Posted by odiousgambit
Dec 01, 2019

Charles Town V

TLDR: Back again at Charles Town, fifth visit, staying at the hotel for the first time. The sportsbook is changing for the worst, but still there. I apologize to the Wizard. Trying to get casino credit was a bummer. Craps went well, but my old quest to find the right kind of darksider is a bust again. 

I have other business that brings me close to the casino at Charles Town WV, so taking the otherwise-a-little-bit-too-far trip there when I have that other reason was in order again recently. To be honest, I probably could have put this other business off for a while, but my last trip awakened their marketing department and they had been sending me some fairly nice offers, including a room and plenty towards food . It worked, it was on. 

This was the first time I had stayed at their associated hotel, which for some reason is not attached to the casino. This has them running a shuttle every 15 minutes, 24/7, and I never heard anyone complain it ever runs late. It also goes to other hotels, but I don't have those details. Room, comped 2 nights, was plenty nice, no complaints from me. The booking desk failed to mention the $10 per night un-comped fee, but I was expecting it from talking with them before. So I don't have a beef, except I think it is worth mentioning such lapses, which just shouldn't happen. The Trip Advisor reviews constantly mention dirty carpet, but I can confirm what the manager, in responses there, is pointing out: the carpet is actually just worn and needs to be replaced, a quality of modern carpet fibers that I was familiar with [they don't wear out, they ugly out]. Some reviews didn't like the continental breakfast, but honestly I don't know what such people are expecting, I never expect much from those things and frankly, judging by the clientele, which I am sure you can picture, I have to believe few of them ever stay at a place nice enough to have something better laid out - sorry.  The gripes are just sour grapes from losers? The employees were all trying hard and very nice, and nobody claims otherwise in those reviews. 

The sportsbook, while improving the quality of my experience there immensely,  is showing signs of WV tax fatigue, I'd say. The last time I was there, just a few months ago, there were tables in front of every piece of furniture with pencil stubs aplenty. There were sheets printed up with betting information on every sport neatly set out, with a special desk there to print up whatever else you needed. This time the tables were nearly gone, and pencils were hard to find, what happened to these things? Pre-printed information sheets had disappeared as well. The electronic board on the back wall was going strong, but that thing is necessarily incomplete. There was no separate desk to provide information, it had turned into a bar [that was closed to boot]. I could see I had to get into line to get information; I asked for NHL this and that. The evidently quite new clerk's only training seemed to be "you should be surly toward these schmucks so they don't bother you too much".  She printed out what I asked for on a flimsy slip, looking at me like I had two heads for wanting it. 

Bear in mind that so far the operation there, William Hill, does not have the mobile app so you can bet using your phone, so you normally would go to the sportsbook to both bet and collect. It just seems to me the place would be in its heyday now for these reasons. Though there could be other reasons for its evident current depression, possibly there are reasons for the blues I just don't know about, like getting clobbered by Pennsylvania operations that do have the mobile apps going. But I smell the bean counters in operation. Things like removing the pencils just reeks of those guys in action. They get called in when an outfit like this finds out they are doing all the work and the state of West Virginia is making all the money. Plus the casino gets a piece of the action somehow too; the sportsbook runs there independently of the casino, just using their facilities. 

In any case, though I doubt he reads my blog much, I have to apologize to the Wizard. At times he has confessed he's found old betting slips past their expiration date. When I heard this sort of thing, from him and others, I was going 'tsk tsk'. Back when I was working I had to be careful about details, and none of them were more important than the ones involving money. I was just convinced no way could I ever be so lax about my bets that I'd just misplace the slips or forget about them, the flimsy little things they are notwithstanding. So when it was time to go, I gathered up the slips - puzzled that there seemed to be more slips than I expected - and stashed them into a briefcase, not wanting to take the time to look at them. Once I got to the book, instead of studying them, I handed them in mass to the clerk and indicated I wanted them all checked though "surely some were losers". To my surprise quite a few got handed back to me as "not resolved yet". I almost couldn't understand what was going on. Naturally I then took to time then to look at them closely and realized they were proposition bets that I had forgotten I had even made! So, yeah, looks like one of these days I'll also find an expired betting slip, though I have a little system that's supposed to prevent that. Ye who have confessed to this already, I humbly apologize for my arrogance, I'm next no doubt. 

