Embrace the Math, Not the Myth – Accept the House Edge

Recreational Gambling with Acceptance is the key to your gambling woes. As we say at NETimeGambling, “Embrace the math, not the myth.”

Many recreational gamblers use exaggerated statements or claims that are meant to be taken literally by the listener.  Nonsensical myths and mathematically proven superstitions permeate the gambler-sphere. Three sayings are heard ad nauseum –I always win,” “I always lose,” and “the casino is/isn’t paying out today.”  Let’s take a look at the truth behind these three sayings.

Let’s first look at all those casino payouts.  I swear that I have no idea how these properties stay afloat. Signs exclaiming “millions of dollars paid out!” want you to think it’s the winningest casino ever. The numbers of the daily payout keep scrolling higher and higher. Just once, I’d like to see another running total next to it showing the money being made by the casino in real time. One New England casino is always announcing “another jackpot winner” It happens so often I just can’t believe it. (BTW, it rhymes with Attila the Hun.)

House edge. Embrace the math, not the myth

The math insists the casino is the big winner. Al Moe, in his article How Casinos Make Money: The Handle, House Edge & More, explains that “Casinos make a profit by offering games of chance where the average payouts are lower than the income produced by the overall wagers.”  With so many bells, whistles & lights showing other guest wins on your walk around the casino floor, it makes sense that you can win if they can. And everybody knows you can’t win if you don’t play, right?

The winners

Embrace the math – and the math says the Casino Industry is in the business of making money. You should expect to leave a winner 20% of the time or less. What about the luckiest people on the planet? You know, those people who say they win all the time?. LOL!

Fun Gambling

I hear that so much that I’m surprised casinos are still in business.  Usually I hear it from a third party – “My wife never loses at slots – it’s uncanny.” Or  “My brother-in-law told me his cousin’s sister’s mom always wins at blackjack.”

The math tells me to not believe it.  Sure, there are lucky sessions, and lucky people, but even playing a $5 slot machine at an approximate house advantage of 95% is going to end up biting you in the butt in the long run. The fact is it is getting more difficult to win – lower VP pay tables, confusing bonus slots with higher volatility, and new table games without knowledge of correct strategies all lead to the road to ruin.  So how can there be so many winners?

And then there are the whiners – those recreational gamblers who are so annoyed that they never win.  What they don’t realize that when they might get ahead, they continue playing without a win limit. By continuing to play, eventually losing forces themselves to live their self-fulfilled prophecy. Much revolves around how many gamblers love to whine and complain. But gambling addiction is a huge concern if the whining turns into more playing beyond one’s means and bankroll. Gambling

RELATED POSTS – Casino Industry Myths Disproved – Guest Post By Vital Vegas’s Scott Roeben, Part 1Casino Industry Myths Disproved – Guest Post By Vital Vegas’s Scott Roeben, Part 2

What The Research Suggests

Mark Maremont and Alexandra Berzon at the Wall Street Journal analyzed new data that shows that on any given day, the chances of emerging a winner aren’t too bad—the gamblers won money on 30% of the days they wagered. But continuing to gamble is a bad bet. Just 11% of players ended up in the black over the full period, and most of those pocketed less than $150.

This particular study, they said, used 4,222 casino customers of different levels of play. It showed that just 2.8%—or 119 big losers—provided half of the casino’s take, and 10.7% provided 80% of the take. Such revenue concentration long has been quietly acknowledged in the casino industry because it does show that the casino industry takes advantage of high-end addictive gamblers. But that’s a topic for another time.

The fact is, if you want to leave a winner, you need to leave after you win. Sounds obvious? Yes! But, although gamblers know the house has an edge, the average person doesn’t understand that casino games are nibbling machines, and the more nibbles you have, the bigger your losses. The recreational gambler should accept the following:

1) The Casino Industry is in the business of making money. I should expect to leave a winner 20% of the time or less.

2) Bankroll should be determined before a casino visit. Only take what you can afford.  The money you win is not “house money” – it’s YOUR money. try leaving when ahead.

3) Don’t believe in absolutes. No one always wins or always loses.  But everyone can enjoy gambling on their own terms.

4) Gambling is recreation. Recreation should bring joy, but only if you accept the basic realities of the casino’s take. If Gambling doesn’t make you happy – find another recreational activity.  Life’s too short – and gambling can be TOO expensive!

That’s all for now. But remember, “Embrace the math, not the myth.”



Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination

Maine has two commercial casino properties. On our recent Maine Casino tour, we visited both Hollywood Bangor and Oxford properties. After our visit to both, we are certain that our comparison proves one thing. Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination.

Oxford Hotel

Night time at Oxford Casino and Hotel

Oxford Casino and Hotel opened in 2012 and was purchased by Churchill Downs LTD soon after. As only a small casino, Oxford was located out in the woods of central Maine. It still pushed forward until Hilton built a Hampton Inn across the street and Churchill Downs started expansion.  A hotel was built attached to the casino and dining options were increased with the addition of of the Ox Pub. The casino was also expanded.

Related Post – 2018 Oxford Casino Trip Report

Related Post – Oxford Casino Opens New Hotel in Maine as Part of Expansion Plan

Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination

Upon arriving in Oxford, it brought back memories of old roads, construction and a town best known by the town next door.  Poland is the that town famous for Poland Springs bottled water. However, Oxford grew with its casino and now is a town on the move.

