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Gambling
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Gambler" redirects here, for other meanings see The Gambler.
Slot machines in Las Vegas, Nevada.Gambling has had many different meanings depending on the cultural and historical context in which it is used. Currently, in western society, it has an economic definition, referring to "wagering money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money or material goods". Typically the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period of time.

Contents
1 Legal aspects
2 Psychological aspects
3 Types of gambling
3.1 Casino games
3.1.1 "Beatable" casino games
3.1.2 "Unbeatable" casino games
3.2 Non-casino gambling games
3.3 Fixed-odds gambling
3.4 Gambling on horse races
3.5 Sports betting
3.6 Scratchcards
3.7 Other types of betting
3.8 Arbitrage betting
4 Staking systems
5 List of notable wagers
6 Associated word usage
7 By country

This definition of gambling usually excludes:
emotional or physical risk-taking where what is being risked is not money or material goods (e.g., skydiving, running for office, asking someone for a date, etc.)
buying insurance, as the primary intent of the purchase is to protect against loss, rather than to collect or win
all forms of 'investment' (stock market, real estate) with positive expected returns and economic utility
starting a new business, as time and effort are also being wagered and the outcome is not determined in a short period of time
situations where the possibility of winning additional money or material goods is a secondary or incidental reason for the wager/purchase (e.g., buying a raffle ticket to support a worthy cause)
Prediction markets or knowledge exchanges where the specific outcome is to encourage the development of market-based mechanisms for resolving questions of science, technology, management, strategy, planning, policy, etc.
There are three variables common to all forms of gambling:
How much is being wagered, the initial stake (in money or material goods).
The predictability of the event.
In mechanical or electronic gambling such as lotteries, slot machines and bingo, the results are random and unpredictable; no amount of skill or knowledge (assuming machinery is functioning as intended) can give an advantage in predicatability to anyone.
However, for sports events such as horse racing and soccer matches there is some predictability to the outcome; thus a person with greater knowledge and/or skill will have an advantage over others.
The odds agreed between the two (or more) parties to the wager; where there is a house or a bookmaker, the odds are (quite legally) arranged in favour of the house.
The expected value, positive or negative, is a mathematical calculation using these three variables. The amount wagered determines the scale of an individual wager (bet); the odds and the amount wagered determine the payout if successful; the predicability determines the frequency of success. Finally the frequency of success times the payout minus the amount wagered equals the "expected value" The skill of a gambler lies in understanding and manoeuvring the three variables so that the "actual value" is positive over a series of wagers.

Legal aspects
Because religious authorities generally frown on gambling to some extent, and because of various perceived social costs, most legal jurisdictions censure gambling to some extent. Some Islamic nations officially prohibit gambling; most other countries regulate it. In particular, in the majority of circumstances—and perhaps all cases—the law does not recognise wagers as contracts, and views any consequent losses as debts of honour, unenforceable by legal process. Thus organized crime often takes over the enforcement of large gambling debts, sometimes using violent methods.
Because contracts of insurance have many features in common with wagers, legislation generally makes a distinction, typically defining any agreement in which either one of the parties has an interest in the outcome bet upon, beyond the specific financial terms, as a contract of insurance. Thus a bet on whether one's house will burn down becomes a contract of insurance, as one has an independent interest in the security of one's home.
Furthermore, many jurisdictions, local as well as national, either ban or heavily control ("license") gambling. Such regulation generally leads to gambling tourism and illegal gambling, the latter often under the auspices of organized crime. Such involvement frequently brings the activity under even more severe moral censure and leads to calls for greater regulation. Conversely, the close involvement of governments (through regulation and gambling taxation) has led to a close connection between many governments and gambling organisations, where legal gambling provides much government revenue, such as in Monaco.
There is generally legislation requiring that the odds in gambling machines are fair (i.e. statistically random), to prevent manufacturers from making some high-payoff results impossible (since these have very low probability, this can quite easily pass unnoticed).

Psychological aspects
Though many participate in gambling as a form of recreation or even as a means to gain an income, gambling, like any behavior which involves variation in brain chemistry, can become a psychologically addictive and harmful behavior in some people. Reinforcement phenomena may also make gamblers persist in gambling even after repeated losses. Because of the negative connotations of the word "gambling", casinos and race tracks often use the euphemism "gaming" to describe the recreational gambling activities they offer.
The Russian writer Dostoevsky portrays in his novella The Gambler the psychological implications of gambling and how gambling can affect gamblers. He also associates gambling and the idea of "getting rich quick", suggesting that Russians may have a particular affinity for gambling. Dostoevsky shows the effect of betting money for the chance of gaining more in 19th-century Europe. The association between Russians and gambling has fed legends of the origins of Russian roulette.

See Compulsive gambling
Blackjack.
Types of gambling

Casino games

"Beatable" casino games
With proper strategy, a smart player can create a positive mathematical expectation.
Poker (Also recognised as a game of skill)
Blackjack -- with card counting
Video poker -- with proper pay table and/or progressive jackpot
Pai Gow Poker and Tiles -- player-dealt
Sports betting
Horse racing (parimutuel)
Slot machines -- only linked slots when multi-player jackpots reach a certain point

"Unbeatable" casino games
These have a negative expectation, players as a group will lose in the long run (unless they cheat).
Baccarat
Craps
Roulette (unless physical prediction is used)
Keno
Casino war
Faro (All but extinct)
Pachinko 
A pachinko parlor in Tokyo, Japan.
Sic Bo
Fan-Tan
Let It Ride
3-card Poker
4-card poker
Red Dog
Pyramid Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker
Spanish 21 -- without counting
Texas Hold'em Bonus Poker

Non-casino gambling games
Mahjong tiles.Some of these are played recreationally without stakes
Bingo (US|UK)
Lottery
Mahjong
Dead pool
Dice-based
Backgammon
Liar's dice
Passe-dix
Hazard
Threes
Pig
Mexico
Card games
Liar's poker
Bridge
Basset
Lansquenet
Piquet
Put
Coin-tossing
Head and Tail
Two-up (Australian casinos offer versions of two-up)
Confidence tricks
Three card monte
Shell game
Carnival Games
The Razzle
Hanky Pank
Penny Falls
Six-Cat
The Swinger
The Push-up Bottle
The Nail Joint
Con Games (in bars)
Put and Take
The Smack
The Drunken Mitt

Fixed-odds gambling
Fixed-odds gambling and Parimutuel betting frequently occur at or on the following kinds of events:
Horse racing (see below)
Greyhound racing
Jai alai
Football matches (particularly on Association and American football)
Golf
Tennis
Cricket
Baseball
Basketball
Ice hockey
Rugby (League and Union)
Snooker
Motor sports
Boxing
Darts
Cross-country skiing
Biathlon
In addition many bookmakers offer fixed odds on a number of non-sports related outcomes, for example the direction and extent of movement of various financial indices, whether snow will fall on Christmas Day in a given area, the winner of television competitions such as Big Brother, election results [1] , and so forth. Interactive prediction markets also offer trading on these outcomes, with "shares" of results trading on an open market.
See Sports betting below.

Gambling on horse races
Tokyo Racecourse in Tokyo, Japan.One of the most widespread forms of gambling involves betting on horse races, most commonly on races between thoroughbreds or between standardbreds.
Wagering may take place through parimutuel pools; or bookmakers may take bets personally. Parimutuel wagers pay off at prices determined by support in the wagering pools, while bookmakers pay off either at the odds offered at the time of accepting the bet; or at the median odds offered by track bookmakers at the time the race started.
In Canada and the United States, the most common types of bet on horse races include:
win – to succeed the bettor must pick the horse which wins the race.
place – the bettor must pick a horse which finishes either first or second.
show – the bettor must pick a horse which finishes first, second, or third.
exacta, perfecta, or exactor –the bettor must pick the two horses which finish first and second and specify which will finish first
quinella or quiniela – the bettor must pick the two horses which finish first and second, but need not specify which will finish first.
trifecta or triactor – the bettor must pick the three horses which finish first, second, and third and specify which will finish first, second and third.
superfecta – the bettor must pick the four horses which finish first, second, third and fourth, and specify which will finish first, second, third and fourth.
double – the bettor must pick the winners of two successive races; most race tracks in Canada and the United States take double wagers on the first two races on the program (the daily double) and on the last two (the late double).
triple – the bettor must pick the winners of three successive races; many tracks offer rolling triples, or triples on any three successive races on the program. Also called pick three or more commonly, a treble
sweep – the bettor must pick the winners of four or more successive races. In the US, this is usually called pick four and pick six, with the latter paying out a consolation return to bettors correctly selecting five winners out of six races, and with "rollover" jackpots accumulating each day until one or more bettors correctly picks all six winners.
Win, place and show wagers class as straight bets, and the remaining wagers as exotic bets. Bettors usually make multiple wagers on exotic bets. A box consists of a multiple wager in which punters bet all possible combinations of a group of horses in the same race. A key involves making a multiple wager with a single horse in one race bet in one position with all possible combinations of other selected horses in a single race. A wheel consists of betting all horses in one race of a bet involving two or more races. For example a 1-all daily double wheel bets the 1-horse in the first race with every horse in the second.
People making straight bets commonly employ the strategy of an 'each way' bet. Here the bettor picks a horse and bets it will win, and makes an additional bet that it will show, so that theoretically if the horse runs third it will at least pay back the two bets. The Canadian and American equivalent is the bet across (short for across the board): the bettor bets equal sums on the horse to win, place, and show.
In Canada and the United States punters make exotic wagers on horses running at the same track on the same program. In the United Kingdom bookmakers offer exotic wagers on horses at different tracks. Probably the Yankee occurs most commonly: in this the bettor tries to pick the winner of four races. This bet also includes subsidiary wagers on smaller combinations of the chosen horses; for example, if only two of the four horses win, the bettor still collects for their double. A Trixie requires trying to pick three winners, and a Canadian or Super Yankee trying to pick five; these also include subsidiary bets. The term nap identifies the best bet of the day.
A parlay (US) or accumulator (UK) consists of a series of bets in which bettors stake the winnings from one race on the next in order until either the bettor loses or the series completes successfully.
(Similarly, greyhound racing offers a popular betting alternative to horse racing in many countries.)

