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Frank Scoblete - 20 Assumptions Never to Make in a Casino! Part Three

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  • Frank ScobleteAssumption #13: If a craps table has been hot it will continue to be hot. If it?s cold it will continue to be cold.
    Many casino players, not just craps players, look for trends and then bet with or against the trend. It is an old law of gambling that the ?dice have no memory.? That is, what happened on the last decision has no influence on what will happen on the next decision. That is absolutely true as long as the game is random and no one is controlling the outcome through physical means. Craps is an independent-trial game and what happens now will have no effect on what happens next. However, there is some truth to the assumption that while the dice might not have a memory, certain shooters do. These shooters, called rhythmic rollers, might be able to influence the game by the way they physically roll the dice thereby increasing the likelihood of some numbers appearing and decreasing the likelihood of other numbers appearing. So here?s an instance where an assumption is false except if it?s true.

    Assumption #14: Professional blackjack and video poker players make millions every year.
    The number one video poker expert in the world is on record as stating he makes about $50,000 per year playing. That?s about 500 hands per hour at a one dollar VP game at five dollars a pop at a machine that returns 101 percent of all the money played, playing eight hours a day for five days a week for 50 weeks a year. There?s no medical, no dental, and no pay if you don?t play and, horrors, no pay many days and weeks even if you do play! And he?s the best, mind you, the very best. The Bride of Bulletman, who I wrote about in my book Victory at Video Poker, made $60,000 in 1998 and $80,000 in 1999. She is not the world?s foremost expert, just the winningest video poker player I ever personally met. In ten years, she is averaging close to the $56,000 per year mark as well. But she is averaging less than a visit per week! It remains to be seen whether she can continue such a winning streak as obviously luck (or magic) has much to do with her success. The best blackjack pro I ever met was the late PK who played five nights a week 52 weeks a year. He earned between $20,000 and $30,000 per year playing blackjack. He had to supplement his blackjack income with a job in a bookstore. He was the best, mind you, the very best at what he did. For most mortals the sky is not the limit on VP or blackjack winnings, the ceiling of a typical lower middle-class house is. However, for the recreational player who has no illusions about being a ?professional,? it is always better to play with an edge over the casino than to play without an edge. Obviously, you want to play the very best games that excite you and play them in the very best way. But millions? I?m afraid it ain?t in the cards for the majority of us.

    Assumption #15: The casino comping formula is an exact science and is written in stone.
    There is a little truth to this assumption and a big untruth to it. Slot clubs for small and medium players are a almost an exact science. You play the requisite number of coins to get the requisite number of points and you get the requisite number of buffets or show tickets or discounts to rooms. However, for bigger slot players (dollars and up) and for table-game players, the comping policies are guidelines. If the guideline says that a $150 player who plays four hours per day gets RFB (the highest level of comps) and Mr. Jones, a very good customer of Luckland Casino, happens to only play three hours one evening, do you think the host is going to say: ?Sorry, Mr. Jones, I know you?ve dumped tens of thousands here at Luckland, but tonight you can have the coffee shop, not the gourmet room, because you didn?t play the four hours.? More than just a rating will often go into what an individual on the high end might get. Such factors as the number of good players the individual brings with him or her would be considered; how often the person comes to the casino, and past history. Remember that comps are inducements to play and stay at a certain place and would any casino in its right mind say to Mr. Jones: ?Buzz off, we don?t want your $150 per decision, go somewhere else.? I doubt it.

    Assumption #16: Intelligent people don?t play the slots.
    I used to buy into this one big time. Then I started to do research into the slot machines for my book and found I was completely wrong. In fact, not only are many slot players intelligent, some are actually brilliant. Slot players are a representative cross section of America, not the bottom of the U.S. barrel. So why do they play the one-armed bandits when they know the games are impossible to beat in the long run and often carry house edges that are much greater than the table games? The usual answer is that slots are relaxing. You don?t have any pressure to play a certain way at a certain speed. Often people with jobs that cause them to deal with the public will say: ?I love to play the slots because I don?t have to deal with people.? Others state: ?I play because it is the only chance you have for a big win with a small investment.? Whatever the individual reason a person gives for playing the machines, one thing is certain across the country -- slots are king! From Vegas, where they represent almost 65 percent of the gross revenue to Mississippi where they represent over 85 percent, more people pull those handles and press those buttons than roll them bones at craps and tap for hits at blackjack.

    Assumption #17: If you tip the dealers at blackjack, they?ll give you better cards.
    If you were a dealer and you could control what cards came out of a deck or shoe would you be hustling tips from the likes of you? Or would you tell your relatives and friends to come to the casino tonight to clean up! Of course, if you had larceny in your heart, every relative you have (that you liked) and every friend, would belly up to your table and bet the table max until they wiped out the casino, or until the casino fired you. Unfortunately (or fortunately), dealers can?t control what happens to the cards. In the bad old days of bent-nosed casino owners and baseball-bat justice, some of the unscrupulous casinos hired card mechanics who could indeed control what came out the deck. Those days are done. Very few dealers today have an interest in cards per se. They are just doing their jobs. Luck controls the fall of the cards. Tips just control the possibility of a smile or a ?thank you? from an appreciative dealer.

    Assumption #18: Senior citizens are spending their social security money on gambling and not saving it.
    This is not so, since most seniors have budgeted their money wisely. But if the assumption were correct, that seniors are taking some, part or all of their social security checks and blowing it in the casinos instead of saving it for their offsprings? inheritance what? Aren?t you tired of the busybodies in the government and the press telling us what to do with our money? I remember when Michael Jordan took a side trip to Atlantic City during the playoffs to play a little blackjack, the media were aghast at the amounts he bet. Listen, if I made 100 million a year and, after taking care of my family obligations, I decided to gamble the other 99 million -- that?s my business. It?s my money. We have begun to treat our senior citizens not as the generation that survived the Depression, not as the generation that defeated Hitler and Mussolini, not as the generation that faced down Communism, but as this melange of drooling idiots who shouldn?t be allowed to make decisions for themselves.

    Assumption #19: Most dealers are problem gamblers.
    Most dealers don?t gamble at all. The percentage that do usually do so only when friends or relatives come to town. The percentage of problem gamblers among dealers is probably what it is in the general population -- minuscule.

    Assumption #20: Progressive jackpots are programmed to hit on weekends and not midweek.
    More money is won, and lost, on slot machines during the weekend than during any similar time span during the week. In fact, more progressives, big and small, are probably hit during the weekend than at any time during the week. But it has nothing to do with the programming of the machines. It has more to do with a very simple fact: More people go to casinos during the weekends and more people in the casinos means more spins of those reels, and more spins equal more jackpot winners.

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