Posted by odiousgambit
Apr 12, 2018

Bollocksed in Biloxi

That title is a little unfair as we had a good time overall. The gambling had some twists and turns.

Wanting to head somewhere warmer during a Spring that so far remains un-sprung here in Virginia, we headed to Biloxi last week to find somewhere warmer for a little change. Inserting TLDRS and I'll break it up into sections to make skipping easier.

Passing Through Alabama

TLDR: billboards suggest Alabama's main industry is ambulance chasing

We drove, and decided to go through KY, TN, and AL to avoid some construction. We experienced Alabama 'the long way', hitting it from the top and going down lengthwise. I was naturally wondering what the economy was like there now, and concluded from the view and the billboards that it revolves around farming and lawyering, specifically injury law! Billboard after billboard on the highway was an ad for a law firm promoting their services in case of an accident. I finally started counting them and came up with twenty such, and I think the real number must have been thirty! What the heck is all this ambulance chasing all about? Maybe other southern states are like that now; come to think of it, Mississippi was pretty bad too.

The IP and the Scarlet Pearl

TLDR: As hotels, the IP was lacking, the Pearl was better, but as casinos were fairly equal.

We stayed and played at the IP and at the Scarlet Pearl this trip. Having watched the offers from Beau Rivage fizzle out, and never having been to Biloxi before, I just looked for good deals on Hotels dot com, and with the help of my wife's indecision, couldn't, due to late attempt, add a third day to a good deal staying at the IP. The good deal for the two days though helped justify what I thought was a 'meh' deal at the Scarlet Pearl for the last day, and this turned out to be fortuitous as far as keeping the spouse happy.

It was totally my wife's idea to do Biloxi, though she doesn't gamble; I guess she thought we could just combine the things she wants with what I like. But the IP didn't cut it for her and that it was her idea to go to Biloxi did not spare grief for yours truly. I have to guess they went from having 'not enough' guests scheduled to then being packed. When I tried to get a third day it was fully booked, yet when I first booked earlier on the deal was good. The place managed to get my wife going right off the bat. There was no sign that said "hotel check-in", only a sign for "valet parking", which had vehicles backed up almost out into the street. We finally figured out 'valet' meant for hotel check in generally; she decides she does want the valet and bellmen service since we were in line for it and we find out the trouble was largely just the hotel being cheap about hiring enough people. Something about the check-in desk bothered her too, it was down this narrow hall with everybody squeezing past it who just wanted to walk through. We discover that there is some kind of Postmaster's convention packing the place, but something else was going on that we never figured out and it had families with small kids packing the place as well, and this of course was undesirable for everybody else. The kids had nothing to do as far as I could tell, except go to a smallish swimming pool. All these kids of course meant no way was my wife going to the pool. Another ridiculous result of being packed generally, and extra packed due to kids, but which we somehow mostly avoided, was long waits for the elevator. One lady said at one point she had to wait 45 minutes!

The room at the IP was just fine and then the missus settled down a bit. The casino, like all but one in the area, allowed smoking and the ventilation could be better. Overall, the IP did not get high marks from us, although for gambling purposes it was OK. Boyd owns the IP.

Things were different at the Scarlet Pearl. The place is newer so of course that helps a lot. Valet/Bellman were quick to show up and very friendly, and things were not crowded. For some unknown reason the gods smiled too and out of nowhere comes an upgrade to a 'junior suite'. I don't know why we were upgraded except I was paying full price for a room probably often discounted. In any case the missus really likes it and we thus are winding up our trip on the positive side, so it was well worth it.

The Scarlet Pearl casino is nicer somewhat, being newer, but the ventilation was good. For me this makes the smoking unnoticeable unless I am right next to someone smoking. There was the biggest HD tv screen at one end I've ever seen, great resolution and a tremendous improvement over big screens they had in the days before HD. Maybe that was a "where have you been for the last decade?" moment when it comes to me getting around, I don't know. Both places had Craps and some table games open all night, important to me since I am often an early riser. More about gambling below.

The junior suite was a corner room and the view was great. This picture from the website seems to be that very room, with just a hint as to how big it is. The Scarlet Pearl is 'its own thing' as far as who owns it.


TLDR: The IP screwed it up, but we liked BR Prime at the Beau Rivage and also a local restaurant.

