Bring your kids-sort of

Dear Mark,
I wish I had read a past column you wrote called Split Decision before I made a recent trip with my family to Las Vegas. I was appalled at the amount of handbills advertising sex being pushed down my throat on the Strip right in front of the MGM Grand. Who in their right mind would bring a family to Las Vegas? Clifford M.

As a result of continual complaints from tourists like you, Clifford, the Clark County Commission recently approved a ban on the passing out of handbills in Las Vegas. The ban is targeted primarily at the aggressive peddlers (smutters) on the Las Vegas Strip who force-feed fliers, most of which contain sexually explicit ads for call girl services, on unwilling tourists as they stroll by. The ban also affects businesses that hand out ads in front of their stores along the strip.
Those needing their carnal obsessions attended to in Sin City will still find arousal circulars at newspaper stands-which are exempt, as are non-commercial enterprises.
By the way, Clifford, since when is Las Vegas for those in their right mind?

Dear Mark,
My boyfriend and I are planning an upcoming gambling trip to Las Vegas. I want to prove to my fiancee that I know a little more about chance than he thinks. Is there any even money bet in Nevada? Sandra R.

Oh yeah, Sandra. Drive over to one of the 34 wedding chapels in Vegas and get married. Marriage today is statistically a fifty/fifty proposition that you'll end up divorced. And if you divorce rich-jackpot. There's your even money bet.

Dear Mark,
Before going to the casino I run practice hands on the kitchen table. The problem with this method is that play in a casino on both video poker machines and blackjack is much faster. Any suggestions? Tammy D.

The best way to acquire gaming skills without the expense of a live game is with a computer. In many ways a computer can be far superior to a human instructor for both training and drilling. The benefit of computer training is the ability to test card counting strategies along with money-management progressive win formulas at no financial risk, even with simulated high speed play. Whether at high speeds or a live game pace, computers accumulate data for later review. This will enable you to spot costly trends that you might be making on a video poker machine or blackjack table. Information like this would take you years to accumulate dealing hand after hand on your kitchen table. And again, the key here is that any knowledge obtained without a casino outlay will make you more money down the road.
Many of the better gaming software programs are either free or shareware, making it very inexpensive, easy to use, and yes, definitely fun. These software programs can be downloaded from any of the major online services on the internet.
If you don't have a computer, you can still create a Las Vegas experience with a handheld video game. I've seen these small hand-held computer games at Wal Mart's as inexpensively as $5. I prefer the games made by a company called Radica. The screen is easy to read and the batteries last, well, I've never changed them yet. Along with a basic strategy card, you'll sharpen your playing skills and be an expert in no time.

Dear Mark,
Per your advice, my sister and I on our monthly trips to Las Vegas always discuss the games we will be playing and the correct bets to make on those games. When my sister hits the front door though, she gambles on a whim and becomes her own worst enemy. Is my sister different from most who gamble? Sally O.

Take counsel, Sally, most gamblers devise a cleaver scheme to keep the casinos at bay, but like Penelope, wife of Odysseus, they spend all day weaving a tapestry of words and all night unraveling it.