Posted by MathExtremist
Feb 08, 2012

The EV of gambling

By popular demand, this is cribbed from a post I made recently:


When you're walking down the sidewalk, your money is in your pocket. You're neither winning nor losing, and there is no suspense around what's going to happen with that money. But when you place a wager, three factors come into play
a = The chance of you winning, the feeling you get from winning, and the extra money you get from winning
b = The chance of you losing, the feeling you get from losing, and the loss of your wager
c = The suspense of waiting for a or b
For lack of a better phrase, I'll use "Entertainment Value" and co-opt "EV" for this discussion.
a is obviously +EV.
b is obviously -EV.
c is very personal and will vary widely among people for many reasons.
Therefore, if the sum of all the EV (a, b, c) is positive, you like gambling. If it's negative, you don't.


Now I admit this is a simplification, but on the whole it captures the fact that some people like making a bet and some don't. Look up Prospect Theory for a much more in-depth discussion of risk preferences in chance scenarios.


EvenBob Feb 08, 2012

You left out a critical element. Are you behind

and do you know the odds of getting caught up

and staying ahead are nil. Most people don't know

they're playing a neg EV game and have no chance

of getting ahead and staying there. Every time they

gamble, they're chasing their previous losses. How

entertaining is that.

FleaStiff Feb 08, 2012

Entertainment value is pretty much zilch if its minimum bet territory.

What is this thing called "extra" money?

Nareed Feb 09, 2012


DJTeddyBear Feb 15, 2012

>> When you're walking down the sidewalk...

... you might get mugged.

Posted by MathExtremist
Sep 22, 2010

Vegas Trip: Day 3

Today was light - only one meeting. I met with an operator today who said "I like your game (Bad Beat Blackjack) but the owners here will never put in a blackjack side bet." Fair enough - he was actually the most enthusiastic of the casino managers I've met so far, and "ownership won't do it" gave him no reason to hold back on his true opinion. He even told me that he's sure someone will take it. Of course, someone has - just not in Las Vegas.

No dice tonight. I'm still basking in yesterday's win.

Meetings 3, installs 0.


MathExtremist Sep 22, 2010

And now what I'm thinking is that I'll move future posts to the forum section under a thread -- only because the editing and response features there are more robust than on the blog section.

ElectricDreams Sep 23, 2010

"Never put in a blackjack side bet"? Really? Or did he mean never put in a new one? I always thought casinos liked blackjack side bets due to the game being so popular but having such a low house edge.

MathExtremist Sep 23, 2010

No, he was very clear that in their nearly 4 decades of operating blackjack tables, they've never had a side bet. It's a matter of philosophy for them.

ElectricDreams Sep 23, 2010

Philosophical casino owners! I wonder what they do when they see people who obviously shouldn't be betting putting their paychecks on the line? Do they make sure people don't do horrible bets as well? "Sorry, sir we don't allow betting Big Red at THIS casino!"

Sorry, I'm derailing your blog topic. I think it's just interesting that of all the ways to seemingly show integrity, not allowing blackjack side bets is the one they choose! (Of course, they certainly could be doing things such as I mentioned, so I could be way off base here)

AceCrAAckers Jul 13, 2011


How many casinos do you have your games in? Craps game?

Posted by MathExtremist
Sep 21, 2010

Vegas Trip: Day 2

You may be asking "Where's day 1?" I didn't get into Vegas until yesterday at around 2pm so Monday doesn't count. Mostly that was shopping and going to Fedex Office to print out collateral. The office on Flamingo and Paradise has this new machine where you can put in your thumbdrive and print out PDFs and Word docs without standing in line. That was helpful.

Today was my first full day here (this trip, anyway). I saw two operators who expressed moderate to high interest in some games. One said he'd definitely put at least two of them on for a trial (Bad Beat and Hard Pass) were it not for his lack of staff levels and open tables. Apparently the market is so bad for some of the smaller casinos that they can't keep the games running - he's lost 2/3 of his workforce. As a result, he only has some tables open a few days a week, and that wouldn't be a fair test of a new game. I understand where he's coming from, but I'm still looking for any local data I can get before G2E.

The other operator said he prefers to be behind the cutting edge when it comes to new games. I got good feedback from him anyway (and he liked some of what he saw) but for him it was basically a non-starter until I have tables elsewhere. That gets me wondering about what the % breakdown is on operators and their floor mix "adventurousness".