The wife was further bummed by the self-described 'pan-asian' restaurant being dark both days at the IP while meanwhile the place is packed; so we ate at the sports bar the first night, which was OK for basic chow and had a good beer selection. Interested in eating somewhere nicer the second night, she finds she can't get a reservation at the steakhouse due to a private wine tasting party [there was nothing positive now the IP could do to redeem themselves in her eyes at this point. And she loves to go on trip-advisor]. We had heard that the steakhouse at the Beau Rivage, BR Prime, was good and headed there instead. This was a nice fine dining experience, though for some reason the drinks were deceptively strong. I might have stayed to play a bit after dinner, and maybe encouraging such an inclination was the idea for making the drinks strong in their thinking, but it had the opposite effect since though I was OK, Mrs. O'Gambit was a little too far along and we headed back. In her defence, from all the evidence I'd say they did a number on her; if you make the drinks that strong you should inform people.

Only tried the IP buffet, for breakfast, pretty good except there was no omelet chef. I think it is otherwise hard to make much of a judgement about a buffet with only breakfast to go by.

We also ate at Wentzel's Seafood restaurant in Biloxi that someone had recommended, and we really enjoyed our meal there. I'd say it is a 'gotta go' if in Biloxi https://www.wentzelsseafood.com/


TLDR: I have been running bad at Craps, so tried other games without much improvement. But wound up with Pai Gow Poker, VP, and Craps stories to tell, and had some fun.

No real complaints about either place as far as the casinos themselves. Yeah, it'd be nice if they would be non-smoking, nice if the table minimums were lower, nice if the VP paytables were better. But the minimums were reasonable, $10 at Craps [I did catch $5 at the IP once], $15 at Pai Gow Poker. Oh, I also caught $5 minimum at Ultimate Texas Holdem in the early morning once at the IP, pretty remarkable. The best Jacks or Better VP was 8/5, and you had to look for it [I saw 6/5 somewhere] ... now *that* could have been better. Sorry, I have so little interest now in BJ that I can't tell you how that was in these places.

I'm afraid I have been running bad this year at everything except Video Poker, at which, ironically, I haven't found any decent paytables. I guess I can't complain as I had noted I was ahead in wins/losses in casino gambling since I last moved almost 5 years ago, but Craps in particular can put a hurting on me pretty fast considering the high variance available from 10x and 20x odds now at so many places. At my first session at the IP I was putting down $40 for free odds and lost about as much money as it is possible to lose in a short session at a $5 table. On subsequent sessions I reduced my free odds bet to $25 [20 if 5/9] no matter what was the minimum and what odds were offered, which was 10x in both places as I remember. Good thing too, as a winning session could not be generated, though carnage was reduced. Funny how fast the memory fades and a player starts to judge a game from the bias of recent action. The judgement from the gut on recent Craps play starts to go like this: "the house seems to have a large advantage, and especially the chances of making a point are heavily against the player. Surely such a conclusion is valid after the hundreds of rolls I've seen in my recent sessions". That's the gut talking, and it seems real, and my gut can easily ignore that I had the opposite experience for the last 4 and half years. Completely forgotten in the gut. Arnold Snyder's "you won't win" comes to mind as well, here that link is just below if you have never come across it. Well, I was overdue for some setbacks, and as far as it goes, the phenomenon of 'getting bummed' was much worse losing at Clue not so long ago!


I was definitely searching around for some other games, getting allergic to Craps. I played a certain amount of Jacks or Better VP even though I couldnt find a good paytable. In that circumstance I have followed the advice to just play one coin instead of the five coin option if the paytable is bad, since in the long run it is -EV anyway. These were bad enough even the comps don't take you anywhere near 100% return, so especially in that circumstance I play one coin. To entertain myself once in a while I try to guess when my luck will run better and then hit the max bet button for a few, then go back. The 'danger' is to be playing one coin and hit a Royal, so guess what happened? Yes it did! I did not take a picture and am trying to rub it out of my memory. But at least that was one session in which I came out ahead!

Pai Gow Poker was available both places. I had only played this once years ago, and something bugged me about it even though it was fun in a way. Now I know what it is: the variance [0.75] is too low for me to be a big fan of it; it bothers me to think that a player is almost guaranteeing a loss if a session is long enough. But I have now looked at EV/SD and decided if a player can do enough banking that figure can be held to about 11% for a one hour session; that's acceptable in my book.

using the 1.48% HE for player vs dealer, banking as much as allowed, using 34 hands per hour, and the means of determining SD all found on the Wizard's page at the link below. That 11%, which doesn't go up much for a second hour, still gives a reasonable chance for a session to be a winner, while EV=SD is clearly stupid if getting a lucky win is the goal. I like in fact to see EV be less than 20% of SD.