Sports betting
See also main sports betting article
Betting on team sports has become an important service industry in many countries. For example, millions of Britons play the football pools every week. At sports betting, players may beat the bank.

Most jurisdictions in Canada and the United States regard sports betting as illegal (Nevada offers full sports betting and the Canadian provinces offer Sport Select - government-run sports parlay betting). However, millions engage in sports betting despite its illegality.
In Canada and the United States the most popular sports bets include:
against the spread - the bettor wagers either that the favoured team will win by a specified number of points or that it will not. Giving the points involves betting the favourite, and taking the points means betting the underdog. See point spread. A team covers the spread if it wins the game with the score modified by the spread. If Dallas and Washington are playing and the spread is (Dallas -7), then Dallas has to win by at least 8 points to cover. Half-point spreads are also possible and the spread may change.
against odds - the most popular types of bets against odds comprise simple bets that a team will win and over-under (bets on the total points, runs, or goals scored by both teams). In making an over-under bet, the bettor wagers that the total will exceed or fall short of a total specified by the bookmaker.
against a combination of odds and spread
In sports betting, a parlay involves a bet that two or more teams will win. In the United States gamblers have made the parlay card one of the most common forms of sports betting: here bettors wager on the outcomes of two or more games. If all their picks win, they collect. Most such betting occurs in workplaces. A teaser is one type of parlay where the bettor can alter the point spreads on the two games in the bet.
Events like the Super Bowl, and the Kentucky Derby are famous for bringing in sports betting.

Scratchcards
A scratchcard is a small piece of card where an area has been covered by a substance that cannot be seen through, but can be scratched off. Under this area are concealed the items/pictures that must be 'found' in order to win.
The generic scratchcard requires the player to match three of the same prize amounts. If this is accomplished, they win that amount. Other scratchcards involve matching symbols, pictures or words.
Scratchcards are a very popular form of gambling due to their low cost. However, the low cost to buy a scratchcard is offset by the smaller prizes, compared to casino jackpots or lottery wins.

Other types of betting
One can also bet with another person that a statement is true or false, or that a specified event will happen (a "back bet") or will not happen (a "lay bet") within a specified time. This occurs in particular when two people have opposing but strongly-held views on truth or events. Not only do the parties hope to gain from the bet, they place the bet also to demonstrate their certainty about the issue. Some means of determining the issue at stake must exist. Sometimes the amount bet remains nominal, demonstrating the outcome as one of principle rather than of financial importance.

Betting Exchanges allow consumers to both back and lay at odds of their choice. Similar in someways to a stock exchange, a better may want to back a horse (hoping it to win) or lay a horse (hoping it to lose, effectively acting as bookmaker)

Arbitrage betting
Arbitrage betting, is a theoretically risk-free betting system in which every outcome of an event is bet upon so that a known profit will be made by the bettor upon completion of the event, regardless of the outcome. Arbitrage Betting, as the name implies, is a combination of the ancient art of Arbitrage trading and gambling which has been made possible by the recent explosion in online bookmakers. The large numbers of bookmakers create the marketplace within which this form of Arbitrage can be practiced.
Staking systems
Many people have formulated staking systems in an attempt to "beat the bookie" but most still accept that no staking system can make an unprofitable system profitable over time. Widely-used systems include:
Fixed stakes – a traditional system of staking the same amount on each selection. This method suits conservative punters if the stake remains below 5% of the bank.
Fixed profits – the stakes vary based on the odds to ensure the same profit from each winning selection. This method suits conservative punters well, although if the profitability of one's bets varies independently of the odds the bettor simply reduces his or her cash flow.
Due-column betting – A variation on fixed profits betting in which the bettor sets a target profit and then calculates a bet size that will make this profit, adding any losses to the target. For example, to make a target of $100 profit a bettor would wager $50 at odds of 2 to 1. If the bet loses, the target becomes $150. If the next bet is also at odds of 2 to 1, the wager therefore becomes $75. This type of wagering can prove ruinous in the long run.
Kelly – the optimium level to bet to maximise your future median bank level; the punter needs to estimate fair odds (in decimal odds) and then calculate the stake using:
A = W - (1 - W )/(D - 1)
Where:
A = Percentage of the total bank to bet
W = Percentage probability of winning (fair odds)
D = Decimal odds (actual odds available)
Martingale – A system based on staking enough each time to recover losses from previous bet(s) until one wins. It is usually applied to even-money bets such as red/black on roulette. The Martingale guarantees failure in the long run - it would only work if the bettor has an unlimited bankroll, the bookmaker has no limit on the size of bets and neither party ever dies. However, it can usually be used to gain a small win in the short run, given a bankroll large enough to survive a streak of five or six losses.

List of notable wagers
The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo
Pascal's wager
St. Petersburg paradox
The wager in Around the World in Eighty Days
Wager between John Pierpont Morgan and Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale on whether a man could walk round the world and remain unidentified
Wager between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich on commodity prices
The annual Nenana Ice Classic, when the inhabitants of Alaska bet on when the ice will break on the Tanana River.
Wager on Black hole information paradox: Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne against John Preskill

Associated word usage
The English expression "I bet that ____", meaning "I consider it very probable that ____", need not carry any suggestion of the speaker intending to gamble.
The English word hazard originated as Arabic az-zar or al-zar, which meant a type of dice game. Compare also the English word "dicey" meaning "risky".
Scientists have dubbed certain random-number-based calculation algorithms the "Monte Carlo method".
Even money, as a gambling term, describes a wagering proposition with even odds - in other words, if one loses a bet, one stands to lose the same amount of money that the winner of the bet would win (less, of course, the vigorish or "juice"). The term has come to have meaning in the wider English usage beyond actual gambling, however, as a way of describing an event whose occurrence is about as likely to occur as not, as in "It's even money that it will rain today". Compare 50 50.

For more information on Gambling, please visit
Wikipedia.
Online casino
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Online casinos, also known as virtual casinos, are online versions of traditional ("brick and mortar") casinos. Online casinos enable gamblers to play and wager on casino games through the Internet.
Online casinos generally offer odds and payback percentages that are comparable to land-based casinos. Some online casinos claim higher payback percentages for slot machine games, and some publish payout percentage audits on their websites. Assuming that the online casino is using an appropriately programmed random number generator, table games like blackjack have an established house edge. The payout percentage for these games are established by the rules of the game.
Reliability and trust issues are commonplace and often questioned. Many online casinos lease or purchase their software from well-known companies like Wager Works, Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech and Cryptologic in an attempt to "piggyback" their reputation on the software manufacturer's credibility. These software companies either use or claim to use random number generators to ensure that the numbers, cards or dice appear randomly.

Contents
1 Online casino types
1.1 Web-based online casinos
1.2 Download-based online casinos
1.3 Live-based casinos
2 Games offered
3 Signup bonuses
4 Fraudulent online casino behavior
5 Fraudulent player behavior
6 Legality

Online casino types
Online casinos can be divided into three groups based on their interface: web-based casinos, download-based casinos, and more recently live casinos. Some casinos offer multiple interfaces.

Web-based online casinos
Web-based online casinos are websites where users may play casino games without downloading software to the local computer. Games are mainly represented in the browser plugins Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Shockwave, or Java and require browser support for these plugins. Also, bandwidth is needed since all graphics, sounds and animations are loaded through the web via the plugin. Some online casinos also allow gameplay through a plain HTML interface.

Download-based online casinos
Download-based online casinos require the download of the software client in order to play and wager on the casino games offered. The online casino software connects to the casino service provider and handles contact without browser support. Download-based online casinos generally run faster than web-based online casinos since the graphics and sound programs are located within the software client, rather than having to be loaded from the Internet. On the other hand, the initial download and installation of a download-based online casino client does take time. As with any download from the Internet, the risk of the program containing malware does exist.

Live-based casinos
Live-based casino gaming is a way to interface with a real world casino while playing online. Recent advancments in communication technology now allow land-based casinos to open a real-time window via the web for players to game tables in an interactive, live environment. With live gaming players can see, hear, and interact with live dealers at tables in brick and mortar casinos worldwide.

Games offered
A typical selection of games offered at an online casino might include:
Baccarat
Blackjack
Craps
Roulette
Slot Machines
Video Poker
See also casino game.

