houyi
houyi
Joined: Jun 26, 2016
  • Threads: 1
  • Posts: 21
November 25th, 2016 at 10:32:50 PM permalink
I really enjoyed this week's show of Gambling with an Edge--Limon sounded like kind of a jerk at times but he was generally pretty funny and he was trying to keep things interesting. One thing I really appreciated (though I'm not sure how much the hosts appreciated it) was that he really seemed to press Bob Dancer to explain just how an edge is gained at video poker and how an AP video poker player calculates their edge. I don't like to speculate, but generally Bob seemed uncomfortable throughout this and seemed to evade directly answering Limon's inquires. Loosely paraphrasing, this portion of the segment went as follows:

BD: "AP Video Poker players certainly exist. When SLS first opened I made 100 k their opening weekend."
L: "Wow, that's great, how did you manage that?"
BD: "Well, I hit a royal."
L: "Well, Bob, anyone can buy a lotto ticket. What was your actual EV?"
BD: "About 25 k."
L: "Well, that is impressive, how did you get the EV from that?"
BD: "They were matching offers, and I had a 5 k freeplay, so I got 5 k for showing up."
L: "Ok, so that's 5, where's the other 20? You're still playing a losing game."
BD: "Mailers."
L: "What did they send you in the mail?"
BD: "Nothing."
L: "So where was the EV?"
BD: "Well usually given my play it would have been like 10 k freeplay every month, but I won, so they sent nothing."
L: "Well, that's usually, how did you know what they were going to send you, given that it turned out to be nothing?"

After this, BD kind of shut down. Now, I am almost exclusively a table games and poker player, and what AP video poker I do use, I pretty much just limit to enough to get me hotel stays and food comps when I travel to certain areas of the country to play tables and/or poker. I get some free play, but not enough to say I am really bringing home significant money. I know my expected loss is much less than I would have to pay out of pocket for these things (or indeed comparable things outside the casino), so I am happy. Now, from what I understand, absent very temporary situations where something like "10x points day" puts a "99.xx" machine into positive expectation, people making an actual living playing video poker are doing so by getting large mailers due to a misjudgment on the casino's part on the theo of a particular machine. I imagine this info is first brought to light from either: a) trial and error, b) networking with APs who have already discovered this info, or c) coming to some arrangement with casino personnel wherein they give out this info in exchange for money and/or goods and/or services.

My question is: how would BD know that he was going to be sent mailers => 10k for a casino that was just opening? How exactly did he calculate the EV from this play? And is this actually just a part of AP video poker where you need to take a "leap of faith" to realize any actual profit and just hope they send out what you think they will send?

I'd appreciate any insight to clear up my lack of knowledge, whether on this thread or through PM.
AxelWolf
AxelWolf
Joined: Oct 10, 2012
  • Threads: 113
  • Posts: 11842
November 26th, 2016 at 6:54:14 AM permalink
Quote: houyi

I really enjoyed this week's show of Gambling with an Edge--Limon sounded like kind of a jerk at times but he was generally pretty funny and he was trying to keep things interesting. One thing I really appreciated (though I'm not sure how much the hosts appreciated it) was that he really seemed to press Bob Dancer to explain just how an edge is gained at video poker and how an AP video poker player calculates their edge. I don't like to speculate, but generally Bob seemed uncomfortable throughout this and seemed to evade directly answering Limon's inquires. Loosely paraphrasing, this portion of the segment went as follows:

BD: "AP Video Poker players certainly exist. When SLS first opened I made 100 k their opening weekend."
L: "Wow, that's great, how did you manage that?"
BD: "Well, I hit a royal."
L: "Well, Bob, anyone can buy a lotto ticket. What was your actual EV?"
BD: "About 25 k."
L: "Well, that is impressive, how did you get the EV from that?"
BD: "They were matching offers, and I had a 5 k freeplay, so I got 5 k for showing up."
L: "Ok, so that's 5, where's the other 20? You're still playing a losing game."
BD: "Mailers."
L: "What did they send you in the mail?"
BD: "Nothing."
L: "So where was the EV?"
BD: "Well usually given my play it would have been like 10 k freeplay every month, but I won, so they sent nothing."
L: "Well, that's usually, how did you know what they were going to send you, given that it turned out to be nothing?"

After this, BD kind of shut down. Now, I am almost exclusively a table games and poker player, and what AP video poker I do use, I pretty much just limit to enough to get me hotel stays and food comps when I travel to certain areas of the country to play tables and/or poker. I get some free play, but not enough to say I am really bringing home significant money. I know my expected loss is much less than I would have to pay out of pocket for these things (or indeed comparable things outside the casino), so I am happy. Now, from what I understand, absent very temporary situations where something like "10x points day" puts a "99.xx" machine into positive expectation, people making an actual living playing video poker are doing so by getting large mailers due to a misjudgment on the casino's part on the theo of a particular machine. I imagine this info is first brought to light from either: a) trial and error, b) networking with APs who have already discovered this info, or c) coming to some arrangement with casino personnel wherein they give out this info in exchange for money and/or goods and/or services.