So I was hoping playing early in the morning would mean a chance to play head to head against the dealer and bank, or have few enough at the table that maybe there would be no one objecting to it. My first morning at the IP I found an all-night table open with two others playing. I promptly asked if they minded if I banked, and got no objections. One guy, playing two spots and who had been up all night, said he didn't know what it was, so I gave a quick explanation and mentioned that it lowered the HE. This really disturbed the dealer, who decided I must be some kind of smartass. He had been helping this player every hand, and it was pretty clear this had been going on a while, probably all night. I realize now I had made it look suspect that he, Wonderful Mr. Helpful, had not shown this guy how to lower the house advantage while being the one to suggest playing two hands at once 'to win more' [probably]. So everything I had to say and everything I wanted to do had to look suspect so that we forgot he was the one who was suspect. I had a table with the players OK with my banking and a dealer who was not!

So I banked away when possible, and the third player, a truck driver who was about to go to work but knew already about banking, started banking too. On my first go at it, I had a lousy hand and lost all of them to the other players, I remember, while maybe I pushed against the dealer, not sure. In any case in my first go at banking, ever, I handed over a tidy sum. If I was wanting variance, I was getting variance! Watch out what you wish for! The banking in fact did not go well until the dealer changed, so that meant the first dealer got to see me take a beating. Never expect justice at a casino! The session overall was a modest loser for me.

I also had an early morning PGP session at the Scarlet Pearl. This time the table had several people and I was pretty sure I was going to have to wait to bank. I waited until we all lost a hand and said "maybe somebody should bank to change our luck?" No one responded much excpept a middle-aged Af/Am gentleman at the table who lightly agreed to it but not in the way you'd like. It was sort of "sure, go ahead, SOB" though that was not how he put it exactly. It reminded me of a situation described in the Wizard's video on PG Tiles and I backed off the idea. No one banked until it was just me and an Asian lady. This lady started banking to my delight, but her ideas about it led to an unexpected wrinkle in PGP play for me. This is all explained and discussed in this thread,


Biloxi Craps Peculiarity

TLDR: The African-American presence at the Craps tables was a little different.

I have played Craps in New Orleans, North Carolina, and in Tunica MS, but the scene in Biloxi was unique. You had a big ethnic mix for sure, that being not unusual in itself. You always see a lot of middle-aged Af/Ams, and for the most part they've left 'being cool' behind them. But at both places in Biloxi there were more of the younger men with the 'gangsta' look; the percent of whom were actual gangsters probably being minimal. I just got the idea it was the look and the way of being cool they were after. These tended to game together too, so at the Craps table it sometimes was 'gangstas' at one end and everyone else, including older black players, at the other end. It was the first time I ever experienced a feeling of one end of the table against the other. Now I and plenty of others, I think, were trying to shake off that feeling, maybe some of the gangstas too at times. But at other times that feeling was there, and sometimes it was noted the gangstas were all playing the Don't when the other side of the table was shooting. Everything was under control, so a good time was still had by all I guess. It was different though. I can't be sure it is like that all the time.

One thing I can tell you for sure, and this goes for New Orleans, North Carolina, DC area, Baltimore, and Tunica too, there is no such thing as the Magical Negro [google that if you have to] when it comes to shooting dice.

Biloxi as Winter Escape

The weather was better, but just somewhat. I think my wife figured Biloxi might be a place that we would both like and for a place to escape a Spring that is more like Winter in Virginia, but not sure she succeeded. I'd go back, but I'm not sure the other half will want to give it another go. She had a good time but may want to try elsewhere next time.


OnceDear Apr 12, 2018


So it's not just me that has been busily spending 'entertainment budget' on amusing -ev wagering.

No wonder you want to get back to the less hasty bankroll busting of Clue. Me too.

Still, it looks like you got a good mix of games and managed to upset at least a few people, so not a wasted trip.

odiousgambit Apr 12, 2018

Always nice to upset a dealer full of himself

seemed like a nice guy in a way

Joeman Apr 12, 2018

OG, thanks for the report. Sounds like you had an interesting time!

A little late for you now, but possibly useful for your next trip :) -- the IP used to have a bank of 9/6 JoB machines upstairs by the poker room (VPFree2 says they are still there). They also have a decent DW44 game at the Insomnia bar.

odiousgambit Apr 13, 2018

>useful for your next trip :)

thanks for the tips!

DeMango Apr 21, 2018

IP. Second Floor. Cove Casino. Next to bar. Bank of 25 cent 9/6 JOB. You are welcome. Not done reading your entire post yet.

Only other 9/6 JOB that I have found is at Hard Rock high limit room, a $5 game.

DeMango Apr 21, 2018

I mentioned out loud the other day, that I never met a finger snapper driving a caddy. The great thing about Biloxi is there are many other casinos within 5 minutes. What really brings out the urban crowd is a $3 or $5 table with full pay ATS. So avoid Treasure Bay! Enjoy the Hard Rock, which has no ATS. Thankfully Biloxi is still a Fire Bet free zone.

odiousgambit Apr 24, 2018

Thanks. Let me know if you have noticed the gangsta thing at the Craps tables too - or is that just another "where have you been" thing with me?

