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The Koko Factor: Part One6 December 2007
Koko the gorilla supposedly has an IQ of between 85 and 95; based on an IQ test she took several years back. The average range for humans is 90-110. About 50 percent of the human population in America falls within that range, with about 25 percent above it and 25 percent below it. So Koko is, by our standards, a kind of dull normal individual but she is, let's be frank, smarter than about 25 percent of the human population, which definitely includes the kid across the street from me and, perhaps, that strange neighbor of yours.
Now, I don't know if Koko is a smart gorilla or a stupid gorilla. For all I know, the average gorilla might have an IQ substantially higher than Koko's but I do know this - if a human with Koko's IQ did the things Koko does we'd call him - let's be frank now - stupid.
Well, in my experience I've seen many a human Koko in the casinos and they aren't just on the player side of the casino equation. There are some casino decision-makers who would be intellectually overshadowed by Koko. Now, the overwhelming majority of casino-folk I've met go from pretty smart to damn smart, but a few languish in the Koko ranges - the lowland intellectual gorilla category.
These casino Kokos often do a great disservice to their players, their employees and their industry, even though they have no awareness of this fact. Still, in the interests of fairness, one must call a Koko a Koko if the name fits.
And I'm going to name names.
There is Jo…just kidding. I'm not naming names; even the Kokos have to eat. But what I will do now is name the policies that I think must have come from the Kokos of the casinos as these decisions are, to be generous, cuckoo. Here goes:
Whoever first thought up the idea that in order to play two hands at blackjack you should have to play double the table minimum is a definite Koko. Really now, if the player wishes to play two hands, telling him he has to double his bet will often discourage him from doing so. The same player playing two hands makes just as much money for the casino as two players playing one hand each. It's the exact same thing! So why tell him he has to double his bet? It's stupid. Let him play two hands at the table minimum and the casino makes twice as much money. Ask him to double his bet and he might only bet one hand. Big players will play two hands at higher rates because they can afford to, so it won't discourage high-end two-hand play. Steve Wynn knew this and when he was in charge of the Mirage properties in Vegas he had the best BJ games in the world - and the most crowded.
I just received word of truly ugly Kokonean experiences many craps players have had with a policy devised at a casino. As many of you know, there is a dice revolution slowly growing in the country and an increase in craps play (and casino hold - the craps hold in Vegas is up 6 percent this past year!) because of it. This revolution has to do with the ability of some players to control the dice and the wishing and hoping of other players - and the delusion of other players - that they can do this too. It means setting the dice and taking care with your throw, regardless of whether you actually have the skill or not. However, one casino has decided to create a whole new host of rules for careful shooters one of which is telling them they their arms cannot cross the C&E line when they throw.
This new Kokonut rule is intended to discourage careful shooters but all it really does is aggravate all craps players who flock to nearby casinos (who welcome them with open arms and vaults) to avoid the tongue lashings that are purportedly regularly administered by the boxpeople, floorpeople, pitpeople and any other Koko who happens to be swinging by. Indeed, it has gotten to a point where two players have written to me to tell me that the stickperson (two different stickpeople mind you) hit their hands with the stick when their swings went over the Forbidden Zone! I thought corporal punishment was outlawed?
Another player wrote me to tell me that a stickperson put his stick parallel to the layout and told the player his arm couldn't hit the stick which was protecting the Forbidden Zone. Recall what the Forbidden Zone was in the original movie Planet of the Apes, which was, strangely enough, also protected by sticks? It was the area destroyed by the humans and thus uninhabitable. That will be this casino's craps game if these new "rules" continue. [One of the two players, a doctor, who was hit with the stick was going to sue but I convinced him that it wouldn't look good in the papers for him to be involved in such a case. Instead, he has taken his business elsewhere.]
A truly Kokonesque moment occurred two years ago in Vegas when a casino proudly announced on a giant billboard that it was offering a single-deck blackjack game where a natural paid $6 to $5. Of course, a natural would usually pay $7.50 for $5 so this casino was trumpeting the fact that they were screwing the players big time. Just about then, many Strip casinos went to continuous automatic shufflers on their blackjack games to increase the number of hands a player played by 20 percent. And all the Strip casinos went to hitting Soft 17 to increase profits at blackjack as well. And in the two years since these "profit-enhancing" rules went into effect what has happened? Instead of an increase in BJ profits, the Vegas casinos have lost almost 10 percent of their BJ revenue! That sound you hear are the Kokos who created these "improvements" slipping on banana peels!
Yes, there are Kokos in every industry and line of work. I'm sure many of you when you meet with your extended families can point out the Kokos in your clan. Still, a gorilla is a gorilla. They are fun to watch as they swing on a tree limb and pound their chests and uproot logs looking for succulent bugs. But do you really want them in positions of authority? Uhaheehgagump! (That's gorilla for "NO WAY!")
Next time: Player Kokos!
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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