What is a zero game bet in roulette?

Single-zero roulette, also known as European or French roulette, offers a selection of traditional bets, known as ‘call’ or ‘French’ bets, on combinations of numbers according to their position on the roulette wheel. One such bet, known as ‘les (grand) voisins du zéro’, or ‘the (big) neighbours of zero’, includes seventeen numbers surrounding, and including, zero and requires nine chips, which are placed on several split and corner bets.

By contrast, the so-called ‘zero game’ bet, also known as ‘jeu zéro’or ‘zero spiel’ bet, includes just seven numbers, namely 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32 and 15, and requires just four chips, placed on three split bets and a straight up, or ‘en plein’, bet. The three split bets are placed between 0-3, 12-15 and 32-35, respectively, and the straight up bet is placed on 26. Consequently, the payout for a winning zero game bet varies from 17:1, in the case of a winning split, and 35:1, in the case of a winning straight up bet.

Being a call bet, only the croupier is allowed to place the chips required for a zero game bet on the layout and does so in response to players calling out the bet – hence the name – and handing over the requisite number of chips. Call bets are based on the sequence of numbers on the roulette wheel, so a zero game bet is available exclusively on single-zero roulette wheels; the numbers on double-zero, or triple-zero, roulette wheels are arranged in a different sequence.

When, and where, did craps originate?

Craps is, of course, a casino game in which players bet on the outcome of a roll, or a series of rolls, of a pair of dice. The name ‘craps’ is believed to be an Anglicisation of the French word ‘crapaud’, meaning ‘toad’ which, in turn, is derived from how a precursor of craps, called ‘hazard’, was played by people crouched on floors or pavements in seventeenth century France. However, the origins of hazard are believed to be much older. The invention of the game is credited to William of Tyre, during the siege of the castle of Hazarth – after which the games was probably named – in the early twelfth century.

 

Fast forward five hundred years or so and craps was a simplification of hazard created in France in the late sixteenth century. In the early nineteenth century, the game was introduced to New Orleans by French-American nobleman Bernard de Marigny who, as an errant young man, spent time frequenting the gambling houses of London. In the early years of the twentieth century, John H. Winn, a.k.a. ‘the Father of Modern-Day Craps’, remedied an obvious flaw in the game, by allowing ‘pass’ and ‘don’t pass’ options. His innovation revolutionised craps and encouraged its spread throughout French Louisiana and along the Mississippi River. Fast forward again, to the early Thirties, and the legalisation of gambling in Nevada further increased the popularity of craps and it has remained a rollicking, social game on the tables of Las Vegas ever since.

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What is ‘floating the flop’ in Texas hold’em poker?

In Texas hold’em poker, ‘floating the flop’ is an intermediate, or advanced, bluffing technique used to defend against the continuation bet, or ‘c-bet’, which can, itself, be a bluffing technique. Aggressive players frequently follow a pre-flop raise with a bet on the flop – that is, a continuation bet – regardless of whether or not they hit the flop, but floating the flop allows player to turn a continuation bet on a weak, non-made hand against his opponent.

Floating the float is best done when in position – that is, when you are the last player to act in a hand – in a heads-up pot, against a tight-aggressive opponent, who frequently raises pre-flop and continuation bets. The idea is that you lead your opponent to believe that you have a legitimate hand, by calling pre-flop and calling his or her continuation bet on the flop, with a view to forcing him or her to check on the turn card.

If your opponent shows any sign of weakness, by checking to you, you are in perfect position to take the pot by betting heavily on the turn, at three-quarters of the pot size, to make it too expensive for him or her to continue. Otherwise, if your opponent bets heavily on the turn, you can fold safe in the knowledge that you probably have an inferior hand in any case or, if he or she bets weakly on the turn, perhaps re-raise, although this is a dangerous tactic, especially against an unfamiliar opponent.

What’s the history of baccarat?

Nowadays, baccarat is the most popular gambling game in the world, accounting for the majority of casino revenue in Macau and Singapore and, even on the Las Vegas Strip, playing second fiddle only to the ubiquitous slot machines in terms of profitability.

Like many ancient card games, the origin of baccarat is disputed. The name ‘baccarat’ is derived from the French word ‘baccara’, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century, but the origin of which is unknown. One suggestion, by independent game historian Thierry Depaulis, that the name is derived from the Provençal expression ‘fa bacarrat’, which translates into English as ‘go bankrupt’, seems at least as plausible, if not more so, than unsubstantiated rumours of an Italian heritage. In his ‘Dictionary of Conversation and Reading’, published in 1867, William Duckett claims that baccarat was originally an Italian game, imported into the south of France in the late fifteenth century, but provides no supporting evidence.

Whatever the origin of the game, the first printed records of baccarat being played in the United States appeared in ‘The New York Times’ in the late nineteenth century. Baccarat was not played in Nevada casinos until 1958 but, the following year, a new version of the game, known as ‘punto banco’ was imported to Las Vegas from Cuba by Tommy Rezoni. The original version featured a side bet on ‘naturals’, which has since been replaced by the ‘tie’ bet but, otherwise, punto banco was virtually indistinguishable from modern baccarat.

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