FleaStiff Jul 18, 2018

If I recall correctly, you were probably lucky the Asian food place was closed.

As to stiff drinks, most people complain about weak ones. The Beau does have good food and drink though. Always has.

Those IP wine/food pairing things are listed on their website so you can always know the dates those lengthy and crowded shindigs take place. IP check in is always a headache. Always.

A lot of people seem very pleased with Scarlet Pearl.

Posted by odiousgambit
Apr 08, 2017

Finally Gambled in Charles Town

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Slots, that is.

About 8 years ago, being in the area, I had walked in to the place while it was under construction for expansion. I was too early for Craps, the construction made the experience suck generally, I had no time, and a Suit managed to smart off to me for no good reason. All this at a time when the place had a bad reputation as a clip joint with everybody else it seemed. I didn't gamble and vowed to not go back anytime soon.

Time has gone by now though and my curiosity has increased due to the increase in competition from other casinos in the area. Clearly the previously denounced-by-all high table minimums and problems of that nature would likely be improved. Yet I rarely have excuse to be in the area, and I've really decided these days that to travel much distance just to go to a casino, with no other need to be in the area, is stupid.

By chance I was given some contact information for a bus going up there twice a year for next to nothing, thanks to reasonable upfront cost and a coupon for free play. So I bit for a Thursday excursion.

This time was different. Now that no construction is going on the place is agreeably nice enough inside, and plenty big. The dealers and other employees are definitely now nice as can be, while it would seem the table minimums* have come down. The joint that sells the burgers and similar food is reasonable enough, and if you are playing you can get rail drinks free. Anybody know what the policy was before? Call liquor was priced OK if playing.

Somebody warned me about the smoking, which indeed was allowed. The ventilation, though, is good, and I was not bothered at all unless the person next to me smoked - but there was that, admittedly; but a minor thing to me.

I used my freeplay coupon for VP, and as expected the paytables were lousy. JoB was 7/5, ugh, and the best return seemed to be Bonus Poker at the paytable that the Wizard simply labels as "Bonus Poker - 96.87%". This one at least pays 2 units for two pair; when it only returns your bet, same as a high pair, that bugs me! But clearly the VP there is just going to suck, which, I guess it has to be said, is very likely where the state gets a big piece of the pie. Did not see Ultimate X, didn't ask about it either, but I'm fairly sure I would have seen it.

Slot machines in enormous numbers there, but you already knew that. The table games offered are Blackjack | Craps | Mini-Baccarat | Big Six Wheel | Pai Gow | Let it Ride | Roulette | Three Card Poker | Four Card Poker - according to the site, and pretty much what I saw with at least one table open for each. There is a poker room as well. Of all this, I only am really interested in Craps, and I did play. Since this is TLDR-ish already, anybody interested in the outcome can check it out at the bottom.

I had to make a decision as to whether I would go for the Hollywood $500 loss rebate on slots. After talking to someone about it a few weeks back, it was out of the question due to having to make several trips back - as many as 4 trips back, I think he said. Now that I have looked into this bus, and other buses, the cost factor for the travel has come down if it could be coordinated with the preset dates the buses use. So I wanted to find out if the use-by dates could be known ahead of time, how many trips back would be required, and whether VP could be used for either generating the loss or recovering it. Alas, they couldn't confidently tell me any of these things, and nothing in writing. Even after pulling somebody from the back office, the VP questions could not be answered; that person did say it would be 2 trips back, but in a manner that suggested "no guarantees". So, obviously, if it turned out to be 4 trips instead I'd just have to either grin and bear it or go through hell trying to get it changed. I would obviously also say the intention is just to try to screw people by expecting them to work with as little information as possible; people you would ask about it pretended to know or did know next to nothing, wanting to hand you this brochure with incomplete information. That the full details were to be a surprise is part of the plan, with a $50 round-down rule easy to miss in the fine print to boot.

I'll let others take their chances with this kind of deal, life is too short to go through the hassle, ymmv. To top it off, it's not the kind of bet I like anyway. I call it "lottery style" gambling, where for the most part you can expect to just grind away while waiting for the big unlikely payoff. At least that's what I can glean about this, member MangoJ having posted this table showing that for a 90% return slot machine, playing it correctly [with $100 pulls] still 95% of the time you can expect to bust and be left with trying to get your money back. I suppose I too would have to go for it under ideal circumstances, the +EV nature of it being what it ideally would be, but I am inclined to pass on such things at the first little thing I don't like.

