FinsRule
FinsRule
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January 13th, 2011 at 8:18:40 AM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

Quote: RaleighCraps

I lost THEORETICAL money. But REAL money totally depends on the outcome. And the HE of the bet is not a factor in the outcome. If I got no black jacks, playing 1:1 , 6:5 , 3:2, or 10:1 BJ would not have mattered. How can you say otherwise, with a straight face?
They do not take 1.41 from my $100 PL bet. Over infinity that would be the expected outcome, but for that one bet, I either win $100 or I lose $100. It is a 0% or 200% proposition. All the HE does is affect your likely outcome of the bet.

Now, if they charged me a commish based on the HE of the bet when they paid off winning bets, then I would totally agree with you. Then the bet that you are making does have an impact on the real money.




Casinos base player ratings on "theoretical" results, NOT actual results, so what does that tell you? That the "theoretical" is, in fact, very real, and is actually more significant than the actual result.



1. As I stated before, the government bases your taxes on actual results. So what does that tell you?

2. At the end of the year, you calculate all the bets you made and you've determined that your theoretical loss was $300. Then you look at your gambling bank account, and you've lost $500. Which result is more significant to you?
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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January 13th, 2011 at 8:53:43 AM permalink
MKL -

I think you're in a minority here.

The theoretical math is very important, when a casino makes decisions on what sort of comps to award. It may also be useful in making projections.

However, the actual cash is important when determining if the casino really made any money. And it is the actual cash that a gambler cares about.
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thecesspit
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 9:07:09 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

MKL -

I think you're in a minority here.

The theoretical math is very important, when a casino makes decisions on what sort of comps to award. It may also be useful in making projections.

However, the actual cash is important when determining if the casino really made any money. And it is the actual cash that a gambler cares about.



+1. Work out the projections before you enter the casino. Look at the wallet when you leave.

Winning a big hand with the wrong play doesn't make you smart, but it does make you richer.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Ike
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 9:15:06 AM permalink
This discussion gives me a headache, mainly due to that MKL character.

I work for a casino, do you think the VP's here care more about coin in or actual slot win? Do you think they care more about table drop or actual table win? Moreover, do you think the average gambler cares more about the 13% percent theoretical payback of the penny game they are playing or the $150 hit they just got in a bonus round? Do you think they care more about the free 10x odds they are taking on a craps table, or the $300 they just blew through and lost?

Theoretical hold and game math is great and all, but it means nothing to 95% of the gamblers out there. The majority of gamblers don't have the discipline to manage their bankroll properly, or simply don't have a bankroll large enough to account for variance on a table game. They will never get dealt enough hands in blackjack, see enough rolls on a craps table or pull enough handles on a one armed bandit to approach those theoretical paybacks. Where does that leave them? They still want to play, so they play. They rely on "luck" and either go home a winner or a loser. Theoretical hold from .5% to 10% means very little to them. They can win or lose due to variance, but will never gamble enough to get even close to the theoretical payback of a game.

I agree an informed gambler should seek out the best rules possible, but the vast majority of gamblers don't care about being informed. They go to a casino to strike it rich, they go for a chance to make some money. Gamblers will continue to play crappy hold penny slots, continue to play carnival table games and will continue to play 6:5 blackjack. They play for the same reason scratch off lottery tickets are bought, they have to risk a little for a chance to win a lot. They don't care how small that chance to win may be. It will never end.

People like us who like to make informed gambling decisions will never be happy with the hold being raised on slots/VP machines, we'll never be happy with 2x odds in craps, we'll never be happy with diminishing good rules in BJ, but it doesn't matter.
thecesspit
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:00:17 AM permalink
Quote: Ike

Theoretical hold from .5% to 10% means very little to them. They can win or lose due to variance, but will never gamble enough to get even close to the theoretical payback of a game.



Not quite right, in my opinion.

They will gamble enough to be within the vicinity of the payback of the game... as the theoretical payback is made up of not just EV but also the amount of the variance. Each bettor is one point along that curve.

Each gambler individually will reacts to that result... and if a larger percentage are doing worse than they expect (where their expectation may be as simple as "lets through dice for 2 hours, drink beer and lose $500), a larger percentage won't return. Or return with less. And if less players hit a nice profit, less will say "hey, I went there and won $1000, woot!", this also shaves of a few players who don't return, or don't pass on that positive message.

