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If you have ever seen a blackjack strategy card at a table, a casino gift shop or on a website, it was probably created by Michael Shackleford.


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Best Strategies for Blackjack, Craps & 2 More Games with Michael "Wizard of Odds" Shackleford

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Black Jack Rules, part 1

He also collects license plates and math problems. The page notes Faro was played in Reno as recently as , but its height of popularity was in the Old West, when you could run into Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday dealing the game. Shackleford could obtain and explain complex material. Not surprisingly, when he turned twenty-one, he started playing Over the next several years, he took a series of actuarial examinations. His website, WizardOfOdds. It is a complicated game with rules like Pai Gow with a touch of Baccarat and game equipment like Mah Jong or Dominoes. This was not a feat of inside information or experience scouting and handicapping the NBA. In , he moved to Baltimore to work as an actuary at the headquarters of the Social Security Administration. No one had seen this information before. They always want to see more math.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Once available, everyone wanted to know it and quickly understood it. Shackleford is generally accessible to the media, I am lucky to get this block of his time. He was kind enough to send me a picture of some of the license plates:. He told me about one situation where he was so successful that the site β€” and every other Internet casino β€” stopped offering the bet. When the media needs an answer, they ask Mr. He also had the imagination to anticipate and feed public appetites. Mike started his gaming consulting business even before he moved to Las Vegas. The number of casinos, especially online, has also exploded. First, it has rarely been analyzed, so it provided him a new and challenging puzzle for developing optimal strategy. Fermat and Pascal developed the concept of probability theory from correspondence started when the Chevalier de Mere asked them to settle a gambling problem. In the years since, Mr. The six- and eight-deck games in Atlantic City were not as favorable as the single- and double-deck games of Las Vegas. He looks like a grown-up California kid he turns 50 in May who spends a lot of time outdoors on hobbies like hiking and bicycling. What does he play? Shackleford for several reasons. Wizard as Apprentice: Picture of Mike on left , playing poker with his younger brother. Only a small amount of his consulting has been for land-based casinos. He also follows his own advice; he is a successful professional gambler. The baby name information became a media sensation. For blackjack players, the site covers 40 variations. He made no attempt to disguise his strategy or identity. Note who has more chips. It came from recognizing and exploiting the opportunity the site provided. With his wife expecting their first child, he wrote a program to sort Social Security card applicants by year of birth, gender, and first name. I calculated at the time that a fair price to buy 5 extra points was So, I was getting a 3. On WizardOfOdds. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May in Las Vegas,Nevada. Mike was nice enough to have breakfast with me recently in Las Vegas. It was like the baby-name list, for slot players. However, if you sell too many, then it becomes a good value for the player. One of his favorite games to analyze and play in a casino has been Pai Gow Tiles. He also loves travelling and has been a devotee of unicycling and juggling. He rarely had a losing day. From childhood Mike was interested in games, math, and odds. This is how Michael killed time on camping trips. An additional series of game calculators allows players to calculate odds, returns, and strategy for any casino variations later introduced. Unlike combinations of dice or cards, casinos can program returns on individual slot machines by changing the reel stripping. The profusion of online sports books must be a giant amusement park to Michael Shackleford. Following optimal strategy on a multicolored chart , the house edge is 1. In the LiveScience. To be safe, I arrived fifteen minutes early. Third, the game is fun when played at a casino with friends, giving him a break from his mostly solitary pursuits in gambling. The casino at the top of his nickel-slot survey, the Palms, splashed his conclusion on billboards for years. Today, the authority on casino games is Michael Shackleford, the Wizard of Odds. Photo: Michael Shackleford. A main area of his consulting has concerned game design and testing. The game uses a card deck a standard deck plus four 11s, 12s, and 13s. What he does not look like is a man who earned his living in casinos or hunched over a computer. They should be increasing the price on an exponential basis, but most places incorrectly do it on a geometric basis. Shackleford got access to casino par sheets, went to the casinos, and played the machines long enough to determine the reel-stripping settings. The website now has detailed rules and optimal strategy pages for approximately games. Almost immediately, all the sites stopped taking that kind of bet. The casinos respect his knowledge to hire him to consult on game design, payouts, and discerning patterns in their operating results. His accessibility and adroitness with the media has multiplied exposure for his site, especially when a casino issue β€” or simply a question of long odds β€” enters the news cycle. Second, he gets a kick out of being one of the relatively few non-Asians at the table. Michael Shackleford was born in Pasadena, California, on May 23, He grew up in Orange County, where he lived until He received his B. If you are at a Grosvenor property or on Royal Caribbean, should you make the Protection side bet, paying 5-to-1 with a multiplier increasing the payout to as much as to-1 for busting on your first two cards? All this advice is not static. In , while still at SSA, Mike demonstrated how his dexterity with complex data and sense of fun were never far apart. Based on his analysis, a player plays nearly even with the house and occasionally has a small edge. The infamous billboard Photo: WizardOfOdds. Over a decade later, those rotten airport slots still get plenty of action. It may not sound like much, but I was betting every game, and both sides on most of them. How does the Wizard of Odds find time to play games on his own account? He told an interviewer for LiveScience. The move East put his blackjack hobby on hold. Still, he has played relatively little blackjack since moving to Las Vegas in By then I was making good money from my web site and consulting, especially in comparison to what I could make at the tables. The publicity from the slot machine study cemented WizardOfOdds. If you do, you are ceding the house an edge of 8. Blackjack was his introduction to profitable casino play. Shackleford has earned the right to be considered a gambling authority. It was too good to keep to myself; I thought the whole country would want to see this. And I will plan my whole day so that I make a right turn instead of a left turn. In early , the site began accepting advertising, and soon after, he left SSA to work full time on the website and casino consulting. He has salt-and-pepper hair, a sun-creased face, and is tall and fit. He has a website displaying the math problems. Although Mr. The number of game designers has multiplied over the last few decades. But I would go there if it was just making a right turn. His scoop on Las Vegas slot machine returns demonstrated his ability and instincts. Years later he wrote on Nameberry. As a further complication, Mike is ridiculously efficient about spending his time. As a bettor, Shackleford has focused over the last several years on sports betting, specifically NFL games. He will bet other sports if he finds the right opportunity.