MangoJ posted this at:

spins probability pre rebate rebate value post rebate
W 1% $9000 $0 $9000
LW 0.99% $8900 $0 $8900
LLW 0.98% $8800 $0 $8800
LLLW 0.97% $8700 $0 $8700
LLLLW 0.96% $8600 $0 $8600
LLLLL 95.1% -$500 $500 $0
EV 100% -$44.20 $475.50 $431.30

*oops, forgot to check the table minimums for other games besides craps


My Craps Play

I just knew, even though it was a Thursday, the minimum would not be $5. What if it was 15 or 25? I would still want to play, so I had a plan to try to keep my total action close to the same. That means making one bet, no come bets, and maybe choosing some shooters to bet nothing on, etc. I've found one good way to keep the betting down is to bet only the Come or the DC; with no line bets, you have to wait sometimes to get your bet down.

It turned out to be a $10 minimum, and 3x4x5x - in the beginning it was 2x and has only recently changed I hear. This is a reasonable minimum, and I don't complain when faced with it - but I still cut down on the Come betting.

On my first session of 3, since I had planned to maybe only bet the DC, and the table not being busy, I just went ahead with that.

The DC, I find, can be maddeningly prone to have moments where you get clobbered with a 7 after placing your bet, a 7 that is in fact a 7-out for the right-siders on the line. You get to see the House take everybody's money and this went on for at least the first 30 minutes. I always vow never to switch sides in a session, having a superstition about that being bad luck [the dice hate side-switchers you see]. The dice finally went my way, respecting my steadfastness, and I only was down a bit this first session - I then took a break.

The next session saw a full table, and in that circumstance I like to be a right-side bettor. I was on the line sometimes, sometimes just a come-bettor or non-bettor, depending on the shooters I sized up - just superstition again to think that matters. In fact if you only saw my play, and found out I was a poster at WoV and not knowing which, you would maybe think I was one of those guys claiming to follow the energy and flow, the hot table and the cold table, and all that. I absolutely play like that - it entertains me. However, I freely admit it is all hogwash. The table was cold though; I was down about $250 overall at this point and took another break.

I didn't think I would play another session. But as I was killing time slow-playing VP for 25 cents a pull, I started pondering how I liked my new throw - kind of a shot-put thing [yes you should reference the superstition bit again]. So I returned for a third time and my shooting indeed was working - the other players noticing I think how weird it looked. But the whole table was hot this session, and I correctly picked the one lousy shooter. Everybody else that shot [half didn't] was killing it, including one man who had the signs of being so drunk he wouldn't remember being there. Some guy was following him around; I wonder if he was a host? This observer, whoever he was, tells the dude to flick his ashes in the ashtray, pointing out where it was. Yet it was clear this player was an old hand at a Craps table! Just blotto in the quiet way that would have some people not realize he had been drinking. This guy made a lot of money for me, as did my own shooting, as did almost all the other shooters. I did color up when my fortunes started to slide and this session had me taking $540 away [for the session] and up overall nicely for the trip - I left a happy camper.

Posted by odiousgambit
Mar 03, 2017

Back to RG

Went back to Rocky Gap* on March first. It seems if you wait long enough RG will hit you with a free room offer. I am stuck solidly in the bottom tier of player's club status, so getting the room is not about that, but perhaps you have to live a good way's away like I do. And they do consistently have a 'stay and play' offer going on their website for anyone on slow periods that covers a room cost with freeplay [except tax].

Yeah, there are some good things about RG. You can get a room if you don't need a weekend much of the year, the table minimums have stayed low, more than zero freeplay given, and the people are about as friendly as it gets at a casino. If I had a magic wand I'd change a few things, better VP paytables for one, and certainly I'd love to see them get Ultimate Texas Holdem back. The absence of that now is making a huge difference for my enjoyment. Sorry, Mississippi Stud just isn't my game - didn't play it once. And they pounced on the chance now allowed by Maryland to trash what was once pretty nice rules for BJ - didn't play that either. The Lucky Lucky side bet now has a huge HE. I had previously concluded it wasn't half bad, but to be fair I think I just failed to get the paytable right at first. In any case, even if BJ had the old rules, since I flat-bet I just can't take the low variance and if playing before would only sit down for a bit at it. The admittedly un-wizardly fix of using the side bet to boost variance is also 'out' at that HE.

So, for me, it's only the Craps table that really beckons. My magic wand would change the free odds higher, but at least it's 3x4x5x and during the week at least it is always a $5 table. I wound up down a couple hundred+ for my efforts, but it was definitely fun.

