Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 31, 2011

Harrington coughs up a 'W'

After getting a couple of coupons to use, one a $25 Match Play [match your winnings on a win] , and one an up-to-$100 Free Ace [paying even on BJ], I was able to go yesterday and use them. The short version is that I hit on the Free Ace bet, going for the full $100. Along came a face card! The other bet lost. I broke about even on the rest of the betting but did *finally* get a win on a session of BJ, not counting any coupon bets.

The venue was the Harrington DE casino yet again, and this time there wasn't any deja vu for me. Older blog posts will explain. I didn't take the long way around to get there [confirming though that a sign at Denton is misleading], the buffet is better, there was zero hawking of sucker bets, and this time for ethnic observations [sorry] the Af/A group was very nice looking [no white Tshirts] while Asians were better represented [all seemed to have coupons!]. No problem getting to play a game you wanted, including Craps even though they only seem to ever open but one table. Last time an odd thing happened with mid-day Craps, I couldnt get a spot on the one table even patiently waiting for someone to go broke, a tactic that seemed fail-safe at any other Craps table. This time the full table wasn't full anymore if you waited even just a minute.

The two coupons were burning a hole in my pocket. I took the Match Play coupon to a Suit standing behind the Craps table, and in response to my question about playing it on Craps told me without hesitation that it has to be used at BJ. That hardly surprised me, and the lack of hesitation was convincing. So it was to be BJ for both. I had decided I was going to do the max on the $100 one, but felt a little nervous about it. I plunked myself down to confirm I was at the right BJ table but held off using the coupon for a bit. In the forum I had gotten some feedback about whether I should double down, since there is the factor of getting only one more card when the matched portion was so imperative to win. I have to figure the coupon has a value of at least $25 if maxed, since it is claimed that one that pays 3-2 on BJ is worth $50. I had decided to double-for-less if it was Soft 17 or 18, and skip all other, BS be damned, even though overall maybe this lowers that value. Less variance this time please. For this reason and others I was nervous enough about it to ask myself if I was going to be able to remember BS! I played a few hands until I was back into the swing of it, hands that I was doing well at, so I laid the card down with 4 Greens. A very pretty lady laid down next to my coupon and it was BlackJack! Can't get too mad at the folks who sent the coupon my way, clearly what a fellow needs is just more of those. And thanks to those here who said to go ahead and join the Player's Club at these places. It paid off. I havent had any privacy of info problems either. Thanks!

When I played the match play coupon I was dealt soft 19 and was feeling good, but this fine feeling was immediately snatched away with dealer BJ. No complaints about my luck so far though.

I was so hopped up about the coupons that I realized I wasn't using betting control like I had planned to. Wondering if I hadn't gotten into a few-at-the-table trap last time here, I wanted to avoid churning through my money making more bets than is wise, and had decided to lay out my chips in such a way as to pull from a preset pile that would mean 30 bets for a session in BJ and 60 bets per session in Craps. More about how I decided all that in a future blogpost, but part of the reason it was less for BJ was that I had never won a BJ session since I recently started playing it! I was off to such a good start I felt the only thing was to play for quite a while anyway. After enduring a bit of a losing streak I colored up to find I was up $125, even after tip, for the session, including the money won with the coupon. It's official: I won a session of BJ and would have even if I hadn't had the coupons!

More perhaps later. I did stay and gamble more, the Craps tables of Delaware have not smiled on me yet, though this time they didnt hurt me. Played more BJ too, without getting hurt. Wound up going home with basically the original winnings from that first session. Not a bad day and it was a nice, needed escape.

up or down longterm now "down $1561"
budget: in the black: $634 balance


FrGamble Aug 31, 2011

Congrats on your BJ win! I recently lost track of time at Harrington and had to go and forgot I had brought my coupons with me. I played my $25 match play coupon and won and then let the $50 I won ride with my lucky ace coupon and won. Two hands and quadrupled my money. Good thing I had to run or I would have found a way to give it back.

toastcmu Sep 03, 2011

Just saw that they are only going to run table games from 9a-4a Monday-Friday, but still open 24/7 on the weekend. Wonder if that will help their bottom line or drive away people to Dover where it's still 24/7...

odiousgambit Sep 04, 2011

>9a-4a Monday-Friday

that seems odd. Surely table games will be open on the weekend! it makes no sense to just run them during the week.

If it just means 24-7 on the weekend, but no table games 4 AM to 9 Am during the week, that they might do OK with.

odiousgambit Sep 04, 2011

reading that again, surely that is what you mean. Can't edit that.

I don't think it will be a biggie. Good to know though.

