New England Casinos on a $250 Bankroll “If you had a limited budget/bankroll of $250, which New England casino would you choose and what games would you play and why?”
Someone asked me this 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.
Criteria – 2 Players, $250 Bankroll
So, I came up with two different players, both variations of myself:
Player 1 (we’ll call him Rob) is inexperienced, has no particular affiliation to any New England Casino, but has a players card from all of them.
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.
Both players, amazingly, know how to play table games, video poker and like playing slots in the same way. Favorite table games include Pai Gow Poker, Craps & Blackjack in that order.
Both players are looking to play in New England Casinos on a $250 Bankroll
Both enjoy relaxing individual play, but at times prefer the camaraderie Craps & Pai Gow Poker.
The goal is to play as long as possible on a bankroll of $250
Finally, the most important criteria is kinda right out of the Sci-Fi channel. Each one owns a worm hole to transport themselves to any of the eight casinos instantly. (Pretty cool, huh?)
So let’s begin.
Rob (Player 1)
Rob doesn’t favor one New England Casino over another. Rob believes each has its advantages and disadvantages. But where to play…….hmmmmmm…..
With no loyalty to any casino Rewards Clubs playing long and a chance of winning big is the priority. Food options or playing for comps is secondary. Rob prefers to play at:
#1 (preferred) – Foxwoods.
The wonder of it all
“The Wonder of It All” – Rob enjoys starting in the Asian Gaming area in the Rainmaker Casino for $15 Pai Gow Poker. Another great option is $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 at Play Bar in the Cedars Casino or the Racebook with a good bar with great service. Cedars Casino also has stadium gaming.
When a break was needed, the dining options at Foxwoods run the gamut from casual to classy.
#2 (Runner-up) MGM Springfield
MGM Springfield from I-91
This property can be a lot of fun. The slots are new and plentiful. Rob prefers to visit the craps table first. Midweek, you can find $10 craps tables, not the best for a $250 bankroll, but playable. Also, MGM Springfield offers the “The Morning Deal”. Every Monday-Friday from 6am – 9am $5 minimums are available on Black Jack, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, Let it Ride Poker.
Plan B would be slots, slots, and more slots. Rob would not bother with video poker, unless it was at the bar for socializing and free drinks. The video poker pay tables are terrible. The fact that all Massachusetts casinos are non-smoking is a plus. In addition, the fact that the rewards club, MLife, is connected to many other properties across the country is a perk Rob enjoys as one of his casino players cards.
Bin (Player 2)
Only one choice for Bin –
Mohegan Sun, CT
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
One of the largest assortment of slots in the East Coast.
Best New England Player lounges.
Point Promotions – 2X (Momentum & Status), 3X (Status), Status Mayhem of 2X-5X
Special parking for upper tier status levels, starting at Leap, 3rd level out of 5)
Entertainment options and offers are beyond special and plentiful, with new entertainment venues opening all the time. Comix Roadhouse, Nouvelle, and Game On! are examples of special entertainment options. The Mohegan Sun Arena has been voted best concert venue 5 out of the last 8 years.
C. Dining options – especially best at the low to mid dining cost.
D. Mohegan Sun Players Rewards – while the Rewards Club is not easy to work with for low and mid rollers, Mohegan Sun is connected to other casinos such as Mohegan Sun Poconos, Resorts in Atlantic City and soon the new Virgin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (Formerly the Hard Rock.)
E. The Property – Mohegan Sun’s two casinos’ design incorporates tribal decor with an enjoyable spaciousness. It’s comfy, besides beautiful, unique, and awesome.
So, those are the New England Casinos that Bin & Rob would visit 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 Myth.”
Pai Gow Poker Table. The key is how you set up your hand.
Two years ago, I started playing Pai Gow Poker. The following Pai Gow Poker Tips for Beginners will get you started. Compared to Pai Gow Tiles, Pai Gow Poker is a relatively easy game. To begin with, it’s important to know the rules to increase your chances of winning.
First, a little Background
Pai Gow Poker as we know it today first came about in the mid 1980’s. There is some controversy surrounding who first developed the game. Generally, its origins are most widely credited to Sam Torosian and his partner Fred Wolf. The game was modeled and named after Pai Gow Tiles. This Chinese domino game dates back about a thousand years to the Song Dynasty, 960 to 1279.
Pai Gow Tiles
Six players join the dealer at the table where they play with a 52-card deck plus one joker. Each player is dealt a seven-card hand. This is divided into two hands, one with five cards and the other with two. The goal is to defeat both of the hands of the banker, a role that is usually filled by either the dealer, Players can bank the hand as well.
How to play
The standard poker rankings apply. In addition, players must make sure that the five-card hand has a greater value than the two-card hand. Once the players have arranged their hands, they play it against the banker’s. (usually the dealer)
Dealers are allowed to help players arrange their hands. This called “house way.” It is the same rules that the dealer sets their two hands. If you set your cards incorrectly, you’ll automatically lose. Subsequently, ask the dealer for placement tips before the hand is dealt. Showing your hand to other players and even the pit boss is acceptable for the correct strategy.
