Michael Shackleford - Interview with the Wizard of Odds

September 9th, 2014
Back Michael Shackleford - Interview with the Wizard of Odds

1) Wizard of Odds has a no-nonsense straightforward approach to gambling and games. Do you think this is the main reason for your success?

Absolutely. I think intelligent gamblers are hungry to just know the facts and the math about the games. There are already so many myths about gambling and charlatans offering worthless betting systems that the public is hungry for somebody to do the math on the games and explain the odds.

2) What it is your passion for gambling or understanding the mechanisms of games that led you to this career?

I love math, computer programming, and gambling. What I do is the perfect combination of the three. My site all started as just a hobby to understand the casino games myself.

3) As the “Odds Godfather” how much time goes into the analytic calculation in determining the odds of a game?

It depends on the game, but I've devoted 17 years of analyzing casino games in my Odds site. There are about 1,700 pages of material, which doesn’t come easy.

4) Which game was the most difficult assessing the odds and developing the best strategy?

Pai Gow Tiles.

5) Is strategy and odds calculated differently for online Casinos vs land based Casinos.

No. Given the same rules, the odds are the same between land and online casinos. However, one difference is online casinos tend to shuffle after every hand in blackjack, where land casinos use a cut card. It is slightly to the player’s advantage to shuffle after every hand.

6) Has your expertise on gambling given you the winning edge in a Casino so much so you were asked to leave?

I’ve been asked not to play several times, sometimes just blackjack and a few times all games, but never made to leave the building.

7) As a specialized authority on estimations and game strategy how would you compare yourself to a professional card reader at the Blackjack table?

I assume by “card reader” you mean a card counter. I'm already a card counter, which is the reason I've been asked to not play several times. However, one doesn't need to have advanced math skills to be a card counter. You just need to be able to do simple math and memorize about 20 numbers.

8) Slots require minimal strategy and are based for the most part on luck having the worst odds yet are one of the most popular gaming choices for players. What do you say to players that claim they have a system to win?

I would be immediately skeptical but at least ask what the system is. Most of them are methods of increasing and decreasing bet size according to past wins and losses, which not only can’t beat the casino’s advantage, it can’t even dent it. The only way to beat the casinos is with legitimate methods of advantage play.

9) What do you think is the largest motivational factor for gamblers; to win or the entertainment value?

Entertainment. As I always say, any recreational gambler sitting down to play should expect to lose as the price of the entertainment. Most gamblers I think get that.

10) As the mastermind of the gambling circuit what is the best piece of advice you would give to a newbie player?

Don’t play slots.

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