TV Highlights

Hustling the House

Discovery - 9pm

Who's in it?

Cunning gamblers spilled the beans (and rolled the dice) in this genuinely fascinating peek at how to beat the house. Sort of.

In a nutshell

You know what built the palaces of the Vegas Strip? Simple, it’s something called the “house edge”. As this documentary revealed last night, the house edge is the in-built mathematical advantage casinos have in each game, so that they win even when you win. But it IS possible to lower the house edge, and this programme took us through various classic games to give some dangerously interesting facts that would have had even the most avid non-gambler itching to try out their new skills.

To give just one example, blackjack can be won by playing “basic strategy” – a pre-ordained mathematical formula which can tell you whether to take new cards or stick with what you’ve got. Into slot machines? Turns out that some machines are “looser” than others, and are actually programmed to give out more cash than others. They are generally found near the entrance and other high traffic areas, and older machines are more likely to be looser than shiny computer-y new ones. So now you know.

What's the verdict?

The fact is, no matter what you learn in programmes like this, the casinos ALWAYS have enough of an edge. Bear that in mind when you next settle down at that blackjack table…

Star rating: 3/5

Check out Hustling the House now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011