Signup bonuses
Many online casinos offer signup bonuses to new players making their first deposit. These bonuses normally match a percentage of the player's deposit with a dollar maximum, and almost all online casino signup bonuses require a minimum amount of wagering before allowing a cash out. Gameplay at specific casino games might be excluded from the wagering requirement calculation.
A fictional signup bonus offer follows as an example:
The online casino offers new players a deposit matching bonus of 100%, up to $100
The player must wager 25 times the total amount of the deposit plus the bonus before withdrawing
Wagers on baccarat, craps, roulette, and sic bo do not count towards meeting wagering requirements
For this particular example, this would mean that a player depositing $100 would start with $200 in his account. The player must make $5000 ($200 × 25) in wagers before being allowed to make a withdrawal.
Advantage play in casino signup bonus situations is mathematically possible. For example, the house edge in blackjack is roughly 0.5%. In the example above, $5000 in wagering with a house edge of 0.5% will result in an expected loss of $25. Since the player received a $100 signup bonus, the player has an expected profit of $75.
Advantage players who use bonus offers for an expected profit are often called "bonus hunters", "bonus abusers", "bonus baggers", "bonus whores" and "casino scalpers". Some online casinos have restrictions regarding "the spirit of the bonus offer" which they sometimes use as a deterrent to what they consider "bonus abuse".
A player who wishes to do this at a large number of online casinos must be careful. Some casinos are rogues (see below) and do not pay. Others have terms and conditions that are not favorable to the player, such as most bonuses that are restricted to slots.

Fraudulent online casino behavior
Fraudulent behavior on the part of online casinos has been documented. The most commonly reported behaviors are refusal to pay withdrawals or cheating software. Online casinos who have multiple confirmed cases of fraudulent behavior are often called "rogues" or rogue casinos by the online casino player community.
One commonly reported behavior related to refusal to pay withdrawals is the refusal to pay withdrawals promptly, in hopes that the player will continue gambling with the money in the account and lose it all back.
Cheating software appears to be less common than payout problems.
Some casino software has been mathematically proven to cheat, such as Casino Bar (evidence by Michael Shackleford and others). Elka System/Oyster Gaming software is known to cheat, also confirmed by Michael Shackleford. Statistically non-random video poker has been reported at Playtech, see article "OCA STATS". Screen shots from the back office of an older brand of software indicated the odds could be adjusted by the operator.
Much of the speculation about casino software cheating is usually the result of a player finding a pattern in a statistically small set of results. Most people in the online casino industry believe that most of the major casino software brands offer odds and paybacks that are the same as their land-based casino counterparts.
Many casino gambling portals and player forums maintain blacklists of rogue casinos. These can easily found in any major search engine, but most of them constitute indvidual webmaster and player opinions rather than anything official from any type of regulating body.

Fraudulent player behavior
Common fraudulent behavior from online casinos players includes the signing up for multiple casino accounts using different identities in order to claim a bonus offer multiple times. Another form of fraudulent behavior might be the use of a graphics editing software like Adobe Photoshop to create a false winning slot machine game screenshot in an attempt to tell the casino they hit a jackpot and didn't get paid for it.
Online casinos usually lock the player accounts for these people, and it's widely believed that online casinos share fraudulent player blacklists.

Legality
See online gambling for a discussion of the legality of playing at an online casino.

For more information on Online Casino, please visit
Wikipedia.
Casino
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.A casino is a facility that accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are often placed near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other vacation attractions. Some casinos are known for hosting live entertainment events, such as concerts and sporting events, especially boxing.

Content
1 Gambling in casinos
2 History
3 Security

Gambling in casinos
In most jurisdictions, gambling is limited to persons over the age of majority (21 years of age in most of the United States and 18 to 20 in most other countries where casinos are permitted). Customers may gamble by playing slot machines or other games of chance (e.g., craps, roulette, baccarat) and some skill (eg., blackjack, poker) [for more see casino games]. Game rules usually have mathematically-determined odds that ensure the house retains an advantage over the players. This advantage is called the edge. Payout is the percentage given to players. In games such as poker, the house takes a commission (a "rake") on bets players make against each other. Our money refers to the situation where a winning player is placing bets with money that has been won from the casino
A croupier is the person who takes and pays out bets at a gambling table.

History
Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas (jb).The term originally meant a small villa, summerhouse or pavilion built for pleasure, usually on the grounds of a larger Italian villa or palazzo. There are examples of such casinos at Villa Giulia and Villa Farnese. During the 19th century, the term casino came to include other more public buildings where pleasurable activities, including gambling and sports, took place. An example of this type of building is the Newport Casino. In modern Italian, this term designates a bordello (also called "casa chiusa", literally "closed house"), while the gambling house is spelled casinò with an accent.

Security
Traditionally, casinos have had a major concentration on security. Large amounts of currency move through a casino, tempting people to cheat the system. Security today consists of cameras located throughout the property operated by highly trained individuals who attempt to locate cheating and stealing by both players and employees.
Among the most secure and watched areas of a casino are the count rooms and the surveillance room.

For more information on Casino, please visit
Wikipedia.
Sports betting
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sports betting is the general activity of predicting sports results by making a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. Perhaps more so than other forms of gambling, the legality and general acceptance of sports betting varies from nation to nation. In North America, for example, sports gambling is generally forbidden, while in many European nations, bookmaking (the profession of accepting sports wagers) is regarded as an honorable occupation and, while highly regulated, is not criminalized. Proponents of legalized sports betting generally regard it as a hobby for sports fans that increases their interest in particular sporting events, thus benefitting the leagues, teams and players they bet on through higher attendances and television audiences. Opponents fear that, over and above the general ramifications of gambling, it threatens the integrity of amateur and professional sport, the history of which includes numerous attempts by sports gamblers to fix matches, although proponents counter that legitimate bookmakers will invariably fight corruption just as fiercely as governing bodies and law enforcement do.

Contents
1 Types of bets
2 Bookmaking
3 Betting scandals
4 Sports betting forums
5 Betting in fiction

Types of bets
Aside from simple wagers--betting a friend that one's favorite baseball team will win its division, for instance, or buying a football "square" for the Super Bowl--sports betting is commonly done through a bookmaker. Legal sports bookmakers exist throughout the world (perhaps most notably in Las Vegas). In areas where sports betting is illegal, bettors usually make their sports wagers with illicit bookmakers (known colloquially as "bookies") and on the Internet, where thousands of online bookmakers accept wagers on sporting events around the world. (In the United States, the legality of Internet wagering is ambiguous, due to the fact that online bookmakers generally operate outside of the U.S. Many online bookmakers do not accept wagers from the U.S. due to these unresolved legal questions.) The bookmaker earns a commission or "vigorish" by regarding the money at risk as less than the size of the bet placed. A common line is a $110 bet on a fair coin which pays $210 to win and $0 to lose. On this line, it costs $220 to bet both sides of the same coin simultaneously, but the combined bet always pays $210. The $10 loss constitutes the vig. There are opposing positions on whether the winner or loser can be construed as paying the vig, but this debate is not especially meaningful. If you view $110 to win $210 on a fair coin as $100 at risk, then it will appear as if the loser pays the vig; if you view the same line as $110 at risk, then it will appear as if the winner pays the vig. It happens that standard practice among bookies is to adjust odds so the amount at risk remains constant from the winning side of the proposition, hence the common perception that the loser pays the vig. Vigs expressed as percentages suffer from the same perceptual bias. On the line as given in this example, for a fair coin, the bookie has an expectation of making $5 for each $110 bet placed, which is often divided out and expressed as 4.5% Odds on teams or opponents are quoted in terms of the favorite (the team that is expected to win, thus requiring a riskier wager) and the underdog.
Bookmakers generally offer two types of wagers on the winner of a sporting event: a straight-up or money line bet, or a point spread wager. Moneylines and straight-up prices are used to set odds on sports such as soccer, baseball and hockey (the scoring nature of which renders point spreads impractical) as well as individual vs. individual matches, like boxing. For these sports, bookmakers in Europe and Asia generally use straight-up odds, which are quoted based on a payout for a single bet unit; for example, a 2-1 favorite would be listed at a price of 1.50, whereas an underdog returning twice the amount wagered would be listed at a price of 3.00.
American bookmakers generally use moneylines, which are quoted in terms of the amount required to win $100 on a favorite, or the amount paid for a $100 bet on an underdog. The amount "won" in a bet is the net amount over and above the initial bet. If a person wins $200 on a bet of $100, the bookmaker actually pays the winner $300 (i.e. $200 plus the initial bet of $100).
For example, a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs might have a moneyline on St. Louis (the favorite) at -200 and Chicago (the underdog) at +180. A bettor looking to take St. Louis must risk $200 for every $100 he wishes to win over and above the initial $200 bet. A person wagering on Chicago will win $180 for every $100 he bets.
The +180 moneyline on Chicago includes a 20 cent "dime line". Bookmakers generally use a "dime line" with moneylines to calculate the vigorish they receive on losing wagers. Without the 20 cent dimeline in the example above, the Chicago moneyline would be +200.
For favorites of -120 to -150, the difference between the favorite and underdog is 10 cents; i.e., the underdog to a -120 favorite is priced at +110. The discrepancy between prices rises for favorites of -160 or higher.
Unlike point spread bets, a moneyline wager requires only that the team wagered upon win the match. In sports such as baseball, where certain teams can be heavy favorites against weaker opponents (sometimes as much as -350 or higher), the moneyline system requires that a hefty sum be risked on the favorite, while enticing underdog players with a higher payout.