A player is a winner if both hands beat the banker; they’re a loser if the dealer/banker beats their hands. If one hand wins but the other loses, a push occurs. This means that no money is exchanged. If a player ties with the banker, the banker automatically wins.
Pai Gow is usually played because it is a slow game, with many pushes. Approximately >40% of hand are pushes. On these bets, you neither win nor lose your original ante. Side bets either win or lose.
Don’t split pairs. You’re better off keeping the pair in back, and, in most cases, will push the hand (at worst).
With 2 pair, place your strongest pair in back (weakest pair in front).
With 3 of a kind, only split them up when you are holding aces. Keep a pair in back, and one ace up front.
With 3 pairs, split them up to have 2 pair in back and 1 pair in front. Place your strongest pair up front.
With 4 of a kind, split them up and put a pair up front. The exception to this rule is if you’re holding quad 2s through 6s. Always keep these hands intact.
Split full houses. This is counter intuitive, I know. But chances are high that if you keep the hand intact (in back) that you’ll push (at best). When you split the hand up you have a (high) chance of winning.
When in doubt, ask the dealer to set your cards ‘the house way.’ This is better than guessing and making less than optimal plays.
Instead of acting as a whatever-card-you-want wild card, the joker in Pai Gow is called a “bug.” It acts as an ace unless it can be used to fill out a straight or a flush. This also means that you can have five aces, which is the best possible five-card hand in Pai Gow..
So there you have it. I suggest you check out the Wizard of Odds website to practice before you hit the tables.
Pai Gai Poker and Gambling Superstitions go hand in hand in the casino. I have really enjoyed adding Pai Gow Poker to my game repertoire. While the game is slow, with a low house advantage (good for bankroll, not so good for comps), I find it fun. As Tim Lawson & Eric Rosenthol from their podcast “The Bettor Life” say, “Push, Drink, Push, Drink.”
The gamblers at the Pai Gow table can be interesting, whether there are language barriers or not. It’s not a social game, but you can show your hand for advice to other players, the dealer or even the pit boss. It’s a different camaraderie than the screaming at the craps table.
This game has many gambling superstitions. Pai Gai Poker and Gambling Superstitions go together. In this case, these superstitions are both ethnic and arbitrary, depending on the individual.
Because of its close Chinese origin, many Asian gamblers favor this poker game. Subsequently, players bring with them strong superstitions.
Red is a very popular color to wear in Pai Gow because the Chinese believe the color brings fortune and joy when you wear it. For that matter, why not change the felt for Asian-based games to red? In the Asian Gaming area at Mohegan Sun, the color of the felt IS red. In addition, the new Encore Boston Harbor Resort is full of red tones in the casino.
Numbers also play a huge role. I like 4 because it represents my birth month – purely arbitrary. But many times, if there’s a choice, the 4th seat at a table mine, or 4th seat on a bank of slots or VP. Four , however, in the Chinese language, sounds almost exactly the same as the word death does and, as such, is a very unlucky number in Pai Gow Poker.
LUCKY NUMBERS, Pai Gow Poker and Gambling Superstitions
Three – a lucky number symbolizing the three stages in people’s lives.
Five – there are five elements in Chinese culture, hence the reason why five is considered lucky. Additionally, you’ll find that there are five arches in the Forbidden City main entrance, and that the Emperor was often associated with the number five.
Six – this is a number that represents wealth and is a lucky number.
Seven – this is considered the luckiest number in the West as well as a very lucky number in Chinese culture.
Eight – a very auspicious number and lucky number used both by businesses and in card games.
Tip your Pai Gow Poker dealers. Courtesy of Wizard of Odds.
MORE INDIVIDUAL SUPERSTITIONS
It was interesting recently observing the Pai Gow Poker table I was playing at. I would say by the bets, it was a variety of big to small bettors, most of who knew the game. Here are some of my observations:
Some players diminish bets when relief dealers come in. They might be considered unlucky or even casino “coolers.”
When a player decided to bank the hand instead of the dealer, everyone pulled back their bets. I personally have had bad luck against the player banking, so I pulled my bet back, too. (Peer Pressure?)
Either play the side bet or not……but decide and stick to it. Because you know what happens when you play it and then don’t – 5 aces shows up in your own or an other player’s hand. (Been there, not happy. Lost $250 envy bet. It is forever engraved in my memory.)
Avoid counting your wins and losses during the game. This can incur bad luck and is quite impolite to other players especially if you’ve just won big. That said, I count because I forget where my bankroll is at. Heck, I recheck my low-hand often because I forget what I put in it.
The cards – when picking up the cards, some at the table would spread them very slowly. On person picked up his hand every time in a neat pile, picking from the back of the pile first every time. Strange……..oh wait, that was me!
One consideration to be made. Tip the Pai Gow dealers. They rarely get tipped like other dealers. I like to put a $1 -$2 bet for the dealer. It’s not much, and I know it cuts into the already low house edge, but you’ll make a friend usually, which usually translates into a little help if there is a problem.