Is playing parlay cards a decent wager? Correspondingly, when betting more teams (for example six) for a higher payoff, does that give you any advantage than if you were to bet three or four games? Tim H.

Geez, Tim, it’s hard enough picking one winner when players are beefed up on some miraculous substance – why try six? So, uh-uh to both of your questions.

For those not in the sports-betting loop, a parlay bet is a wager on the outcome of two or more athletic events, in which the multiple games are tied together to form a single wager. Advantage to you: you get higher odds than you’d have betting on the different sporting events individually.

Disadvantage: the odds can be far below true probability, and, you must win ALL the games to win the parlay.

Quick note here: Some cards specify that ties lose, and others that they win. Other cards outlaw ties by ending all the spreads with 1/2. Looking for parlay cards that offer ties-win clearly helps the player. As for part two of your question, the more events parlayed the more the odds tip toward the house. Here are some examples of parlay betting options.

Games Bet True Odds Typical Return

2 games 3-1 13-5

3 games 7-1 6-1

4 games 15-1 10-1

5 games 31-1 20-1

6 games 63-1 40-1

7 games 127-1 80-1

The one upside for the player of parlays lies in this: if he wins, he gets a decent payoff for a small bet. But, two out of three and two bits will not even get you a cup of Joe.

Another thing, Tim. Not all sports books carry the same line, or the same odds. If you canšt shake this dilettante’s interest in parlay cards, always shop around to find the best value.

Dear Mark,

Why do you have to bet in multiples of $6 when placing the 6 or 8 in craps? Gene G.

In craps, if you make a place bet on the 6 or 8, it is recommended that your wagers be in multiples of $6 ($6, $12, $18, etc.). The reason for this is that the 6 and 8 pay off at 7 to 6 (you win $7 for a $6 wager). By betting this way, the Sbobet casino advantage is 1.5%, whereas if you were to bet $5 instead, the dealer would round down your payoff, which increases the house edge by nibbling the corner off your win.

Dear Mark,

Please describe the difference between early and late surrender. Also, what is the correct multi-deck strategy for late surrender when you have a 15 and a 16? Paul K.

When you have been dealt that hand from hell, yes, Paul that horrid 16, some casinos allow you to surrender those shoddy first two cards. By doing so, you lose half your bet in return for not having to play through the hand. As for early surrender, you get back half your bet even if the dealer has a blackjack. With late surrender, you lose your total wager if the dealer has blackjack.

Basic strategy for late surrender when on a multi-deck game is as follows: Surrender hard 16 (but not 8-8) vs. 9, 10, ace, and surrender a hard 15 vs. 10. Some basic strategy charts I have seen also advise surrendering a hard 15 vs. ace.

Gambling thought of the week: “One of the worst things that can happen to you when you first step into a casino is that you win.” – Peter Ruchman




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