New Hampton Inn across the street from Oxford Casino.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn across the street this year instead of the casino’s casino like last year. Hampton Inn is supplied with a dedicated shuttle from Oxford Casino to cross the dangerous road that separates them. Either two hotels are a great stay, with Oxford Hotel usually with a little higher price.

Oxford Casino 

We arrived midweek, and it seems every day at Oxford has at least one promotion going. This day had Score Four and a promotion for a free buffet after earning 400 players points.  Both Bert and I, playing 60 cents on slots for two hours, easily made the free buffet.  Sweet! The buffet in the Oxford Grille was quite good, with tender turkey, scrumptious sausage, peppers and onions, and excellent pasta with summer squash and zucchini. If not free, players can use 10 players points from their Oxford Rewards account.

The slots are packed in, similar to how MGM Springfield began. You will find many of the newest slots with older favorites spread around them.  The casino floor was buzzing with lots of players. Table games were close to maxed out with few chairs available. Two roulette, one Craps, four Blackjack, and other table games were offered.  Rules were good, but minimums started at $10.  The only $5 table was 3 Card Poker. The only tables not full of players were mini-bac and 4 Card Poker.


Three dining options are available on property.  But the Ox Pub is the best choice for a good meal and outstanding drinks.  The taps are predominately Maine craft brewers. But NETG would like to see one more eatery to be available for the larger clientele.

Ox Pub, Oxford Casino

Random Points

  • The Video poker continues to be better.  Pay tables and variety of games are below expected standard.  Even Hollywood Bangor has one Ultimate X machine.
  • I could not find any Video Keno. Maybe some of the Game King machines in another room included it, but if so, that would make about 8.
  • Oxford Hotel Lobby is a good place to get away from it all. Comfy chairs, quieter and decent Wi-Fi.
  • If you are a Hilton Rewards member, stay at the Hampton Inn and get credit.  They also have a great breakfast.
  • Both Maine casinos are smoke-free, indeed self service beverage stations, and do not comp drinks.

Its always fun to go up to Maine for a casino trip.  We also found two little food suggestions.  Try Figgy’s in Portland.  Great skillet fried chicken by a Food Channel Chopped Champion.  And oddly enough, one Irving Gas stop in Newport, ME, includes a great little restaurant with great breakfast all day.  Get the fried bologna as a side!



Hollywood Bangor Hasn’t Been Updated in Years

My wife and I recently visited the Maine casinos. It was time for our usual Maine marathon to Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway in Bangor and Oxford Casino and Hotel in Oxford. After four years in a row of reporting about these properties, it’s hard to understand why anyone besides locals in a two-hour radius would go to Bangor. That’s where we start. The fact is Hollywood Bangor hasn’t been updated in years.

Related Posts – Previous Hollywood Trip Report 

what does Hollywood Bangor really offer?


Small casino needs a facelift.

In the four years of driving six hours north from the Connecticut Coast I would love to be able to tell of the wonderful things it offers. Frankly, it’s like going back in time. One major change is that they closed the Sundries store on the casino floor. It will become a marketing office.  Hosts will now be available more readily.  Ok, that’s a plus right?

The sundries store will be moved next to the hotel lobby check-in desk.  It looks like it will be half the size. Not a good sign.

The fact is I don’t know of a good reason to visit besides it’s the local casino and “it’s too far to drive to Everett.” HB has seen a decline little by little. On a weekday night, with a free slot play “Midweek Moolah” promotion with $50  given away every 10 minutes, the place should have been buzzing. However, it wasn’t.

Random thoughts during the visit

We talked with a few regulars and they admitted they felt it was hard to win in this casino.  Here are more concerns:

Hops House Hollywood Bangor

Hops House Hollywood Bangor

  • The restaurant Hops House 99 has even cut out some of its signature dishes like their Beer Can Chicken. Still has great beer on tap, but the menu seems more common with every visit.
  • New slots have been added, but the floor inventory us still very old.
  • The video poker is even worse than MGM Springfield and both of Rhode Island’s casinos. Video keno is offered, but the pay tables are lower with only single game cards available.  You won’t find 4-card or multi-card.
  • The ambiance is old and needs a face lift.
  • Table games offer low limits midweek. $5 Craps with no extra bets like Fire Bet, but does have 3,4,5 odd p. Carnival games such include 3 card poker, High Hand Flush, and Heads Up Texas Hold ‘Em.  One roulette table.  Two blackjack games – both 3:2.  One has wheel Bonus, other has lucky ladies and 21+3
  • Poker room did show some life, as small as it is.
  • Buffet is only open on weekends.

The Hotel

Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway – Bangor Maine

The rooms are basic, comfortable and clean.  Nice toiletries, coffee, water and free wi-fi offered for the $20 resort fee.  The TV reception is nothing like other casino hotels with fuzzy channels and old flat devices. But, the hotel is still one of the better parts of the property.  But the casino, which is the smallest in New England, doesn’t have enough to offer as reason for a staycation.

All things considered, I don’t recommend this hotel/casino.  If it’s all you got for 150 miles that offers casino gambling, then you’re stuck.  Your other options are to go north to Montreal, west to Oxford or south four hours to Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MA.

Next stop, Oxford Casino and Hotel, a year after their expansion.