My question is: how would BD know that he was going to be sent mailers => 10k for a casino that was just opening? How exactly did he calculate the EV from this play? And is this actually just a part of AP video poker where you need to take a "leap of faith" to realize any actual profit and just hope they send out what you think they will send?

I'd appreciate any insight to clear up my lack of knowledge, whether on this thread or through PM.

Everyone was speculating about SLS mail, win or lose it wasn't that good. If you are playing something with a low HA sometimes it's worth the risk especially for future information. Had he been correct he could've had his significant other do the same. Maybe a big session on higher limit machines might get noticed and lead to a gig at SLS, perhaps there's value in that.

You don't have to be right 100% of the time. I don't see anything wrong with testing things out. I imagine it's worked out for him in the past.
Maybe call it Implied odds. Basically your "leap of faith" theory is correct.
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
RogerKint
RogerKint
Joined: Dec 5, 2011
  • Threads: 15
  • Posts: 1036
November 26th, 2016 at 7:05:14 AM permalink
I was impressed at the way BD handled the situation. He remained jovial, professional and even a little humble during the whole bit. It would have been very easy for anyone to get sarcastic or even a little condescending when one's livelihood is questioned or insulted.

My response would have been something like "No, you're right, VP advantage play doesn't exist. I was jk." And move on. I never understand why APs must defend their profession or even publicly talk about it on forums or whatever. Why not let people think APs don't exist and that it's impossible?
Credit hustling cruise ship casinos since '98
mcallister3200
mcallister3200
Joined: Dec 29, 2013
  • Threads: 15
  • Posts: 1083
November 26th, 2016 at 7:36:02 AM permalink
Quote: RogerKint

I never understand why APs must defend their profession or even publicly talk about it on forums or whatever. Why not let people think APs don't exist and that it's impossible?



Ego, and many AP's have big ones. It's one line of work where you generally don't get praise or recognition for excelling, so if one has an ego it's left wanting.
BobDancer
BobDancer
Joined: Jun 22, 2013
  • Threads: 9
  • Posts: 96
Thanks for this post from:
onenickelmiracleHomelessnycIndyJeffrey
November 26th, 2016 at 12:19:59 PM permalink
Limon is fun and profane and he keeps you on your toes!

About the SLS at the beginning. The comments in this thread have been reasonable. I’d like to share my thinking at the time.

1. I was going to get decent front money

2. The game was 99.96% with a 0.2% free play slot club (10-6-40 DDB, where the 40 means you get 200 for the straight flush instead of the normal 250). (maybe it was only 0.1%. I don’t remember). I had played this game before and had perfect strategy worked out (it’s not that hard --- slightly tougher than 9/6 Jacks or Better but much easier than any form of Deuces Wild or any game where the flush returned 5-for-1, along with most other games.) Even so, I reviewed and practiced for about an hour before I showed up at the casino.

3. The game was unlikely to last. For a casino to make money, it can’t offer games this loose for high denominations. There are enough well-financed pros in Las Vegas who will keep hammering these games for as long as they were available. Although it’s only a little bit more than an even game, the casino had some very good restaurants and probably some mailers. And when players lose big (which will happen), casinos sometimes feel the need to give them rebates to salve their wounds. When players win big (which will also happen), players do not give those rebates back to the casino.

Although many players are short-sighted and don't care at all about a casino's profits --- for a situation to survive there MUST be a pathway for the casino to make money. The strongest players find ways to make money while the casino is making money off of other players. You may not like this --- especially if you're not one of the strongest players --- but that's the way casinos work.

4. I was playing a $25 machine. Could have played $100 machine. I definitely had the bankroll and the “courage.” Decided against it for a number of reasons which perhaps I’ll share some day.

5. My “educated guess” at the start was: if I lose, I’ll probably get really good mailers. If I win big, I’ll probably get cut off. This makes it very much like a loss rebate situation --- where you want to play high-variance games. DDB qualifies. (Well, 9-7 TDB was also available, which has a MUCH higher variance, but that game only returns 99.58% which is WAY too low with a 0.1% or 0.2% slot club.)

6. Although I was indeed no-mailed after a successful play, apparently good mailers were never forthcoming to anybody. Although part of that might have been the casino's loss on the first weekend. Another player was playing the $100 machine and hit them for more than I did. If they extrapolated that loss --- (even though the pay schedules were slashed) --- casino managers could have become very leery about reinvesting in players. Many of the managers there did not have casino experience and it takes a while to get your bearings.

