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Going Over the Edge!21 January 2005
Everyone knows that the casinos have a built-in edge, or at least try to have one, in all the games and wagers they offer. Some players, and even some gaming authors, think that this is a form of cheating because the casino structures its games so that it wins more decisions than do the players or takes a cut from the players' winning bets before paying it off.
Is it immortal or unfair or dastardly, for example, for the casino to pay off a roulette bet at 35 to 1 when the true odds of the bet are 37 to 1? You bet a dollar and you win $35 and not $37, as the odds would suggest. That extra $2 goes into the casino coffers. Unfortunately when you lose a bet, you don't get the opportunity to take out some money before paying the casino - you lose the whole bet.
So when you win, you lose a little; and when you lose, you lose the whole "dang" thing!
Now, is it immoral that at craps the casino wins 251 Pass Line bets for every 244 Pass Line bets that the player wins? Play that game with that wager long enough and you will lose your money.
So give it a moment to sink in and then ask yourself the question: "Are the casinos doing something wrong by creating games where the players will ultimately lose?"
I am decidedly on the side of those who don't think there is anything inherently immoral, unethical, nasty, bad, unfair, dastardly, creepy, stingy, or mean about the casinos wanting to have an edge on their games. After all, when I buy a product I don't begrudge the retailer who sells the product for more than what he bought it from the wholesaler, who bought it for more than what it cost the manufacturer to make, who sold it for more than what he paid for the raw materials. That's business.
No one reading this article right now is not involved in some way with the sale or buying of goods for far more than what they inherently cost to make. If we weren't, we wouldn't have much of an economy and we wouldn't have to worry about casinos because none of us would have any money to play in them. We'd also be starving because food producers would be giving away their food and they would ultimately starve to death when they had no money to replenish their herds, flocks and crops.
We also wouldn't have to worry about playing in casinos if casinos didn't structure their games with edges because, once again, the casinos wouldn't exist. The casinos are selling us a product every bit as real as any other product. They are selling us a thrill and to be able to enjoy that thrill, we pay an admission price - the house edge. If I go to the movies I pay the price of admission to the movies. If I think the price is too high for the swill that comes out of Hollywood then I am free to not go to the movies. If I think the house edge is too hefty a price to pay for casino thrills, I am also free to not pay the price simply by not going to the casinos.
With that said, I say, "There are edges and there are EDGES!" Put that in capital letters, bold and italics!
Let me go back to the business analogy again. If I want to buy a television set or some brand-name clothes, I do a little shopping. I look for the exact same items in different stores or online catalogs. If I think certain stores are gouging, I buy at a different store - the non-gougers, if you will. In short, I bargain hunt. I look for the best for the least.
The same goes for casinos. If I want to play blackjack, I am going to look for the blackjack game that gives me the best deal - one where the dealer stands on soft 17, one with liberal doubling and splitting rules. I'd prefer to play those in the single and double deck variety, rather than the six or eight deck variety.
If I am looking to play craps, I want a game that gives me low table minimums with high odds bets (10X, 20X or 100X) and ones where I can buy the 4 and 10, 5 and 9 for $30 and only have to pay a one-dollar commission - on winning bets exclusively!
If I want to play slots, I look to play those machines that are certified at 97 or 98 percent payback (or more if I can find them), and I avoid the ones I know are gouging me - such as Megabucks where the house edge is around 15 percent. The same goes for video poker. I want to play what are called "full-pay" machines, which are usually machines coming in with house edges of between 99 and 101 percent (if you use the optimum strategy).
I'd rather play at a casino that is generous with comps than one that is stingy with them. I'd rather play at a casino where the dealers and pit people are friendly and enjoy it when I win. I want to feel welcomed in the casinos of my choice, just as I want to be welcomed in the businesses that I patronize. They want my money, fine, okay - but I want a good product for that money.
By visualizing the casinos as stores and applying shoppers' principles to them, you will be able to get the best value for your hard-earned dollars. We can't expect casinos not to be businesses but we can expect the ones we frequent to offer the very best products at the very lowest prices - which translates into the best odds, rules, and payouts when we spend our money there.
Yes, it's caveat emptor even when it comes to the casinos!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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