Is this enough to effect Vegas as a whole and mean better payoffs are necessary? I don't know. I know I'd like more 3:2 Blackjack and full pay VP, on strip at quarter/$5 limits with cute cocktail waitresses and a cheap room in pleasant surroundings, but I also want a lot of other things I'm not going to get.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:05:52 AM permalink
Quote: FinsRule

Don't patronize me, I'm not an idiot.

Oh, and if I'm an advantage player, I only need enough money to make the first bet, since I win on every hand.



I don't think you're an idiot, but statements such as the latter, above, don't exactly help your case.
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
mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:13:17 AM permalink
Quote: Ike

I work for a casino, do you think the VP's here care more about coin in or actual slot win? Do you think they care more about table drop or actual table win? Moreover, do you think the average gambler cares more about the 13% percent theoretical payback of the penny game they are playing or the $150 hit they just got in a bonus round? Do you think they care more about the free 10x odds they are taking on a craps table, or the $300 they just blew through and lost?



If you work for a casino, then you should realize that customers feel the EFFECT of an increased house hold, even if they don't understand the concept itself, or what was done to increase that hold: they don't get to play as long, they don't win as often, etc. It isn't necessary for gamblers to perceive the methods the house uses for them to know that SOMETHING is affecting their bottom line. Obviously, this will only show up over repeated visits/sessions; at first, the gamblers will just think they were unlucky. They will then gradually realize that their results are worse than they used to be. Of course, many of those gamblers will simply say, "I just don't have good luck at the Golden Commode", but that would still cause them to shy away, and maybe next time play blackjack at the Silver Snakepit across the street.

So it's a fiction that only those gamblers who can perceive an increase in the house's edge will care about it.
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
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:35:33 AM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Not quite right, in my opinion.

They will gamble enough to be within the vicinity of the payback of the game... as the theoretical payback is made up of not just EV but also the amount of the variance. Each bettor is one point along that curve.

Each gambler individually will reacts to that result... and if a larger percentage are doing worse than they expect (where their expectation may be as simple as "lets through dice for 2 hours, drink beer and lose $500), a larger percentage won't return. Or return with less. And if less players hit a nice profit, less will say "hey, I went there and won $1000, woot!", this also shaves of a few players who don't return, or don't pass on that positive message.

Is this enough to effect Vegas as a whole and mean better payoffs are necessary? I don't know. I know I'd like more 3:2 Blackjack and full pay VP, on strip at quarter/$5 limits with cute cocktail waitresses and a cheap room in pleasant surroundings, but I also want a lot of other things I'm not going to get.



Look, I never said all this was good for the casino. I actually believe the opposite. Hold percentage and table games rules are the price in a casino, and we all know raising your price when there is lessened demand will get you nowhere but bankrupt. There are a million reasons why Vegas is struggling right now, and the short term gains they see by penny pinching the players will only lead to further disaster in the future. You can milk the cow a million times, but slaughter it but once. If the big wigs in charge of things realized this, and realized gambling is entertainment for the majority of gamblers, they'd realize if they gave the players time on device/table they'd add value to that player's experience and probably get more trips out of them. 3 trips with an expected loss of $1000 is better for the casino than 1 with an expected loss of $2000. You'll get more money in the long run and the player will probably be willing to come back again in the future.
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:39:28 AM permalink
Quote: Ike

Look, I never said all this was good for the casino. I actually believe the opposite. Hold percentage and table games rules are the price in a casino, and we all know raising your price when there is lessened demand will get you nowhere but bankrupt. There are a million reasons why Vegas is struggling right now, and the short term gains they see by penny pinching the players will only lead to further disaster in the future. You can milk the cow a million times, but slaughter it but once. If the big wigs in charge of things realized this, and realized gambling is entertainment for the majority of gamblers, they'd realize if they gave the players time on device/table they'd add value to that player's experience and probably get more trips out of them. 3 trips with an expected loss of $1000 is better for the casino than 1 with an expected loss of $2000. You'll get more money in the long run and the player will probably be willing to come back again in the future.