Although I have resolved to quit using casino credit, mostly due to the irritation of having to renew, I was going to apply for the first time at this particular place. Member Mdawg has been contending that the casinos conduct a hard inquiry on your personal credit, while I have been maintaining they do not, and that this is something I've made sure about with the annual free check we can do. His response is to ask if you have checked with Experian and I've had to admit that I haven't. So, once a player goes to the trouble of getting approved and does have this approved casino credit in his back pocket, it's something you have to admit is plenty convenient, and I could do this and then do a free credit check making sure it's with Experian. Having two reasons to do it I tried to apply. To my surprise, I find out you can't apply at the casino anymore! What? They indicated that now you must apply online only, and that you can forget about getting a quick response too. 

I don't want to apply online, that doesn't seem like a safe thing to do though I can't prove it is more secure to use SS numbers etc. in person only, still that is as far as I'd like to go. It seems obvious to me that this casino has gotten itself into some trouble with collections and has decided to discourage the entire practice. This would normally be very shortsighted, in my view, as there is so much about it that is win, win for the casino - I have posted about this many times. However, I think it is possible that it depends on the state as to what happens in the legal process of collecting the bad debts. Clearly in Nevada, what with the District Attorney fully cooperating in treating debt as a crime, ready to throw folks in jail, things are greased along quite well for collecting that money. Perhaps in WV a debt occurred with casino credit is treated like any other debt, and not as the act of writing a bad check as in Nevada and probably other states? But I would say sheer stupidity of the decision makers here, with bean counter led crackdowns already in evidence, is also a possible explanation. In any case Mdawg's contention will just have to be taken at face value for now. 

The gambling I did was a bit of sports betting and Craps, which I posted about in a thread named "why you should always make a Come bet". In fact it has been mostly here that I first got a little stingy with the Come betting [or DC betting, depending] due to finding the table minimums to be higher. When it was only $5 [that's never at Charles Town] I have been very free with the Come betting, when it was $15 I only did Come betting, no line bets [which limits your action], and it has been 'something in between' if $10. Now I am vowing to always have a Line plus Come bet going and am going to have to figure out how to keep my total action under control. 

My luck at Craps went well this time, all of it against negative expectations. As I've blogged before, currently my only shot at any +EV wagering is concentrated on trying to take some of the discarded darkside action I see. That was a bust again, it is really pretty difficult to get the right circumstance. Once I was right next to a friendly guy [important] who was alternating, going darkside when he thought the table was cold, but he never decided to 'take no action' on his bets, including on the 6 and 8 darkside. That makes him the wrong kind of darksider! Otherwise I hardly saw any darkside action going at all, that happens a lot, and when it does go on you need to be next to it. I'll keep trying.

Posted by odiousgambit
Oct 11, 2019

Casino Credit/Markers

In case you missed it, and are following the "Fico score" thread, here are some blog posts covering markers and casino credit. The first link is MDawg's blog on the unique credit bureau casinos use to set you up for markers. Be sure and read the comments, which becomes a timeline for me discovering that he is essentially correct with what he says, perhaps not putting things the way I would.

the second link is about my initial experience with markers, again, the comments are interesting. 

btw I may have decided to quit getting set up for markers, don't like the process of renewing them. 



Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 06, 2019

Hapless Happenings

So in the previous blogpost we reviewed that the basic formula for determining the HE of the DP or DC bet in Craps is

the probability of winning
3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)
minus prob. of losing
8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9)

and that deleting parts of this formula will tell us the change in the house edge if a player rejects all the action on the 6/8 points to be resolved. No one has disputed the latter while one member at least, Mission146, has confirmed it [in fact got me past my initial error]. 