I'm staying in one of those long-term hotels, basically a furnished apartment. It reminds me a lot of my first apartment after college, which isn't saying much. There's no 24-hour coffeeshop and no option to wander downstairs and shoot dice, but it's much quieter -- and the transit time to/from my car is about 30 seconds instead of 5 minutes. Plus, Internet access doesn't cost $15/day.

Speaking of dice, I had a 15+ minute hand earlier tonight at an almost-empty table (e.g. lots of rolls). Low stakes - $3 + $10 odds using my Four-Barrel Shotgun spread. Made about 5-6 passes but tons of inside numbers. And I had the bases loaded for about 5 minutes. "Easy 4. Off and on. Drop me $2 for $25." The best part was that the 7 came on a comeout, so I lost the $18 but kept the $60 in odds.

Running score: meetings 2, installs 0. I want that last figure to be > 0 by the end of next week...


FleaStiff Sep 22, 2010

I may not quite admire the man who wants to be "behind" the cutting edge but I can understand that a businessman does not want to be the one who pays to discover the mistakes of new technology.

I wonder why the smaller casinos are losing staff at such a high rate. Major and sustained dips in a dealer's income may influence his ability to pay rent or commute perhaps and therefore its "leave Vegas" rather than merely suffer economically while awaiting a recovery of the economy.

Rather than going around begging for locations, have you considered defining just which locations would be ideal and going after those.

Do the regulations allow you to provide a "demonstrator-dealer"... that is, a sheriff-licensed employee selected and trained by you but actually put on the casino's payroll? If you walk in with a turn-key package of we supply the game set up, the dealers, ... the casino owner only supplies floor space and supervision it might then go better for you.

Good luck.

Croupier Sep 22, 2010

I have been watching a lot of American Casino lately (I know its about 3 years out of date by now) but Green Walley Ranch may be a decent place to target.

MathExtremist Sep 22, 2010

@FleaStiff, it appears that some properties have taken such a hit that they've had no choice but to do layoffs. The alternative was closing, and to management, some revenue is better than none. It feels like 2001 all over again (I was in the tech sector then).

Ayecarumba Sep 22, 2010

If there is reluctance to be an "earlybird", perhaps bigger "worms" are required. Consider a stronger incentive for the initial installer. Perhaps 100% of profits to the casino for double (or more) of the "regular" period??

I don't know what giving away the installation would do to your financial modeling, but if you need to break through the first installation, it could make the difference. Good Luck!

MathExtremist Sep 22, 2010

In fact, it's basically expected that a new game will get a free trial in any new location, especially from a small vendor like myself. I'm really more after data and proof-of-concept in this locale than I am about trying to get an extra few hundred bucks from an operator.

FleaStiff Sep 22, 2010

You ain't gonna get no data and no proof of concept until you get tables inside a casino.

You either have to make a better pitch or have a better target. Anyone know of a casino owner who is all hot for crazy sidebets on anything?

What about these casinos that only have a few BJ tables and are mainly slot parlors. Would you want a market like that?

Posted by MathExtremist
Sep 17, 2010

Blogging my sales trip

edit: due to a strategy change, I am no longer doing the crowdsourcing experiment. I'll leave the list of games here for your reading pleasure:
New table games. I have playable demos of several games and you'll probably recognize who coded them. The games I plan on demonstrating are:
Bad Beat Blackjack®
Hard Pass
Odd and Even Craps
Uppercut Roulette

The first four games are already approved in Nevada, and I'm looking to field-trial Twist'em. All are patented and many have follow-on patents pending.


DJTeddyBear Sep 18, 2010


BTW, I know about the Wizard's lunch on Monday but I'm not getting in until about 2pm.

That sucks.

Maybe we can get together at a later time/date.

I'll continue this discussion in the Wizard Lunch thread.

7craps Sep 19, 2010

Good Luck to you in Vegas.

Your posts are enjoyable to read as is your website. very impressive.

I assume you are the same Stacy Friedman that has 3 auto-bet files for WinCraps listed for download on their site?

I learned a lot from them. Thank you for those.

Thank you for taking your time to show others how things are done and what you do. It is appreciated here even if no one tells you as such.

MathExtremist Sep 21, 2010

Hey, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.