Gamblepalooza – What A Weekend!

Gamblepalooza is done.  Mark & Dr. Mike are returning to San Diego, others returning to Cincinnati, Chicago, and New Jersey. Cousin Vito & Mikey9’s are back in CT to get this week’s report on it.  And Eric Rosenthal and Ed O’Connor are probably preparing to share their expertise for one of many interviews or articles up next.

I am so happy to have met some great people.  Not only great in terms of gambling knowledge and experience, but really friendly people.

Highlights:

Lots of craps was played.

The Centrale meet-up in the Fox Tower was a wonderful time to drink and chat.

I finally met two couples from Connecticut who follow NETimeGambling.

The Keno Breakfast was a lot of fun at the Veranda Cafe. The only win I had all weekend!

The Group Slot Pull – those are $100 Wheel of Fortune Slots.

The Group Slot Pull  – even though we didn’t win, it sure was fun and brought the 40+ of us together in the High Limit Slot room – to the dismay of the Foxwoods staff.

Meeting with the original ZorkFest Gang- Jay & his wife, Han, Michelle (and others I’m sure I forgot)

Special Thanks

Cousin Vito & Eric Rosenthal – for getting the first get-together started  and planned including the great room rates for a weekend. Great job gentlemen.

Amanda & Ianna – we all know who the foundations are behind the above, previously mentioned characters.

Foxwoods & Staff – a great group of people who gave this group the service and amenities one would expect from a first class resort.

I hope it happens again next year.  Meanwhile, next in our sites is  ZorkFest 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada – Memorial Day.

How To Learn New Casino Table Games – Let’s Try Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker sounds like a difficult game to play. And, as any new table game at the casino, playing it for the first time can be intimidating. Having to know how to play your cards, knowing rules of the table, and the emotional feeling of being embarrassed in front of other players is enough to turn you around to go play the nearest slot in despair, disappointment and failure.

Ok, so much for the melodrama, but there is a certain intimidation factor in playing a new table game.

First of all, thanks to Craig Stone, half of the “Due For a Win” podcast team. Before I forget, a shout out to their podcast about Atlantic City. Craig and Kyle do a great job of providing insight into Atlantic City property news, the financial rise and fall of AC casinos, and full of knowledgeable opinions on what to include and what not to include in your next visit. Subscribe to their podcast through iTunes and receive it every week.

Craig made a New Years Resolution on one of their episodes that I thought was great to follow – expand play to learn new table games. So, I have started to follow that. My three new games would be PaiGow Poker, Mississippi Stud, and Texas Hold’em Table game.

Last weekend, I started my quest. It was time to play Pai Gow Poker. Here are my personal suggestions to dig into that resolution and DO it!

For a beginner’s look at Pai Gow Poker, go to our posts 7 Beginner’s Tips for Pai Gow Poker 

and Resources for Gambling Part 3 – Pai Gow Poker

1) Prepare before playing at the casino.

Practice, using an app for your smart phone and (I can’t say this enough) visit the Wizard of Odds website. Once there, you can learn the basics of the game, and learn strategy with the training game, all for free.

2) Play in the early morning

While at Borgata, I got up early and made my way to the Gai Pow tables. This is an opportune time to ease into play.  I was very lucky to find an empty table just waiting for me, a dealer who was very helpful, and even a pit boss who stuck around to get me started.  It was as if I had my own personal table, complete with professional tutors.

3) Important Points you only learn at the table.

  • There are just some things you can’t learn on an app, like:
  • With the use of a shuffle master, you have to wait for the green button to go off before picking up your cards.  You have to wait to be sure the deal is good.
  • The commission was explained, as well as the bonus bet.
  • The house has certain rules to set both hands, and the player can always ask to have the hands done by house rules as well.
  • The numbers on the table refer to th3 random number chosen to start dealing the hands.  The number “4” is omitted due to its unluckiness in Asian culture much like no  “13th floor” in American hotels.

4)  Final considerations

  • Over 60% of the hands played will end in a push
  • The Strategy is not hard to learn
  • Pai Gow has a very low house edge, which makes it a good game to play to lengthen your session.
  • because of the low house edge, comps are harder to come by because rewards points are often slower to accrue.

While I didn’t last that long (being the only player at the table will do that) morning, it was a great experience.  Now it’s time to play with friends, or at least a full table.  Thanks Craig…..now it’s onto Mississippi Stud!