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 02, 2011

First Positive Player's Club Experience

I am definitely someone who guards his personal information, so I really had to see the advice here many many times to go ahead and sign up for a player's card to be convinced. In particular I hate telephone solicitation, and I was really fearful I would just be setting myself up for a bunch of irritating calls from people who mysteriously got my phone number.

So I did go through the process in two places, The Greenbrier WV, and Harrington Racino DE. I requested that I get no phone calls and 'so far so good' as far as not getting the telephone jackasses [I guess that could change]. Apparently the Greenbrier put me into the "piker" file ... havent heard squat from them and even the email offers have stopped. I was afraid the same thing would happen with Harrington, but after a good solid month or so I finally got some coupons in the mail. It's not so bad: I'll be able to use a $25 matchplay coupon and a "free lucky ace" coupon that evidently differs from what others have heard of. It will pay even, Blackjack or otherwise [that's my interpretation], on which you may bet up to $100. I am thinking it will still be worth maximizing the $100? btw Harrington otherwise does pay 3-2 on BJ, the coupon makes an exception. If I understand the EV of these things it ought to cover my gas, perhaps my real variable expense, for a trip I was planning soon anyway.

Reading the fine print is necessary and I wouldnt say misinterpretation is impossible. In particular the matchplay coupons hint other games qualify but only expressly say Blackjack qualifies. Any advice about Delaware coupons you have used would be appreciated.


FleaStiff Aug 03, 2011

For phone numbers I usually put in the proper area code but then I just put in a string of "ones" which goes straight into their computers with no problems but makes it clear that I don't want phone calls. I don't mind giving them an email address but I don't want telephone calls even if they are offering me things for free, I don't want the calls. Sometimes the clerks don't really read the form, they just glance to see that there are no blanks on it. So those "ones" look like a phone number at first glance.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jul 31, 2011

Craps for the Timid Preview

preserving this for the comments only. New post to appear someday.


FleaStiff Jul 31, 2011

This guy had better be a real close friend because after ""If you bet only the pass line for $5 for 30 times, I cover your losses for anything you lose past $9. You keep the first $4 of your winnings and I keep the rest, unless you win $80 or more, in which case you keep it all." he sure is likely to be less of a friend.

You are making a bet with a friend in order to lure him to the craps table, so don't start out with Party of the First Part or some such complex bet such as that quoted above. Don't bother with the complexity, just pour the darn cider in either his ear or your ear and be done with it.

He has to commit himself to betting up to 150.00. He knows it is unlikely he will lose all those initial bets and therefore he can use his winnings to make some of those pass line five dollar bets. He probably guesses "about half the time" he will lose, so he figures his commitment is really to 75.00 and so he will either go for it or not.

odiousgambit Jul 31, 2011

>thanks for the interesting read

glad you appreciate it and I do expect criticism. Bear in mind he won't go for this, IMO, unless risk is diminished. He also would turn down something too generous, such as just giving him some chips, although I wouldnt mind that as alternative. BTW winning half the time means breaking even, not being up $75

odiousgambit Jul 31, 2011

I wish I could edit my comments, I misquoted you by getting lost, but it fits ok

FleaStiff Jul 31, 2011

Yeah, I may have worded it poorly. What I meant was he was only considering how much he must take out of his wallet in order to make those 30 five dollar bets. He probably figures it will turn out to be "around 75.00" if he wins "about half the time" so his first though his what will this bet cost him as far as outlay.

Only after that step does he look at what he might gain by it ... and here you want him to have something that should be simple to calculate without spreadsheets or "ifs".

Good luck though. I hope your friend goes for it and I hope you each do well at it but if you want him to go for it, make the offer really simple.

odiousgambit Aug 01, 2011

Thanks for the advice. I'm not going to show him this table, just tell him I crunched numbers to decide what is fair. I *can't* give him a solid gold deal [or I might as well just give him chips]. I am trying instead to respond to his concern that he will just immediately get clobbered, feel like a fool, etc, by being able to say "I can guarantee you that you won't lose more than $9. The risk will be all mine"

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 07, 2011

Groundhog Day in Delaware Part III

As no doubt the Faithful Reader has already figured out [assuming there are some of course], I lost plenty of cash gambling too. Not more than I was willing to risk, but I don't need to explain why it miffs me. If I may be allowed to indulge my superstitious nature, I guess it was indeed an omen when attempting to take a different route failed twice and yet again I took the long way by default to get to Harrington's casino. So it was Hello Groundhog Day in both regards.