I completely agree with you. I was starting from your observation that players never reach the theoretical payback, which is a statement I don't agree with; but I do agree with the rest of your conclusions.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:39:35 AM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

If you work for a casino, then you should realize that customers feel the EFFECT of an increased house hold, even if they don't understand the concept itself, or what was done to increase that hold: they don't get to play as long, they don't win as often, etc. It isn't necessary for gamblers to perceive the methods the house uses for them to know that SOMETHING is affecting their bottom line. Obviously, this will only show up over repeated visits/sessions; at first, the gamblers will just think they were unlucky. They will then gradually realize that their results are worse than they used to be. Of course, many of those gamblers will simply say, "I just don't have good luck at the Golden Commode", but that would still cause them to shy away, and maybe next time play blackjack at the Silver Snakepit across the street.

So it's a fiction that only those gamblers who can perceive an increase in the house's edge will care about it.




Maybe you misunderstood my post. I DO understand gamblers will feel the effects. I do understand a player who gets to play through their $100 in 2 hours will be happier than a player that loses it in 1. That is irrelevant to casino VP discussions. They think in the short term, as do 95% of the players in a casino. If they didn't, you wouldn't see the 6:5 tables packed every Friday and Saturday. Eventually, the money will run out, the players will be pissed and the casinos might realize the error of their ways. For now, revenues look better. You can take a popular slot machine with 5% hold and jack that hold up to 20%. You are going to slaughter the players, and your short term gains will look amazing. Eventually, the popularity of that game will fizzle out and die, but rarely is a decision maker in their position long enough to care. If they make the numbers look good for this year, or even this quarter, they will be off to bigger and better things long before their decisions have blown up...
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:47:45 AM permalink
Quote: Ike

3 trips with an expected loss of $1000 is better for the casino than 1 with an expected loss of $2000. You'll get more money in the long run and the player will probably be willing to come back again in the future.


The thing is, though, that three trips not only earn the casino more money, they also cost it more money. When you need to fight with other casinos for a limited number of gamblers, you'll do all you can to domesticate more gamblers. When the place is packed with tourists anyway, you just need to maximize profit per hour on your tables.

However, what do you do if there is a recession and the pool of rich tourists is drying out? The answer is, sadly, the same: take more money from those you still get while it lasts. Just like in the two envelope problem.

Hold percentage isn't even viewed as the price to set high or low now - it's advertised as the primary metric of game performance; casinos will pay good money to license game tables with increased hold (and guess where this money has to come from).
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Ike
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 11:03:23 AM permalink
Do you know how much it costs to turn a room? $25 to $30 per night? That's nothing. What else does it cost a casino? Comps, points and offers are earned as a percentage of total play based on a reinvestment percentage, so again, it's really not costing the casino anything. Your logic is flawed I think. It costs the casino nothing to bring a player to their property, the player is paying their own bills through play/loss instead of using their credit card at the front desk.

You know why the amount of tourists is drying up? Because the casinos have taken too much, and the players now feel their disposable income will bring them more joy and entertainment somewhere else, like a trip to the beach, or a nice dinner and movie, etc, etc.

Hold percentage IS the price in a casino. I'm not sure why you'd say otherwise? The only difference between a casino's price and the price in a store like Walmart, is the price isn't advertised. It's the only industry in the world where the price isn't known (slots). VP price and table price IS known, and that's the reason most informed gamblers gravitate to those games.
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 11:26:18 AM permalink
Quote: Ike

Do you know how much it costs to turn a room? $25 to $30 per night? That's nothing. What else does it cost a casino?


You need to actually build the room first. As you need to build the pits, buy the tables, hire the dealers. If the casino is packed as it is, as used to be common for some time, it becomes more interested in draining the players that do fit, as their place will be taken anyway.


Quote: Ike

Hold percentage IS the price in a casino. I'm not sure why you'd say otherwise?


House edge is the price. Hold percentage is the cost, but you don't know the cost until you leave the table. There is more to maximizing hold percentage than increased edge; it's a product of edge, number of hands played, and other factors. The fact is, there is a race going on to take away as much of the bankroll brought to the table as possible. High hold percentage is being viewed as an achievement, not as asking price. In the long run it will backfire, decreasing the popularity of gambling itself by destroying the incentive, but in the short term, as long as the money keeps rolling in, who cares. And when it stops... for a while you can operate "destination resorts" instead of gambling establishments, and then there are other jobs on the market.
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Ike
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 11:31:09 AM permalink
Come on man...Have you been to a casino in the last 5 years? Beds for bodies IS NOT A PROBLEM. The casinos have empty beds, empty pits, empty tables and empty slots. You seem to be preaching to a scenario when there is actually a high level of demand for Vegas and casinos. There is not, not at at the present time. If we ever approach the golden era of gambling again, and the rooms are full, the tables are full and the slots are full, THEN is the time to increase your price.


