Pai Gow Not to be confused with pai gow poker, pai gow is a Chinese gambling game, reputedly dating from the days before the Song Dynasty, which arose in Central China in the tenth century, which us played with a set of Chinese dominoes. The name ‘pai gow’ is an Anglicisation of the Cantonese phrase ‘páai gáu’, meaning ‘nine cards’.

A set of Chinese dominoes consists of 32 tiles, made up of eleven matched pairs of ‘civilian’ suit tiles and five unmatched pairs of ‘military’ suit tiles. Civilian suit tiles are known by names such as ‘heaven’, ‘earth’, ‘man’ and so on, and are ranked according to the cultural significance of their names. Generally speaking, military suit tiles are ranked by the total number of pips, or spots, but the 2-4 and 1-2 tiles, when played together, consistute the highest ranking pair, known as ‘Supreme’.

Each player receive four dominoes, which are arranged into a ‘high hand’ and a ‘low hand’, each consisting of two tiles. Starting with the betting position known as the ‘action hand’, determined rolling dice, players take turns to compete with the hands held by the designated player-dealer; to win, the player, or player dealer, must prevail in both hands.

Big Bertha

Big Bertha

A large as size coin flying out of this thing would take your head off.

Movies – 21

Movies - 21 Released by Columbia Pictures in 2008, ’21’ is a slick, stylish crime drama film loosely based on the book, ‘Bringing Down The House’, written by Ben Mezrich, which tells the story of the real-life Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Blackjack Team. Jim Sturgess stars as brilliant, but down-on-his-luck, mathematics prodigy Ben Campbell, whose admission to Harvard Medical School depends on his ability to raise $300,000 to pay tuition fees. Having impressed statistics professor Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey, by unhestatingly solving the so-called ‘Monty Hall’ problem – a counter-intuitive probabililty puzzle – Campbell is deemed suitable to be trained in the ‘dark art’ of card counting.

Based on the principle that a deck rich in tens, court cards and aces is good for the blackjack player, keeping a tally of certain cards as they are played reveals when the odds shift in favour of the player and give a card counter a small advantage, typically between 0.5% and 1.5%, over the house. Although not technically illegal, card counting is heavily discouraged by casinos.

Having passed his initiation at an ‘underground’ casino in Chinatown, downton Boston, Campbell joins four fellow recruits on weekend trips to Las Vegas; using a well-rehearsed system of hand signals and code words they proceed to win hundreds of thousands of dollars playing blackjack. Predictably, despite his honourable intentions, Campbell is gradually corrupted by the high-rolling lifestyle and, ultimately, his arrogance and greed attracts unwanted attention. Events spiral out of control, leading to a final showdown, during which the avaricious Rosa finally gets his comeuppance at the hands of his long-time nemesis, veteran casino security consultant Cole Williams, played by Laurence Fishburne.

Casino Games – Poker

Casino Games - Poker In simple terms, is a card game played with a standard, 52-card deck of cards, in which players bet on the value of their hands. The value of a hand is inversely correlated to the likelihood of that combination of cards occurring, such that three of a kind ranks higher than a pair, and so on. Numerous variants of poker exist, but in all cases players have the option of calling, or matching, a bet, raising, or increasing, a bet, or folding, which means that they take no further part in the hand being played.

Since the early Seventies, when it became the featured game in the World Series of Poker, Texas Hold’em has risen to become the dominant variant of poker worldwide. In casino poker, where a non-playing dealer does the actual dealing, a round disk, known as the ‘dealer button’, indicates which player has the dealer position. The two players to the left of the dealer button post ‘forced’ bets, known respectively as the ‘small blind’ and ‘big blind’, to ‘seed’ the pot and each player is dealt two cards, known as ‘hole cards’, face down.

The first round of betting follows, after which three shared or ‘community’ cards, collectively known as the ‘flop’, are dealt, face up, in the middle of the table. A second round of betting follows, after which two further community cards, known respectively as the ‘turn’ and ‘river’ cards, are dealt one at a time and followed by further rounds of betting. The winner is the remaining player who can form the highest-ranking five-card hand using a combination of hole and/or community cards.