Played some VP, mostly slow-play at a quarter - what sense does it make to do max bet at bad paytables? BTW their Ultimate X machines are set so you can't easily see if someone left multipliers. If you touch the screen you get a glimpse for a split second, but in order to actually check it all out un-harassed you have to put some money in. That does make you wonder about what you're seeing for the glimpse.

Casino Credit

I took out a marker there for the first time. Although approved for it when I last was there, it took about 10 minutes to produce a ponderous pile of paperwork to sign, none of which looked like a counter check to me. I'll have to see what it looks like once it hits the bank. The Craps dealers said they might see a marker taken out maybe once a month. Naturally, the cashiers aren't used to asking about paying off markers. That means a net free loan for 14 days in this case, no biggie, but kind of nice. It'd be nuts to abuse it though. As I've written about, the credit system proves disastrous for so many, yet I've given little thought to this aspect of it. Does it play a role, this short loan thing, in getting players to drop off the deep end? The first step? Maybe so.

*casino/resort near Cumberland, Maryland

Posted by odiousgambit
Oct 19, 2016

Duplicity, Debt, Homicide

James Grosjean often writes about the duplicity of casinos when it comes to various categories such as how they are taking advantage of problem gamblers, but I haven't seen him sound off about what I keep harping on, casino credit abuse. Nor does the Wizard, and very few gambling writers at all, all of which suggests they don't really agree. No doubt the personal responsibility aspect plays big with everybody, but also it has occurred to me that anybody who actually gambles, gambling writers being likely included, does not want to see changes in the marker system - they use it. As a matter of fact, I know have myself set up with approval for markers in three casinos, the ones I am most likely to visit in the future. I can't say I want it to be more like other systems of credit, and will feel chagrined if it comes to pass with possible fees and interest too.

Rocky Gap MD is the latest to set me up, and the experience was "in between". At MGM's Gold Strike [MS] the process was easy and fast, and generous; at Harrah's Cherokee [NC] it was churlish, ungenerous, and slow. RG was friendly enough, though a bit slow, and not so generous either. Never minding the other aspects, the generosity level variation has me wondering about state laws. Certainly it seems to me New Jersey may be similar to Nevada, judging by how Clinton Portis was dramatically portrayed by NJ media as a scoundrel writing bad checks [markers] - someone not entitled to include his casino debt in bankruptcy proceedings. On the other hand, do the laws in MD and NC allow more lenience in such matters? in MS, more like NV/NJ? Just judging by generosity, by which I mean the willingness to set liberal limits for markers, I am largely concluding it varies just like that, with NV/NJ/MS in one category and MD/NC in another. This is very hard to confirm just with online searches btw - I've tried.

I'll say more about what made me more sensitive to the subject of casino credit system abuse - the murder of someone I knew some 36 years ago. The guy was not a close friend, just someone I was running into frequently enough to know his name. A gas station manager about my age it seemed - in his twenties or maybe thirty something - he ran a good station with service bays as I remember. I can get real testy about mechanics, so this place passed that test.

This was Youngstown Ohio - illegal gambling in the form of 'the number' and sports was alive and well.

Let me stop here to say I know many are objecting that 'illegal' makes a world of difference - just stick with me.

One day I see this guy's name in the paper - a homicide. Now, I can't know anymore what got reported in the papers and what was scuttlebutt; somebody would have to dig through newspaper archives. I can say for sure he was found in the backseat of a car with his pants around his ankles and a bullet in his head. The thing with the pants was believed to be to keep him from running. Clearly this was the Mob, and everyone seemed to know he was into gambling, so putting 2 plus 2 together meant he was killed deeply in debt to them. He was making late gas station bank deposits - later and later, indicating he was using the cash. At the time, I assumed that he was killed because he owed money he couldn't repay and they wanted to make an example of what happens. But now I realize he was probably killed to keep him from talking to the police, who were getting involved by then no doubt. But since I had this impression, I started asking this question that I still see repeated today: "why did they continue to let him get deeper and deeper into debt"? It didn't make sense! After years of reflection, I know better now - it makes plenty of sense. Those arguments are laid out in older blog posts here, so I won't repeat them.

Now, when I read about people who get into trouble with their markers, especially those who had a lot of money at first like professional athletes, I get to read that same question in the news. "Why did this continue"? "Who would loan money not knowing if it would be repaid"? Well, then my memory gets jolted. This is not illegal gambling I'm reading about this time, and that does make a difference, sure. Murder is one hell of a lot less likely. But I am going to say that the motive is the same - and it is still ugly mendacity. And thus we are all asking the same questions in either case.

The guy was just an acquaintance, and now I don't even remember his name. But that murder came close enough to me to make a big impression - a good guy gets killed. In the big picture maybe it amounts to very little, but for me enough to keep telling it like I see it.