I'm not sure what you are arguing in terms of price. House edge IS hold percentage when speaking of slot machines. House edge and rules are price when considering VP machines and table games. There is no argument here. Price has been set at a point way above where supply meets demand. That's why we are seeing decreased trips, decreased loss limits and decreased trips. It's simple economics....


What do you think would happy if Walmart decided to charge $100 for a snickers bar? They aint selling any snickers bars...
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 11:51:50 AM permalink
Quote: Ike

Come on man...Have you been to a casino in the last 5 years? Beds for bodies IS NOT A PROBLEM. The casinos have empty beds, empty pits, empty tables and empty slots. You seem to be preaching to a scenario when there is actually a high level of demand for Vegas and casinos. There is not, not at at the present time.


There used to be. Not the whole week, not always, not entirely packed, but there used to be a time not so long ago when some casinos had no problem attracting patrons. And this is when worse rules became lucrative, because "they'll play anyway".


Quote: Ike

I'm not sure what you are arguing in terms of price. House edge IS hold percentage when speaking of slot machines.


Not really. House edge is the average proportion taken per wager. Hold percentage is how much of his bankroll a player is down when he leaves the table (or the slot machine).
Blackjack is such a powerful game because despite its small 0.2%-0.5% edge (or, rather, thanks to it) it tends to hold a lot of money, over 10% of the relatively large bankrolls it's approached with. Of course, the actual player will be 30% up or 50% down, but it comes down to totals. Newer games are designed to increase hold percentage further, by keeping the player hooked while their high house edge eats up his bankroll.


Quote: Ike

What do you think would happy if Walmart decided to charge $100 for a snickers bar? They aint selling any snickers bars...


Rather, what would happen if Walmart started selling boxes of snickers bars for $100 - only unlike last year's $100 boxes that were half full of styrofoam, new boxes are 3/4 styrofoam? Walmart customers would wise up and stop buying them, but casino patrons ain't Walmart customers - it's only when they can't find their bar in all of this foam that the stream will drain completely.
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DJTeddyBear
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January 13th, 2011 at 12:19:09 PM permalink
Quote: P90

Blackjack is such a powerful game because despite its small 0.2%-0.5% edge (or, rather, thanks to it) it tends to hold a lot of money, over 10% of the relatively large bankrolls it's approached with. Of course, the actual player will be 30% up or 50% down, but it comes down to totals.


Therein lies the problem with 6:5.

Regardless of the rules, the typical BJ player will leave down a good percentage of his bankroll.


That being the case, what's the advantage of paying 6:5?

Piss off gamblers so they don't return as often? How is that good for the bottom line?
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 12:47:48 PM permalink
Quote: P90

There used to be. Not the whole week, not always, not entirely packed, but there used to be a time not so long ago when some casinos had no problem attracting patrons. And this is when worse rules became lucrative, because "they'll play anyway".



Not really. House edge is the average proportion taken per wager. Hold percentage is how much of his bankroll a player is down when he leaves the table (or the slot machine).
Blackjack is such a powerful game because despite its small 0.2%-0.5% edge (or, rather, thanks to it) it tends to hold a lot of money, over 10% of the relatively large bankrolls it's approached with. Of course, the actual player will be 30% up or 50% down, but it comes down to totals. Newer games are designed to increase hold percentage further, by keeping the player hooked while their high house edge eats up his bankroll.



Rather, what would happen if Walmart started selling boxes of snickers bars for $100 - only unlike last year's $100 boxes that were half full of styrofoam, new boxes are 3/4 styrofoam? Walmart customers would wise up and stop buying them, but casino patrons ain't Walmart customers - it's only when they can't find their bar in all of this foam that the stream will drain completely.



We're not talking about a time not so long ago, when casinos actually could do what they wanted and write their own checks. We're talking about the present day gambling environment - TODAY. Demand for gambling and casinos has diminished, and more importantly, SUPPLY HAS GREATLY INCREASED. Casinos are EVERYWHERE. This wasn't the case 20 years ago. Casinos can no longer issue themselves a blank check and rip off gamblers as they please. The amount of casinos struggling is evidence of that.

