Ibeatyouraces
Ibeatyouraces
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
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January 21st, 2011 at 1:40:36 PM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 21st, 2011 at 5:25:26 PM permalink
Quote: Ibeatyouraces

I wonder if there would be this uproar if bj's always paid 6:5.



I think you mean, if blackjacks HAD always paid 6:5, and my answer to that is, in that case, the casinos would have started paying even money instead of 6:5.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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January 21st, 2011 at 5:51:59 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

I was amazed at the prevalence of awful 6:5 BJ during my recent Vegas visit. It was at every single casino I saw, in one form or another. And it wasn't even restricted to single deck--


I sometimes wonder if we could resurrect Benny Binion and show him around town for a day what the reaction would be.

Rooms at outrageous prices albeit they sure are better rooms than he ever imagined Las Vegas would have.
Mega-Themed Resorts, when all he really envisioned was a good gambling joint.
Throngs of drunken yuppies at gliteratti nightclubs.

And then show him the most vile abomination: 6:5 Blackjack.

Now of course there are two ways of looking at this. We can think back to them good old days when trips to Vegas didn't involve any stripping until after you had arrived. I'm not sure what an "average Joe" would have bet back in those days but maybe things have indeed worsened for the casinos. Maybe they really are running on more narrow margins. Maybe 6:5 as dreaded as it is, happens to be a reasonable reaction to general economic and demographic changes.

Oh, it will still be much hated, but after a while those who expect 3:2 will simply die off, leaving the fanny-packed tourists who don't know and don't care.

Think of the resort fees, the sharing of tips, the closings of some shows, ... I think that 6:5 may be here to stay. Alas.
DuckyD
DuckyD
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January 21st, 2011 at 7:00:55 PM permalink
Long time listener, first time caller.

As my first post, I have a proposition here. I don't claim to believe in the merits of the argument myself - consider this a bit of devil's advocate.

Playing around with the Wiz's House Edge Calculator, I put 6:5 BJ games at about 2% HE. Variances based on the other rules in play, but let's use that as a general ballpark figure. My proposition is that this is simply re-normalizing the game of Blackjack to the odds found at many other table games in casinos today. All of these are pulled from Wizardofodds.com:

  • Craps (3x4x5x) - 0.374% (Pass itemne + full odds)
  • 3:2 Blackjack - 0.4-0.5% (Depending on rules in play)
  • Baccarat - ~1.1% (mean of Banker/Player bets)
  • 6:5 Blackjack - 2.0%
  • Texas Holdem Bonus - 2.0% - no bonus bet
  • Pai Gow Tiles - 2.44% (non-banking player only)
  • Pai Gow Poker - 2.73% (non-banking player only)
  • 4 Card Poker - 3.2% - no bonus bet
  • 3 Card Poker - 3.37% - no bonus bet
  • Roulette - 5.26%


My proposition is this: Re-adjusting BJ from 3:2 to 6:5 brings the game more in line with the EV found at just about every other table game found in a casino. An interesting point of note in this discussion is that - other than roulette - each of the other games has a significant decision point (Which the Wiz references at "Element of Risk") or a significant number of non-actionable hands (PG Poker/PG Tiles push a lot).

As to whether this change-in-process is good for the industry.. This change affects most those who play a large number of hands and see a proportionately large number of BJs. All said, I don't think the real-world impact is significant for the long-weekend tourist who comes on Thurs/Fri and leaves on Sun/Mon and maybe plays 10-15 hours of cards in the mix, once or twice a year. In aggregate, the change is huge. But to each individual person, not so much in real-world dollars. Especially when the minimum is half (or less) of 3:2 tables.

However, this does severely cut down on those players who play thousands of hands a year and who systematically find ways of reducing the house edge as much as possible. Now, I'm willing to bet this crowd (or the BJ-playing subset of it) has a high correlation with that second group. And we wonder why all the uproar :).

My prediction to watch? Craps is next to be adjusted.
P90
P90
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January 21st, 2011 at 7:04:21 PM permalink
Doubtful, it will probably go the way of 3:2 eventually. The HA is still not quite high enough. With liberal rules, it's still just 1.5%, down to 1.2% at single deck. 2% is only there with 6:5 and stingy rules like H17, double 9-11, etc. Also, as you might notice, other games hover more around 3% and over.

First, by popular demand, casinos might will start offering "even money" on blackjack in 6:5 (except they will offer it on 10 only), but also occasionally on ace. The latter will let players overhear "even money is good, when offered not only on 10". Then they'll start advertising "Our Blackjack pays even money, NOT JUST on 10 and Ace, ALWAYS!".

More realistically, bonus payout on blackjack can end up being replaced by "Blackjacks progressive PAYS 2:1 plus JACKPOT", i.e. qualifying the blackjack hand for a progressive jackpot, either based on random chance or the next hand (or N hands) being blackjack. Say, in single-deck Blackjacks Progressive, you'll need 2 consecutive BJ for 2:1 payout (requiring the same bet size of course), 3 BJ for 3:1, 4 BJ for 1% of jackpot and 5 consecutive BJ for full jackpot.
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mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 21st, 2011 at 7:11:19 PM permalink
Quote: DuckyD

My prediction to watch? Craps is next to be adjusted.



"Eleven, loser, line away!"