FleaStiff Nov 04, 2016

Don't confuse certain issues.

Casino Credit? Yeah, maybe the best was the old RENO joint that had no credit department. Didn't offer markers. Didn't have to collect on any markers. Bring what you can afford to lose and if you lose it, go home.

Markers? Back in Benny Binions heyday, it was MANHOOD you were talking about. Benny greeted you by name, well you sure felt proud and held your head up high. Benny took your marker, same thing. It ain't for nothin' that in Guys and Dolls Sky Masterson got threatened with having it buzzed all over town that he had welshed on his marker. When the Sears Credit Card was the hardest one to get and had the highest collection rate in history; Vegas markers were at an even higher collection rate despite there being no legally enforceable effect to them under California law. Why? A marker meant something. Nobody welshed on his marker.

Murder? Heck, its rare for "the mob" or anyone who thinks they are 'the mob' to hit someone. First, it tends to interfere with further debt collection if someone is dead. Second, it tends to bring publicity and outside interest. Oh sure, it may be akin to attracting a mosquito but no body likes mosquitos, specially those that tend to look in all directions. I read about a man in a car with his pants down and I think of Car Girls. One girl is reaching in front, the other girl is reaching for his wallet, the damn fool tried to get his money back ... and his death ain't got nothing to do with any "dipping into funds" or "slow payment". Leaving one pants pocket turned inside out is the more usual sign to advertise what the motivation for the hit was. He stole from the wrong people. Bars, gas stations, Convenience Stores used to be Bank Drops for criminals. You know, like a bank's night deposit box for legit businesses. Policy runners, policy banks, hookers, bookies all had to deposit their money by a certain time. Ain't no one gonna let the winning policy numbers be tallied and THEN let a policy runner turn in his slips showing people who bet on that number. Bookies gotta submit their money and layoff requirements before the race is run.

Few years ago in London one couple let their cell phone batteries get low and failed to call in the results of the final goal kick, so alot of people watching the game 'live' on the internet but not really 'live' in actuality couldn't make their online bets on that final kick. Millions of dollars at stake, bets from Chinese Servers to Ukraine Servers couldn't be made because the live data from the stadium was unavailable to the 'live' but up to two minute telecommunications delay on the broadcast. Now all the cops who worked that case got counseling when they went to the couple's crime scene. A lesson had to be taught, but usually orgainized crime does not benefit from publicity.

FleaStiff Nov 04, 2016

I know one guy got killed because he would not raise his prices. He was taking all the profitable Weekend Brunch business for miles around.

I know one guy had three separate bookies, but all he lost was his restaurant and fish brokerage business, not his life. Its bad for business to kill someone.

I know one man got killed by a Bimbo he took boating. They went for a dip and she swam back to the boat and let him try to catch up. When he finally died, she pretended to not know how to use the radio. He had stolen money from people he shouldn't have, but the murder was not to teach him or anyone else a lesson. The murder was to keep divorce lawyers and forensic accountants from getting too close to the real books.

odiousgambit Nov 05, 2016

Well, at first I thought he got killed for not paying up, but later realized they'd never kill him for that, or even do it to try to make an example of him. It was for a different reason unknown to me.

But it was the Mob I think - the circumstances don't fit jealous wife, common robbery, etc. Yeah, you could make another conclusion about pants down LOL.

FleaStiff Nov 06, 2016

Even the mob has "flukes" now and then.

One Mobster got worked over real bad and then received some cement shoes for his midnight swim in San Francisco Bay. He had made a mistake of turning a personal beef with a straight and narrow Game Warden into an order for a hit. He had not known that Mister Big had the greatest respect for that Stand Up Game Warden who had already made it clear to Mister Big that he was a federal law enforcement officer first last and always and would never hesitate a moment to act like one despite the Game Warden's and Mr. Big's shared interest in the culinary preparation of game birds .

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 11, 2016

Cherokee Casino Credit and Trip Report

I finally talked the Missus into checking out the Smoky Mountains in NC, and checking into the Cherokee Casino/Resort to get a way for a while. The first days of August turned out to be a quick meet-up with member RaleighCraps and his wife. G and J have turned out to be quite the waterfall enthusiasts btw; they wanted us to check out Catawba Falls and I have to say it was a nice excursion, a not-so-demanding hike too [although it was a hot day]. I think member 2Feathers may deserve credit for the waterfall idea; quite a few of them in the area, although on our short 2 night visit we only saw the one.

