Poll

No votes (0%)
5 votes (45.45%)
4 votes (36.36%)
1 vote (9.09%)
1 vote (9.09%)

11 members have voted

pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 21st, 2010 at 10:35:52 AM permalink


David G. Schwartz is a writer, historian, and Director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Schwartz’s areas of specialty include the history of gambling, casino surveillance and security, gaming and technology, and related issues. Born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Schwartz earned his bachelor’s degree (a double major in anthropology and history) as well as his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania before seeking his doctorate in US History from UCLA.

In the Las Vegas Press he states that Numbers show casinos aren't being tight-fisted.

In the article he states that while win percent has increased in slots, the average table hold has declined significantly over two decades. He blames the slots on migration to penny slots, but he argues that the decline in win percent on the table games argues differently.

I disagree. Personally, I think all it means is that table minimums have increased significantly over the last two decades. With low table minimums people would simply play all day and grind their money away. It is possible that the average HA per bet has gone up in the last 20 years for table games, while the win percent has gone down, simply because people get nervous about the minimums when their bankroll gets low. When minimums were a quarter people would sit at tables all day long.

The only true drop in HA that I am aware of is the increase in free odds in craps. It is my understanding that two decades ago odds of 1X were more of the norm. However, consistent P/L players in craps represents a fairly small percentage of total table game play.

In 1989 before the Mirage opened visitation was at about 18M per year, less than half of what it is now. But more visitors were gamblers.

I emphasize primarily, because all of these factors could make some contribution to the change in win percent.

Do you think that drop in win percent is primarily because of:
(a) Casinos being less tight fisted (i.e. lower house averages like more free odds)
(b) The steady increase in table minimums preventing more people from grinding their money away
(c) Player choice of games (i.e. shift from double zero roulette to baccarat)
(d) Websites and greater dissemination of basic strategy in blackjack
(e) Other (please post your theory)
toastcmu
toastcmu
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May 21st, 2010 at 10:58:21 AM permalink
My gut tells me that it's a combination of (b) and (d). Blackjack used to be the game to play, and now that table minimums are going higher, the average visitor just isn't going to play $25 a hand, when he remembers he could play for $5-10 a decade ago. When you factor in "crapjack" 6:5 or the restrictions on doubling that casinos have added in, blackjack is by no means the worst game in the casino, but I believe the "true" gamblers are spending their money elsewhere.

Blackjack players in general seem to be more knowledgeable (myself included) regarding basic strategy and such, so that in and of itself would drive down the hold for the casino.

I think you would have to put some strict comparisons in to play to really know what's going on - i.e. - # of tables, amount of $$ bet and hold for both time periods to really get an idea of whether the casinos are taking more or less money.

-B
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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May 21st, 2010 at 11:10:08 AM permalink
Instead of B and D,
I'd vote: D and B.

D is the primary factor, (Greater skill )
B is the secondary fator. (Higher minimum bets)
The casinos would love to be tight fisted if they can find a way.

Thorp's Beat The Dealer did wonders for increasing the number of players but it also wised them up!
Hollywood stars and half-naked show girls sure helped too.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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May 21st, 2010 at 12:49:33 PM permalink
The raw statistics about the table games are here.

Please vote in the poll as well as posting.
SanchoPanza
SanchoPanza
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May 21st, 2010 at 12:53:22 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Quote:

The only true drop in HA that I am aware of is the increase in free odds in craps.



In cases like Harrahs, the HA is actually increasing with ploys like 15 for 1 instead of 15 to 1 on 11 or 3 in craps and instituting table minimums for odds bets.

Quote:

Do you think that drop in win percent is primarily because of:
(a) Casinos being less tight fisted (i.e. lower house averages like more free odds)
(b) The steady increase in table minimums preventing more people from grinding their money away
(c) Player choice of games (i.e. shift from double zero roulette to baccarat)
(d) Websites and greater dissemination of basic strategy in blackjack
(e) Other (please post your theory)



A combination of d and e. Much more information -- quite a bit actually useful -- is being published. Witness full-scale honest efforts like the Wizard of Odds and this sibling, as well as objective volunteers who can explain details that range from what can seem like advanced calculus to the more mundane like right- and left-handed dice and how to order drinks.