In sports such as basketball and American football, rather than varying the money odds (which can be substantial in lopsided matches), the point spread is used. A point spread wager typically requires a bettor to risk $110 to win $100, the extra $10 being the bookmaker's vigorish if the wager loses. However, bettors backing the favorite collect only if their team wins by more than a specific victory margin, which is set at the time of the wager. Similarly, underdog bettors can collect even when their team loses, as long as they cover the point spread by losing by fewer points than were quoted by the bookmaker. For example, suppose that a college football game between Oklahoma and Kansas had Oklahoma as a 27 point favorite (quoted as Oklahoma -27, or Kansas +27):
If Oklahoma defeats Kansas by more than 27 points, bettors on Oklahoma would receive $100 on a $110 bet. Kansas bettors lose the $110 they wagered.
If Kansas defeats Oklahoma, bettors on Kansas would receive $100 on a $110 bet. Oklahoma bettors lose the $110 they wagered.
If Kansas loses by less than 27 points, they have covered the spread. Bettors on both sides are then treated exactly as if Kansas had won the game.
If Oklahoma wins by exactly 27 points, the wager is called a "push", and neither side wins. Standard practice by U.S. bookmakers is to return the stakes of all bettors on the game in full. To prevent pushes and ensure that they receive their commission on losing wagers, bookmakers often set point spreads that include a half-point.
Another common wager available for sporting events involves predicting the combined total score between the competing teams in a game. Such wagers are known as "totals" or "over/unders." For example, the Oklahoma/Kansas football game described above might have a total of 55 points. A bettor could wager that both teams will combine for over 55 points, and play the "over." Or, she could predict that the score will fall under this amount, and play the "under." As with point spreads, bookmakers frequently set the totals at a number involving a half-point (i.e., 55.5), to reduce the occurrence of pushes.
Many bookmakers offer several alternative bets, including the following:
Proposition bets. These are wagers made on a very specific outcome of a match. Examples include guessing the number of goals each team scores in a soccer match, betting whether a wide receiver in a football game will net more or less than a set amount of total yardage, or wagering that a baseball player on one team will accumulate more hits than another player on the opposing team.
Parlays. A parlay involves multiple bets (usually up to 12) and rewards successful bettors with a large payout. For example, a bettor could include four different wagers in a four-team parlay, whereby he is wagering that all four bets will win. If any of the four bets fails to cover, the bettor loses the parlay, but if all four bets win, the bettor receives a substantially higher payout (usually 10-1 in the case of a four-teamer) than if he made the four wagers separately.
Run line, puck line or goal line bets. These are wagers offered as alternatives to straight-up/moneyline prices in baseball, hockey or soccer, respectively. These bets feature a fixed point spread that offers a higher payout for the favorite and a lower one for the underdog. For example, the above-described Cardinals/Cubs baseball game might offer a run line of St. Louis -1.5 (+100) and Chicago +1.5 (-120). A bettor taking St. Louis on the run line can avoid risking $200 to win $100 on the moneyline, but will collect only if the Cardinals win by 2 runs or more. Similarly, a run line wager on the Cubs will pay if Chicago loses by no more than a run, but it requires the bettor to risk $120 to win $100.
Future wagers. This bet predicts a future accomplishment by a team or player. One example is a bet that a certain NFL team will win the Super Bowl for the upcoming season. Odds for such a bet generally are expressed in a ratio of units paid to unit wagered. The team wagered upon might be 50-1 to win the Super Bowl, which means that the bet will pay 50 times the amount wagered if the team does so.
See also Sports betting systems

Bookmaking
Most people believe that bookmakers attempt to "balance" their action, by adjusting their prices so that they get the same amount of money on both sides of a game. Theoretically, the bookmaker's only financial interest in the bets it accepts is the vigorish it takes from losing wagers, and it simply wants to ensure that the amount of wagers on each side is equal. In reality, however, bookmakers attempt to maximize their bottom line. While having an exactly equal amount of money wagered on each contestant would guarantee themselves a profit and eliminate their risk, that won't necessarily maximize their bottom line. They can make more money when they accept bets at odds which are "inflated" from those which are likely to occur. So for example, if the majority of their customers are going to bet on a team regardless of the price, they will set the price as high as possible. This is called "shading" the line. Generally, the public prefers to back the favorite, and unsophisticated bettors often show up during large events such as the Final Four and the Super Bowl. Some bookmakers actually offer different prices to different customers, using past bets as an indicator of who the customer will bet on as a way of additionally increasing their potential profit.
With a match offering a point spread, however, bookmakers must be careful of moving the line too much. Assume, for example, that a large number of Oklahoma betters caused the line to be moved from 27 points all the way to 29 points. If Oklahoma won the game by 28 points, the bookmaker would have to pay both those who wagered that Oklahoma would win by 27 and those who took Kansas on the 29 point spread. Bookmakers refer to such an event as "being middled." This famously occurred in the 1979 Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, which American bookmakers still remember as "Black Sunday." For that game, bookmakers opened Pittsburgh as a 3.5 point favorite, and the line closed just before kickoff at Pittsburgh -4.5. Pittsburgh won the game 35-31, enabling both those who took the Steelers -3.5 and those who wagered on the Cowboys +4.5 to collect.
Sometimes, a point spread is set at an amount that equals a common margin of victory for a particular sporting event. For instance, American football games are often decided by 3 points (the amount awarded for a field goal) or 7 points (the amount awarded for a touchdown with a successful extra-point attempt). In the case of a football game where the favorite is -7, moving the line up or down would likely result in a middle if the favorite wins by exactly 7 points. In this situation, the bookmaker may choose to adjust the vigorish in response to unbalanced action, rather than move the point spread. If the 7 point favorite is getting the most wagers, a bookmaker may change the vigorish on that team from -7 (-110) to -7 (-120), and move the underdog to +7 (+100). Once this occurs, bettors looking to wager on the favorite must risk $120 for every $100 they wish to win, while underdog players will get even money for every dollar they wager.
A bookmaker's line can be influenced by one or several large wagers made on a match. Bookmakers pay particular attention to the bets of a professional sports gambler, commonly known within the industry as a "sharp" or "wiseguy." Some bookmakers will not accept bets from bettors they believe fit in this category. As a result, professionals use "beards" to make the bets for them. Groups of professionals who work together are known as a "syndicate." These syndicates will often place large wagers with several books simultaneously, causing the prices to move quickly. Observers refer to these fast line movements as "steam."
Conversely, bettors who are primarily recreational are referred to as "squares". Online, there are certain betting shops that cater more towards sharps and those toward squares. Shops that cater towards professionals generally have higher (or no) upper betting limits and offer lower vigorish, while making some of the money back on fees for withdrawals or minimum bets. Meanwhile, "square" shops generally have lower betting limits and offer more sigmup bonuses. In return, they charge the standard 11-to-10 vigorish, and offer worse moneylines than the "sharp" shops. In many of the minor sports, sharps make up the majority of bettors, while for large public sporting events such as the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship and the Super Bowl, recreational bettors make up almost 90% of the betting action at sportsbooks, and are the top betting events both in Nevada and online. [1]
Because of how lines move quickly during sporting events, arbitrage betting is possible. Theoretically, this will guarantee a small profit of 3-6% when a person bets on one line at one shop and on the opposite line at another shop. However, a large sum of capital is required for the amount of reward, and great care must be exercised to avoid accidentally betting on the same side at both shops. Arbitrage situations are commonly found during halftime and intermission periods, where there is a limited amount of time for each bookmaker to determine the line and accept bets.
The Federal Wire Act of 1961 was an attempt by the US government to prevent illegal bookmaking.