So the next question that comes to mind is, assuming it will be the wisest move to bet on the same DP/DC line, and not just stand there and greedily take the declined action only,  " does another player taking that same action from the player declining it, make his overall betting +EV?". Mission hashed a couple of scenarios out.

That number crunching was not preserved and we will see if I can get it right again altering the above formula. I'll call the accommodating player, giving up his action, "Hapless", as surely no one gives up this action unless he has been unlucky either in education or in perception of his "luck", seeing as how no one who knows 7 is easier to roll than 6 or 8 gives it up unless he believes himself to be an unlucky person.*

Scenario #1. Hapless bets the same amount, always is on the same bet as you, and always gives up the 6/8:
Prob. of winning, simply adding the additional action
3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)
minus prob. of losing
8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)

I get +0.0116161616161616 

Scenario #2. Hapless bets twice as much, same as above otherwise:

3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)
minus prob. of losing
8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)

I get +0.0368686868686869

Thus it would seem possible every time you would get a cooperative person you will be +EV for your betting even with needing to be betting on the line.  I am not getting the same results as Mission so I am not claiming this is correct yet. Anyone see an error? 

Calling Mission, come in Mission, Mission are you there?

*what is such a person doing in a casino?


Mission146 Aug 06, 2019

Okay, here we go:

The first thing that we want to do is greatly simplify the problem, so let's first get the expected value (per one unit bet) of assuming the hapless action on the six and eight:

(6/11) - (5/11) = 0.0909090909 (Units)

Okay, so that's the expected profit, in units, every time that we get to assume this action. That's also the house edge of the Big 6 or Big 8:


Because you are effectively playing the part of the casino.

Your Expected Loss

Your expected loss betting the Don't Pass is .0136 units, and you make this bet every single time. Looking at it in terms of all 36 possibilities, for each possible initial come out roll your total expected loss is:

.0136 * 36 = 0.4896 (Units)

On ten of these 36 occasions, we will get to assume the action of our friend who would otherwise be pulling the 6 and 8 back:

0.0909090909*10 = 0.909090909 (Units)

(0.909090909 - 0.4896)/36 = 0.01165252525

Therefore, it appears that OdiousGambit is correct and the ability to take the action of our hapless player yields a positive expectation of .01165252525 (Call it .0116 or .0117, difference due to rounding) every time that you make a bet provided that bet is matched by someone who will let you take the 6/8 DP action.

odiousgambit Aug 07, 2019

OK! good to know we get the same answer, might explore it a bit more.

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 01, 2019

Hall of Fame, Sucker Division

using the Wizard's work at
for the don't pass, and skipping the process of finding the common denominator, I get the same answer he does for the house edge using an online calculator with the formula
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +(5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11)+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)] - [8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) +(5/36)*(5/11) + (5/36)*(5/11)+ (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9)]
which preserves the details of winning and losing on 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 as numbers to resolve along with the other ways to win and lose. The calc. can handle that just fine. That is, I get  -0.0136363636363636 for house edge, the familiar figure when you count pushes. 

So it occurred to me I can take the segment for 6 and 8 to resolve wins, (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11), and change that to 0, but also remove the ways to lose that bet and change that to zero! This is what I got wrong in my first go, which I have preserved in the spoiler. We should get the formula for the house edge if 6 and 8 pushed instead of won. That basically is what happens when a player 'takes no action' on darkside 6/8 bets, no?

With the altered formula 
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) +0+ (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)] - [8/36 + (3/36)*(3/9) + (4/36)*(4/10) + 0 + (4/36)*(4/10) + (3/36)*(3/9)] .............. putting in a zero there for the missing action in both places.
I get a house edge of -0.0388888888888889 ... which matches Mission's numbers done in a slightly different way in the comments. To be clear, it was Mission who discovered the error, thanks.

