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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-13-2007, 08:50 AM   #41
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

JPatrick--I was joking around with a couple of my co-workers about one penny slot machine would pay my income. He was saying that the profit from the penny slots is where the casino makes most of their money. I don't know where he got his information, but my personal observations seem to support it.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-13-2007, 11:21 AM   #42
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Good websites for information about gambling are:

www.americangaming.org - the pro-industry site operated by the American Gaming Association. Has a lot of empirical data, particularly in an on-line brochure that one can download easily. Data is for 2005 though.

www.indiangaming.org - the website of the National Indian Gaming Assoication. Not as good but OK for good overview.

www.ncalg.org -- the website of the National Coaltion Against Legalized Gambling. Obviously, they view it as a major problem, sin, etc.

Many others out there but most of them are not that great -- although Casino City has sort of a fun one with sometimes good data on it.

And, by-the-way, penny slot machines are often the mainstays of many mid-level and "grind joint" casinos. You really can't bet just one cent, and many people end up betting 45 cents or more per play.



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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-13-2007, 11:30 AM   #43
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Great info playaman!
I may be drafted into a anti-casino role though I'm not eager for the part.
I'm just a NIMBY, but one who also enjoys Vegas and trading the gaming stocks.
FWIW, currently looking for a SHFL rebound
Thanks for the links.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-15-2007, 08:34 PM   #44
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Next time you are out west, stop into the sports book at Caesar's or The Mirage or Bellagio. Plush quiet atmosphere, huge TVs with sports events from all over the world, odds and propositions of every imaginable kind.
Ha
I have been to LV once and it was awe inspiring in a stupendously, trashy addictive kind of way. The gambling was truly frightening to me as I can imagine how people get sucked down that rabbit hole.

But I have to say that Bellagio is a gorgeous fake environment complete with a fantastical Chihuly glass chandelier in the lobby and a bunch of pools in a Tuscan courtyard that made me want to plunk down $350/night just to loll about in luxury for a while.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-15-2007, 09:11 PM   #45
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

It's hard for me to share my own feelings about Vegas and gambling in general without sounding preachy and moralistic, which is weird, because I really am libertarian by nature.

Generally, if people want to do something, and it does not directly harm anyone else, I say 'let them." That goes for drugs, smoking, eating, sex, suicide, gambling, whatever.

You speak for you.

That said, my own observations on gambling are that it is horribly corrosive. Not the occasional wager of a cup of coffee on the weather, or office pool, (which I never feel compelled to make anyway), but the way that casinos, poker, bingo, lotto, etc have all just become ubiquitous, and likely to be frequented by those least likely to be able to afford it, and the most likely to be ensnared in a downward spiraling economic result. These forms of gambling have all become so familiar that we don't think twice about them. But the truth is that it is all a less than zero-sum game. Crime goes up. Morals go down. Focus becomes on'big payouts' with no effort, versus working to get something via your own efforts. Kids get inculcated to a culture of excessive risk taking (without even knowing the mechanics and math of risk/reward) and desensitized to losing money, as well as to the inappropriate use of credit, i.e. to fuel a lifestyle beyond what regular income can support.

Look at Casey Serin, my favorite whipping boy, lately. Gambling? Yes. The guy expects to somehow develop a mythical "passive income stream", but without equity of his own, and without work. He is not alone. Infomercials abound, using powerful psychological catnip: "You deserve it" and "Everyone has theirs, get yours", "Don;t be just a working schmuck, you are too smart - leave that all behind!"

Heck, if you think of us aspiring FI/RE types, and our talk about drawing a 4% SWR while sipping Mia Tais, kinda sounds the same, right?

But there is a vital difference in substance (that can be too subtle or just not of interest) in what people like Casey are trying to pull off. By letting others use my earned capital to advance a new business, a crop, an invention, I am taking a risk of loss, and therefore getting rewarded with part of the future profit. When you look at gambling, what is the net gain from that closed process, though? What crops get grown? What value is added to society? Politicos wanting to get a hunk of money for their area (and selves, usually!) will claim that economic development occurs as gambling moves in, but it is always (IMHO)robbing from Peter to pay Paul in the long run.

Anyway, just let me sum up my position by saying I am hugely thankful that I have never felt the urge to gamble, and based on how I have seen it affect people, I don't feel likely to change.