You're having trouble grasping how slot machines work. Each slot machine is set to a very specific hold percentage. That hold percentage can be changed within each game, and if that hold percentage capability of a certain game is not high enough, a new game with new software and an even higher hold percentage can be brought in to raise it even further. The hold percentage on a slot machine is very much the price. You're getting slot win and (actual hold percentage) and hold percentage (theoretical hold percentage) confused I think.

You either don't really understand what I'm saying, don't understand how slot machines work, or refuse to listen so I guess it's not really worth my time to say anymore or argue. It's pointless, like running in circles.
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 12:53:48 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

That being the case, what's the advantage of paying 6:5?


1. You strip them of their money quicker and with less effort.
2. Fewer of them leave with winnings, so less money to pay back.

The second part shouldn't be underestimated. It's virtually impossible to end up ahead by any appreciable amount on 6:5-paying 21, even if card-counting with a single deck. I tried (in simulation of course), you are just sinking too fast to pull out. The only chance to win at 6:5 is to use anti-martingale aka "let it ride" and hope for a lucky streak.
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P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 1:06:42 PM permalink
Quote: Ike

Casinos can no longer issue themselves a blank check and rip off gamblers as they please. The amount of casinos struggling is evidence of that.


Yes. But their solution seems to be exactly that: try and rip off gamblers as fast as they can.


Quote: Ike

You're having trouble grasping how slot machines work. Each slot machine is set to a very specific hold percentage.


Let's calm down. Yes, you're right here, the term "hold percentage" is used differently for slot machines than for table games, being defined per wager, and being synonymous with house edge. I'm just not into slots at all, and didn't think of this difference in definition right away.

In the case of table games, hold percentage is completely distinct from house edge and is defined per buy-in, not per hand. In these games games, even simple roulette, hold percentage is not easily controlled, and depends on how long the players stay at the table. These are completely different parameters, I'm talking strictly about the table games one.
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DJTeddyBear
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January 13th, 2011 at 1:23:45 PM permalink
Quote: P90

Quote: DJTeddyBear

That being the case, what's the advantage of paying 6:5?

1. You strip them of their money quicker and with less effort.
2. Fewer of them leave with winnings, so less money to pay back.

You missed my point.

Those are short-term advantages.

The long term / Big Picture is that the gambler doesn't return as often.

Is that a good thing?
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 1:36:43 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

You missed my point.
Those are short-term advantages.
The long term / Big Picture is that the gambler doesn't return as often.
Is that a good thing?


Of course it's not. I'm just saying how it makes sense in the short term. And in the long term... people tend to be a lot less risk-averse in the long term than in the short term. The management may think things will work themselves out. Or it may think they won't be there anymore by the time it backfires.

It may be going a bit into politics, but actually optimal strategy for a hired manager is an interesting problem. As a proprietor, your game is simple, company funds is your funds. A hired manager, however, is rewarded a fraction of winnings, potentially unlimited, but has his losses hard-capped. It can be compared to a game where you get high cashback on losses. Such a game rewards a more aggressive, short-term focused strategy: if you win big, you win big, but if you lose big, most of your losses only push. From such a position, it seems hard to resist the temptation of trading the long-term well-being of the company and the industry as a whole for short-term winnings that will earn you rewards while you are still in the position to get them.
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Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 1:44:33 PM permalink
Quote: P90

Yes. But their solution seems to be exactly that: try and rip off gamblers as fast as they can.



Let's calm down. Yes, you're right here, the term "hold percentage" is used differently for slot machines than for table games, being defined per wager, and being synonymous with house edge. I'm just not into slots at all, and didn't think of this difference in definition right away.

In the case of table games, hold percentage is completely distinct from house edge and is defined per buy-in, not per hand. In these games games, even simple roulette, hold percentage is not easily controlled, and depends on how long the players stay at the table. These are completely different parameters, I'm talking strictly about the table games one.



