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Frank Scoblete - Oracle at Odds - Part 4

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  • Frank Scoblete30. Who is the biggest gambler in the world?
    The mantle of the biggest whale (?whale? is casinoese for mucho high roller) must belong to Australian billionaire Kerry Packer who has been known to bet a quarter of a million dollars on one round of blackjack or baccarat. Rumor has it that he has won and lost upwards of 20 to 40 million dollars in a single casino stay. He is also rumored to be a generous tipper and the best rumor of all is that he once gave a dealer he liked a house for a tip! These are the types of gaming rumors even I enjoy spreading.

    31. What are your favorite games?
    Craps first, blackjack second.

    32. What are your least favorite games?
    Any game that gives the casino a huge edge over the player is out. So the Big Wheel and Sic Bo are out. I also don?t enjoy playing Caribbean Stud -- too many frustrating hands and a pretty high house edge to boot. I am also not a video poker lover -- even though some of the best games in the casino are in video poker. I spend a tremendous amount of time in front of my computer screen so that when I go to a casino I want to play games where I get to see people in action with me. Also video poker has many more losing sessions than winning sessions -- even when you have the edge -- because you have to hit your share of four-of-a-kinds and royal flushes to get into the black.

    33. Which games make the most money for the casinos?
    The most overall money is made from slots, followed by blackjack, with craps and roulette right behind. More people play those games than any others. However, there is another way to figure what the casinos make and that is on a per game per $100 bet ratio. This is called the win rate. Here are the some real-world win rates for the various games in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas. My guess is that other gambling jurisdictions such as Mississippi and Illinois are probably consistent with these results as well. However, these jurisdictions do not release their figures based on individual games. The percent means that for every $100 bet, the casino kept that percentage. Remember that the casino win rate is really the player loss rate! Hold your breath.

      Atlantic City Las Vegas
    Blackjack 12.4% 14.2%
    Craps 14.5% 14.1%
    Baccarat 12.5% 14.4%
    Let it Ride 16.3% 20.2%
    Big Wheel na 45.2%
    Mini-Baccarat 14.8% 15.6%
    Pai Gow Poker 21.9% 21.9%
    Roulette 25% 22.6%
    Keno 26.7% 27.8%
    Caribbean Stud 21.1% 25%
    34. I thought Las Vegas had better games than Atlantic City but it seems that Vegas players are losing more?
    It does and they are. You can find single and double-deck games in blackjack, 10X, 20X and 100X odds at craps, and the best of a variety of video poker machines are in Las Vegas. It?s heaven on earth for a good gambler. (Even better is Tunica, Mississippi!) So why are the Vegas figures in this survey showing that Vegas players are hitting the deck at a greater rate in many of the games? Some of it can be attributed to the normal fluctuations that occur in gaming. When you look at long-range figures, you?ll note that the casino win rates do fluctuate up and down from month to month. Some of it can also be attributed to the fact that many people who come to Vegas are first timers or just vacationers who really aren?t schooled in the games. My own experience is that more Atlantic City blackjack players play basic strategy than their Vegas counterparts. Even in the eight-deck monstrosities of Atlantic City, a basic strategy player is facing a little more than a half percent house edge. But look at those figures carefully and realize just how much money people lose to the casinos -- money that they don?t have to lose if they played the best strategies for the games of their choice. A sizeable percentage of those loss percentages are due to poor play!

    35. What?s the best buffet in Vegas?
    Just about every major casino-hotel has a great buffet. I like the buffets at the Golden Nugget, Caesars and Rio, but I haven?t tried every buffet in Vegas because I?m fat enough as it is.

    36. What?s the best buffet in Atlantic City?
    I?ve never eaten at an Atlantic City buffet.

    37. Is there such a thing as luck?
    Yes. There?s good luck and bad luck. Good luck is defined as you winning. Bad luck is defined as you losing. Mathematicians don?t believe in good or bad luck but simply call all events, streaks, circumstances (and so on) that are involved with chance ?fluctuations in probability.?

    38. How much money should you bring to a casino?
    Always bring enough money to last you for the amount of time you want to play. As a rule of thumb for every session of blackjack have at least 40 times your bet. If you are a five-dollar bettor then have $200. For craps, always have 10 times your bet spread. If you are up on three numbers at the height of your betting, then have 10 times the amount of the three combined wagers. In roulette and all other games, use the blackjack formula. Bring enough money to play all the sessions you plan to play. So the five-dollar bettor in blackjack who wants to play six sessions in two days should bring $1,200. Never use a win -- or any leftover money -- from one session in another session. Put it away. This will almost guarantee that you will go home with some money. Nothing feels worse than getting wiped out.

    39. What about hedging bets at craps? Like betting an Any Seven on the come-out to protect against the seven showing?
    Not a good idea. Every bet can and must be figured independently. You will lose more money if you bet Any Seven on every come-out roll than you will save by attempting to protect your pass line bet on the come-out.

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