I am starting to lose my fine feelings for the two games I now am willing to play. As I have mentioned before, once I know a game is for suckers, I can't make myself play it. For example I skip local lottery play etc with what is honestly no interest. I appreciate being able to go to the WoO site too and look at what he calculates for HE on games as well, as I particularly dislike what I like to call the "wobbly downward spiral" gambling experience where playing the game is a matter of just watching your bankroll dwindle downwards, little spikes upward once in a while notwithstanding. Certainly I seem to avoid this pattern with my games, but just can't get a win lately. I have pegged the 1.4% HE of Craps as pretty much the max to allow myself. Additionally, I have attempted to keep the HE much lower, less than 1% in fact. Can't say recently that this has paid off at all.

Craps was a bust again. I was expecting to at least avoid a slaughter, sticking to the $5 minimum and flat betting, though I grant you that I was putting up full free odds [3x4x5x] and placing the 8 sometimes too. After about and hour and a half I was down $200 and took a break. Nothing crazy about that outcome but it's like Harrington can produce only such as this; every Craps session I have played there put me down about $200. I wanted to return to Craps but the single table for it was so packed I couldnt get back on it, and didn't stick around, so this trip had only the one session.

Teddy [Teddys] really has me wondering about Blackjack and how it manages to produce only losses for us two anyway, so if you are reading, this paragraph is addressed to you. It is pretty new to me so I still have a chance to turn it around I guess. I have been thinking about it; one thing is the bets are resolved immediately, so even if a guy's luck is equally bad at Craps he is going to last longer with all those points awaiting resolution. Standing there at a Craps table makes the player want to take a break sooner and just maybe the combination of both factors allows him to quit when ahead or not down so much? At the BJ table I was up about $80 at one point; not near enough to some real bucks to figure 'that's enough' but maybe at the same point in time in Craps I would have stopped. Just a thought and as far as I can get with it. This game should have been up against around 0.4% HE .

I had two sessions at BJ, lost around $225 on the first one which could have been about 2 hours. On the second session [when I wanted to return to Craps] I was up for a while but lost it back and then quit while even. I think this was after about an hour. Not feeling too good to begin with, I decided I wasn't going to wait for a spot at the Craps table; I cashed in my remaining chips and headed home from this Groundhog Day in Harrington!

Craps I have put 'on notice' before, but due to the enjoyment I get from playing I know it would be unrealistic to say it is 'dead to me' now. Let's just say one foot is hovering over the grave.

Blackjack, on the other hand, is not only on notice but I would say it has one foot in the grave and the other has stepped pretty close to a banana peel. I'll go along with this treatment for a while longer but I don't see myself continuing with just taking a constant beating every time.   

Overall, I had some fun and got more comfortable with Harrington. I havent given up on it, just putting it on notice: SOME WINS once in a while please OR ELSE.  [g]

up or down longterm now "down $1591"
budget: still in the black: $509 balance



Ayecarumba Jun 07, 2011

Thanks for the interesting read odious. Before you completely pull the plug on craps, consider spending some time on the "darkside" at a cold table, and bet Don't Pass / Don't Come. The beauty of Craps is that it is possible to win on every roll of the dice, whether numbers repeat, or are broken up by 7's.

FleaStiff Jun 07, 2011

I too would suggest you not quite pull the plug yet.

It seems you have already acknowledged that modifying your behavior slightly would be advantageous to you: realize that standing and bending over a craps table does impose a certain "time limit" and perhaps adopt a similar time limit even when seated at a blackjack table. I think the crowded table is a problem for me too since I don't like it too crowded or too hectic and I often play with my companion and therefore need extra space to be available. Simply going to a casino with more than one table open might be a help to you.

Being too dedicated to the Right Side or the Wrong Side is unwise. If you were teaching craps to someone you would start off with a PassLine Bet but as an experienced craps player you now have more of an option to switch back and forth a bit. Sure it is not some sort of "trend" that the dice are "remembering" but it is a way to stay alert to your options at the table.

If you've reached your target at BJ, but the craps table is too crowded then that is the time for asking about a Comped Meal or at least a Comped Snack. That "break" to let you think can be a help.

odiousgambit Jun 08, 2011

Regarding Craps and playing the dark side, I have played that and often still do when the shooter is not close to me. I like:

*that a player is less prone to demoralizing losing streaks

*how easy it is with 3x4x5x knowing what to put up for odds

*how the free odds are active bets all the time without having to say anything during the come-out

*I prefer having multiple DC bets to multiple Come bets up, for those times going for broke

but I don't like

*giving up the dice as the shooter after a 7-out.