If you go back and reread my posts, you will realize I said exactly that. House edge on a table game is defined by the rules of the game. House edge on a video poker game is defined by the pay table. Both are visible to the guest, both make the price visible. On a slot machine, the theoretical hold percentage is not visible, hence the price is not visible.
Ike
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January 13th, 2011 at 1:50:09 PM permalink
I'm starting to get the feeling your arguing just for the sake of arguing, P90.
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 2:23:03 PM permalink
I'm not arguing for the sake of it. There just has been a confusion between hold percentage as in table games (which determines casino's winnings) and as in slots (where it's only a function that factors into them).

http://grochowski.casinocitytimes.com/article/hold-on-before-you-compare-hold-percentages-729
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boymimbo
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January 13th, 2011 at 2:52:24 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

You show a basic misunderstanding of probability and expected value. You are far from alone. Because looking at a wager in terms of expected value is counterintuitive, many people simply don't even try to understand it.

Let me restate the situation to see if you understand it this way: At the moment you make the bet, you have a 49.3% chance of ending up with $200, and a 50.7% chance of winding up with nothing (numbers rounded). Mathematically, this is the EXACT SAME THING as now having $98.59 ($100-$1.41).



No, MKL, it isn't. When the bet is resolvled, you either have $0 or $200. It is not the exact same thing, at all. Mathematically, when you make the bet, you have nothing because you can't take back your bet until it is resolved. That is, if you walk away from the table, you still have nothing.
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boymimbo
boymimbo
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January 13th, 2011 at 3:06:05 PM permalink
It's really about bringing the customers back which is key to the casino's (or any company's) success. If they have a bad experience and can go somewhere else where they are treated better and have an experience that is more satisfying to them they will go. Different people value different experiences. For experienced gamblers who understand odds and probability, they will flock to the casinos with the best games that give them the best odds of winning. For gamblers who want to have fun, they will go to the casino that provides them the most fun.

That's what 6:5 blackjack should be all about. Experienced gamblers know that they have a better probability to winning on the 3:2 games and they will flock to those games. The issue is that on a weekend night, a casino company under 20 billion of debt can't afford to have a bunch of 3:2 blackjack games at .66 percent or less. They've upped the limits to $25 per hand for these games on the weekend nights, which is beyond the gambling budget of alot of weekend visitors. The inexperienced gambler will flock to the 6:5 games on the party pits and play the $5 - $10 game. Now, who has more fun? The gambling know-it-all knowing that they make an extra $3 per blackjack and maybe make an extra $12 over four hours (on average), or the person staring at the gyrating babe with the amazing bosoms while playing an entertaining game? 6-5 allows the casino to offer an atmosphere of fun while meeting a profit motive.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
P90
P90
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January 13th, 2011 at 3:26:26 PM permalink
Maybe, maybe. Just as long as 3:2 doesn't go the way of classic single deck blackjack and original 10:1 AsJ. Pushing proper games to medium-stake tables is already a move towards phasing them out. And then we'll be seeing more even-money 21 games...

How long till they offer the first zero-payout game? "Single-deck progressive draw! Pair or better pays 1 for 1, suited pairs pay 10 for 1, suited aces win the jackpot!"
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mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 4:08:28 PM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

No, MKL, it isn't. When the bet is resolvled, you either have $0 or $200. It is not the exact same thing, at all. Mathematically, when you make the bet, you have nothing because you can't take back your bet until it is resolved. That is, if you walk away from the table, you still have nothing.



Again, this is a basic misunderstanding. After the bet is resolved, you will have either $200 or $0. Does this mean that the bet was worth either $200 or $0? Of course not.

A $100 bet on a coin flip is worth exactly $100, even though you will never wind up with exactly $100 after ONE TRIAL.

And the fact that you can't take your bet back means that is is EXACTLY EQUIVALENT to its expected value. The fallacy is in thinking that the result of the bet has anything whatsoever to do with that bet's expected value. It doesn't. Therefore, the only way to look at what a bet is worth is to look at it in terms of expected value (and, yes, to ignore the result of that bet).

The Wiz has explained this much better than I ever could, and you should probably consult his writings on the subject, particularly since I seem to be having such a hard time getting the concept across to you. That's no doubt my fault, so try the Wiz instead.
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
thecesspit
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 4:55:40 PM permalink
I think the problem is you are considering the value of the bet after it has been resolved.