Betting scandals
Historically, sports betting has been associated with a number of unsavory characters, which has a lot to do with its desultory legal treatment throughout the world. Organized crime notoriously has relied upon sports betting for money laundering or funding purposes. The corruption or threat of a boxer to take a dive at the x round is a frequent theme in mafia-related movies. All of the American professional sports leagues, as well as the National College Athletic Association (NCAA), take stringent measures to disassociate themselves from sports gambling. Nevertheless, sports history is riddled with several incidents of athletes conspiring with gamblers to fix the outcomes of sporting events, or criminals acting against athletes whose on-field performance affected their wagers.
In 1919, gamblers bribed several members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series. This became known as the Black Sox Scandal and was recounted in book and movie form as "Eight Men Out".
In 1978, mobsters connected with the New York Lucchese crime family, among them Henry Hill and Jimmy Conway, organized a point shaving scheme with key members of the Boston College basketball team.
Andrés Escobar, a Colombian defender, was murdered shortly after his return from the 1994 World Cup, where he scored an own goal, the first of a 2-1 defeat to the USA that knocked out the Colombians at the first phase. In the most believed explanation, the Medellín drug cartel bet large sums of money that Colombia would advance, and blamed the Medellín-born Escobar for the loss. 1
In 1994, a comprehensive point shaving scheme organized by campus bookmaker Benny Silman and involving players from the Arizona State University men's basketball team was uncovered with the assistance of Las Vegas bookmakers, who grew suspicious over repeated large wagers being made against Arizona State.[2]
On 10 February 1999, a plot to disable the floodlights of The Valley during a Charlton-Liverpool match was discovered. Three individuals were arrested, and the scam tracked to Malaysia, where the Premiership is very popular, and bets frequent. 1
In early 2000, Hansie Cronje, then highly-regarded captain of the South African cricket team, rocked the cricketing world with frank admissions of match-fixing. Hansie admitted to receiving more than $140,000 USD from London-based bookies to influence aspects of his team's performance. For example, he convinced Herschelle Gibbs to score less than 20 runs in a One Day International for a $15,000 USD reward. Hansie received a lifetime ban from any involvement in professional cricket but he maintained throughout his numerous trials that he never consipired to fix overall match results. He died tragically in a plane crash in 2002, leaving behind many unanswered questions and a tainted legacy.
In late 2004, the game between Panionios and Dinamo Tbilisi in the 2004-05 UEFA Cup was suspected of being fixed after British bookmakers detected an unusually high number of half-time bets for a 5-2 win for the Greek side, which was trailing 0-1. As the final result ended up being 5-2, suspicions of fixing quickly emerged, but were quickly denied by both clubs, although UEFA started an investigation. 1 2
The Italian Football Federation said in October 2000 it had found eight players guilty of match-fixing. Three were from Serie A side Atalanta and the other five played for Serie B side Pistoiese. The players were Giacomo Banchelli, Cristiano Doni and Sebastiano Siviglia (all Atalanta) and Alfredo Aglietti, Massimiliano Allegri, Daniele Amerini, Gianluca Lillo and Girolamo Bizzarri (all Pistoiese). The charges related to an Italian Cup first round tie between the two sides in Bergamo on August 20, 2000 which ended 1-1. Atalanta scored at the end of the first half and Pistoiese equalised three minutes from full time. Atalanta qualified for the second round. Snai, which organises betting on Italian football, said later it had registered suspiciously heavy betting on the result and many of the bets were for a 1-0 halftime score and a fulltime score of 1-1.
In early 2005, the German Football Association (DFB) revealed that referee Robert Hoyzer was under investigation for suspected betting on a first-round German Cup tie between regional league side Paderborn and Bundesliga club Hamburger SV in August 2004, and possibly fixing the match. In the match, HSV took a 2-0 lead, but Hoyzer sent off HSV striker Emile Mpenza in the first half for alleged dissent (a sending-off that many observers considered unwarranted), and later awarded Paderborn two dubious penalties. Paderborn went on to win 4-2. 1 Several days later, Hoyzer admitted to having fixed that match, as well as several others he worked. He went on to implicate other referees and several players in the scandal. Hoyzer himself was arrested on February 12 after evidence emerged that he may have fixed more matches than he had admitted to fixing. On February 16, UEFA announced that it would send an investigator to Athens to investigate possible links between this scandal and the aforementioned Panionios-Dinamo UEFA Cup tie. 2 Eventually, Hoyzer was sentenced to 2 years and 5 months in prison. The Croatian betting syndicate which had paid Hoyzer to fix matches was also found to be linked to the Panionios-Dinamo match.
In late September 2005, two referees (Edilson Pereira de Carvalho and Paulo Jose Danelon) were accused of fixing several matches in the São Paulo championship for an internet betting ring that moved over USD100,000 on each match day, receiving around USD 4,400 for each match 1. In the following days, Armando Marques, president of the national commission of referees resigned and Nagib Fayad and Vanderlei Pololi, two businessmen, were arrested as suspects of working as middlemen between the referees and the corruption ring. In early October, a court ordered that the matches where Carvalho was the referee would have to be replayed and free to the public 2. No decision was made about Danelon's matches.

Sports betting forums
The Internet not only revolutioned the ability to bet online, but also the ability to communicate with like-minded bettors. Sports betting forums offer lively give and take where bettors discuss their predictions about games and help one another decide on profitable bets. See sports betting forums.

Betting in fiction
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
In the 1989 film Back To The Future Part II, after Marty and Doc travel to 2015, the old Biff Tannen takes a Sports Almanac back in time to give it to himself in 1955, advising his younger self to use it for betting on any forthcoming sports events up until 2000. Younger Biff does and becomes a millionaire, which creates an altered version of time which Marty and Doc encounter when they return to 1985. In order to restore the damage done from the bets, they need to travel to 1955 and destroy the almanac before it is ever used.

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Wikipedia.
Slot machine
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Slot machines in the Trump Taj MahalA slot machine (American English), poker machine (Australian English), or fruit machine (British English) is a certain type of casino game. Traditional slot machines are coin-operated machines with three or more reels, which spin when a lever on the side of the machine is pulled. The machines include a currency detector that validates the coin or money inserted to play. (The slot machine is also known informally as a one-armed bandit because of its appearance and its ability to leave the gamer penniless.) The machine typically pays off based on patterns of symbols visible on the front of the machine when it stops. Modern computer technology has resulted in many variations on the slot machine concept. Today, slot machines have become one of the most popular attractions in casinos.

Contents
1 History
2 Description
3 Terminology
4 Pay Table
5 Technology
5.1 Random number generator
5.2 Payout precentage
5.3 Linked machines
5.4 Near-miss programming
6 Regional Variations
6.1 United States
6.1.1 Native American casinos
6.1.2 Slot machine classes
6.1.3 Slot clubs
6.2 Australia
6.3 United Kingdom
6.4 Japan
7 Myths
7.1 "Hot" and "Cold" machines
7.2 Placement
7.3 Payout changes
7.4 Missed opportunities
8 Addiction
9 Trivia
10 Bibliography

History
Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York developed a gambling machine in 1891 that could be considered a precursor to the modern slot machine. It contained 5 drums holding a total of 50 card faces and was based on poker. This machine proved extremely popular and soon there was hardly a bar in the city that didn't have one or more of the machines bar-side. Players would insert a nickel and press a lever, which would spin the drums and the cards they held, the player hoping for a good poker hand. There was no direct payout mechanism, so a pair of Kings might get you a free beer, whereas a Royal Flush could payout cigars or drinks, the prizes wholly dependent on what was on offer at the local establishment. In order to make the odds better for the house, two cards were typically removed from the "deck": the Ten of Spades and the Jack of Hearts, which cut the odds of winning a Royal Flush by half. The drums could also be re-arranged to further reduce a player's chance of winning.
The first "one-armed bandit" was invented in 1887 by Charles Fey of San Francisco, California, who devised a much simpler automatic mechanism [1]. Due to the vast number of possible wins with the original poker card-based game, it proved practically impossible to come up with a way to make a machine capable of making an automatic pay-out for all possible winning combinations. Charles Fey devised a machine with three spinning reels containing a total of five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell, which also gave the machine its name. By replacing ten cards with five symbols and using three reels instead of five drums, the complexity of reading a win was considerably reduced, allowing Fey to devise an effective automatic payout mechanism. Three bells in a row produced the biggest payoff, ten nickels. Liberty Bell was a huge success and spawned a thriving mechanical gaming device industry. Even when the use of these gambling devices was banned in his home State after a few years, Fey still couldn't keep up with demand for the game elsewhere.
Another early machine gave out winning in the form of fruit flavoured chewing gums with pictures of the flavours as symbols on the reels. The popular cherry and melon symbols derive from this machine. The "BAR" symbol now common in slot machines was derived from an early logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company. In 1964, Bally developed the first fully electromechanical slot machine called Money Honey.

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Description

A row of "Wheel of Fortune" slot machines in a casino in Las Vegas. This specific slot machine is loosely based on the TV game show Wheel of FortuneA person playing a slot machine purchases the right to play by inserting coins, cash, or in newer machines, a bar-coded paper ticket (known as "ticket in/ticket out" machines), into a designated slot on the machine. The machine is then activated by means of a lever or button, or on newer machines, by pressing a touchscreen on its face. The game itself may or may not involve skill on the player's part — or it may create the illusion of involving skill without actually being anything else than a game of chance. The object of the game is to win money from the machine. The game usually involves matching symbols, either on mechanical reels that spin and stop to reveal one or several symbols, or on a video screen. The symbols are usually brightly colored and easily recognizable, such as images of fruits, and simple shapes such as bells, diamonds, or hearts.
Most games have a variety of winning combinations of symbols, often posted on the face of the machine. If a player matches a combination according to the rules of the game, the slot machine pays the player cash or some other sort of value, such as extra games.
There are many different kinds of gambling slot machines in places such as Las Vegas. Some of the most popular are the video poker machines, in which players hope to obtain a set of symbols corresponding to a winning poker hand. There are standard 5-card draw machines, all the way up to 100-play machines, where you can play 100 hands at a time.
Becoming more popular now are the 9 line slots. Usually these are themed slots, with graphics and music based on popular entertainers or TV programs (Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, etc.) with a bonus round. Most accept variable amounts of credit to play with 1 to 5 credits per line being typical. The higher the amount bet, the higher the payout will be.
Of course, there are the standard 3 - 5 reel slot machines, of various types. These are the typical "one-armed bandits".
One of the main differences between video slots and reel slots is in the way payouts are calculated. With reel slots, the only way to win the maximum jackpot is to play the maximum number of coins (usually 3, sometimes 4, or even 5 coins per spin). With video slots, the fixed payout values are multiplied by the number of coins per line that are being bet. In other words: on a reel slot, it is to the player's advantage to play with the maximum number of coins available. On video slots, it is recommended to play as many individual lines as possible, but there is no benefit to the player in betting more than one credit per line with regards to calculating the payout amounts. (There are some isolated cases where a video slot machine requires the maximum number of credits per spin to be inserted to win the largest payout, but those are the exception.) An example: On the "Wheel of Fortune" reel slot, the player must play 3 coins per spin to be eligible to trigger the bonus round and possibly win the jackpot. On the Wheel of Fortune video slot, the chances of triggering the bonus round or winning the maximum jackpot are exactly the same regardless of the number of coins bet on each line.
Larger casinos offer slot machines with denominations from $.01 (penny slots) all the way up to $100.00 or more per credit. Large denomination slot machines are usually cordoned off from the rest of the casino into a "High Limit" area, often with a separate team of hosts to cater to the needs of the high-rollers who play there.
Slot machines common in casinos at this time are more complicated. Most allow players to accept their winnings as credits, which may be "spent" on additional spins.

