Nareed
Joined: Nov 11, 2009
• Posts: 11413
June 1st, 2010 at 7:30:46 AM permalink
Quote: justaguy

As far as the last minute. It's not the last minute bookings that bother me (Consumer Reports even recommends last minute booking with the caveat that you will either get the deal of a lifetime or end up sleeping in your car).

An acquaintance told me of a time he was vacationing in California with his family, when they decided to drive to Vegas. They arrived at Vegas on a Saturday at 6 pm, and guess what? They couldn't find a room <shock!>

They wound up at some dinky motel some miles off-Strip. On Sunday -surprise!- they found lots of rooms available.
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
LamKram
Joined: May 27, 2010
• Posts: 3
June 1st, 2010 at 8:12:34 AM permalink
The story about the "hypothetical big player" was very interesting. I don't know a whole lot about Vegas, gambling, or blackjack (I was in Vegas once, played basic-strategy blackjack for 2 hours at \$10 min table and walked away \$75 ahead); but I do know a bit about statistics.

Based on the information you gave, I'm guessing that this guy plays roughly 300 hands at \$100 a hand per trip. At a 0.5% house edge, that's an expected loss of \$150 (\$1XX, as you said). On each of those trips, the probability that he would actually end up ahead by at least \$500 is about 0.35. I calculated that by simplifying blackjack to a binomial probability problem: on each hand you play, there is a 49.75% (p) chance that you win \$100 and a 50.25% (q) chance that you lose \$100. I know the actual situation is more complicated, but for a large number of hands, I think it works out pretty close. To win \$500 after 300 hands, his actual win proportion (p') is 50.8%. For n=300 hands, the "test statistic", z* = (p'-p)/sqrt(p*q/n). In this case, z* = 0.376 (essentially, this is the number of standard deviations away from normal for the situation). You can then look up in a standard statistics table what the probability of an event with z*=0.376 occuring by chance, and it turns out to be 35%.

So the guy coming out ahead by \$500 or more on a single trip is not at all unusual. Two or three successful trips in a row would not be strange either. More than that might raise some red flags.

But here's the strange thing: Lets say he made 5 trips to Vegas and won >\$500 each time (you didn't mention how many total trips he made but you said he won \$5XX to \$1X,XXX on every trip). Under the conditions above (assuming he is only playing basic strategy), the probability of this occuring is only 0.6% (0.354^5). But even if he is counting cards and gives himself a 1% advantage (typical for card counters I believe), then the probability of 5 consecutive \$500-or-more win trips is only 1.9%. So even if he is counting cards, he is also very lucky.
justaguy
Joined: May 30, 2010
• Posts: 14
June 1st, 2010 at 9:47:00 AM permalink
post removed by author
LVJackal
Joined: Jun 1, 2010
• Posts: 74
June 1st, 2010 at 10:14:56 AM permalink
"Whoever gave an idea of a theo calculation is spot on." ;D It wasn't an idea. My guess would be the exact number of hands played was manually input so that the standard hands/hour rate was adjusted accordingly. Likely a floor supervisor noticed many rounds unwagered and made the notation.
justaguy
Joined: May 30, 2010
• Posts: 14
June 1st, 2010 at 10:37:24 AM permalink
I'm still surprised how many people are convinced there rating is based solely on their buy in :(. Even when I explained to a guest that it is a combination of buy-in (because I've been told it factors in somehow and we do track it), AVERAGE BET and TIME, he replied with "so that means if I buy in with xxxx instead of xxx I'll get a better rating). Next time I'm explaining it to someone who wants a better rating I may leave buy-in out of the picture all together. A big buy-in with \$5 minimum bets (and no spread) playing for an hour is still a small player to me personally.

In the past I got to see some tracked play (outside of work) from a casino catering to the aspirational young douche-bag audience (think Ed Hardy, MMA hats, and conspicuous consumption lifestyle without the funds to really back it up). High x,xxx to xx,xxx buy-ins with table minimum bets for about an hour then cash out. The people would ask for things like private planes and the best suites possible and multiple rooms. I don't get the point, I sometimes get impressed by the funds of other people at the table with me, but only when they are betting it and it's obvious they can afford to risk it (I guess it's also why I like the way I get treated at very low roller casinos, \$10 bet with \$100 odds gets attention when the rest of the table is betting \$3 with maybe single or double odds and throwing \$1 at the hard-ways like their life depends on it).
LVJackal
Joined: Jun 1, 2010
• Posts: 74
June 1st, 2010 at 10:54:49 AM permalink
"I guess it's also why I like the way I get treated at very low roller casinos, \$10 bet with \$100 odds gets attention" A few reasons and maybe all of them apply why this gets attention. Full 10x odds at a locals joint can hit a big score (for the joint) quickly. You're willing to put some real money into play, a free (no house edge) bet aside, it's in action and up for grabs. A very high probability you're overbetting your bankroll (from casino's perspective). The casino can survive the variance, but few players can.