7. As DDB players know, it’s never a smooth ride. I was down $30K or so before things turned around. They absolutely did not have to turn around. When I win after a DDB session, I always feel like I dodged a bullet. I know full well the next session might be very expensive.

8. When I was done for the day (due to fatigue), I cashed out all of my accumulated free play. It was possible I would have been completely 86’d from the property (who knows for sure up front?). This play started about 8 p.m. Saturday night and ended some 8-10 hours later. The top managers were not on property. When they come in and analyze the situation they have a whole lot of options. There was a good chance I wasn't going to like whatever they decided about me. Sometimes casinos confiscate un-redeemed free play when kick you out, and I didn’t want to leave $1300 or whatever behind. I could have probably eventually gotten it, I suppose, but I didn’t want the hassle.

9. After the play was over there was talk in certain quarters of “Dancer went and hit a royal flush on purpose and ruined SLS for everybody!” I WISH I could hit a royal on purpose! Comes with being high profile, I guess. I doubt anyone would have praised me if I had ended up losing $60K or so. It very easily could have happened.


On several occasions, Limon turned the conversation to sex. There had just been a thread on this site where somebody was creeped out by me discussing my sex life. Great! Be rude to a guest on the air or get trashed again for creeping somebody out here. Nice choice.

In our earlier show with Limon, I was wheezing a bit. I have relatively mild COPD and sometimes need to use inhalers. I had forgotten to bring my “rescue inhaler” to the studio, so you could hear my “heavy breathing” on the radio. Limon kept turning that into something sexual --- and I supposed I played along with him a bit. He told the audience he was sitting around in his bathrobe and I quipped light-heartedly “Be still my heart!” and moved on to another subject. I thought it was appropriate and funny --- but maybe my audience didn’t.

When you’re doing essentially live radio (it’s often pre-taped but usually unedited before it goes on the air) sometimes you wish you had a mulligan --- and you don’t get one.
Ibeatyouraces
Ibeatyouraces
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
  • Threads: 58
  • Posts: 9871
November 26th, 2016 at 12:23:09 PM permalink
Motorcity casino used to have the 40/10/6 DDB in $5 & $10 denominations with .33% cash back (which was actual cash, not free play) and .33% comp rate which you could turn into free play at a $3 to $1 rate.
BobDancer
BobDancer
Joined: Jun 22, 2013
  • Threads: 9
  • Posts: 96
November 26th, 2016 at 4:21:12 PM permalink
Quote: Ibeatyouraces

Motorcity casino used to have the 40/10/6 DDB in $5 & $10 denominations with .33% cash back (which was actual cash, not free play) and .33% comp rate which you could turn into free play at a $3 to $1 rate.



That would be a good game by today's standards. I would certainly play it heavily if it existed in Vegas today. I don't know how recently that was. I don't know how long that "opportunity" lasted. And there's a big difference in exposure to a casino between $5/$10 games and $25/$100.

Motorcity is s a Detroit casino.

What was the state income tax situation in Michigan at the time? Was there a forced tax or withholding on W2Gs? Could you deduct losses against wins on a state level? Either of these factors could have kept pros from hammering that machine. (Nevada has no state income tax).

Also, I'm sure there are a lot more well-financed video poker pros in Vegas (including tourists) than there are in Detroit (which isn't known as a tourist hot spot for gambling)..
Ibeatyouraces
Ibeatyouraces
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
  • Threads: 58
  • Posts: 9871
Thanks for this post from:
onenickelmiracle
November 26th, 2016 at 4:50:42 PM permalink
Quote: BobDancer

That would be a good game by today's standards. I would certainly play it heavily if it existed in Vegas today. I don't know how recently that was. I don't know how long that "opportunity" lasted. And there's a big difference in exposure to a casino between $5/$10 games and $25/$100.

Motorcity is s a Detroit casino.

What was the state income tax situation in Michigan at the time? Was there a forced tax or withholding on W2Gs? Could you deduct losses against wins on a state level? Either of these factors could have kept pros from hammering that machine. (Nevada has no state income tax).

Also, I'm sure there are a lot more well-financed video poker pros in Vegas (including tourists) than there are in Detroit (which isn't known as a tourist hot spot for gambling)..


There were only a few regulars that played them (there were two machines). There was no forced withholdings except for out of state players, which you'd encounter. You cannot deduct against wins here either (that's why I only play quarters now for "fun"). All MC's "good games" were downgraded to garbage in early 2014. Nothing good exists there now. Not even 9/6 JoB.

The other decent game they had that I preferred were two 9/6 JoB STP Spin Poker machines, which I got my first ever dealt royal on. Unfortunately they were only in 25¢ denominations but I didn't mind that $9000.

Correct it's not a tourist place here, but you'd be surprised how busy they get. I had to wait a half hour yesterday for a machine just to run my free play on.

  • Jump to: