It was recently announced at the Forums (as well as a multitude of other places) that the Plaza Casino in Las Vegas is having a Promotion for Tax Day Monday, April 18th, in which there is a 28% Bonus (paid in Free Play) on all Jackpots over $1,200.
The first thing that I want to do is credit the Plaza Casino on having such an aggressive Promotion, especially when one considers that this Promotion is also in conjunction with their ongoing $500 Loss Rebate which, as I recall, Rebates slot losses in the form of Free Play with half of the loss on the following day and half of the loss the day after that.
Furthermore, many Promotions of this nature (Jackpot-Based) often have a fairly low cap, such as $2,000-$5,000, whereas the Plaza is offering the 28% Jackpot Bonus on all Jackpots from $1,200-$20,000, so that is a much more significant spread than can usually be expected. The Plaza has also stated that there is no limit on how many times an individual player can hit jackpots that will pay the Bonus...but I think we all know how that works sometimes. In the event that someone stumbles on a relatively easy way to do it, not to say that the Plaza would do this, but other casinos have certainly backed players off in the past (or later shut off certain machines) when people were winning too much.
The Wizard took the time to analyze what would have been lucrative plays on $5 denomination Video Poker, including the Plaza's 9/6 Double Double Bonus Game:
What we see from the Wizard's post is what would be a return of 104.9891% on the Double Double Bonus game with Optimal Strategy had this particular game been allowed with this Promotion. When we account for waiting for hand pays, which will likely take a little bit as there are going to me many other players playing at the Plaza, including games that are still going to be at a Negative Expectation, I would suggest that a player (or team) who manages to lock up one of these machines for 24 hours would be lucky to see 700 hands per hour, overall.
(700 * 24 * 25 * .049891) = $20,954.22
The calculation above assumes that the machine is played for 24 continuous hours at 700 hands per hour at a $25/hand bet with Optimal Strategy, and the result is that the Plaza would be expected to lose $20,954.22. Interestingly enough, we also notice that a Royal on this machine would pay $20,000, so as a result, in the 16,800 the theoretical player is Expected to get in (less than a Royal cycle) The Plaza isn't exactly going to be taking it on the chin in the event that a Royal is missed.
In fact, let's go ahead and calculate this assuming the Royal is missed on a given machine:
(700 * 24 * 25) * (.049891-.028544) = $8,965.74
On the flipside, a player could even hit two Royals during this time, perhaps even three Royals. Even with that, a machine loss of $373.5725 is a farily substantial loss per hour on that machine.
Unfortunately, all of this became irrelevant as The Plaza has decided to turn off their four $5 denomination Video Poker machines with the applicable game on it. In a sense, that is somewhat understandable as they may not want to get tanned for nearly $84,000 within 24 hours by Video Poker players, but it still seems like they are being excessively worried about what could end up being a drop in the bucket.
Why would that be?
I can all but absolutely guarantee that there are better ways tom play this Promotion. However, I will not be publicly discussing any of them because I would not want to see THOSE games also end up getting turned off during the Promotion. In fact, at this time, I'm not even going to discuss what the parameters are that a person should be looking for in order to have an even better play than the $5 DDB game.
With that said, the beauty of some of the best machine that could be played (assuming they are the same as I have seen at other places) is that, with one notable exception, The Plaza would not even know that you were APing against them, unless you were already a known AP there. With respect to the exception I'm thinking of, and now that I mull it over there might be two big exceptions, it should be pretty obvious after the first couple of handpays exactly what you are doing.
The point is that, when rolling out a Promotion like this, the first thing that the casinos all tend to want to do is eliminate Video Poker in high denominations from being an eligible play. There is one potential play that I can think of, provided they have a machine with a high enough denomination that I'm going to say you might get 200 plays per hour due to handpays.
Anyway, if you could get enough money down per bet on this particular machine (no, I'm not even giving any hints) you would theoretically ravage the casino for $4040.90 per hour...and it would be a Hell of a lot more, except I am assuming that you only get 200 plays per hour in because during actual time played you would get a handpay approximately once every minute to minute-and-a-half of actual time played.
The ultimate expectation, in the event that this is a playable machine at the minimum bet that would result in an amount equal to or greater than $1,200 (obviously you would bet as much as you could) is a profit in 24 hours of just shy of $97,000. I would suggest, however, that countermeasures are sure to be taken before that could happen. That could include the individual player in question being backed off or the machines otherwise being turned off.
While that may seem unbelievable, I assure everyone that it could be done in the event that the right machine was available. However, I will admit that it would become ludicrously obvious what was happening in a big hurry, so I would suggest that a player would be lucky to get away with as many as five handpays before countermeasures are taken...at least against that individual player. I think that the machines would ultimately be shut off, but you never know.
There are also other ways this can be theoretically be played that would be better than the Video Poker, but I would actually have to be there to see the pay tables on certain machines to know. In addition to that, I think that there are many good AP's that would find even better ways to play this Promotion. I can say that there are certain machines in other casinos that would not require me to do any kind of Math to intrinsically know that I was getting an even better advantage than Video Poker offers.
The point that I am making is that the smartest players are probably not going to be playing Video Poker with this promotion unless it is the best play available, but believe it or not, for something like this, Video Poker usually is NOT the best thing available.
I hope that you know the best thing available, because I'm not talking! If you do choose to play this Promotion, whether or not you select an even better machine than Video Poker would have been, (assuming the machines I am thinking of, or others, are available) may Lady Variance smile warmly upon you!