*switching back and forth trying to guess which way to go

*missing out on the fun playing it dark when a shooter makes several hands, and if I was ever there for those rare times when it is awesome... not just about the money but the fun too

*feeling a rookie dealer has to be watched carefully for errors [perhaps this last is misplaced]

teddys Jun 08, 2011

I feel your pain. There is no worse feeling in gaming than getting your clock cleaned by a BJ dealer. Even a cold table in craps doesn't compare. You just want to say "make the hurting stop." I think you/we/I are experiencing just an obscenely cruel run of bad luck. I have been doing well in other games, so it is evening out, but still. By the way, I just had a winning session at one of the Indian casinos here in AZ so I am off the schneid, for now.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jun 04, 2011

Groundhog Day in Delaware Part II

This second time around got me a little more comfortable with the Harrington facilities and the general experience of the place, as is to be expected I guess. In spite of getting off track again trying to find the place, the alarm of it was less as I pretty much knew where I was anyway this time. And I had timed it right for avoiding rush hour traffic and any Bay Bridge exasperation. Inside, I found a spot that no one else was using that had great big comfortable chairs. I spent some time drinking coffee and reading the paper there with reasonable privacy; there was even an empty drawer in a piece of furniture in which to stick that paper and I came back later and read it some more. Knowing you can be comfortable doing something besides gambling part of the time is pretty key I think to wanting to go back. Part of the plan was to hit the buffet and see if that had improved, but I was off my feed a bit with a mysterious lingering headache and a very rare lack of appetite. Thus no way was I partaking of the buffet [missing this was a disappointing part of the trip] but I forced myself to eat a sandwich at a cafe that offered a few items and a handy spot to eat with stools and counter.

The dealers again all seemed quite friendly if a little too pushy about the sucker bets; there has to be some incentive. Perhaps it's just monitored for the 'would you like to keep your job' department? Who knows, but for me it's becoming just part of the scene along with the ambient music of the slots. I seem to enjoy dreaming up different ways of handling it and have no reservations about this part of the experience either.

I got there early enough to be concerned there would be no craps, but a near empty table was operating. For my further deja vu there stood an Af/Am. in a T-shirt playing craps by himself. The last time there were plenty like this there, for some reason in these same white T-shirts. Delaware was a slave state so naturally this was to be part of the scene, but I have to say the Af/A community there must be unique what with this white T-shirt thing being some kind of uniform! My otherwise experience with these folks in other areas has been that they eschew any kind of shabby look and greatly prefer looking sharp; I definitely haven't figured this out. I realize this attention to race might offend some, my apologies, but for an additional observation the Asian scene seems pretty close to non-existent here, mid-week anyway. Slots were between one quarter and half full at mid-day, I would say.

More on the table games:

ROULETTE, one table; BACCARAT mini or otherwise nay; PAI GOW of any kind, nay; ULTIMATE TEXAS HOLD 'EM one table I think, memory faulty; LET IT RIDE maybe, memory faulty; IN BETWEEN BLACKJACK several tables of this! SPANISH 21, more than one table perhaps; OTHER GAMES besides the below, something tells me I missed something else that was going on but I wasn't much focused on trying to report on it all.

CRAPS: $5 minimum lasted the whole time I was there it seems, with 3x4x5x free odds. I asked about 10x odds and that was available for a $10 minimum. The tables could go to $10 minimum but I assumed you could do 10X odds if you just bet $10 at any time. To ask about that occurred to me after going home. The field still paid 3X on boxcars. They made no predictions about when tables might go to $10 minimum, and said it was not a scheduled thing but they wing it.

BLACKJACK: some dealt normally, some as "I-table", this latter I tried for the first time. BJ paid 3-2, double anytime, continue to split unlimited, including re-splitting Aces [which only got one more card]. CSM shuffling. At the I-table you had real cards and real dealers, however no chips and you played by touch screen. As the cards came out of the shuffler, they were read by the machine and you saw your total and the dealer's one card on your screen. Minimum bet was $2 if you paid 25 cents, and you played without that ante as long as it was $5 or more. This all seemed OK and the learning curve was short; clearly there were some good things about it. You didnt have to worry about mis-call or mis-pay and in fact at one point I accidentally hit 'stand' holding '8', thinking I had pressed 'hit' of course, and got a pop-up asking me if I really wanted to do that! So it let me renege, maybe that is what a dealer would have done or not. Later, though, I had an odd thing, I had soft 14 vs something like 6 I thought, but before I could press 'double down' I saw the screen change and suddenty there were no options available [evidently the machine had a ghost press on 'stand']. As I sat there stunned, things moved on quickly and we were on to the next hand. I mentioned what just happened and everybody looked at me like I was crazy. Well, the bet was only $5 and the EV for the error was something and the EV for the correct play was something better, so I guess on average this little bullshit glitch was not worth complaining about. And I didn't, but I am sour on the machine now, remembering other problems variously for touch screen applications and have decided no more of that for me.

Stay tuned for part III.