We had to leave some time for Craps, you know! For me the table game scene at Cherokee is a desert otherwise, with minimums too high and no UTH, but the Craps tables lure me with 10x odds. Being during the week, it wasn't hard to find an uncrowded $10 table, and I have no complaints at that minimum [although it means 5X then for me to find a comfort level]. R-Craps on our first session was killing it, making his point 6 times in one roll IIRC, a roll where there was no come-out 7 rolled either, no 7s at all, very rare and very beneficial for the way I was betting - odds 'working' on come bets. Bankroll benefit was substantial enough that I stayed up for the trip even though later sessions were choppy at best. We nearly did ourselves in as we just had to check out the newer casino about an hour south. Chances to find a $5 table seemed better, and, you know, gotta check these things out. Unfortunately, as it turned out, no $5 table, a $10 table was too crowded, and we had to play at a $15 table to find room. As we were playing, some guy hit a 4 point fire bet, but oddly somehow I didn't seem to benefit much, maybe we got in late on that; and then the table went ice cold. We headed back considerably lighter in the wallet.

That second casino and hotel is a contrast to the original, which is extremely nice with all the stops pulled out during construction to create a real gem. The southern version seems to have considerably lacked the same resources, just having a courser, racetrack-like feel to it by comparison. We didn't get to see the rooms in the hotel, of course, but judging by the outside I have to guess the typical room is adequate but unimpressive. There were signs that business was picking up, with lots of GA plates in the parking lot.

As for the difference a $15 table makes, I later looked at the effect on my typical hour's betting, which is somewhat consistently a flat-betting 50 bets. If I have done it right, to my surprise a player's exposure to variance increases geometrically for the same amount of time at the table.* Vowing now to avoid $15 mins whenever possible.

I had a brief amount of time to check out some video poker, only playing some 8/5 Bonus in a short session. I couldn't help but notice there were a lot of Double Double Bonus machines put in since the last time I was there. I'm not used to playing those and didn't realize a regular Bonus Poker strategy wouldn't cost me much [coincidentally the Wizard has a web-page about that now]. Plus I didn't really have the time to get into going online and checking out the paytables. Plus I admit the $12 wi-fi fee was off-putting. But next time, I'll check out DDB.

I applied for Casino Credit [the ability to take out markers] at this casino, as I have decided I want to set this up at any and all that I sometimes go to. I had noticed that you can apply online with Harrah's casinos, but that Cherokee NC was excepted. Sure enough, they said they didn't do it on site, but had to fax it to the main headquarters. The experience was quite different from the one at MGM, which was professional, courteous, fast, and frankly, affirming. At Cherokee, they seemed to begrudge doing it at all. A feeling of suspicion pervaded, the application was nosier, and it was really slow, causing me to check back at inconvenient times. Final approval, which I later realized may have been delayed by clerks not knowing how to activate an approval, was 12 hours later and took 15 minutes standing at the window while someone 'activated' it, whatever that was about. I was approved for only $2500, pretty ungenerous if you ask me and certainly it stank compared to the limit MGM set. As it turned out, I didn't need a marker. I'm guessing the usual experience at other properties isn't like this.

So, Cherokee NC has never been the perfect place with +'s and -'s; but I am happy it isn't too far away, and by golly the wife liked it!


*I think I'm doing this right,

$10 table
50 bets

Square root @7
SD at 5x odds @ 6
2 SDs = 12
7 * 12 = 84 units

84 * 10 = $840

$15 table, trying to keep av. bet the same
sq rt 50 bets, same
SD at 4x odds @ 5, 2 SDs = 10

10 * 7 = 70
70 * 15 = $1050

that means a large deviation due to luck could mean you're up or down some $840
to $1050. Roughly, since to say 50 bets is not precise.

to be correct, you subtract EV from these figures, but that's a small effect on a rough estimate

what's interesting is to figure how much shorter a session is required to keep 2 SDs about the same, even with combined bet size about the same. The sq rt needs to be about 3.7 then, to make the product with 15 = 56, as 56*15=840. That's about 14 bets! At the same rate of 50 bets an hour, I would need to stop at about 17 minutes instead! That is non-linear.

comments welcome


GWAE Aug 12, 2016

Haven't notice RC on here much lately. Hope all is well with him.

RaleighCraps Aug 12, 2016

RC is doing okay. Thx GWAE.

I find the new forum format is much slower and harder to navigate, so I only stop by if I am totally bored, and up for a little self loathing.

Tues morning there was a $5 craps table open at Cherokee. First time I have seen that amount.

When I was at the new Valley River casino last fall, around 8AM, they had $5 games.

As OG said, this time around it was $15, and it appears they are getting the $$$$ GA money they were hoping for, so I doubt I will go back down there again.

Before we met OG and wife, my wife and I hiked Upper Whitewater Falls and Rainbow Falls also on this trip. There was limited water, so the falls weren't quite as exciting, but they were fun nonetheless.