In the last few years, new slot machines commonly known as "multi-denomination" have been introduced. In a multi-denomination slot machine, the player can choose the value of each credit wagered from a list of options. Based upon the player's selection, the slot machine automatically calculates the number of credits the player receives in exchange for the cash inserted and displays the amount of available credits to the player. (For example, a player could choose to wager one dollar per game on a nickel slot machine.) This eliminates the need for a player to find a specific denomination of a particular slot machine; they can concentrate on simply finding the machine and setting the denomination once they decide to play.

Recently, some casinos have chosen to take advantage of a concept commonly known as "tokenization": 1 token buys more than one credit. A casino can configure slot machines of numerous different denominations to accept the same type of token. (For example, all penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar slot machines could be configured to accept dollar tokens.) This significantly reduces a casino's inventory costs and coin handling costs. A tokenized slot machine automatically calculates the number of credits the player receives in exchange for the token inserted and displays the amount of available credits to the player. When a player chooses to collect his credits (by pressing a "Cash Out" button), the slot machine will automatically divide the number of credits on the credit meter by the value of one token and return the result to the patron. Any remainder is known as "residual credits" and cannot be collected. Residual credits must be either played or abandoned.

Terminology
Bonus is a special feature of the particular game theme, which is activated when certain symbols appear in a winning combination. In the bonus, the player is presented with several items on a screen from which to choose. As the player chooses items, a number of credits is revealed and awarded. Some bonuses use a mechanical device, such as a spinning wheel, that works in conjunction with the bonus to display the amount won.
Candle is a light on top of the slot machine. It flashes to alert the operator that a hand pay is requested or that there is a problem with the machine.
Carousel refers to a grouping of slot machines.
Coin hopper is a container where the coins that are immediately available for payouts are held. The hopper is a mechanical device that rotates coins into the coin tray when a player collects his credits/coins (by pressing a "Cash Out" button). When a certain preset coin capacity is reached, a coin diverter automatically redirects, or "drops", excess coin into a "drop bucket" or "drop box".
Credit meter is a visual display of the amount of money or credits on the machine.
Drop bucket or drop box is a container located in a slot machine's base where excess coins are diverted from the hopper. Typically, a drop bucket is used for low denomination slot machines and a drop box is used for high denomination slot machines. A drop box contains a hinged lid with one or more locks whereas a drop bucket does not contain a lid. The contents of drop buckets and drop boxes are collected and counted by the casino on a scheduled basis.
Hand pay refers to a payout made by a slot attendant or cage, rather than the slot machine. A hand pay occurs when the amount of the payout exceeds the maximum amount that was preset by the slot machine's operator. Usually, the maximum amount is set at the level where the operator must begin to deduct taxes. A hand pay could also be necessary as a result of a short pay.
Hopper fill slip is a document used to record the replenishments of the coin in the coin hopper after it becomes depleted as a result of making payouts to players. The slip indicates the amount of coin placed into the hoppers, as well as the signatures of the employees involved in the transaction, the slot machine number and the location and the date.
Low Level or Slant Top slot machines include a stool so you can sit and play. Stand Up or Upright slot machines are played while standing.
Optimal play is a payback percentage based on a gambler using the optimal strategy in a skill-based slot machine game.
Payline is a straight or zig-zagged line that crosses through one symbol on each reel, along which a winning combination is evaluated. Classic spinning reel machines usually have up to nine paylines, while video slot machines may have as many as fifty.
Rollup is the process of dramatizing a win by playing sounds while the meters count up to the amount that has been won.
Short pay refers to a partial payout made by a slot machine, which is less than the amount due to the player. This occurs if the coin hopper has been depleted as a result of making earlier payouts to players. The remaining amount due to the player is paid as a hand pay.
Theoretical Hold Worksheet is a document provided by the manufacturer for all slot machines, which indicates the theoretical percentage that the slot machine should hold based on adequate levels of coin-in. The worksheet also indicates the reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout schedule, the number of reels and other information descriptive of the particular type of slot machine.
Weight count is an American term, referring to the dollar amount of coins or tokens removed from a slot machine's drop bucket or drop box and counted by the casino's hard count team through the use of a weigh scale.
Pay Table
Each machine has a table that lists the number of credits the player will receive if the symbols listed on the pay table line up on the pay line of the machine. Some symbols are wild and will pay if they are visible in any position, even if they are not on the pay line. Especially on older machines, the pay table is listed on the face of the machine, usually above and below the area containing the wheels. Most video machines display the pay table when the player presses a "pay table" button or touches "pay table" on the screen; some have the pay table listed on the cabinet as well.

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Technology
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Random number generator
It is a common belief that the odds on a machine have something to do with the number of each kind of symbol on each reel, but in modern slot machines this is no longer the case. Modern slot machines are computerized, so that the odds are whatever they are programmed to be. In modern slot machines, the reels and lever are present for historical and entertainment reasons only. The positions the reels will come to rest on are chosen by a Random Number Generator (RNG) contained in the machine's software. This is called "virtual reel" technology.
The RNG is constantly generating random numbers, at a rate of thousands to millions per second. As soon as the lever is pulled or the "Play" button is pressed, the most recent random number is used to determine the result. This means that the result varies depending on exactly when the game is played. A fraction of a second earlier or later, and the result would be different.

Payout precentage
Slot machines are typically programmed to pay out as winnings between 82 to 98 percent of the money that is wagered by players. This is known as the "theoretical payout percentage". The minimum theoretical payout percentage varies among jurisdictions and is typically established by law or regulation. For example, the minimum payout percentage in Nevada is 75 percent and in New Jersey is 83 percent. The winning patterns on slot machines, the amounts they pay, and the frequency at which they appear are carefully selected to yield a certain percentage of the cost of play to the "house" (the operator of the slot machine), while returning the rest to the player during play. Suppose that a certain slot machine costs $1 per spin. It can be calculated that over a sufficiently long period, such as 1,000,000 spins, that the machine will return an average of $950,000 to its players, who have inserted $1,000,000 during that time. In this (simplified) example, the slot machine is said to pay out 95%. The operator keeps the remaining $50,000.
A slot machine's theoretical payout percentage is set at the factory when the software is written. Changing the payout percentages after a slot machine has been placed on the gaming floor requires a physical swap of the software, which is usually stored on an EPROM but may be downloaded to Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) or even stored on CD-ROM or DVD depending on the technological capabilities of the machine and the regulations of the jurisdiction. Based on current technology, this is a time consuming process and as such is done infrequently. In certain jurisdictions, such as New Jersey, the EPROM is sealed with a tamper-evident seal and can only be changed in the presence of Gaming Control Board officials. Other jurisdictions, including Nevada, randomly audit slot machines to ensure that they contain only approved software.
In many markets where central monitoring and control systems are used to link machines for auditing and security purposes, usually in wide area networks of multiple venues and thousands of machines, player return must usually be changed from a central computer rather than at each individual machine. A range of percentages are preprogrammed into the game software and selected by configuring the machine remotely.)
In 2006, the Nevada Gaming Commission began working with Las Vegas casinos on technology that would allow the casino's slot manager to change the game, the odds, and the payouts remotely via a computer. The change cannot be done instantaneously, but only after the selected machine has been idle for at least four minutes. After the change is made, the machine must be locked to new players for four minutes and display an on-screen message informing potential players that a change is being made. ref)

Linked machines
Often machines are linked together in a way that allows a group of machines to offer a particularly large prize, or "jackpot". Each slot machine in the group contributes a small amount to this progressive jackpot, which is awarded to a player who gets (for example) a royal flush on a video poker machine, or a specific combination of symbols on a regular or 9 line slot machine. The amount paid for the progressive jackpot is usually far higher than any single slot machine could pay on its own.

In some cases multiple machines are linked across multiple casinos. In these cases, the machines may be owned by the machine maker who is responsible for paying the jackpot. The casinos lease the machines rather than owning them outright. Megabucks may be the best known example of this type of machine. Megabucks Nevada starts at $7,000,000 after a jackpot. The new penny Megabucks video game has a jackpot that starts at $10,000,000.
Slot machines that are not linked to a large regional jackpot such as Megabucks usually have higher payout percentages, as linked machines have to take into consideration the large jackpot amount into their payout percentage calculations.

Near-miss programming
Because the reel display of modern slot machines is controlled by computer software, it is possible to make the slot machine frequently display combinataions that are close to winning combinations. For instance, if the jackpot combination is "7-7-7", a slot machine could be programmed to frequently display "7-7-(non-7)". This can fool the player into thinking they "almost won", teasing them into playing more often.
This practice of showing combinations that are similar to winning combinations more frequently than would occur randomly is called "near-miss" programming. It has been ruled illegal in the U.S. states of Nevada and New Jersey. The Nevada Gaming Commission did review some machines with this type of programming and refused to authorize them.
There is a related phenomenon that is also sometimes called "near-miss". The chance of a winning combination appearing on a payline is controlled by the winning percentages programmed into the slot machine. However, the combinations appearing above and below the payline are all roughly equally randomly distributed. This means it is much more likely that a "winning combination" will appear above or below a payline than on the payline. Using the same example above, it is much more likely that a "winning combination" of "7-7-7" would appear on a line above or below the payline than the chance that it would appear on the payline.
The issue of a near-miss above or below the payline was also investigated by the Nevada Gaming Commission. They ruled that this was legal, so long as the "near-miss" above or below the payline was not specially programmed. In other words, the "near-miss" must be just as likely to occur as any other combination. The machine cannot be specially programmed to show "winning combinations" more frequently than other combinations above or below the payline. [2]

Regional Variations

United States
In the United States, the public and private availability of slot machines is highly regulated by state governments. Many states have established gaming control boards to regulate the possession and use of slot machines. Nevada is the only state that has no significant restrictions against slot machines both for public and private use. In New Jersey, slot machines are only allowed in hotel-casinos operated in Atlantic City. Several states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri) allow slot machines (as well as any casino-style gambling) only on licensed riverboats or permanently anchored barges. For a list of state by state regulations on private slot machine ownership, see U.S. state slot machine ownership regulations.

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Native American casinos
Native American casinos located in reservations are not permitted to have slot machines unless the tribe first reaches a pact with the state in which it is located (per Indian Gaming Regulatory Act). Typically, a pact entitles the state to receives a percentage of the gross revenue from slot machines.

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Slot machine classes
Some states have restrictions on the type (called "class") of slot machines that can be used in a casino or other gaming area. "Class III" (or "traditional") slot machines operate independently from a centralized computer system and a player's chance of winning any payout is the same with every play. Class III slots are most often seen in Nevada or Atlantic City and are sometimes referred to as "Vegas-style slots".
"Class II" slot machines (also known as "Video Lottery Terminals" or "VLTs") are connected to a centralized computer system that determines the outcome of each wager. In this way, Class II slot machines mimic scratch-off lottery tickets in that each machine has an equal chance of winning a series of limited prizes. Either class of slot machines may or may not have a player skill element.

Slot clubs
Many American casinos offer free memberships in "slot clubs", which return a small percentage of the amount of money that is bet in the form of "comps" (complimentary food, drinks, hotel rooms, or merchandise), or sometimes as cash back (sometimes with a restriction that the cash be redeemed at a later date). These clubs require that players use a card that is inserted into the slot machine, to allow the casino to track the player's "action" (how much the player bets and for how long), which is often used to establish a level of play that may make a player eligible for additional comps. Comps or cash back from these clubs can make a significant difference in the maximum theoretical return when playing slot machines over a long period of time.

Australia
Queen of the Nile(manufactured by Aristocrat), one of the most popular Australian poker machine games, also very popular in some American casinosGenerally referred to as poker machines or pokies, but officially known as 'Gaming Machines', Australia has one of the highest concentration of poker machines per head of population in the world, with changes in regulations leading to a profusion of poker machine venues across the country. Various objectors, including many branches of the clergy and also charities for the poor, have criticized the spread of the machines, as they claim that it has led to a huge rise in the levels of "problem gambling" - gambling to a level that causes financial and social stress to the gambler and their families, as well as the general levels of gambling.
Australian-style poker machines use video displays to simulate (usually) five physical reels. These machines also have additional bonusing and second-screen features such as free games and bonus levels. They also allow for multiple lines (up to 50) or multiple ways (up to 243 ways) to be played. This higher level of complexity has meant that greater revenues can be obtained by operators, but also that the potential for problem gambling to develop is increased.
Poker machines are found in casinos (approximately one in each major city) as well as pubs and clubs (usually sports, social, or RSL clubs). This greater accessibility is also seen as a potential contributor to problem gambling.
The first Australian state to legalize this style of gambling was New South Wales in 1956 when they were made legal in all registered clubs in the state.
Laws governing gambling in Australia are controlled at the state level and as such, they vary from state to state. In the state of Queensland gaming machines in pubs and clubs must provide a return rate of 60% while machines located in casinos must provide a return rate of 90%.

[edit]
United Kingdom
Slot machines are often known as fruit machines and AWP (Amusement with Prizes) in theBritain. Slot machines are commonly found in pubs, clubs, arcades, and some take-away food shops. These machines commonly have 3 or 6 reels with around 16 or 24 fruit symbols printed around them. These reels are spun, and if certain combinations of fruit appear, winnings are paid from the machine, or subgames are played. These are very similar to slot machines seen in casinos and elsewhere around the world, but the term "fruit machine" is usually applied to a type of machine more commonly found in pubs and arcades. These games have lots of extra features, trails and subgames with opportunities to win money, usually more than can be won from just the reels. However, the jackpots from these fruit machines are strictly limited with many machines paying no more than a maximum of £25 in any one win.
It is known for machines to payout multiple jackpots, one after the other, this is known as a streak but each jackpot requires a new game to be played (circumventing the maximum £25 pound per game rule). Private members clubs are allowed "club machines", which have higher jackpots.
These machines also operate in a different fashion to American slot machines; whereas slots are programmed to pay a percentage over the long-run, there is no reason why a jackpot cannot be paid straight after one has already been won - this is because over the long-run the percentage payout will be the same. However, in the UK, a fruit machine takes on an amount above its payout percentage before winning, so if a payout is 95%, a machine will make the player lose £10 before paying out £9.50. As such, it is sensible to watch for people playing these machines but not winning as the likelihood of a win increases. This, however, is called Sharking.
This type of fruit machine is popular across Europe (in the countries where they are legal), and very popular in countries such as the Czech Republic, Russia, and Ukraine.
The minimum payout percentage is 70% in Britain, with pubs often setting the payout at around 78%.
It has been alleged by the Fairplay campaign that UK fruit machines employ fraudulent techniques in which gambles and chances which appear to be random are in fact pre-determined and cannot be affected by player choices. 1
...at this point, you'll have gambled the win up to £25. However, the machine doesn't want you to gamble any further. If from the 5 you select "High", the machine will spin in a 3 and you'll lose. If, on the other hand, you select "Low", the machine will spin in a 9 and you'll lose...
The claims centre around the emulation of fruit machine hardware on computers, which allow for the machines RAM state to be saved at a particular point and replayed making a different choice. The fruit machine industry has hit back at the allegations. Currently the issue has supposedly been considered by the UK Gaming Board (now the Gambling Commission) and warning notices and possibly modifications are to be put in place, though it is unclear as to whether this has happened. This is infact the law now in the UK and all machines carry a warning notice informing the user that the machine may at times offer the player a choice in which they have no possible chance to win.

Japan
Japan has a relatively new involvement in slot machines, roughly since after the American occupation during the World War II era. Most machines can be found in Pachinko parlors and the adult sections of amusement arcades, known as game centers.
The machines are regulated with IC chips, and has six different levels changing the odds of a "777". The levels provide a rough outcome of between 90% to an astonishing 160% (200% if using skills). Indeed, the Japanese slot machines are "beatable"
Despite the many varieties of the machines, there are certain rules and regulations put forward by a commission. For example, there must be three reels. Also, all reels must be accompanied by buttons which stop these reels, etc.

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Myths
[edit]
"Hot" and "Cold" machines
Standard slot machines do not get "hot" or "cold". The odds of hitting a winning combination are determined by a random number generator contained in the machine's software and is exactly the same with every spin. Such slot machines are never "due to be hit" if they haven't paid out a jackpot in a while. (Exception: UK-style AWP machines are progressive which means chances of winning will increase over time if the machine has not paid any wins out. Many also "force" wins on players in order to meet the payout percentage).

Placement
There is a science to the placement of slot machines on the gaming floor, but the highest paying machines are not necessarily placed in high-traffic areas. Typically, machines of similar payback percentages are grouped together, with 1% or less difference from machine to machine in the group.

Payout changes
In most jurisdictions, casinos cannot alter the machine's payout percentage by time of day, day of week, or remotely via a computer.
Using a slot club card does not affect the machine's payout percentage. The card just allows the casino to keep track of the amount wagered by a player and issue complimentaries accordingly.

Missed opportunities
You leave a machine. Another player comes up and immediately hits a jackpot. You think, "If I had played just one more time, I would have won that jackpot."
A machine returns a higher jackpot for playing more coins. You play fewer coins, and a winning combination appears. You think, "If I had played more coins, I would have won more money."
In both cases, you did not "miss" an opportunity to win. The results of modern slot machines depend on exactly when you play them. It is very unlikely in either case that you would have received the same result if you had played just one more time or just one more coin. See Random Number Generator above.

Addiction
Slot machines, like other gambling devices and games, can be addictive to some individuals.

Trivia
The first Liberty Bell slot machine can be found at the Liberty Belle Saloon & Restaurant on 4250 S. Virginia, Reno, Nevada. Brothers Marshall and Frank Fey opened the restaurant Nov. 20, 1958. The Fey's grandfather, Charles Fey, invented the first three-wheeled slot machine, and the restaurant has a collection of more than 200 antique machines. The Liberty Belle closed on March 17, 2006 and the location was recently purchased by the Reno-Sparks Convention Center which is located nearby.
On July 8, 2006, the Liberty Belle's slot machine collection will be auctioned off at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
The first MegaJackpot system was introduced by International Game Technology in 1986. It is known as a Wide Area Progressive system.