Before it's resolved, it's worth the EV, afterwards, we've now resolved the EV into an AV (Actual Value). You either have $0 or $200. You do not have $98.33. And just because you have $200, it does not make the bet -before it was made- worth $200. It doesn't make it a good bet, even if it results in $200. That's fuzzy thinking too (post hoc ergo propter hoc, as I screwed up before hand). The claim that "well I won a massive royal on that lousy VP table so therefore pay tables are meaningless" (for example) or "well I made $500 playing 6:5 blackjack so screw you buddy with your love of 3:2 blackjack, ha!" (for another example) is wrong (which is where I do agree).

As I always state, it's not just about the raw EV... the variance also matters, and you'll be point on the variance curve after making the bet (or bets).
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 5:58:17 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

I think the problem is you are considering the value of the bet after it has been resolved.



If you're addressing me, I am REFUSING to consider the value of the bet after it has been resolved, because that is a meaningless measure; the value of the bet is actually the same regardless of the actual outcome. That's why the only meaningful way to measure the bet's value is in terms of EV--AND, the only meaningful TIME to measure the bet's value is WHEN IT IS MADE.

The error in your thinking is shown by "you do not have $98.33". Of course not, but EV is virtually never the same as THE RESULT OF A SINGLE BET. That's where you are going off the rails--in drastically overemphasizing the significance of that ONE outcome.

What you actually wind up with AFTER ONE OUTCOME is not relevant to the EV of a bet.
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
thecesspit
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:01:04 PM permalink
So what do you have after the bet is made?
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:02:57 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

So what do you have after the bet is made?



You have the bet's expected value, or if you prefer, the equivalent of the bet's expected value.
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
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:03:56 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

So what do you have after the bet is made?

Bated breath and a skipped heart beat.
thecesspit
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:04:37 PM permalink
So if I bet $10 on a coin flip, which has an expected value of $0, after the coin flip I have $0, win or lose?
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:08:04 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

So if I bet $10 on a coin flip, which has an expected value of $0, after the coin flip I have $0, win or lose?



What you have AFTER the flip is irrelevant. The bet had an expected value of $10 (+$0).
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
thecesspit
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:12:19 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

What you have AFTER the flip is irrelevant. The bet had an expected value of $10 (+$0).



I must go re read the wizard's take on all this then, as clearly you either have $20 or $0, and if that's irrelevant, then I've no idea how you pay for your gas after a trip to play VP.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
mkl654321
mkl654321
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January 13th, 2011 at 10:20:57 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

I must go re read the wizard's take on all this then, as clearly you either have $20 or $0, and if that's irrelevant, then I've no idea how you pay for your gas after a trip to play VP.



It's irrelevant in terms of measuring the value of the bet, and whether the bet was a good or a bad one.

Look at it this way. We bet on a roll of a single die. We say that you win if 1, 2, or 3 comes up. I win if 4, 5, or 6 comes up. We roll, and a 1 comes up--you win (let's say, $1). Now we bet again, but this time, you only win if a 1 comes up--otherwise, I win. Same even money bet. You roll a 1 again--you win $1.

Now, in each case, you won $1, but the two bets were hardly equal. In the first case, your expected value was $0.00; in the second case, your expected value was
-$0.66. Your results were the same, but one bet was clearly much worse--had less value--than the other. The same reasoning would apply if you had rolled a 6 both times--the results would have been the same, but the bets did not have the same value--the latter was clearly worse.

One more time, the fact that you "clearly have $20 or $0" is irrelevant--that is after the bet is resolved. What IS relevant is that when the bet is made, you WILL HAVE either $20 or $0, and the relative chances of each of the outcomes, multiplied by the payoffs for each outcome, sum to your expected value.
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
bbvk05
bbvk05
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January 15th, 2011 at 8:26:11 PM permalink
mkl is absolutely right up here. He is calculating expected value of a bet. A 50/50 flip with equal pay would have an expected return of 0.0.
Ibeatyouraces
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January 21st, 2011 at 1:05:21 PM permalink
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dm
dm
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January 21st, 2011 at 1:31:18 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

That was kind of my point in asking the question in the first place. Are the flocks of sheep at the 6:5 tables there because they don't know any better, because they don't care, or because they have seen nothing but 6:5, so they think that's the norm?



Honestly, why should they care? It still beats the heck out of the penny slots.
Ibeatyouraces
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January 21st, 2011 at 1:40:36 PM permalink
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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