-1.36% goes to -3.89% ; not quite tripling the house edge

Still qualifies for the Suckerbet Hall of Fame, on the stupidity of it.  

using the Wizard's work at
for the don't pass, and skipping the process of finding the common denominator, I get the same answer he does for the house edge using an online calculator with the formula
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)]-[2928/5940]
which preserves the details of winning on 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 as numbers to resolve and otherwise just uses his work. That is, I get -0.0136363636363636 for house edge, the familiar figure when you count pushes.

So it occurred to me I can take the segment for 6 and 8 to resolve, (5/36)*(6/11) + (5/36)*(6/11), and change that to (5/36)*(0) + (5/36)*(0), and we should get the formula for the house edge if 6 and 8 pushed instead of won. That basically is what happens when a player 'takes no action' on darkside 6/8 bets, no?

With the altered formula
[3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (5/36)*(0) + (5/36)*(0) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)]-[2928/5940]
or simply [3/36 + (3/36)*(6/9) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (4/36)*(6/10) + (3/36)*(6/9)]-[2928/5940]
I get a house edge of -0.1651515151515152

We go from -1.36% HE to an amazing -16.5%, turning one of the best bets in Craps into one that rivals the "any 7" bet for Hall of Fame Suckerhood.


Mission146 Aug 01, 2019

Come Out + Point Results and Outcomes:

Come Outs 2 & 3 = Automatic Win (3/36) = 0.08333333333

Come Outs 4 & 10, Point Missed, Win: (6/36) * (6/9) = 0.11111111111

Come Outs 5 & 9, Point Missed, Win: (8/36) * (6/10) = 0.13333333333

Come Outs 6 & 8, Point Missed, Win: (10/36) * (6/11) = 0.15151515151

Come Out 12, Push = 0

Come Outs 7 & 11, Loss: (8/36) = - 0.222222222

Come Outs 4 & 10, Point Made, Loss - (6/36) * (3/9) = -0.05555555555

Come Outs 5 & 9, Point Made, Loss = - (8/36) * (4/10) = -0.08888888888

Come Outs 6 & 8, Point Made, Loss = (10/36) * (5/11) = -0.12626262626

Add them together: (0.08333333333 + 0.11111111111 + 0.13333333333 + 0.15151515151) - (0.222222222 + 0.05555555555 + 0.08888888888 + 0.12626262626) = -0.01363636341

That's the correct house edge, which agrees with the above, now we account for removing the winning AND losing possibilities because the player is pulling back the bet:

The player would win an expected 0.15151515151 units when this happens and the bet is left up and would lose an expected 0.12626262626 when the bet5 is left up and would lose. Combined, this means that the player is giving up, (0.15151515151-0.12626262626) or 0.02525252525 units per initial bet. When we add this to what would be the house edge of .01363636341 or 1.36363636341%, on a bet made basis, we get -(0.0252522525 + .01363636341) = -0.03888861591

Which represents a new house edge, per bet made, of 3.888861591%, or an expected loss of 0.03888861591 units per unit bet.

odiousgambit Aug 01, 2019

the bet can't win if pulled but also doesn't lose, mission points out, i went wrong there

i 'll see if i can now get the same answer stay tuned

Posted by odiousgambit
Jul 23, 2019

Charles Town

TLDR: recently my recreational gambling has been at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town WV. There is a Sportsbook there now, a much appreciated development. The Craps table is another attraction for me; but the Darkside was unkind yet again on my latest trip. Again I'm struck by how impossible it would be to figure out the best way to play without doing the math. 