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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-15-2007, 09:21 PM   #46
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

We were stationed in Las Vegas for three years. Aside from the "normal" challenges of raising a child, parents of adoloscents have an even bigger problem there. It is very difficult to convey the importance of working hard and staying in school to kids surrounded by the climate of Vegas.
"Go to college? Are you kidding me? Julie is making $300 a night as a cocktail waitress, and I've got better legs than she does!"
"Did you hear about that guy who won $2 milllion at Ceasar's yesterday? That happens almost every day there. That's for me, not working my life away in some boring job."

I'm glad we left when our daughter was just a tot.

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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-16-2007, 02:49 AM   #47
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
Black jack seems to have the best odds for the average gambler... roulette has the worst odds.
I have to disagree, too. Black Jack is theoretically beatable, but you have to not make any mental mistakes and bet low until the odds are in your favor and then bet big. Casinos look out for this pattern of betting. They also use incredibly large shoes and reshuffle more frequently, so it would probably take way more effort than it's worth to try to try to find advantageous odds.

Roulette odds on the typical American wheel (with 0 and 00) have somewhat over 5% house edge. I hear European wheels only have the 0 and therefore have better payout odds.

Worst odds are usually the Big Six Wheel and Keno. (ad-ridden link to detailed Keno odds)

Besides Black Jack, Video Poker is another game that is thought to be beatable or nearly so, but again it requires skill.

No-skill games that have good odds include Baccarat (except the tie bet) and Craps, but only on the pass / no pass bets and odds bets. Place bets don't pay as well and neither does field. The bets in front of the stickman are the worst payout odds.

As you may have guessed, I do occasionally gamble, but I set a limit, don't expect to win and chalk it up to entertainment. I find if I get a rewards card and lay my entire stake on the table when getting chips I can usually get a steak dinner comp by the time I'm through. The poker room doesn't get you comps, though.

I avoid skill games and prefer Craps. If I start losing money too quickly I'll retreat to nickel or quarter slots to slow the bleeding and extend the visit, but I'm not particularly fond of slots. I also try to play in a manner to minimize the volatility...for example I may lay more odds on a 6 or 8 point than I might a 4 or 10 point...they payout odds are the same, but I'm more likely to lose a few 4 or 10 odds bets before winning one.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-16-2007, 08:57 AM   #48
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Sam--I do agree that many young people are sucked in to the "big money" to be made or won. Most of that money is in the form of tips. While walking around my work the other day I noticed the only people who appear to be having fun are the dealers (in my place they make around 50,000, mostly in tips). The rest of the employees look wore out and ready to put a gun to their heads to end the misery.

As far as a zero sum game I don't think it is. Yes crime normally does go up, but so does property taxes. When a business puts a building worth hundreds of millions of dollars up they are taxed heavily on it. Many times the annual business taxes are based on yearly receipts. Casinos make much money. I was in the count room the other day and the receipts from slots for just over two days was a little short of 2 million (this did not include the table games or the restaurants). If they had a hotel and other amenities they would make much more.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-17-2007, 04:35 AM   #49
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

The ultimate authority on all casino games is the website
http://wizardofodds.com/. It is created by Micheal Shackelford, Professor of Casino Math at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

I can't recommend it highly enough if you are going to do some serious gambling at any casino. It tells you about the correct way of playing, Blackjack, Craps, Video Poker, even strange things like Bingo. (It is actually possible to have an advantage over the house in Bingo!) A features lots of easy to print out strategy cards.

A couple of years using his website, and the intense competition between online casino, I managed to make a tidy sum, following his strategies. Sadly the casino caught on to advantage players, and of course our friends in Congress recently protected us from the evils of internet gambling. (i.e. less money for State Lotto and Indian Casinos.)
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-17-2007, 03:24 PM   #50
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

I grew up just down the street from a race track. Horse race betting and sports betting are the ultimate skill games. Race vigorish is huge, but there are some smart and very well informed bettors who win overall. It is really not a game for people who enjoy generalities. And in contrast to the din and crassness on the main floor in a casino, the clubhouse at a track is often one of the nicest places you will see. Food is good, people are nice, it's all good!

The sports book in a nice Strip Casino can also be very enjoyable, and I believe it is somewhat more likely that a well informed bettor can overcome the usual 5% and down vigorish than dealing with the racetrack vig that can be 3 to 6 times as much.

But my favorite sports betting vacation was usually Reno-I'd stay at the El Dorado but hang out in that dive Cal-Neva. Cheap but good food, great looking cocktail waitresses and the chance to bet baseball into a dime line-if you like the favorite, you lay -$1.40; if you want the dog, you take $1.30.

I favor a Darwinian view of vices. Some people can handle them well, others canít. Everyone should have the opportunity to find out which group he or she belongs in.