Combine that increase in knowledgeable players with the inroads of the money management concept of loss limits and leaving at a certain goal while ahead, and that could certainly cut in the houses' bottom lines.
rudeboyoi
rudeboyoi
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May 21st, 2010 at 2:44:35 PM permalink
B) regarding table limits, i was speaking to a boxman at a craps table one night who was telling me there wasnt much action at $15 craps tables he manned. at a $10 table, players would place $12 on 6 and 8 all day long. on a $15 table, everyone was hesitant about placing them for $18 a piece.
konceptum
konceptum
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May 23rd, 2010 at 10:24:16 PM permalink
My girlfriend was playing PaiGow Poker at a table this past weekend where the minimum was $10. She remembered the same table having a minimum of $5 about a month ago. The dealer told her that the casino made the decision to up the minimum to $10, and it would never be lowered back down to $5, ever, for any reason, because it wasn't profitable enough for the casino to run the game at $5. The dealer said that she wouldn't be surprised if that became the norm for all casinos.
Frenchy
Frenchy
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July 6th, 2010 at 1:20:06 AM permalink
One theory I'd like to submit is the increase in avenues to spend money in Las Vegas. In the past 20 years that we are talking about, casinos have realized they can make money on food, hotel, entertainment, etc. Where casinos used to make their money primarily on the gaming floor, it is now spread more evenly among other departments. Beyond looking at financials from publicly traded companies, this is shown in increased room rates, steak dinners, and (most egregiously in my opinion) nightclubs. Gambling has become but a bit player in an average person’s Vegas trip. Players simply aren't spending as much time at the tables, therefore table hold is down.

I’m still young and was not around for “The Good Old Days” so I cannot say for sure that it used to be all about gambling. Perhaps some more experience posters can submit evidence for or against this theory?
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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July 6th, 2010 at 4:46:06 AM permalink
Quote: Frenchy

I was not around for “The Good Old Days” so I cannot say for sure that it used to be all about gambling.


That's okay. Even those of us who were around for The Good Old Days can't really be certain of the various trends. The various Hollywood headliners packed people into shows, but the shows were not particularly expensive. Hotel rooms were cheap. Meals were cheap if you had to pay for them and often free. There did appear to be a greater emphasis on gambling and there was no corporate desire to consider anything but the casino as a revenue center. It was not simply that shrimp cocktails were a signature item that became a loss leader. Everything was pretty much a loss leader. If you walked into a casino an attractive young lady offered you a drink. You did not have to select an area of the casino and then gamble there before the drink offer arrived. The moment you walked in, generosity was the rule.

Many casinos focused on people who could demonstrate an out of town address and there were still various marketing strategies but the whole town was focused largely on the gaming floor and little else.

Corporate involvement and the arrival of MBAs created a generation of bean counters who focused on non-gaming revenue sources and non-Vegas casinos.
boymimbo
boymimbo
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July 6th, 2010 at 6:13:42 AM permalink
When you look at the table games being offered in a typical vegas strip casino, the $5 blackjack game is practically gone, and the $10 game on a weekend night is rare.

You see a decrease overall in the number of 21 games offered and an increase in "carnival games" (Three Card, Four Card, Caribbean, Crazy 4 Poker, Casino War, variations of Texas Hold Em) which have larger house advantages. 6:5 21 is everywhere, so it's more difficult to play a low HA game for cheap.

You have to take a look at the class of gambler who is creating those win percentages. Baccarat is highly variable because it is a game played by whales, asian whales.

And that's my point. In the 2000s with the incredible acceptance of gambling in the United States as being a morally acceptable form of entertainment, the demographic of the typical gambler has changed.

On the low end, the table games have become more recreational in nature. People are playing with less money in general, so they make choices of what games to play and quickly remove themselves from a losing session. There are more Asians than ever coming to the strip and they generally play more wisely. There are less gambling addicts coming to the strip because they can spend all of their money at their new local casino without having to pay for hotels and travel. So what you have in Vegas are, in general, smarter gamblers who leave when down, with less money overall to spend. They are more disciplined.
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