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Poker
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Poker Room at the Trump Taj MahalThis article is about the card game. For the domestic fireplace tool, see fireplace poker.
Poker is a card game, the most popular of a class of games called vying games, in which players with fully or partially concealed cards make wagers into a central pot, which is awarded to the player or players with the best combination of cards or to the player who makes an uncalled bet. Poker can also refer to video poker, a single-player game seen in casinos much like a slot machine, or to other games that use poker hand rankings.

Contents
1 Game play
2 History
3 Quotations

Game play
Poker is played in hundreds of variations, but most follow the same basic pattern of play.
The right to deal each hand typically rotates among the players and is marked by a token called a button or buck. In a casino a house dealer handles the cards for each hand, but a button (typically a white plastic disk) is rotated among the players to indicate a nominal dealer to determine the order of betting.
For each hand, one or more players are required to make forced bets to create an initial stake for which the players will contest. The dealer shuffles the cards, he or another player cuts, and the appropriate number of cards are dealt to the players one at a time. After the initial deal, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins. Between rounds, the players' hands develop in some way, often by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt. At the end of each round, all bets are gathered into the central pot.

At any time during a betting round, if a player makes a bet, opponents are required to match it or to surrender their cards and forfeit their interest in the pot. If one player bets and no opponents choose to match the bet, the deal ends immediately, the bettor is awarded the pot, no cards are required to be shown, and the next deal begins. The ability to win a pot without showing a hand makes bluffing possible. Bluffing is a primary feature of poker, one that distinguishes it from other vying games and from other games that make use of poker hand rankings.

At the end of the last betting round, if more than one player remains, there is a showdown, in which the players reveal their previously hidden cards and evaluate their hands. The player with the best hand according to the poker variant being played wins the pot.
Most popular poker variants can be loosely classified as draw poker, stud poker, or community card poker; miscellaneous poker games exist. The most commonly played games in these categories are five-card draw, seven-card stud, and Texas hold 'em, respectively.
See the article on betting for detailed rules regarding forced bets, betting actions, limits, stakes, and all-in situations.
See the articles on poker variants and hand rankings for details about the order of play and hand rankings for the most common poker variants.

History
The history of poker is a matter of some debate. The name of the game likely descended from the French poque, which descended from the German pochen ('to knock'), but it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It closely resembles the Persian game of as nas, and may have been taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. The English game brag (earlier bragg) clearly descended from brelan and incorporated bluffing (though the concept was known in other games by that time). It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists now.
English actor Joseph Crowell reported that the game was played in New Orleans in 1829, with a deck of 20 cards, four players betting on which player's hand was the most valuable. Jonathan H. Green's book, An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling (G. B. Zieber, Philadelphia, 1843), described the spread of the game from there to the rest of the country by Mississippi riverboats, on which gambling was a common pastime. As it spread up the Mississippi and West during the gold rush, it is thought to have become a part of the frontier, pioneering ethos.
Harry Truman's poker chipsSoon after this spread, the full 52-card English deck was used, and the flush was introduced. During the American Civil War, many additions were made, including draw poker, stud poker (the five-card variant), and the straight. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card (around 1875), lowball and split-pot poker (around 1900), and community card poker games (around 1925). Spread of the game to other countries, particularly in Asia, is often attributed to the U.S. military.
The game and jargon of poker have become important parts of American culture and English culture. Such phrases as ace in the hole, ace up one's sleeve, beats me, blue chip, call one's bluff, cash in, high roller, pass the buck, poker face, stack up, up the ante, when the chips are down, wild card, and others are used in everyday conversation, even by those unaware of their origins at the poker table.
Modern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began, in 1970. Notable champions from these early WSOP tournaments include Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, and Doyle Brunson. It was also during that decade that the first serious strategy books appeared, notably Super System, by Doyle Brunson (ISBN 1580420818) and The Book of Tells by Mike Caro (ISBN 0897461002), followed later by The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (ISBN 1880685000).
Poker’s popularity experienced an unprecedented spike in the first years of the twenty-first century, largely because of the introduction of online poker and the invention of the hole-card camera, which turned the game into a spectator sport. Viewers could now follow the action and drama of the game, and broadcasts of poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour brought in huge audiences for cable and satellite TV distributors. Because of the increasing coverage of poker events, poker pros are becoming more and more like celebrities, with poker fans all over the world entering into expensive tournaments for the chance to play with them. This increased camera exposure also brings about a new dimension to the poker pro's game—the realization that their actions may be aired later on TV.

Major poker tournament fields have grown dramatically because of the growing popularity of online satellite-qualifier tournaments where the prize is an entry into a major tournament. The 2003 and 2004 WSOP champions, Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, respectively, won their seats to the main event by winning online satellites.

Quotations
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
PokerPoker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism and democracy. It can be rough-hewn or polished, warm or cold, charitable and caring or hard and impersonal. It is fickle and elusive, but ultimately it is fair, and right, and just.—Lou Krieger
If you can't spot the sucker within the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.—common poker saying, as spoken by Matt Damon in Rounders; originally attributed to Amarillo Slim
Whether he likes it or not, a man's character is stripped bare at the poker table; if the other players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in cards, as in life.—Anthony Holden (from Big Deal)
There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker... Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kindhearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a 'flush'. It is enough to make one ashamed of one's species.—Mark Twain
Nobody is always a winner, and anybody who says he is, is either a liar or doesn't play poker.—Amarillo Slim
They anticipate losing when they sit down and I try my darnedest not to disappoint one of them.—Amarillo Slim
Poker is a game of people. . . . It's not the hand I hold, it's the people that I play with.—Amarillo Slim
Hold-'em is to stud what chess is to checkers.—Johnny Moss
The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the chip was a genius.—Julius Weintraub, a.k.a. "Big Julie"
Poker is the game closest to the western conception of life, where life and thought are recognized as intimately combined, where free will prevails over philosophies of fate or of chance, where men are considered moral agents and where - at least in the short run - the important thing is not what happens but what people think happens.—[John Lukacs]]
Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.—Steven Wright
Cards are war, in disguise of a sport.—Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia (1832)
Poker is a godless game, full of random pain.—Andy Bloch
You call this one and it's all over, baby.—Scotty Nguyen, during the 1998 World Series of Poker. Down to him and one other player, he said this to his opponent who called, and it was all over.
Luck favours the backbone, not the wishbone.—Doyle Brunson
Mae West: Is poker a game of chance? W.C. Fields: Not the way I play it.—My Little Chickadee
Yeah, well, sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.—Cool Hand Luke, showing his stone-cold bluff after winning a 7-card stud pot listen
The game exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made our country so great.—Walter Matthau

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Bookmaker
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The act of physically making a book is called "bookbinding".
A bookmaker, bookie or turf accountant, is an organisation or a person that takes bets and may pay winnings depending upon results and, depending on the nature of the bet, the odds. Bookmaking may be legal or illegal, and may be regulated; in the United Kingdom it was at times both regulated and illegal, in that licences were required but no debts arising from gambling could be enforced through the courts. Bookmaking is generally illegal in the United States, with Nevada being a notable exception.
In some countries, such as Singapore and Canada, the only legal bookmaker is state-owned and operated. In Canada, this is part of the lottery program and is known as Sport Select.
Most bookmakers in the USA bet on college and professional sports, though in the UK they offer a wider range of bets, notably on political elections. The probability that it will snow on Christmas day is another common event for betting in the UK.
By adjusting the odds in his favour or by having a point spread, the bookmaker will aim to guarantee a profit by achieving a 'balanced book', either by getting an equal number of bets for each outcome, or (when he is offering odds) by getting the amounts wagered on each outcome to reflect the odds. When a large bet comes in, a bookmaker can also try to lay off the risk by buying bets from other bookmakers. The bookmaker does not generally attempt to make money from the bets themselves, but rather profiting from the event regardless of the outcome.
Traditionally, bookmakers have been located at the racecourse, but improved TV coverage and laxer laws have allowed betting in shops and casinos in most countries. In the UK, bookies still chalk up the odds on boards beside the race course and use tic-tac to signal the odds between their staff and to other bookies.
In 1961, Harold Macmillan's Conservative Government legalized betting shops and tough measures were enacted to ensure that bookmakers remained honest. A large and respectable industry has grown since. At one time there were over 15,000 betting shops in the U.K. Now, through consolidation, they have been reduced to about 8,500. Currently there are four major bookmakers in the United Kingdom: William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, and state-owned ToteSport.
Increasingly, gamblers are turning to the use of betting exchanges which automatically match Back and Lay bets between different bettors, thus effectively cutting out the bookmaker's traditional profit margin. Some bookmakers have even taken to using betting exchanges as a way of laying off unfavourable bets and thus reducing their overall exposure.
Sometimes, savvy individuals set up an illegal book in an attempt to make money - a scene often seen in films, sitcoms and so on. One of the most infamous real-life illegal bookmakers was Robert Angleton of Houston, Texas. Not only was he a bookie, but he also was a police informant about his smaller rivals. When they were shuttered, he took their business. His bookmaking scheme ended with the death of his wife, Doris Angleton.

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