Recreational Gambling and Acceptance

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.  Aside from the nonsensical myths and mathematically proven superstitions that permeate the gambler-sphere, three sayings are often heard – I always win, I always lose, and the casino is paying out today. Let’s take a look at the truth behind these three sayings.

Who wins and who loses

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!” – implying that players at “Best World Casino” can expect to be winners.  The numbers of the daily payout keep scrolling higher and higher. How could you not choose to play at “Best World Casino?” (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 CT casino is always announcing “another jackpot winner.” No specifics, but another jackpot winner. 

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?

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.

Now, what about Willy & Whinny, the luckiest people on the planet – you know, those people who say they win all the time?. LOL!

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’s unhappy Harry (or Harriet) – those recreational gamblers who are so annoyed that they never win.  What they don’t realize is that at times they might get ahead, they continue playing. They continue to play – unhappily losing and playing  forcing 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. 

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.

Binbin

Your Bankroll is $250 – What New England Casino Would You Visit?

“If you had a limited budget/bankroll of say $250 to gamble with which New England casino would you choose and what games would you play and why.”
BankrollSomeone asked me this interesting question a few months ago and I keep revisiting it in my mind. But I couldn’t take that question for face value….. oh, noooooh……I needed more info, some criteria to base my opinion on.
So, I came up with two different players, both variations of myself: 
  1. Player 1 (we’ll call him Rob) is inexperienced, has no particular affiliation to any New England Casino, but has a players card from them all.
  2. Player 2 (we’ll call him Bin) favors a few, has been playing for years and also has played at the all with a players card from them all, but favors two.
  3. Both players, amazingly, know how to play table games, video poker and likes playing slots in the same way.  Favorite table games include Pai Gow Poker, Craps & Blackjack in that order.
Seeing both players are me in this fantasy, a few personal notes are needed. I like to play long periods of time, as well as short daily bursts ( which is not good for my Average  Daily Theoretical ).  Games that provide solace individually are preferred, but on some occasions I prefer the camaraderie of the tables.  In this instance, my goal is to play as long as possible on a bankroll of $250 and consider myself a low to mid-roller. One last part of the criteria is important in the comparison – I own a worm hole to transport me to any of the eight casinos instantly.
So let’s begin.

Rob (Player 1)

In my alter-ego #1 Rob, I don’t favor one New England Casino over another and consider each to have it’s advantages and disadvantages. But where to play…….hmmmmmm…..
With no affiliation to any casino, even casino Rewards Clubs outside of New England, playing for comps is secondary to playing long and winning big, and food options are also a priority. So I would play at:
#2 – MGM Springfield – Depending what you play, this property can be  a lot of fun. The slots are new and plentiful.  The newest slots are all around you.  But first I would go to the craps table.  Midweek, you can find $10 craps tables, not the best for a $250 bankroll, but playable. The MGM craps tables include the “All Tall, All Small” bonus which is not offered anywhere else in New England. Plan B would be slots, slots, slots.  I would only play video poker at the bar since the paytables are terrible and no blackjack – $10, $15 tables are 6/5 on a blackjack.  $25 tables have 3/2 blackjack, but that’s too high for a bankroll of $250. But the ambiance, the non-smoking, and its few dining options are really good.
#1 (preferred) – Foxwoods. “The Wonder of It All” – I would either go directly to the Asian Gaming area in the Rainmaker Casino and play $15 Pai Gow Poker, or play some $5 craps in the Cedars Casino ( beware, odds bets now have a 5X limit instead of 10X) . If that didn’t work out, two possible plans with what was left – play bar top machines with Double Super Times Pay with decent pay tables at $.05 for Triple-Play & Five-play in either the Cedars Casino or the Racebook, both with a good bar with great service.  Or, I would play slots in the Cedars Casino which has some of the best and newest machines, with old favorites like Cashman scattered around.  Cedars Casino also has stadium gaming.  Of course the dining options at Foxwoods are immense.

Bin (Player 2)

Only one choice for Bin – Mohegan Sun.  Why?
A. Best gambling odds.
Full-Pay JOB Video Poker, with 9/6 Double Double Bonus available also.
$15 Pai Gow Poker tables
$5 Craps tables
The largest assortment of slots in the East Coast.
B.Amenities
Best New England Player lounges.
Great Spa
Point Promotions – 2X (Momentum & Status), 3X (Status), Status Mayhem of 2X-5X
Leap Level Parking (that’s my tier lever – 3rd out of 5)
Entertainment options and offers.
C.Dining options – especially best at the low to mid dining cost.
D. Mohegan Sun Players Rewards – while I don’t consider an easy Rewards Club to work with, Mohegan Sun is close to me, and so we invest our dollars in Momentum.  It does include other casinos Mohegan Sun Poconos & Resorts in Atlantic City.
E.The Property – Mohegan Sun’s three casinos, design, tribal decor and spaciousness is comfy – that’s the only way to describe it, besides beautiful, unique, and awesome.
So, those are the New England Casinos that Bin & Rob would be the happiest with a bankroll of  a $250.  It might be different if the bankrolls were $100 or $1000.  But, that’s for another post.
Remember, “when Gambling, Embrace the Math, Not the Myths.”
Binbin, Bin, & Rob

Video Poker – Choosing the Best Game

If you ask Video Poker players “what is the best video poker to play?” don’t expect an answer before they ask you some questions. It’s not a black & white answer – there’s a lot of grey area in consideration. Some questions might include:

  • What’s your bankroll?
  • Have you played before or are you a newbie?
  • Do you prefer volatile games (bigger payout possibilities with an expected quicker loss in bankroll) or do you prefer to play longer with less volatility?
  • Are you interested to learn the correct strategy to maximize your time and reduce the house advantage or do you just want to play for fun and figure it out as you go?