Binbin

 

MGM Springfield Shows Progress & Promise

MGM Springfield area

MGM has opened its first building in Springfield for its $1 billion casino & resort. About 50 employees moved into the casino’s new administrative office this week. The building will eventually house some 300 corporate and human resource workers, as well as a training school for prospective casino workers.

This prompted us at NETG to check the progress in Springfield. How has the process been going?

MGM International and Jim Murren, CEO, could not be happier. Even MGM’s stall tactics with the MMCT Mohegan/Pequot Casino and the creative distraction of a Bridgeport, CT casino can’t take away from the process success in Springfield.  MGM builds resorts, and does it well.

The “Casino Lab”

MGM Casino Lab

Steve Urbon, from SouthCoastToday, reported in August on the place that includes “a wildly colorful carpet and low, indirect lighting with spotlights on the four felt-topped blackjack tables, two poker tables, custom chips, craps table, and roulette wheel…..hands-on training for table games, for both players and the casino dealers. It is designed to be completely realistic” The room is part of Bristol Community College’s CATCH Institute and is the first and only school in the state to win the Gaming Commission’s Gaming School Certificate and is located at the Taunton campus inside the Silver City Galleria Mall.

Recently, it was reported that MGM Springfield and the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute will provide details on how to register and enroll in classes to train for such games as blackjack, poker, roulette and mini-baccarat. MGM expects to hire 450 table-game dealers, with hiring expected to begin this summer. See Kenneth R. Gosselin‘s report MGM Springfield: Wanted Table-Game Dealers for more details and if you’re interested in becoming a dealer.

PlayMyWay

Programs such as PlayMyWay focus on problem gambling prevention and customer protection practices. Its intention is to help players make decisions about gambling, allow them to monitor and understand their playing behavior in real time, and support their decisions. At this time, the PlayMyWay program is only at Massachusetts’s only open casino, Plainridge Park Casino and seems to be working well. Even though the program is not mandatory by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the other two casinos, MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor (opening in fall of 2019), Michael Mathis, president and COO of MGM Springfield, and Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, the commission voted 5-0 to allow both casinos to implement PlayMyWay as a voluntary program. Mathis was quoted as saying “MGM believes that a voluntary operator driven approach to play management will achieve the commission’s and operators’ shared goals of a best in class responsible gaming framework,”

Diversity for Springfield

MGM is committed to create a diverse workforce at it’s Massachusetts casino. According to Peter Goonan at MassLive “Mathis said he is proud to say that out of 16 department heads hired, more than half are minorities and/or women. MGM Springfield has set goals for diversity hiring in its formal agreements with the Gaming Commission and the city of Springfield.” In addition, “the hiring of minorities for the casino project was listed as 22.2 percent as of Sept. 30, 2017, as compared with the project goal of 15.3 percent, according to MGM Springfield. The hiring of women was 9.25 percent as compared with the project goal of 6.9 percent, and the hiring of veterans was listed at 10.16 percent as compared with the goal of 8 percent.”

Casino On Schedule

MGM Springfield Interior Lobby, courtesy Jim Kinney | jkinney@repub.com

Also covered by Mr. Goonan in a December post how impressed the MGC and Chairman Steve Crosby was with MGM’s plans. Commission members agreed that photographs of the work site, comparing last year to this year, showed dramatic change. They were also impressed with a report about the hotel that is under construction on site, including an interior view of what the hotel rooms will look like, with Crosby saying the view was “really cool.” MGM is taking a new path in its hotel design, giving a touch of Springfield & New England in its decor and design. For a gallery of photos from MassLive courtesy of Jim Kinney from the Springfield Republic, CLICK HERE.

MGM joins Cambridge College

Cambridge College and MGM are launching the Commonwealth’s first ever Hospitality pre-apprentice program in greater Springfield. Hospitality careers include event planners, travel agents, hotel staff and food service. MGM Springfield and other local organizations will help prepare the workforce for these high demand positions. The program consists of four weeks of classes to help students prepare for entry-level jobs in the field. This is must needed help for a city struggling with unemployment.  While having a modest decrease in unemployment rate, it is still close to double that of the Massachusetts average.  Covered by WesternMassNews “[MGM Springfield] is going to have approximately 2,200 of the 3,000 jobs as full-time positions.”

Anticipation is Building

I too am getting caught up in the excitement of the addition of another casino/resort in New England. This one looks to be like no other in New England and the country.

For a great encapsulation of MGM Springfield, please visit Steve Ruddock’s recent post:

MGM SPRINGFIELD TAKING A PAGE OUT OF THE PATRIOTS’ PLAYBOOK

Go MGM Springfield, and Go Patriots!

Binbin