I agree that blackjack was always a better game than most other table games. However, the casinos still managed to somehow eke out several billion dollars a year from the game. If you look at blackjack as a product, with a profit margin like any other such product, for decades the casinos thrived on a profit margin from blackjack of "x". Now, they've decided, for whatever reason they might give, to jack up the profit margin on blackjack to "4x" (this is a compromise between the fact that 6:5 is actually eight times worse than 3:2 and the fact that most people weren't playing 3:2 optimally anyway). Is this sound business? The jury's still out on that one. The casinos did make the right call on the stupidity and indifference to value that would be displayed by the American public, though.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
boymimbo
boymimbo
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January 21st, 2011 at 8:33:55 PM permalink
The problem with Blackjack against all of the other table games is that the hands dealt per hour is significantly more than any other game. While 4 card for example, might have a HA of 3.2 percent, at 20 hands per hour at $10 per bet, $200 x .032 = $6.40/hour. Blackjack, at 60 hands per hour, is $600 x .005 = $3/hour, and that's if you are playing perfect basic strategy, when the majority of players do not.

At 2 percent for 6:5, it becomes too lopsided of a game and becomes one of the great winners for the casino and not so much for the players.

As for Craps, there are way too many side bets that are being bet. The pass line and odds are the smart bet, but inevitably, most players will drift to placing the 6 and 8 (1.51 percent). Then, the field bet, then placing the 5 and 9, and then the center crap (including the fire bet). If the craps table just offered the pass line, then I would say that maybe the rules would change somewhat (who knows what to). It's all of the other bets that make craps profitable.
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P90
P90
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January 21st, 2011 at 8:49:07 PM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

At 2 percent for 6:5, it becomes too lopsided of a game and becomes one of the great winners for the casino and not so much for the players.


Yes, but casinos know that and players don't. All they know is blackjack is a great game and if you can walk away with millions as long as you are wearing shades.

One thing not considered is, are casinos necessarily all that excited about blackjack? It's low-edge (proper blackjack), it has considerable variance, it requires extended surveillance for catching counters, it's quite prone to hole-carding and cheating, and worst of all it's mandatory: some players won't consider an establishment to be a casino unless it has blackjack tables. Blackjack occupies a considerable proportion of the floor that could instead be taken by sucker games.

I wouldn't put it past casinos to have a side thought about phasing it out or at least decreasing its popularity in favor of games that produce reliable player loss with high hold percentage, not to mention a stronger push for slots.
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FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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January 22nd, 2011 at 4:03:13 AM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

"Eleven, loser, line away!"

No, actually the changes in craps will probably be subtle and a good bit down the road. After all, any dealer will tell you that the guy who arrives with a guidebook in his hand about making only line bets and taking 2x odds is soon all over those Center Bets. So why rush to make craps less theoretically inviting. Craps may have an inviting place in the table of Theoretical House Edge but it also has a good position in the casino's chart of games by Practical House Edge.

>I agree that blackjack was always a better game than most other table games.
> However, the casinos still managed to somehow eke out several billion dollars a year from the game.
True... and they did this before those MBA Bean Counters arrived and tried to change everything.
>If you look at blackjack as a product, with a profit margin like any other such product,
I think that is how the casino has to look at it, but they also have to take a long term viewpoint, not just a short term viewpoint.
We are the ones who look at blackjack as a source of profitable entertainment or at least a source of potentially profitable entertainment. Local retirees probably look at blackjack as life.

>for decades the casinos thrived on a profit margin from blackjack of "x".
Yes and they did this even after Thorpe's book and suddenly found they were doing just fine at "x".

>Now, they've decided, for whatever reason they might give, to jack up the profit margin on blackjack to "4x".
Ah now thats it right there: "for whatever reason they might give". Bean counters willing to impose resort fees that annoy the customers are the same bean counters who are willing to jack up the profit margin on Blackjack. Bean Counters who look at the lease income from nightclubs chock full of drunken yuppies are willing to turn casinos into Pool Parties and Trysts.

4x= a compromise between the fact that 6:5 is actually eight times worse than 3:2 and ... people weren't playing 3:2 optimally.
Well, I'd say thats a reasonable figure to adopt as a compromise. The famed fanny packed tourist sure doesn't play anything optimally. (by the way, my apologies to Australian readers to whom the word "fanny" is inappropriate).

>Is this sound business? The jury's still out on that one.
I guess its the balance between gouging the customers for today's penny or focusing on tomorrow's dollar.
The casino will not get tomorrow's dollar if it has to default on its debt today.
And he who gouges his customers today might be able to buyout his more honorable competitors who focus on tomorrow's dollar.

>on the stupidity and indifference to value that would be displayed by the American public, though.
Perhaps. It depends upon the customer mix. The American Public really should include the sharpie gamblers who play lots of blackjack, but I guess it only includes the teeming masses who flock to 6:5 or who press Spin buttons all day long.

Harrahs has done very well gouging its customers and buying up its competitors ... and now it can afford to drop resort fees so as to gobble up other competitors. It sure ain't dropping resort fees to be nicer to its customers.
INkyatari
INkyatari
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March 7th, 2011 at 11:45:27 AM permalink
I remember when the wife and I were in Vegas our last (and so far only) time in '06, we went into the Rio, and I eyed a single deck game, but I couldn't see the payout anywhere on the table. I asked the dealer what a 21 paid. She told me 6:5, and I loudly said "That's a rip-off. We're going downtown where the games are better."

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