So Many Games to Choose From. Each game has different pay tables, denominations and can be played on a single line or multiple lines. Let’s use Jacks or Better as our base game for this post.

First Consideration – Denomination & HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED?

This is where your bankroll comes into play. Remember, a bankroll is a totally separate amount of money dedicated to casino gaming – not to the money to pay bills, or even the amount in your pocket. It’s a totally separate amount!

.You can play single line games at nickel (hard to find outside of Nevada), quarter, fifty cents, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25 and even $100 machines.  Keep in mind that this depends on your bankroll and, in this player’s opinion, playing max bet of five coins. For more info on playing Max Bet, click on “Video Poker &  Max Bet.”

Super Times Pay Video Poker

Super Times Pay Video Poker

If you are interested in multi-line games, such Triple Play, Five Play, Ten Play, Twenty-five Play, Fifty Play or One Hundred Play, you may want to drop down from quarters to nickels or even pennies, depending on the number of lines.

So, you probably want to know how much is needed to give you the best chance of a winning play.

According to 888Casino, “The first rule of thumb most players hear when it comes to video poker is that for the long term you need about three to four times the amount won when you hit a royal flush on your game and denomination of choice. Specifically, if you are planning to play a 25 cent Jacks or Better game (standard game, not a progressive) where the royal flush pays 4,000 credits (which comes to $1,000), you need three to four times that amount or $3,000 to $4,000 dollars………If, instead you plan on playing a standard dollar Jacks or Better game where the jackpot once again is 4,000 credits, you will need $12,000 to $16,000 since the dollar amount of the royal flush is now $4,000.”

Please note that this for standard JOB. The higher the volatility (Bonus Poker, Double Bonus & Double Double Bonus as examples), the higher your bankroll should be.

new TO VIDEO POKER? A FEW BASICS

The solitary play of a video poker player.

If you are new to video poker, the first thing you should understand that while it uses poker card rankings for the basis of pay out, that’s really where the comparison ends. You can’t bluff the machine or figure out OPTIMAL STRATEGY by yourself.

So, how does this game work?  A Random Number Generator (RNG) deals 5 cards from a 52 card deck. (Some games use more, such as Joker Poker). The player chooses the cards to keep, presses draw to get replacement cards for those discarded to make the second and last 5 card hand which decides the payout. Most VP machines deal the draw cards from the continuous RNG.

Again, I refer to 888Casino concerning three major differences from slots, real poker and video poker:

  1. Unlike slot players, video poker players have a say in the outcome of the game.
  2. Because the player has a choice in video poker play, it is possible to play the hands in a way that is most beneficial to the player.
  3. Only a mathematically derived video poker playing strategy will get you the most from your video poker play.

VIDEO POKER LEARNING AIDS

John Grochowski. In one of the many publications he writes for, suggested the following software programs to help improve your strategy and speed.

To practice hundred’s of Video Poker games, and the newest multiline games, go to VideoPoker.com. Subscribe monthly and you will get a trainer to help you play most games with correct strategy.

The staple to any VP beginner’s book library would be John Grochowski’s “The Video Poker Answer Book.”  It’s a great place to start.

Want to know what casinos have the best Video Poker, or if they have any playable VP?  Go to vpFREE2, the “preeminent online resource for serious video poker players.” Their goal is to provide a complete inventory of the best video poker games available and make that information available for free to our users. Check out all eight New England casinos and the video poker they offer, as well dollars in for points, where the games are in the casinos, and more

Strategy Cards 

Strategy cards are available and legal.

Steve Bourie’s American Casino Guide offers free strategy cards you can print at home. The ACG website covers all of America’s casinos, games and strategies. The annual American Casino Guide also offers coupons for gambling & dining for casinos all over, with the vast majority to be used in Las Vegas. It’s a wonderful resource. For free VP Strategy cards, click HERE  Remember, strategy cards are easily available and legal to use in the casino.

The Draw

A very simple rule when looking for the best video poker game for your play is to look at the full house/flush payouts. Those two numbers with the specific game will usually determine the expected payout %.  Another part of the payout structure to look at is the pay for four-of-the-kinds (quads). You will find that the higher the quad payout is, the more volatile the game can be, and so, a larger bankroll is needed.

Recreational gambling is about being prepared and having fun. Video poker can be a grind, so if it’s not fun, move on to something else. But the more prepared you are, the more fun it will be.

Related articles:

Video Poker & Max Bet

Video Poker Considerations for Lower Pay Tables – Jerry “Stickman” Stitch

Video Poker Players – Don’t Rush the Royal Flush

Slot Machine & VP Etiquette – Final Part

Binbin

Remember, “When gambling, embrace the math, not the myth”