COL Payouts vary when hitting the parlay

Dear Mark: My son hit a $20 seven-team parlay that paid $3,900. The next week he hit another one for $10 that got him $1,900. What were his odds of hitting a seven-team parlay? How about 14 teams in a row? -- Rich J.

A parlay is a combination of bets in which you win only if every one of your selections is a winner. Casino payouts vary, but the mathematical odds of hitting a seven-team parlay are 127-to-1. A casino will typically pay off at about 80-to-1, give or take. A 14-team parlay payoff is usually 900-to-1 and the true odds of hitting it are 16,384-to-1.

I'm sure readers are going to be a bit curious as to the payouts your son received based on the amount he bet. For a $20 wager, most sportsbooks pay anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800 on a seven-team parlay wager. Your son's $3,900 payoff was well over the true odds of 127-to-1. The explanation would be either 1) that he was making single, money line wagers linked together into a parlay, that included some underdogs, or 2) that he bet the Dime Line, which is the money line difference --10 cents -- between what a bettor would lay with the favorite or take back with the underdog. If he was betting a 10-cent line, all seven teams he parlayed had to be underdogs.

Just for clarification, money line wagering is simply wagering based on a given price rather than on a pointspread. And, betting the Dime line isn't to be confused with a Dime bet, which is $1,000.

Dear Mark: You told Doug that when a player exposes his own cards at Texas Hold'em, it is not a misdeal. Could you give me an example of what is? -- Martin J.


What constitute the most common misdeals in most card rooms are cards dealt without being cut or cards being dealt out of order.

Dear Mark: Who invented the Roulette wheel? -- Bob S.

The mechanical component of the Roulette wheel, that is, its rotating flywheel and its 36 black and red slots, came from medieval monks in Venice, a fact which some think resulted in molto prayer. Pascal is credited with the present-day sequence of figures on the Roulette wheel.

Dear Mark: Can you ever make a wager on a sporting bet before the official line is set? -- David P.

That's a neat two-pronged query. You either meant a "futures" bet, a wager on the outcome of a future event, or something seldom used in the sports betting world called the "outlaw line."

Futures bets are made on odds posted on who will win any of various major sporting events well in advance of the contest. Wagers on the winner of the Super Bowl, NBA Championship, the Stanley Cup and the World Series would be examples of futures bets. They are odds of a specific event outcome in the future, not a betting line set a week or so before an event.

An outlaw line exists when a linemaker allows selected bettors to make a wager before the general public gets in on it. It is the input from these selected individuals that sometimes helps create a final opening number. Other names for this manipulative process are "ironing" or "flattening" the line.

Mark Pilarski, who worked in Nevada casinos for years, will share his knowledge weekly in Entertainment. E-mail him at

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