This year, including recently, I have had reason a couple of times to be in the Charles Town WV area and of course had to hit the casino there. I've just settled with the opinion Craps is the only thing worth playing in the table games, though I don't have any fresh details about the BJ situation. I simply ignore everything else except the sports book, the arrival of which I do indeed consider a very nice development. Seems to me that a dreary mood has settled in ever since this casino lost its geographical advantage to other casinos now closer to DC and suburbs. When it had its advantage, it was notorious for high table minimums, surly service, and the like. After MGM National Harbor opened for business not so long ago, they did respond with things like lower minimums, more games, and increased free odds in Craps; I detected a change in attitude too, as there clearly was a push towards more friendliness. On this last visit, though purely guessing, I'd have to say that's out the window, and upper management instead is flailing about blaming the employees for the decline in profits, and that is having the usual effect on mood. I also get the impression there and at the Greenbrier that WV in particular takes quite a chunk of the proceeds, challenging the ability of these places to make a profit. 


Some things I hadn't noticed before. The Craps table, only one going during the week [can't speak for the weekend], does go 24/7. When I cashed in some chips, the cashier had a device not too different looking than an ink pen that scanned the $100 chips! That I hadn't seen before. Love having the sportsbook there, connected to William Hill. By god if you need a break there are lots of nice chairs to sit at and watch some sports! The minimum bet is $2, so I feel free to just bet on anything I have a notion to, I find it quite fun. And the missus, not a gambler otherwise, will place bets too - that goes over well. So far you can't place bets with a smartphone - that will change. When it does, I could see them getting rid of it, so I'm enjoying it while I can. 

I hit the buffet for dinner instead of lunch for once. Not bad, but not much. Too bad they don't have Indian food, would love that. Just sort of the usual. I did notice the price went up at 4:00, and it seemed to me that you could go in just before 4:00 and get the dinner selections for the lower price. I don't know of course if the selections get better as time goes on?

Crappy Variance:

This time I decided to play the Darkside in Craps and really got clobbered. I really am trying to hone my techniques for taking some of the abandoned action on the 6 and 8 to resolve darkside that occurs with other players. It really is hard to pull off, darkside players being hard to draw out the way they are, not all take 'no action' on 6 and 8, and are enough of a minority of players they are sometimes absent altogether or not near me. I've never been able to take some of that action at Charles Town in fact - I seldom do anywhere in spite of my efforts. So I decided one thing I needed to do is to play the Don't myself to help break the ice, though you would think I would have figured this out long before. 

I always superstitiously stick to the same side, so if I start on the Darkside I don't deviate during that session. I also typically only play the DC, this limits my action compared to what I do playing the Rightside. Sure sounded like a good idea. 

When I approached the table there was a sign that said they were raising the table minimum shortly, but I didn't see where they posted what that min was. I couldn't find a spot and hate squeezing in; but I figured spots would open up once the min was raised. Spots opened up as I figured, though at that place I still couldn't see where the minimum was posted. I looked at what someone was betting on the line, $15, and concluded that what I had suspected was correct, that the min had been $10 and was now $15 [it's never $5 that I have seen]. I played for about an hour and kept my free odds bet to around $40, adjusting it depending on what the number was to resolve. All of a sudden I noticed someone was betting $10! I was making a bigger bet than I needed to at all, as I am a believer in increasing the odds size if I want to bet more, and never increase it on the line if there is room with the odds. I have no idea what that sign I saw about increasing the minimum was about, makes no sense. I just feel that there was no way the min was $5 to being with, as when I've been there at times of day when you seemingly only get a few stragglers playing and the min is never less than $10. But somehow circumstances led me astray* on the matter; I went back to the lower min; naturally this is when I started to get killed. 

Just for the record I did strike up a pretty good accord with another Darksider, and let him know how lucky I usually am with the 6 and 8. Unfortunately, for whatever reason he was not one to give up his action on the 6 and 8 and only nodded at my remark. 

