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Control equals excitement in casino gambling31 March 2011
Right up front: This is going to be a controversial column because I am going to give a formula for what I consider the best way to judge the various enjoyment levels of the various casino games. It will all come down to two words -- player control -- and I think a good case can be made that the games where a player has the most control are the games where the player has the most fun.
Many players who prefer the games that I think contain the least excitement levels are entitled to their opinions. Many of these many players have never actually tried the games that I will show contain the highest level of excitement. If they did I think they might agree with me.
Now, all casino games have certain aspects in common. You bet money; a decision is made; you win, lose or push. Everyone gets to decide how much to bet and when to quit. So betting, winning and losing are common grounds among all the games. Yes, there is excitement in a stroke of fortune but a stroke of fortune can occur at any game, even ones where the player has no input.
So what does player control mean? Let's take a look at roulette. The only choices the players have are which numbers or propositions to wager on. The game itself is totally out of the players' hands. Once the bet is made, the players merely root. They have no control over the outcome of the bets. So roulette would be rated as low on the excitement scale.
Almost all slot machines fall into the lowest level of excitement. You just put your money in, hope and pray, the reels spin and the decision is made.
There are certain advantage-play slot machines where the player can get an edge at specific times and if these machines are played properly then there are specific choices in the matter of when and how much to bet. There is some exercise of control in such cases.
The excitement level on an advantage-play slot machine is somewhat higher than on the machines where the house always has an edge. My new book Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines! will specifically discuss these machines. The book is published by Triumph Books, a division of Random House.
Video poker is a big step up from roulette and slot machines. In video poker the decisions of how to play your hands determine your long-range expectation. Play those hands correctly and you increase your chances to win. Play the hands incorrectly and you will decrease your long-range monetary expectation. Video poker is an exciting game.
Blackjack is the table game equivalent of video poker but it has far more decisions to make than the machine game. Each and every hand you receive elicits a necessary strategy on the part of the player -- stand on your hand, hit your hand, double down, split pairs, or insure your hands against the dealer's ace. Card counters go one step further as their betting spreads mirror when the game favors them or when the game favors the house, there are also major strategy changes card counters will make depending on the count -- in short, card counting adds another added level of excitement. So blackjack is a highly exciting game.
Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, three-card poker and other "carnival games" will give you some opportunities for strategic decision making, although these games come nowhere close to blackjack. I'd say these are moderately exciting games since there aren't too many decisions called for.
Pai gow poker gives the player quite a few decisions to make during play and these decisions will ultimately determine the player's monetary expectation over the long haul. It is nowhere close to blackjack but it is far superior to the "carnival games."
Mini-baccarat is much like roulette. You make your bet; the dealer deals the cards and this determines everything. The player does nothing.
High roller-room baccarat on the big table is different because players get to deal the cards. This does add a level of excitement, even though the person dealing has no decision-making capacity. How to play the hands is pre-determined. Still, dealing the cards at least gives the player a sense of some control. Added to the game is the elegance of the high roller-room sense of things with several dealers taking care of you in a fancy setting. So big baccarat is far more exciting than mini-baccarat but still cannot come close to blackjack.
The game that has the highest level of excitement is certainly craps. The player gets to shoot the dice and doing this gives him a strong sense of participation since it is his roll that determines everything. The other players also believe that the shooter has the say in what will happen next.
The fact that almost all shooters are merely engaging in a random act, kind of like the human equivalent of the RNG in a slot machine, is irrelevant since they do not believe this is so. The players will make bets based on whether the shooter is hot or is hitting certain numbers. The ebb and flow of the game goes strictly according to what the shooters are doing.
Yes, there are certain shooters, known as Golden Touch controlled shooters, who do have some influence over the outcome of their dice throws but these shooters are few and far between. To most craps players the game really comes down to the casino saying to the player: "Here are the dice; try to beat us if you can!" There is no feeling like it. You take the dice in your hands and then -- well, everything then seems to be in your hands. Craps is the most exciting game in the casino.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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