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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-17-2007, 03:37 PM   #51
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

gambling can be very profitable. my cousin's investment group owns a bunch of machines in vegas and they seem to be living very well.

i've been in a casino once. atlantis in the bahamas. my brother likes to play blackjack and mom liked slots. i played slots with mom and i won a whole bunch of quarters but mom kept putting them back into her machine which didn't give us any back.

i made special effort to study the faces of the people in the casino. for the most part, they are very sad and as empty as their pockets.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-17-2007, 03:55 PM   #52
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Not to mention the price per share of my former boss went form less than $2 in 1999 to over $49 today.

































Thanks to the loosers.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-17-2007, 05:04 PM   #53
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
gambling can be very profitable. my cousin's investment group owns a bunch of machines in vegas and they seem to be living very well.
OK, I'm intrigued, how does this work and where do I sign up?
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-17-2007, 10:25 PM   #54
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Gambling can be profitable, but it has been a disaster for many businessmen and women who have entered thinking anybody can do it. At one time in recent years, half the properties in "Glitter Gulch" (the Fremont area) were said to be in bankruptcy.

Don't forget the tax rates can be horrific too -- up to 70% off the top (in Illinois, but I understand they've cut it to a mere 50% -- like Florida, Pennsylvania, maybe Missouri and a couple of other places).

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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-18-2007, 03:31 AM   #55
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by playaman
Don't forget the tax rates can be horrific too -- up to 70% off the top (in Illinois, but I understand they've cut it to a mere 50% -- like Florida, Pennsylvania, maybe Missouri and a couple of other places).
Taxes. Casinos pay 'em? I haven't been in a casino in awhile, but I'd be very surprised to learn that they are now giving customers receipts for what they have bet and what has been paid out at those tables and slot machines. One of the last cash businesss in the world.

Let's see: 70% taxes on one quarter of the actual take=still a pretty good deal.

This is just a re-telling of a commonly held public belief. Maybe in the real world evrything is actually above board.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-18-2007, 07:34 AM   #56
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Sam--I was surprised when I started talking with the count people. They were saying each slot machine is similar to a cash register and logs every bet. When the money is emptied each night a print out of the days activities is also printed out. These receipts must be maintained. The gaming commission periodically goes around and audits the receipts. The slots we had did not pay out money. When the gambler wanted to cash out they received a ticket that went to another machine, similar to an ATM, or the cashier to be exchanged for cash. It was not uncommon to find these cash tickets for less than $2.00 laying around, because the gambler didn't want to take the time to cash them in.

The table games are a different creature. The money is put in a box in exchange for chips. I'm not sure how those are accounted for, because my job was done in the count room and we didn't get into it. I do know that the count team is closely watched by surveillance the entire time they are dealing with money. With the way the gaming commission has their regulations written, I would presume the tapes must be maintained for review during an audit.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-18-2007, 04:22 PM   #57
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
Taxes. Casinos pay 'em? I haven't been in a casino in awhile, but I'd be very surprised to learn that they are now giving customers receipts for what they have bet and what has been paid out at those tables and slot machines. One of the last cash businesss in the world.
Casinos differ in their practices, but it's not uncommon for a W-2G to be issued along with your slot-machine winnings.

I don't know how they handle individuals cashing in large piles of chips. But they can cancel their chips anytime, so it's not generally smart to hold onto the chips longer than it takes you to finish using them.
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-18-2007, 04:28 PM   #58
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I don't know how they handle individuals cashing in large piles of chips. But they can cancel their chips anytime, so it's not generally smart to hold onto the chips longer than it takes you to finish using them.
(...insert "cashing in your chips" joke here...)

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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em
Old 04-18-2007, 04:37 PM   #59
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Re: You've got to know when to fold 'em

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
(...insert "cashing in your chips" joke here...)
Remember the Mike Tyson:Evander Holyfield ear-biting fight?

There was a riot in the casino after the fight. Tables were overturned, dealers cleared the floor, looters took advantage of the situation, and customers were scooping up the chips before things were brought under control. The casino agreed to redeem customer's chips up to a certain limit but they immediately issued their backup chips and cancelled the ones in use up to the fight.

A group of gamblers was caught with hundreds of thousands of dollars in chips-- duffel bags full of them-- that they really didn't feel comfortable redeeming right then because casino security had been trying to figure out who'd been cleaning out the blackjack tables by team-card-counting on them. Not technically illegal but certainly "discouraged". They lost thousands of dollars splitting their stash into smaller increments to be redeemed by dozens of "freelancers" hired for the purpose.

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