The experience reminded me once again how utterly unable a person would be able to decide which way works best to play Craps just going by his own observations, not knowing the math had been worked out. Even an intelligent person can easily be deluded into thinking he can quickly get some intuition on the matter. I'm fairly sure what I would have concluded from this session. Some of my worst losses previously have occurred playing the Darkside, and that along with the latest would probably have me conclude it is the absolute wrong way to go, intuitively you feel the amount of playing time has been sufficient to make a judgement. And I can say absolutely and positively I could play for eons and not conclude that the only thing that prevents playing the Don't from being a fantastic moneymaker is the fact that the 12 on the comeout pushes. I've never gotten the sense that it matters at all. If I was ignorant that this is actually a fact, I think I would pounce on somebody claiming such a thing with a "No Way!". During this session the 12 pushed for me exactly once; I'm very attuned to the irony of the seeming irrelevance of that and always keep track. In fact during this session I fared pretty well against the 7 and 11 on the comeout too, not getting skewered much with them, though I didn't track those for sure. My impression was definitely that I was getting past the comeout better than usual, quickly setting up three bets to the point where the odds were in my favor, then only to see them get picked off.   The Rightsiders must have done OK, each shooter was killing me, then on the other hand hardly none of them were come bettors, and no doubt lost plenty of money on the sucker bets. I don't remember anyone coloring up with a nice big stash. 

Notice above how easy it is to write something like "naturally this is when I started to get killed. " If I learned Craps the way most people do, from other players and the dealers, and thought I could also learn the best way to play from observation, I'm not sure, seriously, how much superstition would affect me. I certainly have to fight it off, this time having to dismiss the idea that the dice noticed I went from $15 to $10, that I was showing fear in other words. They certainly did go after me at that point, one of the dealers remarking "that's just uncanny" as he scooped away my DC bets one after the other, knowing the odds had been in my favor. So do I really believe that? I do have to keep asking myself that.

*I realized I can't keep saying "hornswoggled"


ChumpChange Jul 23, 2019

Some casinos will grandfather you in at the lower table minimum if it goes up while you're at the rail. So people walking up to the table can't really judge what the table minimum is by what people are betting. The posted signs are what the table minimum is. People can still bet at the lower amount until they leave the table, bathroom breaks excepted. After an hour or so most grandfathered players have left the table.

odiousgambit Jul 25, 2019

Casinos I'm familiar with don't grandfather, those that do are showing they care, not something Hollywood/Charles Town is known for.

You can't see that sign for the minimum where I was. Of course I could have [should have] just asked. It's still a mystery though as I am confident the table was never at $5 minimum. The sign announcing the raise in the min was removed, but has anyone ever heard of the house wanting to raise it at a busy table and then changing their mind?!

Mission146 Jul 26, 2019

Great write-up! I don't have much to add, shame you couldn't pick up too many of those sixes and eights that other Don't players have seemed not to want in the past. It'd certainly be nice to find a table with someone betting substantially over the minimum that would let you take their 6/8 action!

odiousgambit Jul 26, 2019

thanks, Mission, good to see you back too

I'm repeating myself I guess, but the main problem is getting these darkside players to warm up to you.

Will I continue to go darkside every session from now on, to make myself seem more like 'not the enemy'? Still not sure. Snakebit too on that superstitious level. It is true that knowing it's possible one of these days I might get some of that action that I feel at least a little smarter about my gambling, low roller as it is anyway.

FleaStiff Jul 27, 2019

ASK what the minimum is if you can't find the sign. Sometimes its these newfangled signs that look like clear plastic unless viewed from a certain angle.

Nothing is worse than being whipsawed, but I would never want to feel obligated to the dark side.

no action for me on someone else's no action decision.

state's view casinos as tax revenue and later realize that so neighboring states.

gordonm888 Jul 27, 2019

I played Charles Town frequently about 7 years ago. Pai Gow Poker tables were often all at $50 minimum (or higher!) The poker room raked 10% (5% for the bad beat bonus) which is so high that it changes playing strategy. Still, I had fun.

odiousgambit Jul 27, 2019

>$50 minimum (or higher!)

you can see how they had it made! where do you play these days?