I don't know how they formulate this part exactly, but the amount of action one is willing to give versus their line is an important part of the "grey area" a host can play into.
gambler
Joined: Jan 11, 2010
• Posts: 483
June 1st, 2010 at 11:10:11 AM permalink
Someone else mentioned the concept of looking like a loser. From personal experience, I have found that hosts are much more generous to losers, and may even go far beyound the theortical loss comp amount. When I lose between \$20,000 and \$50,000 at the craps tables, the host is fawning all over me, even if my expected loss mathematically is only \$4,000 or \$5,000. I can ask for the moon and will probably get it.

Now if I have a big win and I am up \$10,000 to \$20,000 at the craps table, my experience is that the host still is generous, but tends to stick with a "fair" comp value. Yes, I will still get my room, food, and beverages free, but not as much special attention.

Dropping a couple of \$25 chips every hour into your pocket can really help your image as a loser. I figure that \$50 in my pocket an hour, times 8 hours of gambling a day, I have \$400 of extra losses per day. While that doesn't factor in huge at the craps table with full odds, 5 days of gambling is an extra \$2,000 of appeared losses. And 2 green chips an hour will not be missed by the boxman or floor staff, especially if most of your bets are blacks. However, black chips and higher are closely counted by the staff, so I would not think to drop those in my pocket.

One thing that I often ask myself is if it is better to be a big fish in a small pond, or a medium size fish in a big ocean. I love the comps that I get at smaller places like the Stratosphere, but prefer the rooms, restaurants and location of bigger places like the MGM or Mandalay Bay. Given the same amount of action, the Stratosphere treats me like a king while the Mandalay Bay treats me like a preferred customer, but not much more.
LamKram
Joined: May 27, 2010
• Posts: 3
June 1st, 2010 at 3:13:27 PM permalink
Until I actually played with the numbers, I didn't appreciate how the variability of actual win or loss is much, much greater than the "theoretical" loss even after playing hundreds of hands. In the example I gave above of playing 300 hands of blackjack at \$100 a hand, the expected loss is \$150. However, 70% of the time (that is, plus or minus one standard deviation), the player could end up anywhere from \$1580 ahead to \$1880 behind. Compare that to a card counter with a 1% advantage. His expected win in the same situation is \$300, but 70% of the time he will actually be between \$2030 ahead and \$1430 behind. In other words, even after a few hundred hands, you cannot tell whether someone was counting cards or not by simply looking at his stack of chips. Only after tens of thousands of hands will the variance be small enough compared to the theoretical that a card counter has an obvious advantage over a basic strategy player.

Of course, what this also means is that if you count cards for only a few hundred hands, there is still a good chance you'll lose money.
CrappedOut
Joined: May 9, 2010
• Posts: 62
June 1st, 2010 at 3:39:24 PM permalink
Quote: gambler

Someone else mentioned the concept of looking like a loser. From personal experience, I have found that hosts are much more generous to losers, and may even go far beyound the theortical loss comp amount. When I lose between \$20,000 and \$50,000 at the craps tables, the host is fawning all over me, even if my expected loss mathematically is only \$4,000 or \$5,000. I can ask for the moon and will probably get it.

Now if I have a big win and I am up \$10,000 to \$20,000 at the craps table, my experience is that the host still is generous, but tends to stick with a "fair" comp value. Yes, I will still get my room, food, and beverages free, but not as much special attention.

Dropping a couple of \$25 chips every hour into your pocket can really help your image as a loser. I figure that \$50 in my pocket an hour, times 8 hours of gambling a day, I have \$400 of extra losses per day. While that doesn't factor in huge at the craps table with full odds, 5 days of gambling is an extra \$2,000 of appeared losses. And 2 green chips an hour will not be missed by the boxman or floor staff, especially if most of your bets are blacks. However, black chips and higher are closely counted by the staff, so I would not think to drop those in my pocket.

One thing that I often ask myself is if it is better to be a big fish in a small pond, or a medium size fish in a big ocean. I love the comps that I get at smaller places like the Stratosphere, but prefer the rooms, restaurants and location of bigger places like the MGM or Mandalay Bay. Given the same amount of action, the Stratosphere treats me like a king while the Mandalay Bay treats me like a preferred customer, but not much more.

What gambler says, x2. Spot on.
DJTeddyBear
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
• Posts: 10237
June 1st, 2010 at 5:39:41 PM permalink
Quote: gambler

When I lose between \$20,000 and \$50,000 at the craps tables, the host is fawning all over me, even if my expected loss mathematically is only \$4,000 or \$5,000. I can ask for the moon and will probably get it.

Now if I have a big win and I am up \$10,000 to \$20,000 at the craps table, my experience is that the host still is generous, but tends to stick with a "fair" comp value.

Well, sure!

If you lose a lot, they want to do whatever it takes, at whatever reasonable costs, to get you to do it again.

If you win a lot, they want to do whatever it takes, at whatever reasonable costs, to get you to stick around when your luck changes.

The difference is, when you lose, they have your losses to add to the expense budget they use to entice you.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